Hoopfulbride's Blog

Planning a wedding in a place called The Hope

whether the weather… 11 November 2009

Filed under: De Hoop,fabulous photographers,rainy days,weekend away wedding (WAW) — hoopfulbride @ 4:43 pm

If I have one comment about preparing for a wedding day: there is NO point in worrying about things that you can’t change. Really. Don’t stress if it is seriously KAK weather on your wedding day. It’s not good luck, it’s not bad luck, it’s just the way the weather turned out that day (and bollocks to all those myths that make us feel like completely uncontrollable factors (like the bloody weather) are in some way a reflection of us, our wedding, or our marriages. B-O-L-L-O-C-K-S.).

I too spent every possible day prior to my nuptials pouring over every possible weather forecast trying to imagine what the day would be like.  One thing I am extremely grateful for in having my W-A-W is that the lack of signal and internet connection at De Hoop meant that I was simply incapable of checking the weather for the last three days. In any event, the little “me-time” I had was dedicated to speech reviewing and to soaking in the enormity and sheer wonderfulness of the whole experience. As soon as the ball started rolling I suddenly realised (like, it became FULLY real) that worrying over the weather was just a bloody waste of time…

On the Friday night (perhaps to loudly)  I proclaimed that the only aspect of all our outdoor-planned wedding activities I was fully emotionally invested in was getting married under the giant fig tree at the hitching post! And we could. The wind blew and gusted, but we were protected under the tree. The sky looked ominous throughout (adding to the sheer drama of the photos), but we were married in the dry.

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Sure enough, the minute Rooster and I stepped out of the chapel (where we had retreated with our families to sign the register) it started to drizzle. Not too hard, but enough to join the fynbos and lavender tossed in the air as confetti. It was really quite poetic!

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So plan B kicked in: canapes were not enjoyed overlooking the beautiful vei, but in a long, low barn, where the excited chatter and grins were amplified.

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Rooster and I did not attempt to cross the vlei on a boat (what awesome pics it would have made), but we were driven around in the gloriously adorned Snorkel (never has a wedding car looked so grand) and got to wave out the window at all our guests, stop for a cocktail from the refuel station gate-keeper and snap a couple of silly shots in the rain before hastily hopping back into the car to sip and enjoy champagne. I think that, more than any other time of the day, that drive around in the rain embodied the pure exhilaration we felt at being finally married!

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We could not take the amazing, dramatic shots with the spectacular De Hoop backdrop as we had hoped and imagined, but we took our family shots on the steps of the manor house in the fading carpuscular light… which gave them a kind of old-wordly quality.

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With my family…

I got my shot in my gumboots 🙂

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And the reception venue truly felt like a retreat from the storm: it was full of warmth and soft, beautiful light, and our friends commented that they felt like they had escaped into a different world.

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Sure, it might have been glorious if we’d been basked in sunlight. But rain did not ruin my wedding – it just made it more real… Really, don’t stress: Que sera, sera.

[Um, Photos are all by our fantastic photographer who is also a friend and who loved shooting our wedding, but doens’t want to shoot any more weddings… so I’m not going to credit him until I’ve spoken to him. Cos it’s a shame not to give credit where it is due!]


Someone wrote us a poem! 23 October 2009

Filed under: De Hoop,fabulous friends,Things I love — hoopfulbride @ 2:38 pm

Jeepers Creepers. How flipping radical is that? Please see below, a poem for our wedding (punctuated with photos from our talented and wonderful friends, just incase you’re a “picture” kind of person)…

De Hoop, on the occasion of a wedding


We gathered beneath

The meeting tree, a

Great embracing ficus wide

And old. We gathered, born

By the ocean and the wind

To your betrothal, to your pledging

To the moment at which your lives

Were about to turn.


The wind drew breath

As it has done since our

Ancestors gathered shellfish

On the shores to the

South, perhaps marveled at the

Awesome shapes that rose against the swell

Dark and mysterious, or

Flushed a skulking heron to its

Laboured beat, tracking it across the

Vlei to its next rocky roost.


As dresses billowed and scarves took flight

Above us swirled a vortex of

Swifts and swallows and saw-wings, the gleaming

Perfect shapes banking, then

Cutting the wind as the first wild drops of rain

Brought a blessing to us all.

 Stof & sara


Ha Ha… The Wedding Reunion! 8 October 2009

I regard it as somewhat of a triumph that a mere week and a half after the nuptials our mateys and family have organised themselves enough to hold a wedding reunion!

Ok. I exaggerate: the primary instigation for the Wedding Reunion (it’s like Survivor… hilarious!) is one of The Things That Went Wrong: oysters.

Rooster and I had organised our canape menu with the more than able assistance of our beautiful friends The Cookies (#1 and #2). Due to their involvement in the industry (in fact, we met Cookie #1 when she did the subliminal catering for Rooster’s sister’s wedding), they had all manner of hot tips for fancy food we could get on the cheap… including oysters! Now, we knew that an oyster stand would impress the socks off our guests, and Wild Peacock would sell them to us for R4,50 an oyster (less than US.60c)… so we duly ordered 300 of the shuckers (sic). Except, to ensure maximum freshness, they would be shucked and ready for us on the Saturday for our trustyandtremendous driver to fetch from CT and bring through to De Hoop when he drove through for the nuptials on Saturday morning.

That’s where things went awry:

[Please bear in mind that there is no cellphone signal at De Hoop. There was also only generator power in the house I stayed in and no electricity in the house Rooster stayed in (the rest of the houses are fully powered, but they’re on the other side of a lake).]

Rooster forgot to give directions for the oyster pick-up to Trusty Driver before we arrived at De Hoop.

The only directions we therefore had at De Hoop were on my ancient laptop.

The only place where Trusty Driver’s details were stored was Rooster’s (powerless) cell phone.

Late Friday night (after the pub quiz.. AWESOME!), it fell on me to plug in ancient computer, charge Rooster’s cellphone, and send directions to Trusty Driver… All went according to plan: cellphone fired up, computer booted up, I located e-mail with directions, waited for cellphone to charge a little more when: WWIRRRRRRrrrrr: The generator switched off! The laptop switched off (crap battery)! The cellphone died! 

The end result was  that there were no oysters at our wedding. Wild Peacock, because my phone had no signal and went through to voicemail, thought the wedding had been cancelled (!!!), and froze the oysters…

So, this evening we are getting together with all the friends and mateys for an evening of oysters and bubbles and memories of the wedding: in other words, our wedding reunion! Our photographer mateys (who did an awesome job) have worked their arses off to get the pics ready and we will be projecting them for all to enjoy and appreciate. It will be grand!

But seriously, there were many things that went wrong at that wedding (besides not having our schmancy oyster stand):

  • the hot water didn’t work in the Bride’s house. So, after having a mini-facial in the morning, I washed my hair by sitting in about 7cm of lukewarm water in the only bath in the house that had warm running water and filling a cup to rinse the soap and conditioner out of my hair. My darling scissor, best friend and longlost friend followed suite…
  • it rained hard right after the ceremony such that we couldn’t take the amazing photos that should have been taken in De Hoop… That place is a photographers wet dream… except, of course, when it’s wet. Then the photographer can’t take very many pics at all…
  • because of the rain we had to move the canape time indoors to an area where there wasn’t very satisfactory acoustics. We’d hired a BRILLIANT and beautiful musician to play some Afro-Brazilian tunes, but these were lost on about half of the guests. At least there are some great pics of him!
  • the house we’d allocated for the babysitters was vetoed at the last minute by Rooster’s scissor who’d just had a baby (she wanted it only for her children and their cousins). Such that all the OTHER parents streamed into the main manor house where we were trying to have a couple of pics with family and wedding party… not highly successful and a bit stressful!
  • I had spent a good two days the week before preparing baby beetroot to serve as an additional salad on our buffet. The De Hoop chef forgot to put it on the buffet table. We might be eating beetroot for months to come…
  • the seating plan was a mess – we didn’t know the table configuration until it was all set up late afternoon before the wedding (the joys of being the first wedding in a venue)… subsequently we had some amazing wedding faeries busting their arses on the morning of the wedding to get everyone seated while I was preened (and Rooster ran around madly doing other chores). In the end, most people were seated, but i think some guests just sat where they wanted when they couldn’t find their names!

There was probably loads of other stuff that wasn’t right too, but I didn’t care a jot! We loved the chaotic, crazy, happy celebration that emerged despite the mini-disasters… If I would give some advice, I’d suggest having a wedding co-ordinator so that those kind of hiccoughs don’t happen. But really, they didn’t matter in the end.

Rooster and I were married and we celebrated with the most beautiful, colourful, fabulous souls, who cares about anything else?


Preview walking tour 28 July 2009

Filed under: De Hoop,family...,Flower girls — hoopfulbride @ 5:04 pm

Darlings! Last weekend Rooster, his parentals and his niece (flower-tot #1) did a sneaky reconnaissance trip to De Hoop and I took photies so that YOU can have an idea of what we’re looking forward to…

We first fell in love with the big fig trees. In the Opstal area there are two GIANT fig wild trees that are just overwhelmingly Big and Lovely. It was in a post-engaged state of  bliss that we first laid eyes on the fig trees and I knew I could marry under their branches.

The view of the wedding tree through the old gates to the Opstal

The view of the wedding tree through the old gates to the Opstal

And, so it is that our lovely guests will enter through the gates (pictured above) and take a seat under one of the magnificent fig trees…

One of my favourite childrens’ stories was from Enid Blighton’s The Magic Faraway Tree. Below, a pic of  Bride-tot #1 climbing in the boughs of The Magic Wedding Tree:


And a close-up of the magical trunk:


(Sincere apologies for being such a technology-eejit that I can’t figure out how to spin that pic. Sorry. Really).

But, darling Internet, that tree just keeps getting better! There is a “HITCHING POST”!!! I kid you not… see below:


My Rooster and his parents will await me and mine at the hitching post as we walk towards where we’ll be wed…

And this will be my “aisle”:


After the ceremony, Roosterandme and our family will lead to the little “chapel” at De Hoop (off the side of the square) to sign the registry and become official. The Law says that we must sign in “a place of worship or private residence” and because I am a lawyer I’m funny about legal stuff like that. Ergo, the signing will happen in the chapel!

Our guests will proceed through the far gates of the vlei to a spot with a lovely view for canapes and lovely music.


(Please note Rooster’s wedding scouting outfit of lime green and black boardies and his springbok ugg boots… he’s a veritable trendsetter…)

After canapes we (the wedding party) will tootle down to the waters edge and boat across the vlei (lake) to the other side: the reception venue at the Melkkamer!


In the meanwhile, our guests will take a drive around the lake. This should give us a sneaky half hour to 45 minutes to take photos uninterrupted on the far side… and it will mean that we won’t have to miss out on any of the fun socialising time over cocktails.

On the way around, we won’t want our darling guests to feel at all parched, so we’ll set up a drinks refill station somewhere pretty… like here:


(‘cept it will be about 40 minutes lighter when our lovelies are refilling their beverages)

The rest of the evening’s festivities will take place in a beautiful 100 year old barn: please imagine it cleaned up a bit more and filled with soft light from dimmed paper lanterns and hundreds of candles in recycled glass jars and gorgeous crystal stands.



For more pictures of De Hoop and the beautifulness that will be around us on our wedding weekend, please visit their site here!


And on to the important stuff: booze 22 July 2009

Filed under: being thrifty,De Hoop,foodndrink,fynbos,Things I love,Uncategorized — hoopfulbride @ 2:25 pm

I love a good wine… As a result of our road-trippin, Rooster and I can now proudly boast that we have selected our wines and beer to serve at the nuptial celebrations. And since I hadn’t told you about the  (already selected) bubbles, I may as well fill you in on that too.

SAfrica is jammed packed with all manner of delicious wines, so the prospect of choosing wedding wines can be a little over-whelming. to make it easier on ourselves, we decided to keep it in the area and (as far as possible) source the wines from close to De Hoop (the Overberg).

Our bubbles come from Weltevrede farm: the Philip Jonker Brut Entheos. It is delicious and reminds me of pears everytime i drink it, although the experts describe it as “a lively mousse, creamy biscuit on the palate and long aftertaste. A vibrant Cap Classique to celebrate every day.”

Even better for me is the description given by the winemaker : “Entheos. I chose the word Entheos as it expresses exactly what this wine is about. Enthusiasm. Joy. Life within. The energy of spontaneous laughter. Freedom.”

I love it! And, they have offered to sell it to us at wholesale prices, i.e. for R48 (+/- $5,65) a bottle!

More on Weltevrede wines and their delicious cap classiques here.

Rooster and I quaffed a great many white wines to narrow down our final selection (oh, life’s tough, but somebody’s got to quaff delicious white wine…). We decided that it would probably be best to chose two whites (a sauvigon blanc that is so typical of the region – and a chardonnay type wine) to satisfy all tastes (and with 200 people, there really are ALL kinds of tastes…

The 2006 Zoetendal Sauvingon Blanc was the winner: light, a touch of asparagus and litchi and a mineral aftertaste that is really typical of Elim (where the wine is from)


Our Not-SavBlanc is the 2008 First Sighting Chardonnay Semillon Viognier (i.e. NOT a Sav Blanc, but pretty much a whole lot of other stuff!). the official tasting comments describe it as: “Fresh citrus and crisp apple flavours that surprise with peach and floral undertones combined with indigenous Elim fynbos aromas. Light and fruity with a clean minerality on the aftertaste” – pretty fabulously described, m’thinks.


The beauty about both of our chosen whites is that they are flavoursome enough for the wine-snobs (whom I love), but friendly enough for the crowds AND they come with a very wedding-friendly price tag: R40 a bottle each (i.e. about $4.70).

The red is a tad trickier: We LOVE the 2007 Jean Daneel Initial Red (described here), a blend of Merlot, Cab Sav, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc AND Shiraz. It is a fabulous, blend that is medium-bodied and full of berry and woody flavours, BUT there are two MAJOR problems…

1. There may not be enough of the wine to actually serve our guesty-poos. It’s a really small boutique winery and this wine is seriously delicious, so we may have a problem getting enough on our tables… AND

2. We have not negotiate the price… which may end up being too exorbitant… Now, this is a great value-for-money wine, but we really need to get as much as a discount as is possible and this may not be possible give the extremely low stocks of the wine. Sigh. Hold thumbs, Internet!

Lastly, we have narrowed the beer down to the Birkenhead Lager or Pilsner: tasting consultations are currently in progress with my father and Rooster’s brother-in-law: our two most passionate beer-drinkers! We will get some kegs and serve it on tap… because we’re fun like that… and it’s cheaper… and we’re cheap like that!

Of course, with all that “tasting”, we got a little tipsy and took some silly shots:


road-trippin 15 July 2009

Filed under: De Hoop,foodndrink,weekend away wedding (WAW) — hoopfulbride @ 5:17 pm

Rooster and I are giving ourselves a long weekend (the joys of self-employment!) to De Hoop and the Breede River from tomorrow morning to do some wedding scouting and have a fun-time: hurrah!

Tomorrow we are hitting the Elim wine route (read more about it here) – we are insisting on having local wines at the wedding so the only responsible thing to do (we think) is to indulge in some on-site tasting! The plan is to go and visit the six wine farms in the area, taste their offerings and purchase a couple of bottles of “finalists” to make our decisions with our parents. Luckyforme, I will get to be the “principal taster” as Rooster has just discovered that he has a sulphur allergy so he has to avoid wine… (designated driver for life?).

Then, on Friday we will meet our errant florist and decide whether she will indeed be making our beautiful venue even MORE beautiful. I do hope so: depsite my previous rants, they are just so convenient and (importantly) so darn cheap!

On Friday afternoon we will transfer to De Hoop where we will be met by Rooster’s parents and foodie-suprema sister because on Saturday we  will be having our FOOD TASTING! Yippee! Rooster’s dad is also super excited as he will be mapping out the treasure hunt for “activity day”. He is really into it – fantastic!

Needlesstosay, I am ridiculously excited and am a little nervous-excited for the food tasting. Even though the chef at De Hoop has years of experience, the way we decided on what to eat was a tad unusual: we gave them a menu (compiled with the help of  The Cook) and they have agreed to reproduce it… I promise to give a report card when i return.

So there will be a small blogging hiatus as I will be leaving my computer behind. On my return, however, I promise to fill these pages with loads of pictures of our wedding venue, a report on the food, and let you know the subtleties of our chosen tipple 🙂



Suppressing the (sometimesnotsoinner) control freak 8 July 2009

Filed under: being thrifty,De Hoop,fynbos,honeymoon,weekend away wedding (WAW) — hoopfulbride @ 2:52 pm

Two things have happened recently in my personal wedding land that require the Type A in Saartjie to take a forced breather

Firstly, Rooster has been discussing changing our honeymoon plans along the lines of having a mini-moon in the week after our nuptials (to a surprise, African location) and then taking a bit of a longer break at the end of the year and exploring somewhere a little further afield: India, China, Argentina, Ethiopia (some examples)…

Now while I am not averse to changing my plans, once I’ve made a plan I generally like to stick to it. Rooster, on the other hand, likes to chop and change quite a lot. He is a Libra and I am reliably informed that this is a typical Libran quality – although I am generally disinclined to throw my lot in with astronomy, I think the characteristic fits like a glove in this case! So reassessing the whole honeymoon vibe does come as a bit of a major readjustment for me as that box had been ticked. I am convinced, however, that the most marvellous thing about a partnership (as I constantly learn from mine) is that our perspective is continually challenged. So, while he helps me to see new angles when I think a decision has been all tied up, I help him committ to the best possible outcome (all things considered, of course).

I’m beginning to like the idea of mini-moon plus extended december/january holiday more and more! I like the idea of planning a trip together and of exploring a new place together. I like that we take less time off work in September/October (while we both work for ourselves, it is a bit bad from a PR p.o.v. to be absent for too long in the middle of the year). I like that we get to have two fantastic holidays.

Letting go of the control freak…

On the other hand, The Second Issue is not so easy for me to suppress my anal retentive tendencies: The florist is driving me nuts.

To put this in perspective, De Hoop is pretty far from any major metropolis and therefor pretty far from quality vendors. The person we will most probably use to decorate our venue is RIDICULOUSLY reasonable and local and, um, not too “country” (as in unsophisticated, but unsophisticated is too strong a word…). Also, because our venue is in the back-o-beyond, it’s not so easy to pop down to the flower market: blossoms must be ordered well in advance. I have not yet met the actual florist, but i have had several dealings with her daughter-in-law (the person tasked with “communication”) and she seems like a really lovely person in person.

But (m-therf-cker) it may just be the MOST difficult challenge I have ever encountered trying to communicate our vision and enlist their help in bringing it to fruition. This is not for lack of trying: I am a lawyer, I use words accurately for a living and I am used to being able to communicate effectively (if not well). Not with our florists. It has got to the point where the sight of an e-mail from them in my inbox raises my temperature a few degrees as it is certain to contain


a quote for something I have never asked for or will never (ever) want (gel candles – I do not want a gel candle within a 50km radius of my reception. No matter how many times I politely stress my dislike of gel candles, they somehow wind back on the following quote);


a quote for something which we are supplying ourselves (eg. old silver, bronze and copper vessels for flowers; recycled jars for candles (they want to rent these for R15 each!));


omit something important which we really would like a quote for for comparative reasons… followed by a LONG (up to a month) break in communication regarding this item while they “compile a quote”… in which time they forget. Again;


An utter miscommunication: we have asked them to quote on flowers and some minor decor items. De Hoop has asked them to quote on setting up the entire reception hall (which is an old barn) with tables, chairs, lighting, cutlery, crockery, etc. We continually are quoted items for De Hoop’s account (despite pointing this out to them) and then they insist they cannot remove the item until they have clearance from De Hoop. Never-mind-we-never-asked-for-the-bloody-item-in-the-first-bloody-place!!!!!!!

Jeepers Creepers.

It’s got to the point where I am ready to walk into their offices and construct my own quote so I do not have to deal with one more ridiculous exchange!

Also, I think I’m arriving at an important, control-freak, kind of decision: they can drop off the flowers and I will find some blessed souls amongst my friends or family to help me pop the stems into the awaiting vases: that way i can rest assured that i do not have to struggle to make myself understood to a person who clearly does not want to understand!


Disclaimer: we are travelling up to the region next weekend and we will meet with the actual lady responsible for the arranging. If I get a good feeling from her, I will desist with my plan to take over. Otherwise, I’m taking matters into my own hands!