Real Bride - Robyn
Posted on September 12 2016
From the very first email we received from Robyn we were so excited to work with this beautiful bubbly bride! Robyn, along with her bridesmaids all wore Blackeyed Susan for her wedding day. We are over the moon that she has shared her beautiful photos with us and has agreed to tell us more about what made her day so special!
Tell us how you met your partner (please include the proposal story☺)
Gareth and I met in October 2015 at a Family Day at the church he was at, at the time. A mutual friend had invited me and long story short - God did something incredible because after a 2 minute conversation (I did all the talking!), I left praying that I’d see him again and he left with a stronger feeling than ever before that he HAD to get in contact with me. The next day I had an encouraging facebook message from him asking if he could take me to lunch. Three weeks and hours of whatsapp conversations later we went on our first date - a picnic at Emmarentia Dam. It lasted 6 hours before I was forced to leave and it was just so comfortable - we ate and laughed and connected on every topic that we each feel passionately about. We both felt certain from Day 1 that this was where God was leading us and it was an incredible couple months of dating.
During our stay, we went to a beautiful forest to walk. This wasn’t unusual - we both love forests and he had been telling me about this one for ages. (He’d sneakily told our friends to decline the offer to join us for our walk! He also asked them to get a picnic packed and it was surreptitiously waiting by the door when we left). We arrived and went to reception to ask for a map only to be told that we weren’t allowed to walk there! He was so grumpy. He’s usually very calm and I remember asking him what was up and he very passionately proclaimed,“I just want to sit under a tree with you!”. (This was hilarious because there are SO many trees in the Drakensberg and if he wanted a tree, any of the trees at our resort could have worked in my mind!) However, somehow we managed to find our way into the forest and sat down. We sat down, took a couple photos and he asked if he could read me a passage of the bible that reminded him of me. Even after exploring two marriage centred passages I still wasn’t in the know about “the moment”. I was crying though - encouragement that is aimed straight at your heart is hard to come by and I was overwhelmed by the weight of his words. Then he handed me a list - a list of 10 things he wanted in a wife that him and his sister had written together a couple years before when he had been struggling with his singleness. He had told me before that on the day of our first date he’d randomly happened upon it and from our conversation and time spent together that day, he could see that I ticked every one. Seeing the list now he had ticked every box and written my name across it. More tears. Then he was kneeling in front of me on the forest floor with the ring - my first words were “Oh you sneak!”. Of course I said yes. We laughed and prayed, kissed and sang and asked an elderly couple to take a photo or two. It was very special.
We had an open ceremony at Godfirst Church in Parkhurst, Johannesburg on the 2nd of July (2016) and the ceremony was held at the stunning Big Red Barn in Irene.
The reason for the date is a little unromantic - I’m a teacher, my parents are teachers and my sister is studying at UCT so we were confined to school holidays!
We wanted the whole wedding to be a celebration of God’s great goodness to us and this included having our whole community - even the kids - present. For our reception we needed a venue that could hold around 150 people, was naturally beautiful and would lend itself to a more casual, comfortable, family type affair. The Big Red Barn is magnificent - all the chairs and tables are mismatched wood and antiques, with masses of light pouring in from the floor to ceiling windows and a unique “barn inspired” roof - it needed so little decorating to make it look magical.
We set out to have a celebration. But a celebration that reflected us. If it had been summer it would certainly have been a picnic, however being winter this was exactly right. It was a relaxed, family-style meal - we had delicious (HUGE) burgers and fries, cokes from glass bottles, crayons and paper on the tables, kids running around and so much laughter. We had Krispy Kreme donuts and Bean There cappuccinos for after the ceremony and instead of a formal dance floor, our niece and nephew led us in a funky-chicken-hokey-pokey type dance from the rafters that had us all looking like clowns - those are the unique memories we treasure.
Don’t let your mother(s), your bridesmaid’s or pinterest’s idea of the ideal wedding sway you from who you and your fiancé actually are. Allow your groom to weigh in on as many decisions and ideas as you can. My bridesmaids all live in Cape Town while I live in Joburg - this meant that every decision made was purely Gareth’s and my decision. He was incredible - he weighed in, helped me reason and plan more than I ever expected a groom to. In the end, the day (as confirmed by the guests) reflected us- relaxed, easy, community-strong and worshipful.
What made you choose the dress you chose?
I saw the Coming Up Roses cocktail dress on Pinterest while searching for my ideal wedding dress elements. It was so perfect - simple, elegant, would flow beautifully. (I’m not a pouffy, meringue-dress type of girl) The only thing was that it wasn’t floor length - so after a quick email, Melissa sent me her Bridal Catalogue with directions straight to the Coming Up Roses wedding gown. Love at first sight! Every spare moment before the fitting was spent staring at the image of the dress I had saved onto my phone. It was everything I’d wanted. And when I put it on - it made me feel as beautiful as I hoped a wedding dress would. The vote was unanimous amongst my mom (who flew up for the fitting & engagement party!), mother and sister-in-law and I at the fitting. The others I tried on “just in case” stunning as they were, weren’t nearly as beautiful a fit for my personality, body shape and style as this one.
Marié was a gem. She made me feel SO comfortable - she was incredibly affirming, encouraging and had great ideas. Not once did I feel self-conscious of my body or my decision. She also made sure that decisions made were mine - hearing my family's opinions and giving her own gentle advice but allowing me the space (from both onlookers and my own preconceived ideas) to make the final decision myself.
Choosing the dress was easy - we were in and out in an hour including coffee, getting-to-know-you and dressing up. (It is advisable to know what you want - or at least the style that looks good on you - before you go for a fitting). The boutique is lovely - elegant, warm enough - the dressing space gorgeous and large enough. After the initial consultation we did another couple fittings after the dress was made to ensure that it fit and whether any alterations were needed (Handy advice! If your bodice is too loose close to the wedding day, try a push up bra! My push up bra filled all the extra space so no alteration was necessary - who knew?!) We also tried to choose a waist decoration and ummed and aahed between ribbons, pretty belts and shiny things. In the end, I couldn’t decide between an ivory ribbon and a champagne ribbon so I took both! I had one at the ceremony and one later for the reception.
When I first landed on the Blackeyed Susan website I developed a huge crush on the Garden Party dress. It made complete sense to choose it as the bridesmaid dress - semi-unconventional as a patterned dress may seem. It’s one of my favourite colours (and wedding colours), a gorgeous dress that celebrates the female form regardless of body shape and a style reminiscent of the ‘50’s that I love. It also landed up having a similar boat-neck and scooped back that my dress did. I’m still a bit sad that I didn’t order a bridesmaid dress for myself ;)
Know your style and body shape - don’t simply go for a layered, A line dress with a corset because that’s “what dresses look like”. It’s not. There are other boutiques, local designers and more affordable options than the chain bridal stores that may flatter, make you feel more comfortable and represent you better.
I’ve always loved the documentary style of photography - I love the raw emotion and precious moments captured that the posed style doesn’t. I love the animated faces and smaller details that we get to look back on. I also like natural, soft light and was looking for someone who could use this to their advantage. I stumbled across Those Photos Photography because they’d shot at the Big Red Barn before. I studied every inch of their website and absolutely loved Lelanie’s style. She was wonderful to work with too. She was like an old friend - we laughed, we joked, we felt comfortable and we couldn’t be happier with the photos she gave us. What an absolute blessing she was.
Absolutely nothing! The only change I’d hope for, we couldn’t have avoided! My maid of honour woke up on the day with appendicitis and while I walked down the aisle, she was in surgery having her appendix taken out. She was an incredible head Maid though - she entertained family members, hung ribbons, stayed up late giving me advice and praying with me and bought me copious amounts of chocolate - she fought the good fight!
Walking down the aisle (to Joy (Remix) by Rend Collective) and seeing only Gareth, my heart could have burst!
The gradual dawning of realisation that Gareth was now my HUSBAND and would be my family, the man holding my hand supporting me until death parts us. At last!
Worshipping together before and after our vows.
The sneaky whispers and kisses we shared throughout the ceremony, photos and reception.
Spending a handful of minutes with each guest and hearing the laughter surrounding us, enjoying the ease at which the evening progressed - surveying everyone who has supported, loved, prayed for us and is special to us sitting in a room sharing a meal.