Hoopfulbride's Blog

Planning a wedding in a place called The Hope

Fabulous Frock! 30 June 2009

Filed under: fabulous friends,frock,fynbos,Uncategorized — hoopfulbride @ 3:56 pm

Firstly, I call it a frock because i like the word. Frock has attitude. Dress (unfortunately) is a tad dreary.

Secondly, an apology: I collected the pics of frocks I love and have re-posted below more than 6 months ago, so I’m afraid I can’t credit them. Will appreciate any help in this regard, but I’d rather share than not just because of my faulty memory. (This whole problem is partly because I’m from a place where most wedding dresses on the internet are either not available or become prohibitively expensive to ship. So when brides in the “north” see a dress on the internet they can actually track one down (most of the time). Us CT brides mainly look to the Internet for inspiration and then find a designer to make it. There are a FEW boutiques who import, but it costs about the same as having one made.)

Frock search started with The Green Dress: a seriously HOT frock from Marion and Lindie which i bought for a formal work dinner in 2007 that is (thus far) the most perfect dress for me. The Green Dress is so hot is defies dreariness, so I can happily eschew “frock” for “dress”. From the moment I clamped eyes on it, I felt like that dress had been made for Saartjie-Sar. So, I knew my wedding dress would take a LOT of inspiration from The Green Dress (who wouldn’t want EVEN more hotness?)…

These were also my inspiration:



dress 7

I particularly LOVED the one below – the pockets!

dress 2

dress 6

You’ll note my love of v-necklines and billowing skirts (a feature of The Green Dress): I am a pear, but i have great cleavage, so these styles show off the bust and flatter the hips/bottom…

So, a month into my engagement, I was happily collecting inspiration and asking around for talented designers/dressmakers when fate stepped in: (it was dramatic)

My nyc mateys (some I met here, some I met in nyc when i lived there for a few months in 2004) were in all town for a wedding in December last year. One Saturday morning we met for brunch at a good friend’s cafe and went for a wonder past the shops in the road after our harissa eggs (or whatever delicious concoction she fed us that morning).

I casually glanced into the window of a particular store (Lunar) and there she was: a raw silk frock with a giant blushing bride (type of fynbos) picture hand-painted onto the skirt! Now bear in mind that at this stage I had not been engaged long. And that Rooster and I had not formally discussed fynobos themed weddings at all: we were just enjoying being engaged and drinking all those bubbles. But that dress just cried out to be tried on: I knew it, my nyc mateys knew it and The Flautist (also at brunch) knew it.

Here she is (sorry for small pic):

The Dress

Huh? Jeepers, creepers it is beautiful. Here’s a pic of me looking suitably excited and amazed at my incredible luck in said frock:


But, Internet, you’ll notice one problem: the neckline – no sexy clevage in that frock. Or the one above… which turns out is not actually such bad news after all, because that flower is a print taken from a hand-painting and not the hand-painting itself! Which meant that the dress can be made to order to incorporate the little quirks that are perfect for me.

My fabulous frock is currently being constructed by the marvellous Karen (seriously marvellous.) from Lunar… with a v-neck and pockets!!! The process of having a dress made for me by an amazing designer is sublime – it is truly an amazing experience to have a dress made from scratch based on my body. She has taken no measurements, just pinned and tacked on my body: at each fitting that frock sits even more beautifully on my frame.

And that, is the story of my fabulous frock, which i love even more each time i see it…


On chosing how to spend money for the biggest party of our lives…

Yes eastsidebride! Yes Meg! Yes Accordions and Lace!  How clever and articulate you ladies are. I have been mulling over your posts on wedding budget and this is my take on how we’re spending money:

Rooster and I consider ourselves extremely lucky to have a decent budget to play around with for our wedding because, simply put, we love to throw a party… and we are, for 200 people! All things considered, we probably have exactly the right amount. If we have more, we’d probably bank the cash (and buy a new car  or travel or a little holiday nest in the mountains or something) and if we’d had less, we’d just be a little less hospitable (as explained below).

We’ve approached our spending with a tight-fisted “spiral” philosophy: the smaller or closer it is to us or our wedding venue, the happier we are to spend money one it. The further away or bigger, the more we try to avoid it. In other words, we have tried our darndest to spend small and close with those in our immediate community. For example:

  • What we or our families can make or collect ourselves (without inflicint any kind of pain), we have: invites and other paperwork, “favours” (welcome pack on arrival with note and little bottle of liqueur and rusks to take home to enjoy with coffee in the morning), vases (all old silver and bronze from our family and friends), candle holders (recycled jars) and pickled beetroot as salad.
  • We have used and will use friends and family (or friends of friends) for our cake, beauty, hair, make-up, ceremony music, rings, dog collar for cowboy, photographer and videographer.
  • Our wines, florist, hire of equipment (most of it) and food (including fish and lamb for the braai/bbq which is the main mean) are from businesses or farms or fishermen in the area around De Hoop.
  • Where we have not been able to find a personal contact or someone near De Hoop, we’ve tried to support South African micro-businesses or crafts people in cape town: bridesmaids dresses are from a local SA designer, as is my dress (although she has imported the silk from London to ensure it is made under fair conditions), flower girl dresses will be made by an INCREDIBLY talented refugee woman (from Somalia) who makes her living by sewing, bridal party shoes are from a Pakistani street vendor who brings in leather and beaded shoes made in his village (ok, not southafrican, but still micro), the bulk of our guest registry will be with small bespoke stores we adore in ct (only some stuff from the online giants for guests from further away), dj (a young guy starting out) and cocktail hour musician (an Angolan singer-guitarist who plays beautiful afro-brazilian music), south african recycled paper to print invites from our local paper store etc…
  • Only for VERY few items have we resorted to splashing out or buying in bulk from big stores (sorry chinese children…). I have insisted we pay a slightly ridiculous amount on hiring chrystal candle holders because i am in love with them SO much. We will also probably buy stuff like candles, etc, en masse because I’m cheap like that. Rooster is buying his suit from a local boutique that imports suits from Italy (although the guy is himself going to source a suit that fits him perfectly!) – tad more expensive than local, but not ridiculous and the suit is BEAUTIFUL.

As a result of this philosophy, a few very awesome things have happened: friends have offered to do things for free or have offered us amazing discounts. Locally sourced products and vendors (already cheaper) have offered to let us use their products at a discounted rate. And for the bulk-buys, we’ve been able to hunt for bargains (because I love a bargain…). So, we’ve saved LOADS of cash compared to the same wedding if our philosophy was any different. Yay…

For the most fleeting of moments, we thought about holding onto the cash: perhaps even being “responsible” and investing, but it occurred to us that we could share the love a little more! So we subsidised accommodation at De Hoop for all our guests. We’re paying for accommodation for our close family, the wedding party and their partners! We’re also paying for the accommodation for the wedding fairies who are helping us for free! And my aunt (my dad’s only sister) and uncle who were recently laid off and have both had to settle major medical bills recently: we can pay for their accommodation too!

We’re still trying our hardest in these times to scrimp and save wherever possible and we do have moments of unease where we worry about how much cash we’re spending on just one party (at least it’s a WAW so it’s a whole 4-day vibe…). But actually, what good does it help to splurge on the silly things at our wedding, then pass the cost of travelling and accommodation onto our guests?  Times are tight for everybody and it is a real privilege to be able to treat our guests, even if only a little bit.


bride-crush #2 29 June 2009

Filed under: bride-crush,fabulous photographers,fynbos — hoopfulbride @ 5:18 pm

Jani, you are exqusite…


At first I kept returning to this page because of the flowers and decor: the use of fynbos is SO inspiring for a gal whose wedding will revolve around fynbos (apparently decor is by “Chocolate Blossom” but, search as I might, I can’t find a link for them…). I adore her bouquet and the men’s buttonholes are cuteasabutton and the tables are too delightful…

bouquet and boutonnere

centre piece

But, actually, Jani just has fantastic style. How awesome are her earrings and ring??? I love them a million times over… Her dress is EXQUISITE (by Didi couture) and her husband is dreamy. She just looks so creative and fun and like the kind of girl you could spend a long holiday with!

Jani's jewellry

Jani 2

Thanks Jani and Marco for having such an inspiring wedding and to Nikki Meyer for capturing it!


3 months to go: woop! woop! 26 June 2009

Actually, that mark is more like a philosophical one: it elicits no more or less emotion than any day prior to it. Rooster and I are getting married and it’s bloody marvellous. And now we are one day closer. But in any event, I thought perhaps I’d share with you the things on my “checklist” that we’ve organised with the help of our friends:

  1. Food: While our venue is making our food, our briliant chef/explorer friend helped us formulate our dream menu for De Hoop to quote on. In the process, she has advised us on so many of the items we can source ourselves (and where), thus cutting the overall cost of food while keeping it pretty spectacular. J-May is also doing the catering for the Post We
  2. Frock: COMPLETELY lucky find with amazing friends from nyc who were visiting in December, but probably won’t be able to attend the wedding. More on my beautiful frock for another post!
  3. “Officiant”: Pastor from my parent’s church who i have a lot of respect for. Neither of us are church-goers, but DM is a good friend of my parents and will be clever and sensitive to our beliefs while staying christian (nb for my  parents).
  4. Ceremony musicians: One of my Best Friends is The Flautist who loves nothing more than to make her friend’s weddings beautiful by playing at them. Nuff said. Then, Scissor’s boyfriend has a beautiful voice and he will sing one special song. My cousin and wife ALSO have beautiful voices and are accomplished performers so they will sing another special song. Tra-la-la!
  5. dj (no band): BF married in March and her DJ had people crowing for more when the lights came on at midnight! Our venue has not time limit, so we hope he’ll have the peeps burning holes in the dance floor.
  6. Videographer: AWESOME story – I contacted our matey who makes documentaries to see if he could recommend someone who does not rip the ring out of it. He recommended his editing assistant and her boyfriend who had just won a national award for camera work. They charge HALF the price of the next quote we received… and the other day she dropped off some dvds of their work (beaut) and they filmed JACOB ZUMA’s (i.e. the SAfrican president!!!) daughter’s wedding (I think they know her through church or something). No shizzle. Hil-ar-ious…
  7. Photographer: Even though i am in love with Lizelle Lotter(actually, I am in love with a number of ct photographers, but i think i love her the most and she is the most reasonable out of my favs), she has another wedding on the day of our wedding. Bass-tards. So we have asked our friend-of-a-friend (Ro) to take snaps of the day. He is a really talented photographer and does a smattering of wedding stuff, but mostly focuses on other subjects. He will, however, be happy to take photies the WHOLE weekend and will be loads of fun to have a round for a whole weekend. Also a bonus, we have a number of amazing photographer friends (who we did not ask because we want them to concentrate on being wedding guests), and Ro says he will consult with their shots before compiling our album… Perf.
  8. Hairandmake-up: How lucky am I? I have TWO separate friends (i.e. they did not offer in unison) who have offered to do hair and make-up for free. Grand. Now my girls can also have theirs done and we will be so pretty people will weep from the prettiness!
  9. Cake: Another case of lucky me! Our excellent friend Kt makes the most delicious cakes so she offered to make a 3-tiered chocolate, lemon and carrot creation (each tier a different flavour). My mum also has a matey that wins prizes for her sugar icing and she specialises (i kid you not) in making fynbos flowers for cakes! Between the two of them m’thinks we will have a masterpiece…

Jeepers. I am more organised than i thought!

There is still loads to do (especially given that it’s a WAW (weekend away wedding)), but most of it has all just fallen into place. On the whole, I’ve had to “fight” very little to bring the party plans together. I LOVE that we can use our friends for so many aspects and that our wedding will be the product of so many special people.

In lieu of “payment” for our friends who are helping for free, we are paying for their accommodation at De Hoop for the full three days. We still score as the cost of 3 nights accommodation is a darnside cheaper than the cost of a cake (or a hairandmake-up artist, or a flautist, or a minister, or, or, or)!


invites: i love it when a plan comes together 25 June 2009

Filed under: being thrifty,cowboy the dog,fynbos,Invites,Things I love — hoopfulbride @ 5:14 pm

Hurrah! We got our test print back for the invites and they will be just grand! Rooster and my aforementioned love for fynbos was always going to feature prominently in the wedding planning and one of our first ideas was how to work that into our invites: close-up macro photos of fynbos flowers and pretty leaves from our walks.

Since our engagement we have taken hundreds of close-up pics of pretty flowers and leaves on our walks around the peninsula and beyond. We walk on the mountain quite a lot because we need to exercise ourselves and, importantly, our pup-o-love (as I call him).  Here is our dog Cowboy (he is a boy and he looks like a cow) who needs a lots of walking otherwise he gets pretty energetic (like, too energetic):

(As a COMPLETE aside (and don’t tell anybody): we have got special permission for Cowboy to be allowed to be at our wedding – he may or not be the ring bearer (but Rooster and Scissor think that’s REALLY dorky, and I’m coming round to their p.o.v.), but the most awesome thing is that he will be there. We thought he wouldn’t allowed to be because De Hoop is a nature reserve with loads of real live animals, but the wedding area is fairly cordoned off so we are allowed to bring him! Our fantastic leather-artist friend will make him a fancy collar. Bless…)

Back to invites:

So we have decided to use the pics of proteas (etc) that we have taken and use them as our invites… and our welcome notes, and our order of service and our name cards and our thank-you notes! While each card will only have two close-up pics (front and back), by the time people arrive at the Reserve (or at the ceremony or at the reception – depending on how savvy they are!) they will discover that all the pics form a kind of giant tapestry of our walks together! We think we’re very clever 🙂 

We are also lucky enough to have access to a high-quality printer (Rooster’s family business prints catalogues), so our already thrifty invites (no designers or letterpress or fancy paper – only locally recycled) have become a million times cheaper! 

Today we received the first two test sheets with our flowers printed on recycled card paper with a white border. Our consensus is to make a folded card (with a flower pic on the outside of either sheet of the card), make the corners rounded (for a retro feel) and have the text printed in grey inside.

Interlude: I frikkin love the round-corner punch. LOVE. I think i may never tire of punching round corners on our invites. Good Luck to Rooster if he wants a turn punching rounded corners… okenoughofthat!

While the invites will be about postcard size, we need longer envelopes as we are sending our guests glossy brochures about De Hoop (so they too can start to get excited). We’re thinking black or grey envelopes around which we will wrap a paper band of fynbos flowers (they will really stand out on the black) and we will write the addresses in gold ink (I love a gold pen). I really couldn’t be bothered about calligraphy. My experience is that people tear open the envelope and never give it a second glance…

With a “destination wedding” (I really feel uneasy using that term. How about a “weekend away wedding”?), we obviously have a lot of admin that our guests will need to know. Therefore, we have set up a Most Useful Wedding Website with all kinds of useful hints and tips (like,  the plan for the three-day wedding (not all are invited to the post-wedding prawn braai) how to book accommodation and, importantly, how to get there). Our invite will refer our guests to our online tome.

In order to diminsh the overall environmental footstep of this wedding, and to keep costs and (really important) admin down, we’re asking people to RSVP via e-mail or phone. We also sent our save-the-dates by e-mail and we have set up a dedicated gmail account for all wedding admin. In all my nearly 30 years (and a good 5 of them attending weddings at least semi-regularly) I have never really got round to posting a reply to an invite (even if postage is included and even if i really liked the idea at the time). Really – all the bride needs to know is who’s going to be there: does she really need a whole piece of (postage paid) paper telling her that?!?

For now, I’m afraid you will have to make do with my verbal description… I promise to post pictures when they are less in a “test” phase and more in a “sending” phase. Promise.


A four day wedding! Can you believe it??? 24 June 2009

Filed under: De Hoop,Things I love — hoopfulbride @ 3:03 pm

This post is about how we ended up planning such a long wedding celebration. Nobody is surprised: we love a party and we especially love to host a party. And we have loads and loads of lovely amazing friends and family that we simply don’t see enough of and so we never really could have scrunched seeing them all into one day… Heregoes:

As soon as Rooster and I had decided where we wanted to wed, we set about deciding when. He made a couple of calls and the resounding opinion was that in the De Hoop area, the two best months are March and September (not to hot, rainy or windy – it’s quite exposed to the elements!). First we looked at March: 2010 – too far away by far. March 2009: out mainly because my very own bf’s was herself wedding in March… and also because it was a tad soon (i.e. 4 months from our engagement).

September 2009 it was! Bearing in mind that De Hoop is at least a 3 hour drive away from capetown, the one long-ish weekend in September seemed the most apt so people could be encouraged to have a little holiday in a beautiful nature reserve as well. Thursday 24 September is Heritage Day in SA (really, it was a holiday that commemorated quite a horrid date – the battle of blood river – but in transition to democracy it mattered to the Afrikaaners so the holiday was kept and renamed). It is also the first day of school holidays and the first day of court recess (I’m a lawyer). So it occurred to us that we could have a FOUR day wedding!

The plans are as follows:

Day one (Thursday): SAfricans have developed this habit of indulging in our favourite food on Heritage Day: a braai (bbq. Remember, braai = bbq. v nb). In recent years Rooster’s sister #1 and husband have held a braai competition at their home with v strict rules yielding seriously delicious coal-grilled offerings, so we have decided to transport this to De Hoop for the official start to the wedding! We also intend having a bit of a party on thursday night so people feel tender on friday and are not too tempted to paaaarty too much on friday night…

Day Two (Friday): De Hoop is the kind of place where you can hike, bike, swim, bird/animal-watch or just lounge around. It also has  a tennis court and a boules pit. So Friday is activity day for young and old. Activity day will be loads of fun (it WILL be fun!!! – what makes you think i’m bossy?) and we reckon it will be an excellent time for people to get to know each other. We’re expecting 200 people: there will be a need for getting to know each other!

Activity day will be rounded off with sundowners (i.e. drinks while watching the sun set) on the sand dunes on the beach. HOPEFULLY, there will be a big pod of whales to entertain us (it’s a major whale nursing area – amazing) as the sun sets on our last day of unmarriedness… We’ll then all traipse back to the central restaurant at the Reserve for soup and homemade bread and (this is one of my favourite parts!) WINE-TASTING from the local farmers. Flippinfabulous!

Day Three (Saturday): The Wedding! I’ll save all the details for another post…. yippee yippee yippeee! Hopefully this will go on until the small hours of the morning.

Day Four (Sunday – don’t worry, we only expect those who are very close to us to stick around til day 4): The Traditional Post Wedding Prawn Braai. At all 3 of Rooster’s sisters’ weddings the close friends and family have been invited around the day after for reminiscing and prawn-eating. Yum. This is one tradition i am unsurprisingly reluctant to give up. We’re relocating to the house on Breede River (about 30 mins from De Hoop) for the Traditional Post Wedding Prawn Braai as well as for our first night of honeymoon as Rooster’s parent’s spent their honeymoon here and he has always dreamed of doing likewise (he’s a dreamer my Rooster).

Jeepers Creepers, I cannot wait! I think it may well be the best weekend of my life. Hopefully. Probably.

And we’re getting “famous” with our mulitple day celebration: Rooster’s mum was talking to a quilting colleague in Wilderness (i.e. someone none of us know) and mentioned we were marrying in De Hoop. “De Hoop?!”, says colleague of Rooster’s mum, “I heard about a four day wedding happening in De Hoop, can you imagine?!”. “Yes” sighs Rooster’s mum, “that’s my son and daughter-in-law.” (they already call me that… the proposal was not too unexpected, people!)


bride-crush 1 23 June 2009

Filed under: bride-crush,fabulous photographers,Uncategorized — hoopfulbride @ 11:32 am

The first in (what i hope will be) a series of brides who look like they are ridiculously awesome people and whose “wedding aura” tickles me pink…

But Britta, you are Just Too Cool. Wish I was at this wedding!


Jean Pierre Uys did a pretty amazing job on the photography too…