Hoopfulbride's Blog

Planning a wedding in a place called The Hope

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?


But how much booze??? 23 July 2009

Filed under: foodndrink,Uncategorized,weekend away wedding (WAW) — hoopfulbride @ 12:00 pm

Now that we have decided on our poison for the night, Rooster and I have been trying to figure out how MUCH of the stuff we need to order… It’s a problem: we DEFINITELY don’t want to run out, but we don’t want to overspend for obvious budgetry reasons… you would think this would be neatly summarised somewhere!

As a starting point I remembered a guide in the Martha Stewart Winter 2009 wedding mag, so we dug through the piles of wedding mags (I went through a bit of an obsessive-compulsive stage: pre- apracticalwedding, eastsidebride, accordionsandlace, et al days) and found the guide:

For a party of 100 guests, Martha recommends

  • 2 bottles gin
  • 2 bottles rum (light? dark? dunno)
  • 2 bottles bourbon
  • 2 bottles scotch
  • 2 bottles whiskey
  • [um, so that’s 6 bottles of whiskey altogether, but there’s a selection from each major whiskey-making region just so the guesties can have a choice! I don’t think our guests are that sophisticated… or we won’t let them be…]
  • 4 bottles vodka
  • 1 bottle dry vermouth
  • 1 bottle sweet vermouth
  • 7 bottles red wine (ONLY SEVEN!!!! For 100 guests!!! Jeepers…)
  • 10 bottles white wine (TEN??? ditto)
  • 4 bottles “blush” (which I shall call “rose” – it’s supposed to have an apostrophe on the “e”, but I’m not tech-savvy enough to figure that out)
  • 2 cases of regular beer plus two cases of light beer

OK, Martha, before I comment on the gross weighting og spirits over wine (perhaps it’s an a-merican thing, but our Saffa friends would run out of wine in the first hour), I have one vital question: Where are the bubbles???

I don’t think I can contemplate a wedding without bubbles. Seriously. And this came from  “Wedding Magazine”!

The Internet (overwhelmingly) recommends using the evite drinks calculator. Pretty nifty, you type in the amount of guests, how many hour the party should last and the numbers of “light drinkers” (um, 20 children), “heavy drinkers” (wonder how they define heavy…) and “average drinkers” (well, average compared to whom?) and they kindly tell you the recommended booze list. Which is lots of fun. Especially if you keep remembering exactly WHO has been invited to the wedding and upping the “heavy drinkers” number… and then remembering that we’re handing out Turbovite (energy vitamins) so it’s unlikely that the party will end at midnight…

According to evite (and my over-estimations), we need 700 bottles of beer, 140 bottles of wine and 35 bottles of liquor…

Obviously, there’s still no bubbles (problem)! And, I think (especially SAfrican) people will be less inclined to quaff millions of bottles of beer at a wedding as opposed to, say, a 30th birthday party. Especially if the wine is delicious (which ours is, obviously). And how do we break down the red-white divide (we are not serving rose)?

There was a fairly useful suggestion on the you&yourwedding discussion board (I thought the Brits’ drinking habits might mirror ours more closely):

  • The advice I received from my sister’s friend (who runs a restaurant) is as follows:
    two glasses champagne per person for the reception
    1-2 glasses pp for toasts
    2-3 glasses (half a bottle) of wine for the meal
    3-4 glasses of wine/beer during the evening
  • He suggested calculating at 5 glasses of wine per bottle to allow for any spillages and bad corks.

This seemed like jolly good advice indeed (those Brits), but after some debate it appeared the calculation required was somewhat difficult. Especially on the champers side as we are serving cocktails during canapes (lemonade and white rum and pomegranate and vodka) and only offering glasses of champers when people arrive at the reception area…

We started talking around: concensus at our pre-marriage counselling was not more than two glasses of bubbles per person, one bottle of wine per person and the red:white split should be 2:1… They all looked at us like we were a bit lush when we also asked about spirits (limited) and beer…

Then, while lying in bed idly paging through the Wedding Album wedding magazine (a BEAUTIFUL SA publication. Very artistic and inspirational as opposed to instructional), they had all the advice we needed (from professional SAfrican barmen to boot – so they know our audience):

  • about 1 bottle wine per person
  • In summer the ration should be white 2:1 red; in winter 1:1, or even white 2:3 red.
  • 2 glasses bubbles per person

Whilst there’s no mention of beer or hard tack, we think we might have figured it out based on all advice above as well as our own estimates and needs (i.e. I don’t mind having leftover bubbles… or that wine for that matter)! We also took into account the fact that we may want to dip into the booze supplies prior to the actual wedding (it is a W-A-W) and the fact that nobody has to drive anywhere if they don’t wish to so few people will hold back just for the sake of being responsible…

Here is the (draft) boozelist for Rooster and Saartjie’s wedding of 200 people:

  • 7 bottles vodka (for mixing with pomegranate juice for canape cocktails)
  • 7 bottles white rum (for mixing with lemonade for canape cocktails)
  • 108 bottles (9 cases of 12) Bubbles!
  • 108 bottles of Red
  • 60 bottles (6 cases of 12) of Sav Blanc
  • 60 bottles of Chard/Semillon/Viogner blend
  • 2 x 30l kegs of beer
  • 6 bottles of brandy for mixing with coke (SA classic drink)
  • 6 bottle of dark rum for mixing with ginger beer and mint (my fav late-night wedding drink)
  • 6 bottles of tequila for passing round the dance floor
  • 6 bottles of Jagermeister for passing round the dance floor

How did you figure out your drinks list? Think we’re over- or under- estimating?


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 🙂