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Dont let travel logistics put you off having a destination bush wedding, get professionals like Travel Concepts involved and your guests will thank you for an incredible wedding adventure afterwards.
It is not often that the sheer location of a wedding leaves our team speechless. A location, albeit distinctly luxurious in parts, is actually quite wild in all others! Nestled on the banks of the Sabie River – Lion Sands, one of the most exclusive designer lodges in the Kruger National Park, was to play host to another flagship Wedding Concepts celebration.
A blessing in disguise, living in New York, Vicky and Jon were the perfect couple to host their destination wedding at Lion Sands. Like the game lodge itself, the wild at heart bride and groom left no detail unturned. Vicky was in fact born in South Africa but raised in the US, and Jon, having never been to South Africa, or on safari – trusted Vicky and the Wedding Concepts team whole heartedly to deliver what was one of the most memorable celebrations to date.
Vicky is the quintessential detail driven DIY queen of all things whimsical. She wanted her guests to experience some of her favourite memories from her time spent in South Africa. The easiest way to do this was to start with a sneak peek and to have a personalised View Master showcasing incredible photos of wild life in Africa as their wedding invitation. If this wasn’t enough of a lure for their guests – then staying at one of the most luxurious and design focused lodges in Kruger sure was!
Waiting for guests in their lodges on arrival was a handmade Guide Box, filled with South African favourites like rooibos tea and Amarula liqueur. Also included were some clues: a compass, an Acacia twig, and finally – a Field Guide. This not only explained the rest of the weekend but ensured all guests knew that this #wildatheart wedding adventure, was just the beginning. After spectacular game viewing en route to the rehearsal dinner, set in a clearing in the bush (read NO FENCES), the guests received a mere glimpse into what they could expect the next day. It was here that some of the key Chinese traditions were incorporated. The well known tea ceremony was a wonderfully emotional moment with all their loved ones surrounding them.
The setting for the ceremony was certainly unique. Never before has Wedding Concepts arranged a ceremony underneath a 300-year-old Sausage Tree overlooking the Sabie River. A large male buffalo looked on as Vicky entered the ceremony and a local African choir sang Zulu praise songs. One of the few surprises for Vicky and Jon was when the guests blew proudly South African Vuvuzela’s as the minister pronounced them husband and wife.
The first look was an incredibly special moment as Jon saw his bride in her gorgeous Reem Acra gown before making their way to Inkwaze Hide for the ceremony.
After the heartfelt ceremony, guests were escorted by Safari Vehicles to Ivory Lodge – the most exclusive of all 5 Lion Sands lodges. Unparalleled and extraordinarily beautiful in its simplicity and lavish comfort and style, Ivory Lodge was the perfect setting for sundowner pre-drinks overlooking the Sabie River. Guests sipped on signature cocktails, sparkling wine and Vicky’s favourite – Bubble tea, in fact we dedicated a whole station to it.
After traditional Zulu warrior dancers set the African rhythms in motion, guests journeyed through oil lantern-lit pathways to River Lodge for the reception. River Lodge offered the perfect warm welcome as our team had converted their breakfast lounge into a candlelit 5-star banquet. Tables were adorned with a soft mix of King Proteas, succulents and delicate florals such as lisianthus and garden roses. For a personal touch, Vicky learnt the art of calligraphy and hand wrote each and every place setting herself. Our design team then added the final “wow-factor” touches such as inspired lighting concepts, lazer cut wooden stationery details and a glamourous photo corner comprising of various suspended oversized gold frames.
Guests took their seats for a delicious 3-course menu, and dessert was served canapé style as they took to the dance floor. Another one of Vicky’s favourites – milk tart – was a real hit with all the foreigners! Specially flown in from Cape Town, DJ Rene and his Dream Team filled the Kruger night with a brilliant mix of dance music, both old and new. And with curious hippos and nocturnal wild life looking on, guests danced till they could no longer.
The Photographer: Christian Oth Studio