Please tell us your story, and please include the proposal.
I had been friends with Louis’ cousin Francois since high school, but only met Louis a few years later when I attended the same a fund raising event at my grandmother’s care home. There I bumped into Francois and Louis who were also attending to support their grandmothers who happened to be in the same care home. Both Louis and myself were at the time, starting up our own businesses and although we were in the completely different fields of finance and fashion design respectively we immediately found that we had so much to talk about. I had met him at the same time that my label “Blackeyed Susan Clothing” had gone independent, and I was in the process of setting up a website and online store. Louis being the tech savvy smart guy that he is, offered to help me with this endeavor, and we began spending more and more time together. We were really good friends at first, Louis is such a great guy, so kind and patient and the more time I spent with him the more I realized what a gem he was. On our first date instead of bringing me a bunch of flowers he brought me a little Blackeyed Susan plant in a pot (and I was sold!) We started dating and a year later, on our 1st year anniversary Louis took me to ‘Nobu’ at the ‘One and Only’ and popped the question and of course the answer was YES!
How does your wedding reflect your personalities and personal style.
Among some of the many things we have in common, is our love for Japanese architecture and design. When it comes to designing clothing, I personally am highly influenced by Japanese woodblock prints, kimonos and obi belts. We both had the desire to echo this aesthetic in our wedding celebrations.
The fact that we are both pretty calm and collected is probably due to us running our own respective businesses, where we have to work with people and deal with everyday challenges. We were therefore both very realistic when it came to our expectations of the big day. We gave every supplier we dealt with, a basic outline of the Japanese/oriental aesthetic we were inspired by, but left it in their court to be interpreted in their own style. The results were absolutely breathtaking. Each one of our suppliers overwhelmed us with their attention to detail and the passion that they had for their craft, Lorraine from Lols Flowers blew our minds with her bountiful oriental inspired arrangements, Wade from Wade’s Cakes created the most beautiful black and gold Asian inspired cake and cupcakes. All the while Breakfast Included created the perfectly classy, jazzy soundtrack to the rest of the evening’s celebrations
What are your most memorable moments of your wedding day? (Groom)
Melissa made sure that I never knew what my wedding band would look like, and that it would be a surprise on our wedding day. She worked closely with our very good friend Tracey (owner and designer from Made of Mettle) to design something that would be truly unique as a men’s wedding band, which I had to fit on whilst blindfolded before the big day.
On the day of our wedding, as we were getting ready, my best man (my cousin - Francois) gave me a beautifully wrapped gift box. My wife-to-be had secretly organised that Francois would give me this gift on the day of the wedding, as we were getting ready and just before the ceremony. She had surprised me with an incredibly cool rose gold Diesel watch and a card describing how much she loves me and is looking forward to our special day. I later found out that the watch perfectly matched my wedding band! I receive compliments on my wedding band constantly. People love the fact that my wife went the extra mile to design something special for me.
Whilst waiting for my bride at the end of the isle, I could feel that I was building up a sweat; partly because the sun was baking on my back and partly because she still needed to say, I DO. I had to work hard to keep a stubborn tear at bay when I saw my gorgeous bride for the first time, but luckily I managed.
After she finally said I DO, the wedding band was unveiled. My wife had to use some force to get the ring on my finger, as my fingers had swollen from the heat. It didn’t really matter as I knew that I would never want to take off this ring that symbolises our love.
I’m grateful to have married such an amazing person who also wanted to make the day extra special for me.
What are your most memorable moments of your wedding day? (Bride)
I decided to stay with my mom the night before the wedding at the 12 Apostles Hotel. It was just the two of us. My mom and I have an incredibly close relationship, we are business partners in Blackeyed Susan and she is my best friend, I have a particularly fond memory of the night before my wedding spent with my mom, we had the most delicious dinner and chatted about our excitement and enjoyed all the time leading up to, and getting ready together for my wedding day.
I had asked my best friend, Raine (who I have been friends with for over 15 years) to be my Maid of Honour. She is an incredibly talented make-up artist, she offered to do and my and the bridal party’s makeup for my wedding day. This was incredibly special to me, as I didn’t expect her to be working on my wedding day, but she insisted. It’s always incredible to watch her work and it was even more incredible seeing her at work making my mom, bridesmaids (including herself) and myself, beautiful for my wedding day.
Louis and I speak to each other every day, we share everything, so on our wedding day I hadn’t seen or spoken to him. I really missed him even though I knew he was just upstairs getting ready. We kept the tradition of not speaking or seeing each other on the day of the wedding. Our ceremony had been scheduled to begin at 15:00. I was filled will excitement and anticipation leading up to the time. I just wanted to chat to Louis and hear his voice, I wanted to tell him about my day so far and about how nervous and excited I was. So for me the most highly anticipated and exciting part of my wedding day was seeing him waiting for me at the end of the isle. My dad walked me up the isle to Louis, my nervous hand just reached out and grabbed his and I clutched onto him until we said our I do’s.
Another of my most memorable moments was the incredibly special speech my dad had written for me and how he aligned my name, Melissa – “honey bee”, “Busy bee” to what I do, my designing and my passion for creating new things all throughout my life.
Did anything unexpected happen on your wedding day?
I can honestly say that it was the greatest day of our lives, nothing went wrong in our eyes. I think a lot of people put a high expectation on the day being perfect and for every thing to go perfectly but the most important part of the day is the marriage. The Lord had brought us together and all our friends and family were there to support and celebrate with us, and all that mattered was that we were both there promising to love each other for the rest of our lives.
Please describe your wedding dress. What made you “fall in love” with the dress? Did you buy it or had it custom made?
Being a designer, designing and producing dresses for my business “Blackeyed Susan” You would think that I would have planned my wedding dress months in advance, but all I had to go on was a beautiful one metre piece of beaded scalloped lace that I had bought about 6 months before my wedding. Blackeyed Susan keeps me incredibly busy and about a month before my wedding I realised that time was ticking away and there wasn’t much of it left! I turned my focus from designing for the business to designing and making my mom’s dress and my 3 bridesmaids dresses.
Two weeks before the wedding I still had not started my own dress, friends and family were absolutely shocked by this, but I remained calm as I knew exactly what I wanted… because I am one of the many women that approach Blackeyed Susan every day looking for that unique dress that embodies simplicity, timeless elegance, style and comfort. About a week before my wedding, after finalizing my pattern, I finally cut the beautiful lace that I had been treasuring for so many months into a cap sleeved bodice. I used the scallop of the lace to create the scalloped cap sleeve and a uniquely beautiful V-back neckline. The under layer bodice was fashioned from a beautiful ivory silk satin and for the skirt I used mesh, (I love working with mesh, It’s soft and flowing and fantastically comfortable).
To echo the Japanese aesthetic I love so much I decided to make an OBI belt from a beautifully intricate Japanese printed cotton that I had sourced previously.
I love doing what I do and I think it was the most wonderful experience being the designer and bride, it gave me an inside view of what its like to be on the other side.
Tips for others planning a wedding? How did you manage everything?
Planning a wedding is not as hard as it seems when you work with the right people. We were super blessed to have worked with the outstandingly professional and efficient wedding co-ordination team at the 12 apostles and in collaboration with every one of our suppliers, we never had a moment of doubt or panic leading up to our big day. I think a lot of research needs to be put into finding the right suppliers, finding people who understand your vision and who are 100% committed to making your day as special as you dreamed it to be.
The budget: Tips? How did you cut unnecessary costs? Innovative solutions?
I think researching suppliers is imperative to sticking to the budget, checking quotes from as many different suppliers was key for us, not to necessarily go for the cheapest but to find people who will help you achieve your goal for the best and fair price.
We also decided to hire the fantastically fun Martinus Van Tee - Caricaturist who not only provided hours of entertainment with his quirky and fascinating artworks but the guests were able to take their portraits home with them as a keepsake / wedding favour.
Did you have any D.I.Y projects? What were they?
We D.I.Y'd where we could, this helped us cut a lot of unnecessary costs. We decided to email our save the dates in order to cut costs on printing hard copies. We asked all of the invited guest to provisionally RSVP on the save the date, that way we also only sent out invites to the guest we knew were planning to attend, in doing this we saved costs on printing out unnecessary invites and had a much better idea of how many people would be attending (which really helped when booking suppliers) We made all of our own stationary (invitations, menus, ceremony programmes, seating plan). We made little bento boxes which echoed our oriental theme and filled them with the “love hearts” sweets, they doubled up as name card holders and party favours.
Any additional information or stories that you would like to add?
Being so highly inspired by Japanese fashion and geisha, there was one element that I knew I wanted months in advance for my wedding day, this was a Kanzashi. A Kanzashi is a hair clip most often worn by maiko (geisha’s in training) and Geisha’s in Japanese culture. I knew this was something I would need to plan and source far in advance, as nothing similar can be found in South Africa. After days of googling was overjoyed to finally come across “Wonderful Kanzashi” on the online store: “Etsy”
They had a wide selection of Kanzashi, and even offered to make bespoke pieces. So I chose to make up one of their styles in the colours that matched my theme (Magenta, purple and gold) I knew it was a bit of a risk with the post office strikes and with Wonderful Kanzashi being based overseas, but I decided to place my order in anyway (March 2015). I checked my post box every day for 7 months for a highly anticipated post office parcel collection n slip. About a month before our wedding (October 2015) the parcel had still not arrived. It was about this time that I had become despondent, I had stopped checking the post box and given up hope, but just as I had come to terms with the fact that it had probably been lost in the post, and about a week before my wedding my mom let me know that there was a slip for me in our post box! Bursting with excitement I went to collect the parcel and it was my beautiful Handmade Kanzashi, even more awe-inspiring in real life!
Please List Vendors/services involved in making your day so special:
Wedding Dress, Bridesmaids Dress, Mother of The Bride: Blackeyed Susan
Venue: 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa
Photographer: Kaitlyn De Villiers
Floral Artist: Lol's Flowers
Grooms Wedding Band & Bride's Earrings: Made of Mettle
Ladies Engagement Ring and Wedding Band: Uwe Koetter
Cake: Wades Cakes
Ceremony Band: Andre Van Vuuren
Reception Band: Breakfast Included
Caricaturist: Martinus Van Tee