DIY weddings can be tough, as you literally have to do everything yourself. Well, the wedding of Zander and Desiré-Lee is one that blew our minds away. This wasn’t your ordinary farm wedding in a well structured wedding with catering and waiters etc, this was the perfect example of a raw, authentic farm wedding. These two decided to get married between the avocado and banana plantations on Zander’s family farm. The wedding is filled with inspiration and we are so excited to share this with you. Photography was done by Nyx Photography.
Lovebirds | How did you two meet?
We knew each other for a long time before we realized we had romantic feelings for each other. We were acquaintances through friends and we started to form a friendship. We never thought of each other as a boyfriend / girlfriend and just enjoyed each other’s company. We had so many things in common and conversations were just “easy”. When our visits turned into more frequent weeknight coffees, drives on the farm (where Zander managed to turned a “dorpsmeisie” into an inquisitive “farm girl”) and dinners, which turned to late night conversations about everything and we realized that- were in love!
I said Yes | How did the proposal go down?
(Z)I was looking for the perfect time to ask Des to marry me. I decided on a Sunday afternoon on the farm with a group of our close friends. My plan was perfect, except that Des had to travel to Pretoria for work, but when she came back at 21h00:
(D)I was left in the Avocado orchard… Around the corner came Zander on a Red Case Tractor. He climbed off and helped me get on. And in the glow of the fairy lights he got onto one knee and read the lyrics of Song Bird by Fleetwood Mac (this is our song). This was one of the most memorable evenings in my life shared with our friends who waited in the cold for me.
The Big Day | Tell us the most memorable moment of your wedding day?
(Groom) – Certainly one of the most stressful moments turned out to be one of the best in my life. And definitely one that I would cherish my entire life. The Morning of the wedding was such a rush with everything that still had to be taken to the venue and set up. The flowers, table settings, and the entire ceremony itself could not be set out the day before as we were afraid that wild animals could ruin them. With the two venues of the ceremony and reception being on different farms, approximately 5km apart, this had me running up and down as the wedding was due to start at 11:00. By 10:00 the Ceremony venue was still in the making with the white cloth still being draped and the flowers being set out. My groomsmen chased me away to get ready while they were standing in, getting everything done. I was convinced that we would make it in time, but I knew it was going to be close.
On arrival at the ceremony at 11:00, I was so excited everything was ready, and I was ready for the arrival of my wife to be. As we stood there looking over the valleys of the farm in front of us, I stood there reflecting on the build up to this “DIY-wedding” the tough days before and the beauty that we were going to close it of with. I couldn’t wait to see my bride and start sharing the moment with her.
The reception went past so quickly, however with moments that again I will cherish my entire life. I do not regret one person that we chose for either speech nor the MC. We kept the speeches short, and those who did speech had us both in tears with stories from the heart. We were just so happy. I will never forget the way Des smiled at me every time I looked at her. The setting with basically a 270 degree view of the dam, and the huge indigenous trees above and surrounding us, and the people chatting, drinking wine and laughing echoing through the bush. Before the wedding we were worried that people were not going to be entertained enough, with the lack of a dance floor. However the energy of the people was electric, and there was never a quiet or slow moment. By sunset we left to take our wedding photos, we stood across the dam, and again I was astonished at how much everyone was enjoying it, and I remember so well telling Des “we did a good job,, just listen to the buzz of voices” Were were smiling because we thought people would start leaving.
Planning a wedding on the farm is a challenge and it can be very taxing emotionally and physically. The last two weeks of the wedding were the worst for us – we still had to work on the night before the wedding and my bridesmaids and I only got to bed after 23h00. I did not even see the venue for the ceremony and the last time I was there, it was an empty old banana plantation. So for me, the most memorable moments of our wedding was –
1. The ceremony – It exceeded my expectation and looked so beautiful with the blue sky and the guests sitting under the white linen fabric. When we walked up the aisle, I saw my dad walking towards me – in tears, I had to make jokes to keep us both from sobbing down the aisle. When we turned the corner I had my first clear glimpse of Zander. It was very hard for me to hold back the tears and the “ugly cry.” I knew that this was the man of my dreams – my best friend, my companion, the love of my life. I was so calm for the first time after the wedding planning started.
2. At the reception we stood at the top of the stairs and looked over “our wedding”. Everyone was laughing and chatting and having a wonderful time. This was what we wanted for our wedding and despite everything that was not perfect and how I wanted it to look – our dream came true.
During our speeches Piet Mabotsi, the irrigation manager of the farms, stood next to the master of ceremonies and took photos and a video of the guests with his cell phone. At first the master of ceremonies was shocked and did not know what to do, but after an introduction everyone laughed and Piet with his unique personality continued to take his photos. Piet sent the photos to us after the wedding and we shared it with our guests on Facebook. The ladies who helped us (who also work on the farm) with the clearing of the tables danced through the tables while cleaning – they were all celebrating with us. Just two of the unexpected things that made our wedding different and “real”.
I Quote | Describe in one sentence your wedding day
Forever & Always | Any advice for future brides
Have a clear idea of what you want for your wedding and the experience that you want your guests to have. Seating arrangements… well thought through seating arrangements is crucial. People need to sit with others whether they know them or not that are similar. They need to enjoy each other’s company. In our opinion you need three things to have a memorable wedding, Good music. Good food and wine (NEVER SERVE POOR WINE! It doesn’t have to be expensive to be good).
Pinterest is your best friend, but also your worst enemy – find your ideas and then stop! Otherwise you will lose sight of what you want and just end up confused and broke. Do not listen to other’s opinions on what you have to have at your wedding – it is your big day! Keep things simple and get the “basics” right. Nobody is going to remember the extra ribbon around your chairs or the imported expensive pink peonies that you just had to have! People will remember the food and the way the felt at the wedding. Spend your money on things that are important to you as a couple. If you love French Champagne – splurge on that and cut in other places. Don’t be afraid to do it yourself.
The best people in your life, not those that need to be at your wedding, only those you want at your wedding, its your day, and most likely your paying.