Today’s blog post is a look at Our Wedding – The Event Details. In this post, I will go through all the details of our wedding event and all the small touches that made it such a beautiful day, as well as the cost for a few basic suppliers. I will also share some of my tips for planning.
I still can’t believe how fast the day flew by, but that’s why we get photographers and videographers, to help us capture all the obvious moments, as well as those not too obvious moments in between when we aren’t even aware we are being filmed or photographed.
The moment that the priest announced us husband and wife, I remember feeling very dizzy and happy, like everything around me was a strange dream. It truly was the happiest moment of my life, and I am honoured to be a Carstens.
Ok, no more soppiness. Here’s the post you came here to read!
Disclaimer: This post is not meant to be a brag on how much we spent but rather a guideline for those planning a wedding.
The Event Details
Date: 16 November 2019
Venue: Cranford Country Lodge, Midlands
Colours: White, Gold & Green
PAX: 70 people
In our search for the perfect wedding venue, we stumbled upon Cranford Country Lodge and liked it so much we booked it that day. It is the perfect setting for a country-chic wedding and is surrounded by enchanting gardens, rolling hills and forests.
There are two rooms to choose from – The Barn and the Great Room.
We choose the Great Room because it had a white roof and walls, which offered us a blank canvas’ on which to create a simple yet stylish wedding reception.
Cranford also gives you the opportunity to choose an outdoor ceremony or a chapel one.
We were concerned about rain and chose the chapel instead, and we were glad we did as it did indeed rain on our wedding day.
Side note, this did not ruin our day, but instead provided an opportunity for our photographer to take beautifully moody pictures.
The wedding comes with a dedicated event planner, but for an extra R5000, Alex (the owner’s daughter) can be hired to assist guests in finding suppliers and on the day event management.
To be honest you don’t really need to pay for this added service in my opinion unless you are planning your wedding abroad.
Although helpful, it really isn’t essential, as you will need to get involved in a lot of the planning anyway and it almost felt like duplication to me.
What we Wore
I knew I wanted lace, but that was about all I knew. In January 2019, my aunt, sister and I headed to the Big Bridal Pop Up.
How it works – You book a fitting beforehand for a timeslot to review around 250 dresses from various top bridal boutiques all which are all on SALE for up to 60% LESS.
I booked two timeslots and started trying on some beautiful dresses. If you decide to visit the Bridal Pop Up, then keep this in mind. It is not a ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ moment, with your family and friends sipping champagne.
Although you have a dedicated assistant to help you find a dress and get in and out of it, keep in mind that it is a Fast Sale.
Dresses go quick and you need to be sure about your decision because there are no refunds.
Eventually, I settled on a dress from Modeca, which was originally R17 000, but I got it for R11 000. I knew the dress I selected was a great deal so I bought it that day.
It needed alterations, which I got done at Lubellos in Pretoria as I had met the owner at the fitting and really liked her.
During our fittings, I decided I wanted lace straps, but I wanted them to be detachable so they could be clipped off after the ceremony.
I am glad I made that alteration as I really think it finished the dress beautifully.
My shoes were purchased from Opari and earings from a Karmers Market – can’t remember the brand.
Bridesmaids & Groomsmen
My bridesmaids wore gold sequined dresses from Forever New, which cost around R1000. They purchased these dresses themselves, which was a great financial help.
Shaun’s groomsmen also rented their suits from Euro Suit in Sandton at a cost of R690.
Shaun’s suit was purchased from Euro Suit too and all the boy’s bowties were from a Cape Town online shop called Bro Tie.
Hair & Make-Up & some other beauty things
One the day of the wedding, all my bridesmaids came through to the bridal suite for hair and makeup. I had the most amazing morning with my girls, mommies and aunt as we drank champagne, laughed, cried and got pampered like princesses.
My makeup and hair (as well as bridesmaids and moms) were done by the absolutely incredible team Angelene and Lauren from Dios Gracia Hair and Makeup.
They are a dream glam squad team, who made sure that we all felt so beautiful on the day.
They are so professional and the products that they used on our hair and make-up were really fantastic, lasting way into the night.
My hair is quite thin and very difficult to style and I purchased clip-in hair extensions from Front Row Hair Extensions, which were cut beforehand as I didn’t want heavy hair weighing me down.
Here are some other things I did to prepare for the wedding:
- Spray tan 2 days before at Glow Couture Fourways
- Monthly probiotic facials at Nine Aesthetics
- Microneedling Treatments at Dolce Vita
- Lash Extensions from the best in the business, Elizma from Xtreme Lashes (no fumes and perfect for sensitive skin)
Ok guys, let talk brass tax. Wedding Florists are very expensive. Shaun and I um’d and ah’d over this for a while. We were going to do it ourselves to save money, but then decided we didn’t need the added stress.
We wanted simple penny gum runners through the middle of the banquet styled tables (also known as eucalyptus) and a few white flowers (whatever was in season).
We budgeted around R5000 but we ended up spending R10 000 and as a reference point, we had 70 people at out wedding.
The reason we went over budget is that we selected a very time consuming floral arrangement, in that the penny gum needed to be placed in a green foam oasis along the tables, which took quite a lot of time for the florist to do.
But even with this in mind, flowers can chew up a wedding budget very fast, so try and think of economical ways to use your florals.
A current trend is to not have flowers, but rather rent plants or just use candles instead.
If we had chosen something less time-intensive, we might have been able to get away with about R7000.
Annie from Petals Fine Flowers was our florist and she was a great find.
She has offices in Nottingham Road. She understood what we wanted and made every effort to give us that in the budget, including gold votives and candlesticks.
To Shaun and I, it was important that our minister was someone we felt comfortable with. We had heard about Duncan (a priest from a church in Durban) from our wedding planner Alex and we decided to meet him at his house a month before the ceremony. Shaun’s family is non-religious and most of my family is catholic, so we needed to find a happy medium.
We wanted someone who could weave in religion, without making non-religious family and friends feel uncomfortable. Duncan did just that.
Instead of doing vows, he read out 10 things we loved about one another, which we had sent to him beforehand.
This was perfect for us as it took the pressure off trying to say vows and keep it together.
Signage & Stationary
Our wedding signage and stationery was all designed and made by my friend Lauren from Lauren Designs.
We had a Welcome Sign, ceremony sign, as well as signage for menu, petals, and gift box.
We asked her to weave in our wedding colours which she did effortlessly, gold, eucalyptus green and white.
Our venue had a strict no confetti rule and we used petals that our florist sourced.
We purchased bamboo cones for our guests to scoop and hold the confetti.
The ‘Cake’ & Photos
For ‘cocktail hour’ the period where you can take pictures with your photographer and your guests mingle, our guests were welcomed with some fruity alcoholic punch. We opted not to do canapés, but rather use the opportunity to cut the cake, or in our case, eat our doughnuts!
Months before the wedding, Shaun and I made a pink doughnut wall together. (R1200 for the wood and paint)
We then ordered doughnuts from Krispy Kreme (R900) which all our guests ate while we were taking pictures. (Great decision and these went down well with many commenting that the wall was a great entertainment piece for the day)
We also had giant Jenga, Naughts and Crosses and Croquet for our guests to play while they waited for us to finish taking photos.
We couldn’t take too many pictures outside with family and friends as it started to rain, so guests didn’t have to wait for hours for food, which I think they appreciated.
We opted for a plated dinner, of a starter, main and dessert. Here is where I am going to be very honest. I was very disappointed with the food. The first trial we had at Cranford, the owner (Alex’s mom) Debbie was the chef. The food was suburb, hearty, country food fare that was utterly delicious. Between the time that we booked Cranford and the time of our wedding, Debbie stopped working in the kitchen as was replaced by another chef.
Unfortunately, for us, the food served on the night of the wedding was not what we sampled at our original tasting. Bland and lacklustre, I felt quite let down, although most guests seemed to say the food was ok. Lesson learned – always check that the chef who serves you your tasting will be the chef on duty on the night of your wedding.
One supplier that truly blew our socks off, was John from Drape Right, who is also based in the Midlands area.
He set up soft draping and fairy lights around the venue for us, which was the best decision that we made and made the venue have a very ethereal look.
The cost of draping the ceiling and the back wall with fairy lights cost us R6000 and I am so glad that we didn’t skimp on this detail, as we chose this feature over décor.
Another fun activity we planned for the night was to do a piñata bash.
Shaun blindfolded me and I tried my best to break a three-tiered Piñata cake, which I think was great entertainment for our guests as it was near impossible to break open!
I ordered my custom-made piñata from Piñatas Galore, and it cost R600. (Not including the sweets we bought to fill it Up)
Guest Book & Polaroids
We had two Instax Camera’s available on the night and 20 packs of film that we purchased from Brand Hubb. (A lot more affordable than other online retailers)
We had a big A3 frame on display and encouraged our guests to snap a pic and peg to our frame.
We also had a guest book, which was on the same table as the Polaroid activity, which I think helped guests to remember to write in it.
Photographer & Videographer
Our photographer was Roxanne Larkan, who had contacted me on Facebook to do a trade exchange as she wanted to update her wedding portfolio.
We did a trial engagement shoot with her and were really happy so we booked straight away.
She made us feel really comfortable from the get-go and worked really hard to capture all the big moments on the day.
Our Videographers were my friends Justine and Mark from Punkystarfish, who offered to do our video as a gift.
Ours was their first wedding, but you would never say so as their ease and professionalism was noted by not only Shaun and I, but our guests as well.
They are seasoned pro’s who shoot video content for a range of big brands, so we felt completely at ease with them capturing our big day.
As soon as I have the video content I will be sharing! 😁
We chose my brother and his best friend to be our MC’s and I have to say it was one of the best decisions as they were a hilarious combo.
We can’t imagine having hired anyone to do this job because they added a lot of personal touches and anecdotes that a stranger would not have been able to do.
For my bridesmaids, I created customised boxes from Hello Darling and selected Mamere Confectionary, Turkey and Dimple earrings in pink and gold, a candle and a lip-gloss.
I then custom made FRIENDS style slippers with One Boutique and designed and printed t-shirts for us to wear while getting ready.
For the groomsmen, Shaun got custom T-Shirts made, as well as an engraved drinking flask, bowties and colourful socks.
Our guests received one of 6 Gourmet Lollipops from Lollipop League, in flavours such as Litchi, Amarula and Gin and Tonic, which cost us around R900 for 80 Lollipops.
They took home extra doughnuts too, as we provided Take Away Doughnut packets.
Our Wedding: The Event Details
Here are some other helpful wedding planning tips I wanted to share with you
- The best way to start in the planning process in my opinion is this – Decide how many people, then find a venue and then finalise a date
- Keep track of your budget using a google excel document that you both have access to. This helped us to keep track of the expenses we incurred individually
- Download the app Wedbox. It helped me quite a bit with keeping track of our to-do list
- Trim your guest list, that is the best tip I can give you. About half of your costs go to the actual food and drinks.
- Go minimalistic with the flowers – Pinterest is a great help here and you can find a lot of frugal ways to save on the florist bill. For example, Shaun’s sister had a huge Penny Gum tree in her garden, so we used big bunches to save on florists costs for the chapel and Lapa area and bought vases from Mr P.
- Don’t feel bad about not having an open bar. We chose instead to have welcome drinks and wine and champagne.
- Guys can rent their suits to save money and girls don’t have to get a bridesmaids dress at Bride and Co. Keep in mind your bridal party doesn’t want to go bankrupt trying to finance a suit or dress.
- Remember to toss the bouquet and garter – in the chaos of the evening our event planner didn’t remember to co-ordinate this 🤣
- There will also be drama surrounding a wedding from friends and family. My biggest piece of advice for brides and grooms planning their wedding is to never forget that it is a celebration of the union between two people. You are the only thing that matters, so do what makes you happy
- Enjoy every second, because that day goes by in a matter of seconds
Thanks for reading!
Next up on the blog is my thoughts on if you have to go All Inclusive in Mauritius.