We at Wedding Friends have been waiting for this post for quite some time now, and it was definitely worth the wait. We do not always realize how fortunate we are to live in the beautiful continent of Africa. The ‘African’ theme tends to draw one towards the big five, but a great team of suppliers came together and recreated an absolutely trendsetting theme and shoot. This was a collaboration of experts, with coordination and theme development by Tickled Pink Weddings and Events. Styling, décor and stationery was created by Ninirichi Style Studio. The shoot was captured by As Sweet As Images and Sam Scarborough did the hair and Make Up, the list of experts continues (see end of post).
Natatie Elliot from Tickled Pink Weddings and Events is sharing with us the insights of the shoot. Enjoy today’s post with us!
Out of Africa
Whether you’re camping under the stars or staying in five-star style in a luxury game lodge, there is something so irresistibly romantic about the African bush. What better setting then to say “I do” to your beloved? Wedding planner Natalie Elliot of Tickled Pink Weddings & Events talks us through this exquisite look, which was created for a home-grown wedding party with elegant appeal.
Describe the theme.
We call this look ‘In love in Africa’. It was inspired by Ralph Lauren ad campaigns, colonial Africa, bush lodge chic, Ardmore and Mavromac African cushions, fabrics and colours, lantern light, game drives and sunsets. Our chosen colour palette featured black, chocolate brown, stone/taupe, white, grey, sky blue, sage green and burnt orange (the latter inspired our choice of model – we loved Bridget’s fiery orange hair!).”
What kind of season and setting would this wedding look suit?
“This reception theme translates across all seasons as it is timeless, really. A bush setting is the ideal backdrop, but a colonial-style, city location would work just as well. The look is likely to appeal to couples who want to create an Out of Africa feel for their wedding day and those who like muted tones and elegant influences. It’s perfect for a destination wedding at a game lodge and has a very (bush) chic, romantic feel.”
Talk us through the key decor elements.
“The ceremony area was set up around a large tree that featured linen draping, hanging calabashes and lanterns. The aisle was lined with dried leaves and surrounded by canvas safari chairs (with calabash and flower decorative details) for guests. Custom-made signage enhanced the sense of occasion, while fire pits helped to create a warm ambiance as the sun set. Instead of confetti, guests waved sparklers at the newlyweds as they walked back up the aisle together.”
“Post-ceremony, guests were treated to typical safari-style refreshments: think G&Ts, ice-cold beers, Amarula and champagne. The latter featured personalised labels and were presented in sophisticated silver ice buckets placed on butler’s trays. Snacks included bowls of dry wors, mango strips and cashew nuts, all labelled in keeping with the theme. (It goes without saying that your main meal should feature authentic South African flavours and bush favourites as well.) The wedding cake was a multiple tiered chocolate cake, decorated with white leaves, to tie in with the serving bowls and leaves lining the ceremony aisle. Pincushion proteas and succulents provided an element of colour on top.”
“The reception table was dressed in crisp white linen with exquisite crockery and cutlery. Silver candle stands, tea lights, crystal glasses, sky blue linen napkins and printed place cards added to the sophisticated feel, while the fleur-de-lis name card holders, also in silver, provided a subtle sense of tradition, style and history. Soft blankets in muted tones were placed on the backs of each canvas chair for warmth.”
“The table displays featured succulents, pincushion proteas and roses in long, dark wooden bowls. (Low flower arrangements are ideal for warm, intimate settings; they don’t get in the way of guests either.) The bride’s bouquet also featured pincushion proteas (for that vital pop of orange), as well as sage green succulents and twigs; it was rustic, long and bold! The bridesmaid carried a simple, striking white protea only.”
“Such an important part of the look! All of the printed elements (invites, table numbers, seating cards, order of service, and so on) were inspired by Ardmore fabric and reflected our chosen colour scheme. We wanted to stay away from the usual big five animals, so instead chose to feature monkeys, mongooses, antelope, bush babies, African loeries, cranes, hoopoes, owls and bird motifs where appropriate. It helped to create a different African feel. Much thought was put into the choice of typeface and the actual wording on the stationery to highlight the chic bush/colonial theme.”
“As always, the bride and groom’s fashion choices should be appropriate for the mood and location. Our bride wore a beautiful, beaded silk dress with a classic silhouette, while the groom wore a suit in earthy tones with touches of black to ensure elegance. The bridesmaid complemented their look in a stunning gold dress with a lacy black bodice.”
“An old pair of binoculars, antique books and a pith helmet helped to reinforce the colonial feel, as did old-fashioned luxury luggage, packed ready for honeymoon. Instead of the typical ‘just married’ sign, we tied baby calabashes to their vintage vehicle (a Hupmobile 1932) to send them off in true African style!”
Any top tips for couples wanting to recreate this kind of look and feel on their big day?
Choose your venue and destination well. Choose a natural backdrop where one can hang lanterns and drape a beautiful white cloth to enhance the ceremony setting. Collect leaves and petals to highlight the aisle. Use signs to enhance your theme and create excitement for your guests. Add a sunset table with befitting drinks and snacks to treat your guests after the ceremony.
This article originally appeared in Wedding Inspirations Magazine