Was it fate or destiny how this couple met, you decide? Leigh and Doug were both on separate dates at the Oyster Box in Durban when they both caught each other’s eye across the crowded room. Talk about serendipity, it just so happened that they had mutual friends at the same venue which provided the perfect opportunity for this couple to introduce themselves, and the rest, as they say, is history.
As Doug never celebrated his 21st or even a 30th birthday party, Leigh decided to throw him a very special surprise 40th. She arranged for Watershed to play, Möet on tap and exquisitely catered food. Friends from around the country attended Doug’s birthday bash, a brilliant occasion that took place at their home. Doug, not wasting a moment, took this merry opportunity to propose, and as the night was drawing to a close, Doug called everyone together and got down on bended knee!! Leigh did not see that coming, and says it was a total, delightful surprise!!
When asked to describe their relationship, Leigh admits that Doug and she are best friends, a requisite quality of a long, successful marriage. She says that more importantly they have a huge amount of respect for each other as individuals and want the best for each other. “We love to laugh and have fun together and whilst we share a passion for many of the same things in life, our personalities balance each other impeccably, which is most handy in times of conflict,” beams Leigh.
Leigh has been fortunate to have worked in the public relations industry and having hosted many functions at Summer Place, there was no question that she would want to host her special day at this elegant venue. She adds that the proximity, size, beautifully manicured gardens and above all else, the professionalism as a venue made it an easy choice to host their special day which she describes as “Magical”.
In a paperless society, Doug and Leigh decided to communicate all the necessary information about their wedding day via a chic but simple website. The headline copy of the website read “To love is nothing….to be loved is something … to love and be loved in return, is everything”.
The vision this couple had for their day was “sophisticated elegance” and they managed to turn this vision into a reality by working with the very best service providers in the industry. Starting with the engagement ring, Doug, having impeccable taste, designed the ring setting. He had the beautiful clean 2 carat diamond set in an exquisite tiffany setting. He also chose a Cartier type eternity wedding band to compliment the engagement ring, which would not take any brilliance away from the solitaire diamond. Vermaak Diamonds supplied the diamonds, and also designed and made the rings.
They wanted to create a beautiful and memorable day for their family and friends and chose an evening wedding with a black tie dress code creating an expectation of an exceptional celebration.
To achieve a soft romantic feel, the colour scheme was grey, ivory and white with a hint of gold. They kept all the flowers in white and the décor followed the lines of simple classical elegance, carried throughout in the furniture choices, linen and cutlery. To achieve a magical, beautiful look, Leigh says that lighting is key, so candles were used in abundance adding to the final exquisite atmosphere.
We asked Leigh how she achieved her unique exceptional look, and she said that to create a look that worked for her was not that easy, initially. After hours of dress hunting she fell in love with an image of a Berta Bridal gown. Berta is an Israeli designer; however, local designer Ryan Keys brilliantly re-worked the look of the gown to Leigh’s own unique style and fabric choices. Ryan not only designed and created Leigh’s gown, but her bridesmaid’s gowns too!! Leigh’s gown was fully hand beaded and hand stitched piped lace was used to create her masterpiece of a gown. The bridesmaid’s gowns were embroidered on net with Swarovski crystals and chiffon skirts. The gown had so much detail; Leigh chose to keep the remaining accessories simple and classic. “It’s very important to stay true to your own style when choosing a wedding look” is the advice Leigh gives.
Leigh says she was blessed to have an excellent relationship with her make-up artist, Christine Pearse from “The Blush Brush”. Christine created a look that worked perfectly with Leigh’s own natural beauty and her exquisite gown. The look Leigh wanted was something natural, so they opted to go with more warm brown and gold tones for her eyes and sparked up her lips with a gloss. A classic up do completed the look.
A very poignant moment for Leigh was when she had the honour of her children walking her down the aisle. As it was her second wedding, her wish was that her children play a significant role in the ceremony. They both love music and were thrilled to have Thembeke Mnguni perform. The Rocketeers rocked their guests during the champagne and canape time, and DJ Ricky H kept the party pumping into the early hours of the morning. Leigh says “good music, exceptional food and a plethora of fun friends really help create a perfect party and we were blessed to have an abundance of all three on the day”.
Highlights of their day, included her incredible bridesmaids, they made every effort to ensure that she was always happy, relaxed and that her champagne flute remained full!! “The morning of the wedding and getting ready was such a joyful affair” she says, “sharing these precious moments with my nearest and dearest, will long be remembered”. Other highlights included how hilarious their MC was; the speeches, which had them laughing, crying and sighing, significantly contributed greatly to perfect their day; the delicious and plentiful food; the music, everyone danced all night long; Isabella’s Grace Prayer and Thembeka singing “The Prayer” during the ceremony. Last but not least, Leigh says, “marrying the love of my life!”
The couple say that everything went as perfectly as they visualised, planned and dreamed of for their wedding day. “There was an enormous amount of happiness and love at our wedding, everyone could feel it, everyone enjoyed it and everyone played their role in making it one of the happiest days of our lives.”
Leigh says that if she had to single out one moment of perfection, it would be when she laid eyes on Doug in his blue tuxedo. “He took handsome to a whole new level.” She adds that what was special was that they got to celebrate becoming husband and wife with family and friends they love most. “It was a most happy occasion for everyone and there was an enormous amount of love flowing on the day, that piece of magic will live with us forever.”
Leigh’s advice to brides and grooms planning their wedding day is as follows:
Be organised, know what type of wedding you want and plan accordingly; as soon as you have set the date, book the best service providers you can afford, they can make or break your wedding; where possible ensure the bar and dance floor are together, you never want to break up the party; don’t sweat the small stuff, things always have a way of working out for the best; and lastly stay calm and have fun.