Hoopfulbride's Blog

Planning a wedding in a place called The Hope

On choosing and promising 26 October 2009

Filed under: Engagement story,Things I love,traditions,Uncategorized — hoopfulbride @ 12:26 pm

The erudite A at Accordions and Lace has (yet again… jeepers that girl’s clever) sparked some internet conversations with her post on the power of choosing your spouse.

For Rooster and I the idea of choice was always at the heart of our marriage. It was reflected in the reading (by CS Lewis) that was read by my LongLostFriend ar our ceremony:

“The idea that “being in love” is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all. If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; and if it adds nothing, then it should not be made. The curious thing is that lovers themselves, while they remain really in love, know this better than those who talk about love. Those who are in love have a natural inclination to bind themselves by promises. Love songs all over the world are full of vows of eternal constancy. The Christian law is not forcing upon the passion of love something which is foreign to that passion’s own nature: it is demanding that lovers should take seriously something which their passion of itself impels them to do.
And, of course, the promise, made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits me to being true even if I cease to be in love. A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: no one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way. He might as well promise never to have a headache or always to feel hungry.”

We loved this reading because it summed up our deeply held belief that a wedding is not about the way we feel right now – of course we are deeply in love, passionately entwined and so full of hope – but about how we choose to link ourselves. In my previous post on pre-nups and divorce, I postulated how I believe that one must enter into marriage (surely the most important contract ever) with the seriousness and knowledge of what might lie ahead. And then, despite having thought about the better and worse and sickness and health, to nevertheless voluntarily and in the fullness of knowledge bind yourselves to each other. That is where the power of marriage lies: in chosing the good and the bad… Of course our wish is that there will be more goodness than badness, that the laughter will outweigh the tears, that we will continue to gaze at each other though the “rose-tinted” glasses. But if those wishes don’t work out, we have still chosen to walk our path together.

Our pastor-officiant suggested an interesting addition to our service: he asked us three questions before we said our vows to which Rooster and I gave prepared, but not shared responses. I’ll write a full post on the questions later, but for now I must highlight that in response to the third question “What promise, over and above your vows, do you make to each other?” both Rooster and I (in our different ways) promised to continue to choose each other as each other’s partner. It is an enormously powerful promise…

Rooster and I compiled our vows from a variety of sources (mainly inspired by ThePilatesMentor’s vows at her wedding in Feb), but it was important that it was clear that our vows, and our ceremony as a whole, had “weight” because of the public choice we were making. As a friend commented to Rooster during the reception party (half-jokingly, but I love the truth in jest) “We’re so glad your ceremony was so original and heartfelt – it makes it so much easier for all of us to police!”

Herewith, our vows:

I, [Saartjie/Rooster] choose you, [Rooster/ Saartjie] before our community and before God, to be my [husband/wife]. 


I pledge to be your loving friend and committed partner: To talk and to listen; to trust and appreciate you; to respect and cherish your uniqueness; to laugh with you in good times and struggle with you in bad times.


I promise to share my hopes, thoughts and dreams with you as we build our lives together.


We will build a home that is compassionate to all, full of respect and honour for others and for each other.


May we have many adventures, experience joy, sorrow and grow old together.


I’m the Hoopful Bride, and this is my story… 29 July 2009

Filed under: Engagement story,Things I love — hoopfulbride @ 11:31 am

(anyone who read that title in an Australian accent and remembered the opening line to one of my favourite movies of all time, The Castle, deserves a big sloppy kiss!)

Sometime ago these questions were doing the rounds in wedding-blog-land and I loved reading the questions and the answers enormously! I realise I have jumped on the band-wagon a tad late, but the other day I was back-reading on one of my new fav blogs (wild rumpus) and it struck me that I was quite jealous that I hadn’t sent a mail asking for questions myself… I mailed the erudite and astute A at Accordions and Lace, did a little last minute begging, and she complied (despite having entered the final stretch of wedding planning – thank you very much).

Herewith The Rules for this exchange (the lawyer in me loves The Rules):

  • leave me a comment with your email address saying: “interview me”
  • I will e-mail you five questions of my choice
  • you can answer the questions on your blog (with a link back to my blog)
  • you should also post these rules, along with an offer to interview anyone else who emails you wanting to be interviewed (feel free darlings)
  • it would be nice if the questions were individualised for each blogger

How did you and your mister meet, and how did you know you wanted to marry him?

(A sneaky double question – nice)

The short answer: Rooster and I met when I gate-crashed a party at his house.

The long answer: 2003 had been an incredibly tough year for me. It was the year I was in final year at law school and besides not knowing what I wanted to do after graduation and the academic stress of final year, I had an awful lot of social upheaval. I had become embroiled in a ridiculous tiff between classmates (by virtue of standing by a gay friend who had come under attack from 2 rather popular girls in the class (yes, final year law – not pre-school. Amazing, huh?)). I also fell pregnant from a silly one-night stand and knew immediately that I needed to terminate. The entire episode nevertheless knocked me horribly: not least because I’d thought it would never happen to me… And while 3 out of my 4 housemates were AMAZING, the fourth drove me nuts with her self-involvement (although I love her dearly).

So at the end of this year of turmoil I was experiencing one of the biggest periods of joy I had ever experienced: the joy of getting through it! I described it to a friend as truly understanding relief. The Afrikaans (and dutch, I guess) word for love is “lief” and towards the end of 2003 I found myself overwhelmed by the experience of being able to re-love: myself, friends, family, life.

So one Friday night the aforementioned frustrating house-mate (H) insisted we accompany her to a house-party while a bunch of us were on the prowl one night. We (uniformly) declined: we had had enough of her wants dictating our actions. H, however, somehow managed to persuade one of our number to swing by the party so she could “pop in and say hi”. And T spent enough time waiting for her to see that there were some very cool people at this little festa… and specially some very interesting-looking and hot boys. She quickly passed on the news (hey, we were on the prowl!) and the rest of us turned up!

On my arrival, the first person i laid eyes on was this tall, side-burned, afro-haired boy with soft light brown eyes (olhos castanhos claros – as I think about them in Portugues). For me that night is a whirl of dancing to old jazz records in Rooster’s arms and laughing and talking vociferously with him and his mates (who are now my mateys). We shared some sneaky sneaky smooches and (not wanting to drive drunk) exchanged numbers when we left in the morning…

But it was the summer of re-lief and I was in love with life and partying and summer and friends. So I didn’t dwell on Rooster. Nor did he dwell on me – his family spent Christmas and New Years on the slopes of a french ski resort.

And then it was January and my birthday so I sent out a hundred (or so) smses to new and old friends to meet for sundowners at one of my favourite boulders overlooking the beautiful Atlantic. And Rooster arrived. And we chatted and flirted. And the party moved on to dinner in Camps Bay where we chatted and flirted. And when we all got into our cars to leave, he smsed me an sms we still giggle about : “Do you really want to wake up alone in bed at your parent’s house on the morning of your 24th birthday?”

I didn’t want to. And neither did I do so… nor have I woken up anywhere other than in Rooster’s arms on the morning of my birthday ever since. That first birthday night with him was not as exciting as he’d expected: we spent hours talking about our secrets (necessitated by my reluctance to hop in the sack with someone after having had to terminate a pregnancy post my previous sexual experience).

But we never imagined this was the beginning of our greatest love story: I was leaving to live in the rural Eastern Cape and work in a rural community in March and so we hung out and partied and adventured with the glorious relaxed casualness that comes with a relationship that must end: we referred to each other as “my current lover” (pronounced with Texan accent) (yes, we did work through that first sexual experience together, so perhaps I should have guessed something)…

And then I left for the Transkei (about a 14 hour drive from CT. There aren’t really any planes to that area). I had barely been there two days when Rooster called and suggested he visit. Over Easter. In ten days time. It was over that Easter holiday, as we explored the breath-taking beauty of my new surroundings, that we admitted being in love.

And so our story evolved: over monthly alternate visits up (for him) or down (for me). Over a three-month stint for me in NYC (I felt like I needed a contrast from rural Africa – a small mindfuck). Over deception and heartbreak (a whole ‘nother story). Over laying ourselves open and learning to trust and love. Over figuring out how to have conflict and how to build each other up despite being angry. Over breaking up again and yearning and yearning for each other. Over the joy of reuniting. Over supporting each other through bar exams (me) and a business break-up (him). Over moving into a home together and learning to live together (surprisingly easy). Over learning and loving and laughing…

And then it was clear: here is my partner. I wouldn’t want any other. Here is the person who fills my heart and my head and who slips into step beside me with such exciting ease. Here is my partner who i want to continue building my life with and never stop.

What scares you the most about getting married?

I’m afraid that it’s the control-freak in me that responds (I’m working on her): I’m scared of  the unknown.

I know that there are millions of challenges that will meet Rooster and me over the course of the rest of our lives. Millions. Some will be easy to meet on a daily basis and some will bring us together as we deal with them together. But some of them will rock our relationship to the core: it is inevitable. And those unnamed monsters petrify me…

All I can do is trust (which I do). I trust that we have a base that is strong enough. I trust that we respect each other deeply. I trust that we take the decision to love each other equally seriously. I trust that we hold similar principles dear and that these will guide us through the challenges. I trust that we have (and will continue to develop) the skills to deal with the unknown as individuals and as a unit.

Incidentally, Rooster is thrilled by the unknown – he is thrilled that our relationship will continue to excite and surprise us… aah, he is so good to have alongside me!

(and now i must work… I will continue the story tomorrow)


It started at De Hoop 11 June 2009

Filed under: De Hoop,Engagement story — hoopfulbride @ 2:46 pm

Hmm. My First Post. Ever.

Rooster proposed at De Hoop Nature Reserve on a drizzly saturday afternoon last November next to the vlei (wetland), at the fullest it had been for over 100 years (auspicious). I had seen it coming.

Our fifth anniversary of dating was fast approaching and Rooster had promised my mother he was on a 5-year plan! We’d renovated our house together and spoken about our future plans with the assumption that we’d be wed. I’d even hinted drastically about the ring… But it did seem like he might never actually pull it off (in our relationship, I am  the planning freak). Although I was happy to ask him… or for us to just announce our engagement… Rooster wanted to do it, plan it, own it. So i was (kindof) happy to wait for him to find his time and voice and place to pop the question.

On the Thursday evening we went away to his family’s spot on the Breede River (it was our first holiday together alone for some time – we are quite social) and he taunted me with all manner of romantic adventures over the weekend (walks in the veld, rowing down the river, delicious dinners and glorious breakfasts in bed), but there didn’t seem to be any “action”, so i wrote the time off as a lovely weekend away.

A week before our visit the area had experienced enormous floods – the biggest in over 100 years – so we decided to take the half hour drive to De Hoop Nature Reserve to see the vlei in its fullness. It was a little drizzly so we packed a picnic to enjoy in the back of the bakkie (pick-up) if the weather didn’t clear. Unbeknownst to me there was also a hidden bottle (or two) of bubbly!

We picnicked and, as the weather lifted, we decided to take a stroll next to the water. On a lichened rock we stared at each other with all the love and fullness we have for each other before he leaned over and kissed me and whispered his wish: to marry me! More kisses. Giggles! *Pride* “Yippeeeee! Of course!” A little tear of special joy.

He slipped the ring on my finger. We trundled back to the car, popped the cork and drifted into the veld where we celebrated while being watched over by a herd of zebra!

we are engaged so now we kiss

(OK, so you can’t see the zebra here, but they could see us…)