The Return to Romance

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By Malu Lambert

“…If music is the food of love, it needs a menu 

And a critic, and a blog, and a Malu

To carp at the canapés and trash the ragout

And flush the Sauvignon Blanc down the loo

But if music be the food of love

And James is playing the kind of selection

Which Malu delights in with some indiscretion…”

This excerpt is from a silly-yet-sweet poem my uncle read as he conducted my wedding ceremony. I had gone so far as to be the ‘DIY’ officiator. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was right on trend for weddings in 2014. 

Weddings are becoming softer again, more romantic and personal. Although this doesn’t necessarily mean more economical. 

“Making a wedding personal means you need to pay attention to smaller details,” says Christina Holt of Wedding Concepts. “For example, the ‘save-the-date’ sets the tone and should match the colour of the straw stuck in your bespoke lemonade at the ceremony. The more personalised you become, the more you can end up spending.”

Christine says she sees the trends swinging back to more “glamorous and OTT” affairs, though within the spectrum there are also always the “rustic, organic, and slightly more earthy weddings”.

Even so, the movement towards less elaborate and more rustic DIY-style weddings is still very on trend. Is this because more and more people are getting married in their 30s, and so have to pay for it themselves?

Victoria Jackson from Evention doesn’t think so. “Weddings are moving away from being a ‘show’ to rather a showcase of the couple: a representation of you as people—which is without a doubt the way it should be. It’s now easier and more fun for brides and grooms to get involved and add their own touch to their day, instead of just handing it over to a wedding planner or venue.”

According to Victoria, one of the strongest trends at the moment is ‘Natural Contemporary’. Think modern, clean lines of a contemporary palette with the addition of natural elements, such as wood, flowers still attached to their bulbs or roots, pottery, stone, and so on. “It’s such a popular trend as you can lean any-which-way to suit you as a couple,” says Victoria. “You can go a little more rustic or a little more modern depending on the venue and look-and-feel, as well as bring in any colour, bright or pastel, to complement the natural textures.”

Coming up Roses

The flowers you choose can perhaps influence the mood of your wedding more than any other element. Globally, things are getting sweeter, simpler. 

According to Bridal Guide, “The containers may be ultra-formal estate pieces, but the arrangements themselves are very touchable. Full, loose groupings of garden roses, anemones, poppies, lilac.”

Victoria agrees. “We’re seeing a looser, more relaxed style of flowers. It’s a move away from structured, stiff arrangements and going towards mixing different flowers and not having a still-life feel. Colours are in at the moment, and a combination of different colours is more desirable rather than just one predominant option.”

Another way flowers are being incorporated is as structures themselves. Christine says flowers are being woven into canvas and used as peripheral florals on the edges of the dance floor or ceremony, instead of in a more formal framework, such as gazebos and the like.

Keeping things personal, brides are also said to be picking their own bouquets on the day from a parent’s or relative’s garden.

Put a Ring on It

Diamonds really are forever, and are still the top choice of stone for brides in engagement and wedding bands. 

The trends, though, have shifted from matchy-matchy sets to jewellery that reflects the personality and individuality of the wearer. The wedding band should tell a story.

Love colour? Make sure to choose a durable stone such as a ruby or sapphire. Tanzanite rings are also on trend, but can be ‘softer’ and therefore more susceptible to damage.

Men have more choice than ever before when it comes to the wedding band. The classic metals of yellow gold, white gold, and platinum have some competition. There are plenty more precious metals and other materials gracing the fingers of grooms these days, which include (and are sometimes a mixture of) palladium, tungsten carbide, cobalt, ceramic, titanium and seranite. 

Some bands even incorporate gems—for a subtle twinkle choose a band with a channel of black or white diamonds and keep the stones flush with the metal surface.

It Was an Emotional Wedding. Even the Cake Was in Tiers

One of the highlights of any wedding is the cutting of the cake, and here the romantic trend continues. 

Bridal Guide says: “The sleek cake is a thing of the past as 2014 moves toward the romantic look of pleats, ruffles and lush sugar flowers. Instead of the smooth cake of previous years, the tiers of these cakes are dressed in soft ruffled layers, giving them the look of a billowing crinoline.”

Here’s another area where you can save money. Skip the dessert course and serve your wedding cake instead. Most people have room for only one sweet dish, and this ensures your beautiful cake won’t go completely to waste.

You’ve seen people with ombré hair, and now the trend has found its way into the world of confectionery, too. To achieve this look, ombré cakes are frosted in white on the top tier and then gradually go from pale to deep colour hues. 

Want something a little wacky? Suspended wedding cakes are making an appearance at elaborate weddings. Instead of a traditional cake table; the wedding cakes ‘float in the air’ suspended from the ceiling with anything from cables to ropes intertwined with flowers.

All of this aside, it seems pretty simple to channel the romantic trend for your nuptials. “You will very quickly see a more romantic side to your wedding if you make it about you as a couple,” says Victoria. “Celebrate with your favourite food and music. Use colours, sayings and quotes that mean something to you as well as any other quirky element that is ‘you’ as a couple.”

Or get your uncle to write a poem. 

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Some of Our Favourite Wedding Venues

South Africa’s diverse beauty offers up a multitude of picture-perfect places to tie the knot, from beaches with sweeping views to the wild romance of the bush.

Toes in the Sand

Say ‘I do’ on the beach at STRANDKOMBUIS in Yzerfontein, then enjoy seafood cooked West Coast-style over open coals. Tel. 022-451-2360. Go to www.strandkombuis.co.za

Make a weekend of it at GROOTBOS; think fynbos, mountain views and the rugged backdrop of Walker Bay, with ample accommodation, too. Tel. 028-384-8008. Go towww.grootbos.com

Expect lush, jaw-dropping beauty as only South Africa’s east coast can provide with a tropical wedding at Fairmont’s ZIMBALI RESORT. Tel. 032-538-5000. Go to www.fairmont.com

Natural Abandon

What could be more spectacular or evocative than a wedding ceremony in the African Bush? ULUSABA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE offers the kind of wedding your guests will be talking about for years to come. Tel. 0800-056-343. Go to www.ulusaba.virgin.com

ISIBINDI AFRICA LODGES offer you a variety of options, from a safari lodge in the Kruger National Park to a beach lodge on the shores of the KZN coast. If you’re looking for luxury in a unique setting, look no further. Tel. 035-474-1473. Go to www.isibindiafrica.co.za

Get married in the bushveld at INTUNDLA GAME LODGE AND BUSH SPA, located just outside of Pretoria. There’s also an on-site chapel. Tel. 012-735-9913.Go to www.intundla.co.za

Situated in the heart of the Madikwe Game Reserve, MAKANYANE SAFARI LODGE’S riverside forest is an enchanting place to exchange vows. Tel. 014-778-9600. Go to www.makanyane.com

This way to your romantic English countryside wedding. GRANNY MOUSE COUNTRY HOUSE AND SPA in Kwa-Zulu Natal has a thatched chapel, which overlooks the rolling hills of the Midlands. Tel. 033-234-4071. Go to www.grannymouse.co.za

For the Mavericks

Set among the apple trees of Elgin, your guests will love their quirky accommodation in the form of converted Airstream Trailers at OLD MAC DADDY. Tel. 021-844-0241. Go to www.oldmacdaddy.co.za

You’ll need your sea legs for this one… All aboard the TIGGER 2 for a sunset wedding on Cape Town’s open waters. Tel. 021-418-0241. Go to www.tiggertoo.co.za

Just because you live in Joburg doesn’t mean you can’t have a magical forest wedding. Set amidst the urban sprawl is THE FOREST WALK, complete with chapel surrounded by trees and a thatched boma for dancing the night away. Tel. 072-511-0493. Go to www.theforestwalkvenue.com

New and exclusive to Sandton is THE POLO ROOM at Inanda Club. With sweeping views of Sandton, all city-slickers will be impressed with what’s on offer here, from romance and cuisine to service. Tel. 011-553-7600. Go to www.bywordofmouth.co.za

Among the Vines

There isn’t a prettier place to get hitched than at BABYLONSTOREN, just outside Franschhoek. The venue does a superb job on décor, too—one less thing for the bride to worry about. Tel. 021-863-3852. Go to www.babylonstoren.com

KALMOESFONTEIN is the ultimate setting for a rustic, DIY country wedding. Run by the fun-loving Badenhorst Family Wines, you’re guaranteed a relaxed, big on the gees event to remember. Go to www.aabadenhorst.com 

With unique views of vines, sea and mountains, you can’t go wrong with CAPE POINT VINEYARDS. As a bonus they make award-winning wines, too. Tel. 021-789-0900. Go to www.noordhoekvineyards.co.za

Online Inspiration

There are thousands of blogs and websites dedicated to getting hitched, so turn noise dial down with our selection of favourites.

The ruffledblog.com  has everything for the do-it-yourself bride, from DIY projects that include seating plans, favours and more.

Browse for handmade ideas on stylemepretty.com.  The site deals in the elegant and the chic, and the DIY section shows you how to achieve this look affordably—for example, they show you how a simple ball of string can transform a vase into a centrepiece.

theprettyblog.com will keep you updated with local wedding stories and has a wealth of information on all the suppliers you’ll need.

Another one for the DIY goddess is iwantthatwedding.co.za.  Visit this site for inspiration and ideas as well as tips on creating an affordable wedding.

All images from Tasha Seccombe Photography

www.tashaseccombe.com

contact@tashaseccombe.com