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The Official WEEF Wedding

  • By Devan Swanepoel
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The Official WEEF Wedding

Chelsea and I were dating for just over 2 years, when I decided to graze the knee in Villefranche-Sur-Mer, France in September 2019.

I remember vividly a phone call from Chelsea early in October 2019, while I was waiting at Tokyo Airport, coming back from a WEEF Exhibition - just 2 weeks after our engagement. She informed me with a giggle that she found her dream dress. Her news was exciting and scary at the same time, but at that moment, I knew that we might actually pull off a wedding before the end of 2019!

D&C Wedding Film;

Both Chelsea's, and my, grandparents had health-scares earlier in 2019. Chelsea’s brother confirmed that he would be immigrating on 1 January 2020 and by chance, many of our international friends were coming down to Cape Town over December for summer holiday so it appeared that the timing couldn’t be better.

Having worked in the advertising and wedding industries, Chelsea and I are familiar with taking on projects with limited budget and crazy deadlines, 

So, we looked at each other, smiled and decided to approach our wedding as a very special 7-week 'project'

How did you choose your venue?

We visited about 10 venues around Cape Town, Noordhoek and the surrounding farmlands; from traditional wine farms to inner-city venues. We went back and forth but we refused to compromise on a venue – until we had found the perfect spot.  Then on the recommendation of a friend we were introduced to a little hidden gem called ‘The Stack’ in Gardens, Cape Town. Chelsea couldn’t contain her excitement as she walked through the courtyard, smelling the sweet scent of Jasmine, past the fountain under the blossoming Jacaranda tree.

 

We both wanted a venue where we could have a traditional romantic ceremony, nourish our guests with delicious food and host a reception with dancing - The Stack offered it all! The Brasserie serves Parisian-style meals, such as Steak Frites, Kingklip with summer vegetable and tomato ragout and Provençal Vegetable Tarts, which was a nod to our engagement in France. The Stack also mixes fabulous cocktails and serves Great Dane coffee. When we heard that this 160-year-old lady of Georgian structure and Victorian fretwork suffered a serious fire, shortly after the opening of The Stack, and that it was renovated to its previous glory within a year, we knew that her resilience would be the perfect setting for the start of our marriage.

How did you find a venue and vendors in 7 weeks!?

Firstly, one of Chelsea’s bridesmaid’s and her husband were flying from Sweden and landing in South Africa on 15 December and we had planned a family holiday for later December so we chose Monday the 16th of December 2019 - a public holiday - to be our Wedding Date. Being a Monday, The Stack had last minute availability and being a public holiday - before the onset of the school holidays - most of our guests were available too. Secondly, a restaurant has its own staff, catering, linen, glassware and décor so we did not have to hire anything. Thirdly, our guests pre-selected their meals on our wedding website, which we created on The Knot so there was no need to print out menus. Fourthly, the venue is already so elaborate that we decided against flowers on the tables but rather to keep it simple with handwritten Perspex table numbers by Shana from Gracefully Written and handmade WEEF leather key rings engraved with each guests name, which doubled as a placeholder and a take-home gift.

Why a Day-Wedding?

We knew from the start that we wanted to spend as much of our day with our guests as possible. We experienced a beautiful Cape Town summer's day allowing us to take it all in with old and young. It was important that the day had its own organic flow with as little structure as possible making room for more in-the-moment spontaneity.

The guests arrived at 10:00, the ceremony took place outside on the verandah from 10:30 until 11:30 accompanied by the very talented Vickus Horne from Cherry Vynil with his acoustic guitar who did praise and worship. He also entertained our guests with old school classics while lunch and wine were served at the ground floor Brassiere from 12:00 – 13:30. At around 14:00, the guests were asked to join the bridal couple upstairs in the maximalistic member's lounge where we shared a toast, or seven, over speeches. We cut our Rainbow cake and opened the dance floor thanks to Playground Twins; all while our guests were treated to a ‘high tea’ which included cheese boards, cakes, coffees, and cocktails till about 17:30.

Our only concern with a day wedding was that people wouldn’t dance and we love to dance, so a week before the wedding, we made a call and hired a black dance floor. It really set the tone and saved the day. 

At about 17:45 Chelsea and I greeted our guests and slipped away to the Bo-Kaap, High Court and V&A Waterfront for golden-hour sunset photos and video, while our guests continued the celebrations at the venue. We wrapped up our photos by about 20:00 and headed off to Slaley in Stellenbosch to end our big day with champagne.

The Gentlemen

Because our venue was so vibrant and unique I wanted to go elegant yet playful with my look. I decided on a full deep green suit with a hint of floral, black accents and brass hardware. When it comes to suits, tailoring is everything, so I went to my good friend Gareth Duncan at GD Suits to make the design and fit perfect. I had my waistcoat made reversible with one side dark green and the other side floral. I lined my jacket with the same floral fabric and added vintage buttons, brass trimmings and a chained pocket watch. I decided on black leather shoes, a crisp white shirt, a black Fedora hat with WEEF leather trimmings. I also made myself a special WEEF Japanese and Western-inspired leather tie with brass finishing - I felt like a million bucks.

 

Seems as it was very hot, we decided to forgo jackets for the groomsmen and opted instead for white mandarin shirts from Billy Now, black trousers and shoes. We pulled the look together with custom WEEF handmade leather Oliver Green and floral fabric suspenders. A smaller version was made for Colby, our 6-year-old ring bearer.

 

  

The Ladies

(written by the bride)

I thought that I would want something super simple and sleek - "no lace, no boobtube" was my brief. Boy, was I wrong. You only know what suits your body once you start trying on dresses. I struggled to decide between two dresses. The first was my idea of what I wanted while the other was a bohemian gown, with the romantic lacy sleeves, yet sexy silhouette. Tying the Knot Bridal was really supportive, they told me to go for a coffee and come back later that afternoon to make sure that I knew for certain. When I envisioned walking down the aisle on my dad's arm, looking at Dévan, I knew that the latter dress was for me. Tying the Knot Bridal tailored the dress perfectly to my curves and my height within the 4 weeks deadline, despite load shedding. 

To finish off the look, I wore a pearl and gold hair cuff from Lovisa to contain my short hair in a low sleek bun (I didn’t know we were getting engaged or married so I cut my long hair into a bob in September). The pearl in the hair cuff matched my pearl earrings and the gold tied in with my custom yellow gold ring created by Kelly Jay Jewellery. I opted to wear my Froggie nude leather hills and not purchase new shoes as I love to dance and didn't want my feet to blister or be tired after hours of standing, chatting and dancing.  My make-up artist, Shannon Day, made me, my mom and bridesmaids glow with romantic pinks and peach hues and added a touch of glam with lashes.

From Dévan’s bright floral fabric, the mother of the bride selected yellow and the mother of the groom chose red. For my bridesmaids, I selected olive green to match the groomsmen’s leather suspenders and a dusty pink. Dusty pink was my Ouma’s favorite colour so this was my way, together with wearing her pearl earrings, of including her in our special day.

We didn’t have much time to have dresses made and I wanted something to suit everyone’s figures, including my beautifully pregnant bridesmaid, Iulia. After searching high and low, we unexpectedly stumbled upon olive green and dusty pink pleated satin mid-length skirts, I was overjoyed. I wanted them to all look unique yet cohesive so one wore all olive, the other all pink and the third a mixture of olive and pink. I also found two pretty dusty pink flower girl dresses at Black Eyed Susan, which matched perfectly. 

My bridesmaids were little angels helping me with my hair and arranging our bouquets. My hope was to look timeless and feel comfortable yet elegant and that is exactly the way I felt on the day.

 

Capturing our special day

We knew that we wanted a photographer and videographer to capture true moments as they happened during the day and thereafter to take more glamorous inner-city shots afterward. We asked our good friends @iambrianbanda and @curtispowwow to shoot our photos and asked @juanvisser and @therealcalebbutler from Future Good to execute our wedding video - all of whom have helped us with WEEFWEAR images and brand film in the past. We knew that their modern and fashion-focused style would suit our aesthetic.

We gave them free reign and wanted them to follow their own creativity on the day. We made a conscious choice not to take our couple photos after the ceremony because we wanted to spend as much time as possible with our guests.

 

The team really captured and told the story of the day perfectly, from Chelsea getting dressed, to guests arriving, the venue, family photos, the dance floor and 'golden hour' sunset photos.

Allow your Big Day to represent you as a couple – there are no rules 

  • My youth pastor married us on Friday the 13th, at home, with our parents as witnesses, which meant that on the day there was no stress regarding the formalities. This also meant that our very good friend, Kyle, who has known us both separately for years, could lead the ceremony on the day. 
  • We could have gone with a traditional wedding cake but my favorite cake is the Rainbow cake from The Velvet Cake Co, it matched the venue perfectly so Chelsea surprised me with the cake topped with a Polaroid of us.
  • We decided not to throw the bouquet or garter, as it had no significance to us.
  • We decided not to have the photographers and videographers with us as we got ready as it was very early in the morning and we wanted to cherish those moments privately with family and bridal / grooms’ parties.
  • We opted to do speeches, after the meal, with dessert as we wanted people to be well fed before hopping into the other festivities.
  • We chose not to have a head table; instead, we sat with our siblings, bridal party and groomsmen and our parents got to sit with their friends, siblings and parents so no one felt out of place.
  • I proposed with a traditional wedding band, as I wanted to keep the proposal a surprise and then we designed what is perceived as Chelsea's “engagement” ring together.
  • I couldn’t find a ring in the stores that suited me so we went exploring in Stellenbosch and stumbled upon an antique gold ring that we had resized to fit me perfectly.

 Things we learned:

  •      Planning a wedding in 7 weeks is do-able but intense.
  •      If friends and family offer to help, accept the offer.
  •      Strike a balance between the groom and the bride’s vision – it is your shared special day.
  •      Do your research before you choose your venue, we discovered that venues had availability and were more eager to assist if it was a day event, on a Sunday or a weekday.
  •      Restaurants have short-notice availability, delicious food, their own staff, crockery, glassware and décor, which means that you do not need to hire additional items. Often they do not charge venue hire instead they require a minimum spend per head or per day.
  •      Find suppliers that are not necessarily “Wedding” vendors as they often charge a wedding premium.
  •      Having a day wedding allows old and young to stay for the whole day.
  •      Take time to find great DJ’s that can read a crowd and also invest in a dance floor.
  •      Tailoring is a must!
  •      Use accessories that you have, you don’t have to spend money on unnecessary things.
  •      Go digital instead of printing.
  •      Try not to go into debt with your wedding, nobody wants to start their life together in debt.
  •      Don't worry too much about the small things, everything always works out.
  •      Take your time to enjoy each other on the day, yes you also want to chat to every guest on the day, but rather spend it with your partner.
  •      You don't have to do things the traditional way on your special day. If you want a rainbow cake as your wedding cake, get it and eat it!
  •      Take it all in!

      Conclusion 

      We knew for sure that we wanted to have a memorable day, while holding onto our shared principles – a wedding day need not break the bank and it should represent who you are as a couple. Planning a wedding in 7 weeks allowed us to not get too caught up in the details and to remember that the purpose was marriage, not a wedding.

      Our Suppliers/Vendors:

      •         Venue - The Stack @thestackcpt
      •         Live Music - Vikus Horne @cherryvynil
      •         DJ’s - playground_twins
      •         Handwritten welcome board, table numbering - @gracefully_written
      •         Flowers - @alsmeerflowers @oana.wright
      •         Bridesmaids Shirts - Queenspark
      •         Groomsmen; Shirt @billynowsa trousers @wcollection socks  @falke_sa 
      •         Suspenders - @weefwear
      •         Brides Dress - @tying_the_knot_bridal_boutique @justinalexander
      •         Groom’s suit - @gdsuits, Tie, Pocket Square & accessories @weefwear
      •         Shoes - @Paul&Joe
      •         Photographers - @iamryanbanda @curtispowow
      •         Videographers - @juanvisser @therealcalebbutler
      •         Makeup - @shanny_day
      •         Wedding Cake - @velvetcakeco & @thestackcpt
      •         Wedding Ring - @kellyjayjewellery (Chelsea), antique piece (Dévan) 
      •         Tailoring - @MaterialGirl

       

      If you have any questions, please feel free to mail us; hello@weefwear.com

       


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