Many years ago I unexpectedly met the love of my life. We were set up on a blind date by a mutual dear friend, who thought we should meet. He couldn’t have been more right about the potential chemistry between us. Greg and I have been together since the day we met and that was that. The fairytale continues.
We got married on 15 Dec, 1996. I was 26 and Greg was 28. Today is our 21st wedding anniversary, and we are blessed to be soulmates and besties.
We were married in the oldest church in Cape Town, South Africa, and had our reception at the President Hotel by the Atlantic Ocean in Sea Point. Cape Town is in the southern hemisphere so it was a Summer wedding. It was blissfully warm and sunny during the day, rainy for part of the afternoon — supposedly good luck for the couple to be — and fably crisp at night in the cool sea air. I have travelled and lived all over the world, and nothing comes close to the exquisite natural beauty of Cape Town. The coastline makes my heart skip a beat every time I see it. It was perfect that we were married in the prettiest city in the world.
I designed my own wedding dress, which I had made by a very talented eighty year old seamstress who didn’t even use a pattern! She took my measurements, looked at my sketches, cut up the fabric, and tacked the gown together for a fitting. It fit remarkably well the first time I wore it. Mine was the last wedding dress she made.
My dress was classic, but not traditional. I knew exactly which silhouette I wanted to wear down the aisle. A-line with long sleeves, tailored, minimal lace, a low back and front, rouleau buttons, and with a very a long train. Covered yet alluring, and with a party at the back. The long train looped onto my finger so that I could walk more easily after the church ceremony. I did not want to wear a veil. I had a pearl necklace made in Hong Kong when I was there for work a couple of months before the wedding, and wore my Mum’s long pearl earrings. I finished off the look with gold disco sandals, pearly white nail polish, and did my own make-up. I had my hair done at a salon, but wasn’t happy with the set. I came home, hopped under the shower and styled my own hair – and was happy. When I told Greg the story later that day, he laughed and said… “typical.”
Greg kept what he and our best man Karl were going to wear a secret until I saw them at the bottom of the aisle. Greg has great taste and I trust him implicitly, so I said, “Surprise me. And wear good shoes.” I loved that he and Karl wore matching nehru shirts. Classic, but not traditional. Perfect.
This is our favourite wedding photo. Minutes after we tied the knot, we walked out of the church to greet our guests, who threw rose petals as confetti. The photographer captured the exact moment that I pulled a face and said to Greg, “I think a rose petal went down the front of my dress!”, which Greg thought that was hilarious.
It was only after our wedding that I realized that my Mum’s wedding dress was similar to mine. I must have been channelling it subconsciously, which makes my heart happy. Mum was 22 when she was married to my Dad in 1963, who was 31. I love this photo where Mum’s beaming from ear to ear with her gigantic smile, Dad’s directing the wedding cake cutting, and a friend is observing the process in fabulous specs.
Our wedding was wonderful and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Our three and half week honeymoon to the United States is one of the best and most memorable times of our lives. We never made it as far north as Seattle at the time, but look where we ended up. We’ve been here for fourteen years and love it.
I’ve dressed many brides, helped friends and family prep for their special day, and been to many weddings – all of which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. When the bride asks me for advice, I say that they needn’t have a traditional wedding nor wear a traditional dress. I suggest they wear something that makes them feel comfortable and attractive, and that they think their partner will like too. Some of the best weddings I’ve been to were pulled together on a shoe string budget and extremely cosy. The day is important, but it’s not the most important day of your life. It’s just another day of celebrating with family and friends. The most important component of the wedding is the love, affection, understanding, mutual respect and happiness that flows between you and your partner. If that’s sorted – the rest is easy.