Botanical & Nature Themed South African Clifftop Winter Wedding

Julia and Jeran chose the remote, seaside village of Misty Cliffs, Cape Town, for their intimate winter wedding celebration. They found a house on Airbnb which they rented and included lots of creative, handmade touches. Their loved ones were involved in arranging flowers, making the food and cake as well as sharing special words for the couple during the ceremony.

Julia hand-embroidered her aqua top which her mum also wore on her own wedding day, and embellished Jeran’s purple shirt in brilliant green botanicals. Her skirt was made by a friend.

They wanted their wedding to be as far away from a cookie cutter, traditional day as possible. The bride explains, “We wanted to focus on the beauty of the natural world, without forgetting about the universe beyond our planet! Although maybe it’s more accurate to say we wanted a touch of the weird and otherworldly magical. The colour scheme of forest greens and mints and then violets was also a big part of the inspiration. I was very inspired particularly by those specific succulents that are green but also have hints of purples.”

“We also wanted something really far away from the cookie-cutter wedding mould! To be honest, I felt a bit weird getting married in the first place. Really, we got married so that we could live together in Japan. Neither of us had imagined getting married because of all the baggage it carries. We didn’t need that to know we loved each other. But in the end I was excited to have the opportunity to have an amazing party and we decided that it could be amazing if we did it our own way! I don’t understand why so many people do weddings in the same way – it can really be whatever you want it to be!”

Their ceremony, held inside the house, was led by the bride’s godmother. Their guests sat around them in a semi-circle and witnessed their tea ceremony followed by their self-written vows. “It wasn’t a legal ceremony – we did that three days earlier at Home Affairs”, the bride continued. ” The ceremony with my godmother was just for us. We are not at all religious so we didn’t want a church wedding, but we wanted something more than the legal affair, something with a little ritual and magic. My godmother has that ability to infuse everything magic and humour and joy. It was a mix of our and her ideas – she gave us special tea, created a ritual and we read each other our vows that we had folded into origami flowers. We sat on stools inside a circle of fynbos. It was beautiful. My dog was there, and he walked up to us right in the middle of the ceremony! It felt like he was giving us his blessing.”

“It was important to us not to do the traditional kind of ceremony that emphasises gender roles. Instead of my father walking me down the aisle, Jeran and I met at the top of the stairs and then walked down to the sitting room ceremony area hand in hand. I didn’t want to incorporate any symbolism of me being given away to Jeran either. We are equals and do not want gender to determine anything about what roles we play in our relationship.”

Their favourite thing about their wedding, other than the fact that they got to do it their own way, was being able to get creative. The DIY projects were plentiful and were a huge part of the planning process. “I really enjoyed planning the wedding décor and everything. I found it super fun to plan a lot of the concepts myself. Also working together with loved ones and getting them to be involved in something important, it was a bonding experience for family and friends!”

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