Birds, Bicycles, Skulls & Air Plants (and the Most Stunning Chotronette Dress!)

Kim Tracey Photography

January 16, 2019

Paula and Darryl were legally married in Chippenham in May but also decided to have a second wedding for their South African contingent in September. They had a beautiful (yet freezing!) outdoor ceremony officiated by a friend at Dunkeld Country & Equestrian Estate in Dulstroom.

“Our original plan was a wedding theme was bicycles, birds, skulls and succulents”, explained Paula. “Birds and bicycles for Darryl as he’s a cyclist who loves birds, and skulls and succulents for me. I incorporated birds into my dress, I wore beautiful hummingbird earrings and we used birdcages for the centrepieces. I’m a biologist and I love the cycle of life. I didn’t want to have cut flowers – I don’t like them I think it’s freakish to kill these beautiful things and then watch them wither… Skulls are okay though, haha! During the course of planning succulents turned in to air plants.”

“I loved looking at all the real brides on Rock n Roll Bride”, she continued, “they really inspired us and gave me the the confidence to do what felt most like us – to throw out the traditions we didn’t want and make the day (days) our own. In the end the only real wedding tradition we followed, at the UK reception, was a Danish tradition of cutting the groom’s sock after the first dance!”

The lack of tradition started with their ceremony when the bride and groom walked down the aisle together. Paula also didn’t wear white and they had no bridesmaids or groomsmen. “I think what makes our wedding unique is that it was totally us”, she continued. “We turned both weddings into two three-day-celebrations with all of the people who matter most to us. At this wedding in South Africa, we were married by a good friend in a beautiful forest in a country neither of us lives in any more. We made our own rings and my air plant bouquet was finished off with a pair of sock monsters my sister-in-law made as an ode to the Greek tradition of wedding stefana.”

Of their £11,000 budget, their biggest costs were the venue, food and their photographer Kim Tracey. However not only did they both say these were all totally worth the expense, but they opted not to have a photographer at their UK wedding and now massively regret it (take note dear reader!)

“I recommend that any couple considering forgoing a photographer to really think carefully about their decision”, she says. “Your friend’s photos will be great, but it won’t be the same as a pro. All the important things you want to record, your friends want to be present for, not off to the side documenting the day. We had decided to have a photo shoot with a friend back in Copenhagen after the UK wedding, which was great and we have some fantastic portraits of us, all dressed up in our wedding gear in beautiful Copenhagen – but it isn’t the same. We don’t have any family portraits or party shots, and I really missed having a photographer there to document the day. I think Kim totally nailed it, we love the photos and she was great to work with.”

“Do your wedding your way!” Paula advises in conclusion. “People are there to spend your day celebrating you, so plan something that represents you and your relationship. Also, all traditions are optional. All you need for a wedding is two people who would like to get married and one person with the legal power to marry them. Everything else is your expression of how you would like to celebrate that.”