Exotic East meets whimsical West: Gaynor and Nic’s real life wedding

“A spontaneous combustion of two cultures, several colours and boundless charisma, this wedding will be remembered by all for its candid heartiness packaged in a daring exterior! ”

“A spontaneous combustion of two cultures, several colours and boundless charisma, this wedding will be remembered by all for its candid heartiness packaged in a daring exterior! ”

When Gaynor and Nic contacted us at the beginning of 2011, we knew that something big was about to happen…  They were good friends of Maggie and Tom – clients from the previous year and a couple who didn’t shy away from turning convention on its head – and shared a yearning for a down to earth celebration with highlights of never-to-be-repeated novelty.

The wedding weekend commenced with a sensational cocktail event at one of Cape Town’s favourite seaside hangouts; The Grand Café and Beach.  With their shoes properly kicked off, guests could indulge the platter-served delicacies whilst savouring the spectacular sunset over Table Bay.  Minutes later, as a full moon started rising, it quickly became clear that all the elements were going to conspire to make this a truly magical celebration of a love that literally spanned across continents.

South African born Gaynor works as a designer in magazine publishing and knows exactly how an idea comes together…  She had no problem in articulating her vision of a relaxed though chic day with authentic South African flavours and sounds.  “All we really want is a big party where everyone feels looked after and entertained,” Gaynor aptly summed it up at the beginning of the planning process.

Our aim was to create a romantic dining room atmosphere set against a dramatic natural backdrop of winelands vistas.  The use of tablecloths in an oyster hue and walnut Tiffany chairs ensured that the base of the set-up remained suitably neutral, and so we turned our attention to getting the floral mix just right.

For the tables, we opted for one large centrepiece with a variety of rustic blooms in rich jewel tones which were arranged in an asymmetrical fashion and kept rather low.  Various other containers – a combination of glass, antique silver and ceramics – were scattered around the centrepiece, one of which contained a moss covered branch to lend some height.  The overall effect was as striking as it was stylish.  Beautiful Ming vases in white and blue adorned the tables while bookshelves behind the bridal table, floral carpets and potted Poplar trees created layered dimensions throughout the reception space.  Amber water glasses, floating candles in footed vases and delft plates rounded off the look perfectly.

Nic has a Chinese heritage and hence it was decided to incorporate Chinese elements into the look and feel of the day.  The stationery boasted a monogram of the traditional symbol for “Double Happiness” and this was carried through to the orders of service, menus, table names (all depicting the names of Nic’s favourite ski resorts) and personalised ‘thank you’ stickers on take away cake boxes.  Chinese lanterns in clusters, mirroring the bold colour palette of the flowers, provided a sense of warmth and playfulness.  Even the lounge areas boasted wooden Chinese side tables.

Gaynor and Nic share an offbeat sense of humour, and so it was decided to surprise guests with a Marimba performance at the end of the main meal which comprised of local Franschhoek salmon trout and Dukkah spiced lamb.  After a glorious outdoor ceremony, gentle Gypsy music and a wonderful line-up of speeches, this was the perfect ignition to a party that would carry on until the early morning hours.

We simply loved this wedding – not just for its decidedly different décor – but also for the inviting nature of the people we’d engaged with.  Thank you to all the suppliers who made this such an exciting journey!

Images courtesy of Annemari Ruthven