Glamorous, Budget-Savvy and Bohemian Wedding in South Africa: Jean & Brett

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I was convinced this wedding was a styled shoot with models. Convinced. These kinds of beautiful people don’t exist in real life do they?!

Well, apparently they do, and I’ve got the photographs to prove it. Stand by for some serious wedding envy my friends – That light! That dress! Those model-esque bridesmaids!

Oh and before you say “How is this a Rock n Roll wedding?” let me tell you that this couple spent waaay below average on their wedding. They were super clever with the supplies that they booked, left a lot of things that they didn’t care about out, and DIYed wherever they could. This just goes to show that truly stunning photography can make even the most budget-concious event look like an editorial spread from Martha Stewart magazine!

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Jean and Brett were married in May under a canopy of trees in an open field at Glades Farm, South Africa. Fiona Clair was on hand to capture the magic as it unfolded.

“We wanted to keep our day raw and real”, wrote Jean. “We kept our spending to an absolute minimum, allowing ourselves to have a few key items on our wish list. The first thing we did was give photographer Fiona Clair, a call. We’d done an amazing shoot with her before so she feels a part of our circle and most importantly, we love her vibe.  We even picked our wedding date around her schedule! Next on our wish list was our videographer, James Gibbs. He has a real knack for capturing raw emotion and he totally got that we weren’t after your typical commercialised wedding.”

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“Our wedding was not your typical white wedding”, she continued, “personally I hate that cliché. Our day was all about us as a couple, raw, emotional and real. My bridesmaids were gorgeous forest nymphs with flower crowns that they made in the morning, picking blooms from The Glades’ gardens. My dress was boho vintage, sheer from the knee down and encrusted in pearls and beads – very un-bridal.”

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“My husbands little girl, Tia, was the most gorgeous flower child! She was honestly so so excited for the day and really made me feel blessed to be apart of her world. She kept telling me I looked beautiful and she loved all the décor and the small things that had taken me hours to arrange. She even brought me a flower to put in my hair to make me a princess! She was the best wingman and so loving; will always treasure those moments.”

“We kept the day simple”, she said, “just a few speeches and dancing. There was no garter throwing or bouquet tossing. The food and drink were self-service, kind of like a medieval feast where everyone dished up off platters on their table.”

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“Our whole setting was very rustic: a farm field and a barn surrounded by dense forest. We kept the day intimate, surrounded by only close friends, family and lots of children. One of my favourite things was that we had a muso playing his guitar as guests arrived. He did an acoustic version of our fave song, ‘Everlong’ by the Foo Fighters as we walked down the aisle. My husband has the chorus to this song tattooed on his arm as a dedication to our love.”

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One of this couple’s biggest savings was – unbelievably – the bride and her bridesmaid’s stunning bespoke dresses. She explains, “I’d say that the bridesmaids’ and my dress were the most cost effective ‘value for money’ things of the day. I never wanted to spend a fortune on the bridesmaid’s dresses; after all, they almost certainly would never be worn again! Having them made by an independent seamstress really made the difference. Instead of going to a fancy designer, I had my dress made by a local lady, Hillary. She created my dream dress within a budget and, although we did spend a bit more than originally planned, my dress was still ‘budget’ and so worth it!”

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“Our other big money saving exercise was not having many flowers. Not being into the clichéd white wedding look and feel, I opted not to have lots of them. Instead I made use of lots of ferns and foliage, which also made a big difference to cost. We also didn’t waste money on stationery! Instead I created a wedding website through Appy Couple and had fun doing DIY crafting of signs and order of services.”

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Supporting Cast

23 comments

  1. Aimee du Preez

    I am in South Africa too and getting married next year…This is exactly the type of wedding I am trying to plan!
    Im so happy that there are other South Africans moving away from the cliche red carpet and draping!
    Jean i looooove your dress! I can’t tell you how many dress shops look at me as if I’m insane when I describe exactly your dress as something that I’m looking for! let me know if you ever consider renting it out or selling ;-)

  2. Stunning beautiful perfect! I love weddings that prove all you really need is a lot of love, along with a few killer aesthetic decisions, some beautiful light, and a great photographer. Huge, over-budget productions not necessary.

  3. This is absolutely beautiful. The photography is everything I aspire/hope to achieve. Well done to this couple, they get to the heart of what weddings should be about, two people joined in love…not the material faff that springs up around “big days”. Beautiful and evocative

  4. Jenin

    Can you please tell me who created this dress? I am looking for someone to help create a wedding top for me and this is the exact style I am looking for. I tried the link in the email and it wasn’t valid. Thanks a bunch!

  5. Post author

    Jenin – it was an independent dress maker. Her name in the credits links to her email address!

  6. I’m so green with envy, kermit the frog is giving me the side eye.
    This wedding is the definition of beautiful! I wish I could do mine over!!
    THAT DRESS!!! I need it.

  7. I’ve seen this so many times already and I’m back reading it all over again. This wedding is so mind blowing considering much they spent(or little in this case). Everyone here looks like they’re out of a cover magazine. Can’t love it enough.

  8. Togo

    Can you please provide the email address? The link won’t work for me. Many thanks

  9. Clare Drury

    Wow stunning wedding! Love the dress! Kat do you have contact details for the dress maker? As the email in the credit is incorrect…

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