A spectacular, elegant and romantic celebration in the bushveld
Photographer: Lovina Claasen
Jürgen and Geraldine first laid eyes on each other at a work function and many moons later made plans to meet and get to know each other. From their first date, they both knew that they would be life partners, so it came as no surprise when Geri fell pregnant two years later. Delighted at the news, they started planning their wedding and it was really special to have their son, Blake as their ring bearer, at their wedding.
Jürgen was raised in an English family and Geri in an Afrikaans one, despite the different cultures, Geri says they are an absolute match made in heaven, as their differences bring out the best in each other.
Jürgen planned his proposal to Geri as secretly as he could; however, he first had to ask permission from Geri’s parents for her hand in marriage. It was over the festive season, and a very busy time for everyone and as time was running out, he knew he had better do something as soon as possible. Fortunately, he managed to find some time alone time with her parents, as he had planned something special to pop the question, the very next day.
Both Jürgen and Geri love the bushveld, so he had arranged their very own private game drive. He had briefed the game ranger, and as they arrived at a specific, very romantic setting in the bush, the ranger stopped the vehicle and Geri and Jürgen took a walk away from the vehicle and he went down on bended knee and asked Geri if she would marry him. Needless to say, she did not hesitate to say yes!! He managed to arrange a picnic basket and champagne, and they celebrated their engagement under the African sky, in their most favourite place on earth.
It goes without saying that their venue of choice would have a bushveld feel. They viewed a few bush styled venues, but when they eventually found Askari Lodge, they both knew that it was the perfect spot for them to say their “I do’s”. Their dream and vision was to host an elegant wedding in the bush, and they found Askari to be rustic yet elegant.To announce their wedding, they sent a link of their wedding website to all the guests, which had all the info and more. They also had save the date magnets printed.
“The décor colour scheme was mint green and candy floss pink, soft and romantic”, says Geri. To include the elegant factor, crystals and pearls were added to the décor. Geri’s mom, Rita, did all the décor for this spectacular wedding. Rita’s décor business is called Silwer Randjie and you can find her here on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Silwer-Randjie-176803532926420/ . For the table arrangements, tall crystal vase stands with mirrors were used. The focal point of the arrangements was a giant Protea surrounded by rows of candy floss pink roses and greenery and gyps. To finish off the arrangements, a cascading bush of white orchids was added for a real wow factor. All the under plates, serviettes and serviette rings, additional décor was all lovingly provided by mom, Rita. Their stunning cake was given to them as their wedding gift by a family friend and talented cake maker Annatjie de Lange.In keeping with the bushveld, wild animal theme, the gifts chosen for their guests were small beaded wild animals which included giraffes, kudus, hippos and crocodiles. They also had a sweet table at the wedding, and there were no sweets left at the end of the day!!
To achieve her wedding look, Geri opted for a bespoke gown made by Biji la Maison, the end result was truly a master piece. To add to her look she says that she wanted her makeup, shoes, jewellery, accessories and hair to emphasize her attributes and to fit in with the style of the wedding.
When quizzing them about the things that went wrong, or right on the day, Geri says it was always her plan to be on time and even promised the minister that she would be, however, she managed to be a fashionably 30 minutes late!! On the other hand, Jürgen got it spot on when choosing the song as they made their entrance into the reception area as husband and wife. It was an upbeat serious house tune, and a real party starter. Geraldine says, “We rehearsed our first dance perfectly, yet we forgot some of the steps, but we both laughed and smiled and no one else, except us knew that it wasn’t perfect.”
Highlights of their day included the setting up of the venue. Many family members and friends pitched in to make the reception hall and chapel look perfect, this meant a lot to them both and it was such a special time. For Geri it was a real nostalgic moment to kiss her fiancé good night, knowing that the next night she would be kissing her husband.
Geri says she thought it would take ages to get into her gown, but to her surprise it took no time at all and she was ready to go. She will always remember how emotional her dad was, giving away his little girl, to the man of her dreams. Another highlight for them was taking photographs with the resident elephants at Askari Lodge, Damara and Nzewe, “it’s a surreal experience, having these majestic, wild animals, posing for photos on your most happy day” this couple said.
Jürgen says, “Whilst waiting at the front of the chapel for the love of my life to arrive, 10 minutes felt like 10 hours and then 20 minutes felt like 20 days and then when the chapel bells starting ringing and he knew she was just a few steps away, his stomach flipped and he couldn’t wait to see her”. Geri finally, arrived on her Dad’s arm, and Jürgen says his jaw ached from the huge smile on his face.
Other highlights included saying their vows to each other, the family photos, the speeches were so meaningful and heartfelt and they managed to spend a brief moment alone together before entering the reception area and spending their first night together as husband and wife.
Advice from Geraldine for future couples, remember that the day is about the two of you, don’t drink too much, eat and keep hydrated before the ceremony and enjoy your first night with your new spouse.