Riaan and Alta met on the dating app, Tinder. “They both swiped right and the rest is history,” Alta says. “We were lucky to have met each other through internet dating and today we are both very grateful that we never have to do that again. Everything in the Universe conspired in bringing us together and having us cross paths. The timing was just right and both our hearts were ready for a second chance at love.”
Riaan proposed on a Friday evening at around seven o’clock in their kitchen, “between the stove and the kettle, and it was one of the best moments in my life!” Alta beams. “I did not hesitate to say yes,” she adds that their journey and adventure had begun and that both of them could not have been more happy and excited.
Riaan and Alta had a long engagement which gave them some time to compare venues and prices. Indaba Hotel was Riaan’s idea and he insisted that Alta have a look at it. It was an immediate ‘I DO!’ Alta says, “There was a certain energy and ambiance to this serene and peaceful space in the middle of Fourways. I loved the accommodation and the staff, and the moment I saw the Ndaba Palace with its gorgeous fireplaces, we booked it. Simply put: Our venue warmed my heart.”
When we asked this couple to describe their wedding in one word, the answer was an emphatic, eclectic – from the décor to the wedding guests! A wonderful mixture of people, food, music, ages, cultures and religions. Some other words they use to describe their wedding is: ‘Honest’; ‘Vintage’; ‘Boere-Chic’
Alta says, she thought she was neat and organized, unil she met Riaan, his military background and optimistic outlook on life, creates a great balance to their relationship. Alta is more artistic and intense and she says that Riaan brings a solution to every problem, and is more consistent. Delightedly she adds that he has great ironing and dishwashing skills! “We both share a love for movies and music and both our sense of humour is quite unique and quirky. Our favourite television series is Grey’s Anatomy and we used a number of quotes from the series for our invitations and wedding programmes. We want the same things in life and I believe our sense of ‘family’ will see us through life’s challenges. We love spending time together – just the two of us, whether it is grocery shopping or going out for a Wimpy breakfast. We are each other’s ‘besties’. He is indeed ‘my person’,” smiles Alta.
We asked them how they set the tone for their day and this was their reply; “Our guest list absolutely set the tone for our wedding – it is all about the people, isn’t it? Riaan and I felt strongly about having people at our wedding with ‘good vibes’ and love. Our ‘Save-the-Date’ was simple and sent via WhatsApp to all guests.”
Initially they wanted an autumn wedding and chose their colour scheme accordingly, however the wedding ended up being in the middle of winter, but the colours burgundy, champagne and navy, being autumn colours, still worked beautifully. Nadia from Creative Heroes designed and printed their wedding invitations, ceremony programmes and menus for the tables. She included all our ideas in her unique designs. Again, they kept it simple and personal and the ceremony programmes had a different theatre programme theme.
Every decision about their theme and the style had meaning and carried some symbolism. For example the tables and the bouquets had proteas which represented our South African heritage.
Their ‘Boere-Chic/Vintage’ styled wedding included hesian on the tables with angel’s breath, proteas and lanterns with candles. Everything was done in a simple, effective way, allowing guests to be able to communicate and see each other easily. Small jam jars were given as wedding favours and also served as part of the décor on the tables. The lanterns with the candles, combined with the two fireplaces in the venue all contributed to a warm and cosy atmosphere for their special winter wedding day.
Alta says she knew from the beginning that her dress would be different and ended up choosing a 1920’s Great Gatsby style gown which was adorned with sequins, which suited and fitted her body perfectly.
“I wanted to be comfortable and aimed for a more classic look. My champagne/ivory coloured dress was paired with burgundy shoes and a cream poncho with a bird cage veil. All the items created a vintage look that she just loved to wear,“ Smiles Alta.
For accessories she wore something sentimental, small diamond earrings with a matching necklace, a gift given to her by her now husband, on her first birthday as his fiancé. Her hair was styled to be manageable and out of her face, so her stylist created a soft look with her hair to one side, curled and tied up with pearl pins. Her makeup artist gave her a natural look, using browns and some shimmer. Alta started a skin regime months in advance which consisted of a series of facials which kept her skin hydrated and glowing for her special day. She advises that it is so important to work with professionals who know you and your personality to have a relaxed and fun filled day without the stress. She says “I wanted to look and feel like myself on my wedding day, without any surprises.”
To create something they both love, they chose doughnuts for their wedding cake. “Riaan and I love Krispy Kreme Donuts and chose a selection of flavours for our guests to enjoy. Riaan ended up ordering his favourite Mozart cake from Chateaux Gateaux for the top,” beams Alta.
As anyone who hosts a winter wedding, they anticipated some cold weather, but it turned out to be a perfect, sunny day. Apparently, four drops of rain did fall at eleven o’clock in the morning which was soon replaced by sunny, almost spring weather. Alta says she experienced such calmness on the wedding day and she made a conscious decision to take in every moment, good or bad. However, she says, “It was all good and I could not have asked for a smoother running of the event.”
She describes the highlights of her day as her father walking her down the aisle and seeing Riaan for the first time was one of the biggest highlights of her life, never mind just her wedding day. Having lifelong friends and family attend as well as her sense of peace and calmness was another highlight for her, she says her heart just felt utmost joy.
Sadly her mom was diagnosed with cancer six months before the wedding and passed away three weeks before the day. Alta says that the months and weeks leading up to the wedding were filled with intense, contrasting emotions and she had to make every effort to ‘lean towards the joy’. Fortunately having her father part of the journey and special day was such a highlight and she is so grateful she could spend some quality time with him. She says that it emphasised the important things in life and put the planning and day in perspective for her. This journey called life is truly about the people you love. None of the small details really matter, the tables, the catering or anything else. “I had my people with me – And Riaan – And Love,” she says.
Alta’s pearls of wisdom when planning your wedding include:
You are allowed to invite whomever you want; Keep your guest list small and intimate – the smaller the better; Do some research regarding the prices of venues, dresses etc. before you make a decision. Give yourself enough time to compare services and prices; Remember that the groom is also getting married! It is a wonderful and enriching journey to plan for the wedding together! You do not have to have six bridesmaids. I only had my sister and Riaan had one best man; You do not have to lose 15 kgs before the wedding. Rather be happy and relaxed on the journey and on the day than starve yourself; Make use of something unique and different for a wedding cake such as cupcakes, donuts or macaroons. The guests loved it and it is much more practical and affordable; It is a great idea to have an engagement shoot before to get to know the photographer and see the quality of photos that will be taken on the day. It is quite a chunk out of the budget, so you want to make sure you have made the right photographer decision. Our photographer, Christaan from VitoWedding Photography included an engagement shoot in the package. It was a great and fun experience as a couple to have before the wedding; Wedding planning is stressful. Full stop. It is ok to be anxious and stressed. There is nothing wrong with you if you experience anxiety. Ask for help. You are going to be ok. And beautiful. And it will be a perfect day.