South African Destination Elopement
One of my dream destinations has always been Africa, so when I saw this elopement in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, my heart skipped more than a couple of beats. Samantha and Adam married with only their photographers, Feather and Stone (who are now living in Africa themselves!), their officiant, and a dozen singing and dancing locals nearby. The couple then celebrated with an intimate cake reception and started the next day with beyond stunning day-after portraits.
From the bride, Samantha: From the outset we were after a relaxed, low-key wedding with minimal fuss. Upon becoming engaged we began planning our wedding to take place locally. We were looking at different vendors and had a ceremony and reception venue in mind. After attending their annual open day, we walked away with an unusual feeling. We felt rather empty and a little underwhelmed. “How about we run away to Africa?!?” We have both always enjoyed travel. We feel that you get so much from visiting somewhere new and it definitely makes you appreciate what you have back home.
Bouquet recipe: We used the national flower of South Africa, the protea, as the stand-alone flower in the Bride’s bouquet and as the Groom’s boutonniere.
That night I think we googled the words “wedding” and “Africa” and we came across the AMAZING Ulusaba. The ball had started rolling! We made the decision quite early on that it would only be the two of us there and that we would hold a party back home upon returning. We spoke to our parents about the idea and they were supportive. The entire planning process was incredibly straightforward. Ulusaba gave us a list of questions to answer; this included what flowers and cake we wanted and the timing of everything. It was all very easy and it felt as if nothing was too difficult or a problem. After having had everything booked ten months beforehand, we couldn’t believe we were finally in South Africa! Our wedding day was surreal. I think the enormity of what we were doing hit us as we walked down the aisle together on “Hippo Beach”!!! Twelve African singers and dancers were creating the most beautiful sound and it was so hard to hold back the tears at that moment.
The ceremony itself was perfect. Our celebrant Carl is so wonderful at what he does and it was us to a “T.” Sometimes you attend a wedding and the celebrant takes the focus away from the couple – Carl was the complete opposite. We were also incredibly fortunate to have had the story of our day captured so perfectly by Feather and Stone Photography. Both Seth and Tenielle are truly two of a kind! They are the sweetest, most beautiful people you will ever come across, and they are so talented to boot! They are particular about EVERYTHING and it shows through their work. When we first received the link to our slideshow we were both in tears. We feel that a video couldn’t tell the story of our day as well as the images that they captured do. Looking back at everything, we wouldn’t have changed a single thing about our wedding day. Everything was so beautiful and it’s so lovely to have all of those wonderful memories for the rest of our lives. It was so relaxed – completely stress free – and just so beautiful.
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? If we could offer any advice to couples planning their weddings it would be to have the day that suits you both. Many weddings we’ve been to have been about the fanfare. We made the decision to strip everything back and get back to what a wedding is all about – a Bride and Groom making a life-time commitment to one another. We still had a small get-together of 45 of our closest friends and family upon returning which was beautiful. We shared our photos and stories and it was so lovely to see everyone. If you’re considering eloping, I would run with this idea. It was the best thing we ever did.
Upon arriving in our open-air Jeep, we both almost began crying! We were fortunate to have had Ulusaba organise a group of twelve people sing and dance whilst we walked down the aisle together. The sound was amazing and to see all of their beautiful smiling faces was a huge highlight of the day.
Wedding Location: Kruger National Park, South Africa / Photographer, Hair, and Makeup: Feather and Stone / Wedding Venue, Planning, Flowers, Caterer: Ulusaba / Wedding Dress: Alex Perry / Wedding Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Day After Dress: Jennifer Gifford “Alea” / Groom’s Suit: Joe Black, David Jones / Groom’s Shoes: www.florsheim.com.au / Celebrant: Carl Louwrens / Invitation: Paper Dolls