We’ve done it! We’ve actually done it! I am officially a Mrs! The truth is, I have had so many emotions about getting married over the years that it’s quite remarkable that we’re here. But more about that another time. For now, let’s talk about the awesomeness that was our wedding day!
In true Sprout style, Mr John and I decided to get married our way. And what a beautiful day it was – literally and figuratively! We had so many friends and family members join us from all across the WORLD! Including from Scotland, England, Switzerland, Portugal, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Pretoria and Johannesburg. What a blessing to be surrounded by such special friends and family. We felt truly honoured.
We really wanted our wedding to be centered around 3 important elements – the people closest to us, an inner city venue and a bloody good time! These were the 3 things we really didn’t want to compromise on and we were luckily enough to achieve just that. Because we’re pretty modern, we had all the traditional elements, but slightly remixed. Checked it out:
**All photographs by John-Henry Bartlett Wedding Photography
After working as a wedding DJ for 5 years, I’ve been to A LOT of wine farms. They really are beautiful, but Mr John and I have loved our ‘student years’ in the city bowl and wanted to do something different. A lot of our friends have children now too, so going away for a weekend can be pricey. Having a venue close to town meant they could have a killer party and easily Uber home. Enter, the Royal Cape Yacht Club.
Set along the N1 and railway tracks, surrounded by hundreds of boats with the Waterfront, Signal Hill and Table Mountain in the background, we couldn’t have asked for a better setting that was urban, but elegant.
**Our reception at the yacht club was excellent, but organising the wedding before the time was incredibly difficult. The club’s admin was very poor, with the ‘goal posts’ being moved and little communication. On the day, however, the staff did a good job and the venue came together well. We have sent our official feedback to the club, who have acknowledged our notes.
THE DRESS CODE
We really wanted our guests to focus on being comfortable and happy at our wedding, but not too casual either as it is a wedding after all. So we opted in for a smart dress code, but with comfortable shoes. This meant our guests could dress smartly while not having to worry about hurting feet. At too many weddings I see people dressed up yet dying to remove their ties or shoes as soon as the formalities are over. “Smart with comfortable shoes” was the perfect blend of looking smart and feeling good. Plus there were some darn expensive sneakers in the room, LOL!
Our friends are pretty alternative people. They also have very diverse backgrounds, orientations and origins as a whole. They do not want to be preached to – and neither do we. But because I did want to have some kind of ceremony, I decided to look for someone who would give us a sense of occasion without isolating anyone.
Since I work as a wedding DJ so I thought it’d be nice to have a female officiator. I was thrilled when I found female minister Jean Keys. KEYS?! A musical reference?! I was sold. Jean did a beautiful ceremony with the usual, ‘You shall obey’ old school nonsense. Our best man, Julian and my bestie Angela could help with the rings and ‘tying of the knot’. Jean absolutely NAILED it, no one was bored because it was short, sweet, sincere, funny, fun, filled with joy and love, it was awesome!
MY WEDDING DRESS
After working at dozens of weddings, I can guarantee that 99% of the time a bride will wear a strapless wedding dress. Now that I’ve said that, look to see how many strapless wedding dresses you can spot in movies, magazines, tv shows, etc. I totally understand why – it’s a REALLY flattering silhouette for any body type. But I wanted something different for my own day. So I thought of which dresses were my favourite to wear out, which I loved the most and which suited me the most well. I then created a dress based on those styles. After trawling wedding dress websites (and shops) for a few weekends and many hours, I turned to Robyn Roberts to create my vision. I’m THRILLED with the outcome and LOVE my wedding dress. I wanted to go classic, classy and sleek. I think Robyn executed my vision perfectly.
Mr John got his suit & shirt at Woolies and sneakers at Shelflife.
BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES CAPE TOWN
I decided to have four bridesmaids on my wedding day because I have such good, long term friends who I didn’t want to have to choose from! .But four bridesmaids = four different heights, sizes, complexions and locations, with one living in Pretoria, one living in Scotland! Eish.
Initially I wanted to do the whole wrap dress thing, but you have to measure your bridesmaids and that just seemed like a mission to get right with everyone being so far apart. I know,
since not being able to fit into anything at YDE for the last 10 years, that Truworths has dresses for adult women with boobs and butts so my Mom and I popped in and found perfect dark blue dresses.
How to make one style fit all? Strapless! I would have loved to have had dresses that were far more fashionable and memorable, but it’s tricky when everyone is so different. So the best way to make each person pop? Allow them to styles themselves!
Each bridesmaid was able to style themselves. They all looked totally different and I loved how their individual personalities shone through with their own personal style. All perfect representations of who they are – just what I wanted for our wedding day – a celebration of life, love, the people and relationships we are blessed to have.
THE LEGO WEDDING CAKE
Last summer I had worked a wedding in Grabouw where the couple had the most awesome red lego cake! I KNEW Mr John would LOVE it and it would suit our friends and family perfectly. I asked the bride for the contact and we went blue. Created by Marelda at Have Some Cake, it was an absolute hit on the day, with guests enjoying a cupcake when it suited them. We still have our Lego ‘bride and groom’ because they are too cute to throw out and they still smell awesome 6 weeks later!
We decided to have the starters outside. It’s summer, it’s Cape Town, it’s warm, it’s bright, why go inside and sweat through your first course? SO many weddings require the guests to enter at 6pm when it’s 35 degrees outside. We wanted to celebrate the venue and enjoy the last of the summer light. So we had canapes as our starter and we made sure we ordered a LOT of them so that people didn’t go hungry. This meant everyone could stay outside until 7pm, soak up the last of the summer light, enjoy some food and toast to the sunset.
Moving in for mains, we enjoyed them before the speeches. Most weddings have their speeches before mains, but by then the guests are hungry and start getting niggling during the speeches at best, or a bit too drunk at worst. We had our mains first so that people could enjoy their dinner, let their tummies settle during speeches THEN dance. Too often you have to dance straight after dinner which is also a bit of a drag. I recommend doing dinner first, speeches after.
For dessert we went the wedding cake and dessert table route so that those with a sweet tooth could help themselves, and those without a sweet tooth weren’t forced to have dessert. Our guests nibbles treats through the night, with many taking a snack home for themselves or their kids. We asked my Mom’s friend, Christine, to do the table for us as she’s always been awesome at baking and is really creative and crafty. She did an AWESOME job!
The bridal couple 110% sets the tone for their wedding day from the bride’s very first entrance song. We chose fun, big, uptempo music for our day so that we could encourage our guests to be happy, positive, inspired, relaxed, cheerful, excited and full of love! We believe we achieved that 🙂
Wedding Ceremony Entrance Song
For my Dad and my entrance song I chose a classic track from the 60’s called Do You Believe in Magic by The Lovin’ Spoonful. It’s a really cute, upbeat song and I love the words, which include, “Do you believe in magic in a young girl’s heart? How the music can free her whenever it starts…I’ll tell you about the magic and it’ll free your soul, But it’s like tryin’ to tell a stranger ’bout rock and roll…If you believe in magic don’t bother to choose, If it’s jug band music or rhythm and blues, Just go and listen – it’ll start with a smile, It won’t wipe off your face, no matter how hard you try, Your feet start tapping and you can’t seem to find…If you believe in magic come along with me…And we’ll go dancing, baby, then you’ll see, how the magic’s in the music and the music’s in me…” Sounds like the perfect life 🙂
Wedding Venue Entrance Song
For the venue entrance song we wanted something big, bold and punchy, to really create a positive impact that means business. And so we went with none other than Queen B – Crazy in Love. This horn section was perfect!
First Dance Song
Inner City Life by Goldie was our first dance song BUT! It was the jazz version. I found the Re: Jazz version on iTunes one day. My brother had offered to transpose the song for us, but while attending the Goldie lecture in Cape Town, Goldie himself played the jazz version to us! We took it as a sign to use it on the day and we did. Most of the guests weren’t familiar with the song, but those who love drum n bass as much as we do, knew it and loved the rework. We only played the first 2 – 3 minutes or so of the song and then went into Moonshine! Jazz with a Kick.
I wanted something timeless and classy for our tables so we just went plain white and green. We preordered our flowers from Engelke Blomme in Phillipie, an old family run business. They have many of the same suppliers as Woolies – at less the price. My mom collected old jars that had flat tops (that didn’t screw so they didn’t look like coffee jars) and I created the labels and menus on Canva. My aunts and friend lay the tables for me on the day, with the help of my Mom. We hired the glasses from Ten of Cups in Stellenbosch, so that we would have more tasteful glasses than the yacht club’s stock.
INNER DECOR & DRAPING
I know draping can be very old school, but the roof of this building is corrugated iron. Eish. So we had to make it a lot more attractive!
Again I stole an idea from my brother’s wedding. He and his wife had a big screen with photographs on displaying photographs of all the guests. It really helps people to see where others fit in, how they know the bride and groom and makes everyone feel included. It was wonderful to be reminded of so many good times with such special friends and family, I HIGHLY recommend doing this.
SWISS WEDDING GAME
My beautiful friends from Switzerland spoilt us with a wedding game. Mr John and I were put back to back with a sign that had his name on one side, mine on the other. We then had to vote for the person who we thought did whatever the question was. So the best man asked, for example, “Who has the most shoes?” I did Mr John, he said me! He was actually right! Then if we agreed or got it correct then they would give us a little prize. It was HILARIOUS! And SO MUCH FUN! I’m so thrilled we had the opportunity to add another level of fun to the day.
ENTERTAINMENT – CAPE TOWN WEDDING BAND:
Moonshine! Jazz with a Kick!
We HAD to have a touch of music at our wedding considering my brother is a saxophonist, my Dad’s a bass player, I did music for matric and Mr John is a DJ! Music has always been a big part of our lives, so it only made sense for us to include music at our wedding. And what better than my brother’s swing band, Moonshine, Jazz with a Kick! ? Our friend and saxophonist Marc De Kock also jumped on stage and added another horn player to the band, creating more fun and swing to the group. Hits like Shake, Rattle and Roll, Hit the Road Jack, You Never Can Tell and Blueberry Hill made everyone feel welcome, included and was a great neutraliser. You never see drum n bass DJs dance, you did this night! People had a blast!
AJ & M LIGHTS, A PERSONAL TOUCH
My brother and I worked at a wedding at Lourensford out in Somerset West and the bride and groom that day had a huge M & D. I LOVED this idea and managed to get the contact details from the wedding coordinator at Lourensford. It was R500 per letter and they deliver – from Wellington. It’s quite far out but it projected so much, warm light onto the dock outside that it doubled as decor and a visual, personal touch. We loved it 🙂
We had the most WONDERFUL day with SUCH special friends and family! WOW! I wish I could do it all again, divide myself into two or three and have quality time with every single person that was there. It was such a blast and no matter how I tried to enjoy every moment (and I did) it was still a total whirl wind. I only say thank you to EVERY SINGLE one of our friends and family who made the day SO amazing! I think I will wear my wedding dress every single anniversary from now on!