There are beautiful weddings and then there are BEAUTIFUL weddings, the kind that take your breath away and make you wish you could marry again, just so that you could use some of their exquisite ideas. Johan Strümpfer and Louise de Villiers’s celebration is one such wedding…
Held at Rockhaven farm in the Cape, this couple’s classy celebration is the picture of graceful country elegance. We adore the bride’s exquisite Jenny Packham dress and Oscar de la Renta shoes, and love (love!) their romantic ceremony altar, opulent table decor and flowers. The food, lighting and venue are all pretty amazing too, so feast your eyes on their gorgeous wedding photos below, taken by Natelee Koen and Annerien Nel of ZaraZoo.
How did your groom propose?
Some girls see their groom’s proposal coming like the sun rising over the horizon – I was not one of them! The only certainty I had in my mind was that Johan and I would be old, fat and happy together one day. Johan had planned a very romantic sunset proposal on the beach while on holiday in Wilderness, but a rather sudden illness prevented it, leaving my family (who all knew!) waiting, with baited breath, on the announcement. Instead, he proposed a few days later, while snuggled up with breakfast in bed.
Tell us about the theme of your wedding.
“Country elegance” was the order of the day, combining some rustic ease with celebratory opulence. Coming from a tight-knit family (they even scouted venues!), I found that Rockhaven farm in Elgin represented many elements which I loved. While being an elegant setting packed with natural beauty, it is still a family-run, working apple farm. Liz Wood (the owner) was flexible and treated our wedding like a special day, as opposed to an event crammed between many others. We had our ceremony in a boat house overlooking a dam. The reception was in a barn which had been transformed into glamorous fairy tale, with twinkling chandeliers, soft hues, antique accent pieces, abundant flowers and even indoor trees! The relaxed, perfect day leant itself to love, laughter and fun (and the odd furry friend on the farm making an appearance).
And the menu?
Liz is a culinary queen – the food (provided by the farm) was sumptuous. The starter was a rocket, fig, Parma ham and Gorgonzola salad. Main course was beef fillet tournedos served with a red wine and mushroom reduction, caramelised onion tarte tatin, seasonal veggies and roast potatoes. Dessert was wedding cake (a dark chocolate ganache, lemon pound cake). A cheese board and midnight snacks were also served for the late-night jollers!
What was the highlight of the day?
Seeing so much love just blooming everywhere! Johan and I, our wonderful families, and our great friends all together for a brilliant celebration of our union… bliss (cheesy, but true!).
Any special advice for brides-to-be?
Finding balance is key! Sometimes things can get tense, so remember to relax – find perspective and have some fun! My mum is an organisational mastermind (and a generally amazing person – I’m very lucky!) and some of my fondest memories of the build-up to the wedding entailed the two of us having a good laugh over sundowners after busy days of wedding admin. On a practical note, never underestimate the power of lighting! It can really transform any space. Also, there is often a lull between the ceremony and the reception when the family and couple’s photos are being taken – use this time to make your guests feel special! We had lounge pieces, rugs and cushions set up on the lawn, with games, a string quartet, cocktails and canapés to set the tone. Most importantly, relax and focus on enjoying the special day!
Little black book
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Abigail Betz 079 656 5954
Cake: Kanya Hunt of The Hunt House Kitchen 021 553 0440
Coordinator: Valery Zelenyuk of Agape Wedding & Event Design 021 801 6086, and of course, my mum, Lucy-Jane de Villiers
Decor: Okasie 021 887 9904 and Rockhaven Farm 021 849 8664
Dress: Jenny Packham from White in Toronto, Canada
Entertainment: DJ René Tanguy “The Frenchman” 021 783 3664
Flowers: Okasie 021 887 9904
Food: Liz Wood at Rockhaven Farm 021 849 8664
Groom’s outfit: Fabiani in Cavendish Square, Cape Town 021 683 8899
Hair and make-up: Hair by Michelle Hobkirk. Make-up by Louisa Marais from Helga Bridal
Lighting: Something Different 0861 266 2378
Photography: Natelee Koen and Annerien Nel from ZaraZoo Photography 021 910 1196
Stationery: Lara’s Designs 082 681 4500
Venue: Rockhaven Farm 021 849 8664
Videography: Ian Badenhorst of Vision on Fire 072 671 6744