I spent last weekend at the gorgeous De Hoop Nature reserve for my friends Lucy & Rolf’s amazing getaway wedding weekend.
Where exactly is the De Hoop Nature Reserve? Well you take the N2 from Cape Town until Caledon, then turn right into Caledon on the R316, continue on that road through Napier until you get to Bredasdorp. About 6km out of Bredasdorp things get a bit interesting as you turn onto a looooong dirt road. The first stretch is 35km to be exact. My Mini’s low, go-cart like driving style which normally makes is seriously fun to drive did not serve me well on this road. To make things worse it had also been raining. I went through quite a lot of emotions on that stretch of road: at points I was laughing, at other points I was crying and at one point I even really hated Rolf & Lucy… But my little baby was strong, like the little engine who could, and we eventually made it to the point where you turn off to (yes, you guessed it) yet another stretch of dirt road. This one slightly hairier, but at least only 7km long. This takes you to the nature reserve gates where you pay a R30 entrance fee and then there’s another short 4km to reception.
Upon arrival at the De Hoop Collection accommodation, I first kissed the ground out of pure happiness to still be alive, then I thought to myself, “Gawd this place better be worth it!”
Accommodation wise they have everything from a camp site, rondawels, self-catering cottages to fully services cottages. I opted to share a self-catering cottage with a few friends. My only two requirements were electricity and a bathroom. I wasn’t expecting much more. But the cottages were actually really great.
From the outside…
Inside it had a super cute kitchen and lounge area and then 3 bedrooms, two with double beds and one with bunk beds. This was my room:
Country chic at it’s best daahlings…
For the Friday evening, we braved the rain for a big braai at The Fig Tree Restaurant. Come now, we’re South Africans after all, nothing puts us off a good braai opportunity.
We had all promised ourselves that it would not be a big night and that we would be cosy in bed before midnight. Yeah right, with this group small is just not an option. After braai antics included me burying a dead body (or at least that’s what I think this pic below was all about):
I’m like… Don’t just stand there, help me! Or you’re next…
And then I invited EVERYBODY back to our cottage for the after party. Me being very sneaky though, snuck off and passed out at I’m not sure what morning hour while the rest partied until 4am I hear.
Needless to say, the next morning we were all feeling a bit rough around the edges. But nothing a good boere breakfast and cup of moerkoffie can’t fix, right? The rain had cleared and it was a beautiful day… a perfect day for a wedding.
The Fig Tree restaurant looking totally different in the sunshine…
Our “regmaker” brekkie
After breakfast, my real bridesmaid duties kicked in and we headed to the other side of the reserve which is about a 45min drive on another dirt road. But luckily guests didn’t have to worry about yet more off-road driving as there were shuttles taking them to and from that side. They get bonus points for organisation in my book.
The manor house was busy being setup for the ceremony. Rolf & Luce had gotten these gorgeous wooden hearts made as decorations. The bigger hearts were made by a lady who is sadly no longer making them. But the smaller ones were made by Paul Winter from New Wave Creations:
You guys know how crazy I am about anything heart shaped… so naturally I was drawn to these big time.
Now Rolf, the groom, who just recently launched his own jewellery line called Duke & Dutch was a very busy boy during the run up to the wedding. He made Luce’s engagement ring of course… along with another cute little ring well just because he could:
Then he made her these stunning diamond and pearl earrings for the big day:
AND he also made each one of the 3 bridesmaids a pair of drop earrings to say thanks:
All mine! Yay!
I didn’t get a snap of the wedding bands, but he even made those too! I was thinking parents have been getting it wrong all these years. You’re always told that you should marry a doctor or a lawyer. But in actual fact, the correct choice is a jeweller! Imagine, non stop beautiful jewellery for the rest of your life…. Aaaaaah bliss…
Now Luce is a girl after my own heart. She pays attention to every small detail and she plans ahead like a queen. Her wedding shoes was just one example, she got two pairs: One kick ass pair for the ceremony and then an easier pair for the dancing later. Love it.
Both pairs from Pronovias Bridal Boutique at Harrod’s daahlings
Accessories wise she opted for a cute little bag from Coast and a gorgeous vintage headpiece which she found at the Clerkenwell Vintage market in London:
We were lucky enough to get ready in the most amazing girly room ever. Just check out this bed, isn’t this like every little girl’s dream bed…
Luce asked me to give a big up to Lexi Stavrides who did her make-up and her mom Maudie Stavrides who helped with hair. They certainly made Lucy’s true beauty shine and they helped with keeping everyone cool, calm & collected.
Lexi doing her thing…
Now when Lucy first asked me to be one of her bridesmaids, I mentally prepared myself to end up looking something like this:
Can you hear the bride saying “But you girls can totally wear this again”… Noooo biatch!!! Why do you hate them so much!?
Ugly bridesmaids dresses just seems to be the norm really. I think most brides think it makes the bride stand out more. But what they don’t realise is that you’re stuck with those hideous creations on your wedding pictures FOREVER.
Luce being both a smart woman and an genuinely good hearted person, made sure we looked elegant and ever so pretty, like so:
Dresses & shoes also from Coast. The fact that we’re all brunette was according to Luce not planned at all… sure sure…
Lucy’s mom, Lynn was the epitome of style in a draped Donna Karan dress which she got from Net-A-Porter:
Love the fact that she’s an online shopping diva just like me…
Lynn is standing next to Lucy’s amazeballz gown which she also got from the Pronovias bridal boutique in Harrod’s. The dress is called “Femina” and if you think it looks awesome on the hanger, just check out our stunning bride rocking it like it’s nobody’s business:
Lucy’s one of those people who smiles with their entire body… when this girl giggles, it’s infectious.
I had to take quick snaps in between photographer, Kobus Tollig from Dream Pix Photography, doing his thing…
I absolutely loved Kobus. Not only was he an absolute sweetheart, but he was also one of those “take charge” photographers. He knows what looks good, he’s got lots of great ideas and he guides you all the way. I hate photographers that just say stupid stuff like “ag just do what feels comfortable and we’ll see what it looks like” – No idiot, I’m not a professional model! Having photo’s taken isn’t “comfortable”, show me what to do dammit!
The ceremony area could best be described as “old school beauty with new world charm” (I’m good hey). But seriously, check it out – it was too cute:
Of course, because I was part of the ceremony the pics end there and pick up again after the beautiful “I do” moment (which left me with a big lump in my throat) enjoying some champers and canapes down by the vlei with my girls…
Lookin’ good ladies
Now the boys had made some serious style efforts as well. Here’s Shaun (right) who later became known as “MJ” and Fabian (left) who later morphed into Rickeeee!! (short for Ricky Martin) – thanks to their somewhat impressive, but mostly dodgy dance moves.
Fabian asked me to point out that they were standing on an incline…
Because I love them so much, I have decided not to post any of the 105 pictures I have of them “bustin’ in up” on the dance floor. You guys can thank me with extravagant gifts… or else…
Now when you do a wedding at De Hoop – the venue comes with it’s own wedding planners who will organise everything from the cake, flowers, food, decorations, chairs, cutlery, basically whatever you need. The wedding planners are the lovely ladies at Antoinette Events and I thought they did a great job of blending the natural beauty of our surroundings with a very elegant, yet easy look.
The flowers included flora from the area…
The reception area was so pretty, especially when everything was all lit up.
The cake was so yum… dark, devilish chocolate cake with creamy white chocolate on the outside…
Each table had a fun name. Obviously I was as the “Party Table”.
Oh and the food… I’m still dreaming of that succulent lamb dish… Mmmmmm
It was one of those wedding that just flowed effortlessly. The speeches were fun, the first dance was true to the couple’s style and then afterwards the dance floor was packed.
My top picks for getting the “summer formal” dress code spot on were my friends Cherise & Charlene:
Cherise (left) was wearing a cream lace dress with brown waist belt all from Just Cruizin in Long St. Boots were borrowed from a friend. Charlene (right) was wearing a lovely green number from MeMeMe, also in Long St & one of my personal favourite boutiques, with belt & earrings from Woolies and shoes borrowed from Cherise. You can’t really see it that well in the shot, but Cherise was also wearing a really cool, long feather earring from Carrie B.
Then the best photo of the night has to be this one of us girls trying to get a nice group shot, with Shaun totally photo-bombing our special moment:
Nice… real nice Shaun…
Rolf & Lucy both being die hard party animals, were right there on the dance floor with us until the end. Love when couples do that…
Congrats again guys! Love you to bits.
Sunday consisted of a big ass brunch where everybody was feeling a bit “sensitive” (a sign of a good party for sure), followed by the long drive back home. This is what my poor baby looked like when I got back to town:
A dirrrty little biets… sies man.
But was all that adventure driving worth it? Hell yeah! I had a really great weekend. I think the weekend was a true bonding experience for all who attended and it is definitely something we’ll look back on with smiles on our faces… A BIG thank you to Lucy & Rolf for such an amazing experience. And I know this is only the beginning of a long, crazy adventure together for them.