Somethings in life are just meant to be!! Elle tells the tale so beautifully. “My gorgeous hubby Ruan and I met at work 7 years ago. We both worked for a video production company in Midrand and from the first day we met we got on extremely well, we would meet at the work coffee machine for a chats and shared some jokes. We definitely share the same sense of humour which is amazing as we are always high-fiving and laughing at each other’s jokes. We had about a good year of work friendship before I said yes to a coffee date with him and from there the next 6 years as they say… is history.”
Photography: Mighty Fine
Ruan must have known that someday he would propose to Elle, as he remembered a conversation that a whole lot of friends at work had around what their dream proposals were. Elle remembers mentioning what her dream proposal was and, Ruan and she only being friends at that stage, remembered every word she said, and 5 and a half years later he made her dream proposal a reality!!
Ruan and Elle planned a trip down to Durban as they do every year, only this time Ruan suggested a short detour and stay for a day in Clarins on the way. They spent a great day in Clarins, and Ruan mentioned that he would like them to get up early in the morning as he had planned a surprise. For a moment Elle’s heart jumped in her throat and she wondered if there was a possibility of a looming proposal, but then brushed the thought aside as they had discussed making plans in the future.
Elle says “It was a crisp beautiful early morning in Clarins and we woke up packed for our continued trip down to Durban, but first the surprise. Ruan drove us down to the Clarins golf course and I thought oh wow, are we playing golf? And as we entered the gate I caught sight of one of the most romantic bucket list wishes of my life… a beautiful multi-coloured huge hot air balloon being inflated. I turned to Ruan and I just could not believe my eyes and I also got extremely nervous, was it going to be the “pop the question day” or is this just us doing an exciting activity on holiday as usual. But this was my dream, my wish from years ago that I mentioned in passing many years ago to a group of friends at work. Could he have remembered?
Elle says she tried to play it cool, although she was really nervous and she watched his every move and scanned his person to try to spot a small box. She even sneakily hugged him and frisked him and playfully put her hands in his pockets to find a box, anywhere, but alas there was nothing, not a clue. Ruan remained extremely calm during the whole ordeal, so Elle decided that it must be just a romantic outing he was taking her on.
Meantime, Ruan knows Elle so well, and he knew that the minute she saw the balloon, and if she even had an inkling, that she would be looking for a ring box , so he cleverly hid the engagement ring itself, in the side of his sock in his shoe. Elle says she would never have guessed.
Elle says, “I decided to put the whole “engagement” story out of my mind and just enjoy the occasion for what it was. The hot air balloon ride over Clarins was breath taking, nothing between us and the sky, only a small basket. The views were beautiful and Ruan and I were having a laugh and enjoying the ride, and time “flew” by next thing I heard the pilot saying we are starting our decent shortly after that I noticed Ruan’s face change and he looked nervous and a little serious. He grabbed my hand, told me that he loves me then we went down on one knee in our little section of the basket and pulled out the most amazing ring made just for me, my special design that I happened to show him about 3 years previously. He looked up at me, I was already in tears and he said “Elle will you marry me?” I cried and said yes and the 4 other passengers clapped. I tried to hold my shaking hand steady so Ruan could place the ring on my finger. My dream man made my dream proposal come true, my ring was shining and I was glowing and I literally felt like I was on cloud 9.”
Their venue of choice was Rosemary Hill. They loved the casual charm and the rustic chic feel of it. They chose this venue as it was within their budget, and the friendly staff made them feel like they had been friends for years. The beautiful gardens and openness of the maze pavilion made them feel free and Elle said she always wanted to say her vows in nature.
This light hearted fun loving couple, admit they are firstly friends and then lovers, and describe their wedding as charming. When asked how they set the tone for their wedding, they said they wanted to reflect their laidback personalities. They are both very passionate about the film and TV industry so they felt it only right that their wedding invite should be a well shot and edited video. Elle says they had so much fun shooting it with good friend Cindy and Jonathan of video production company 22 Knots Productions.
Elle was completely drawn to the rustic chic look for her wedding, she just fell in love with the wood feel, bunting, warm lighting, wild flowers and decor all simply but classic. Ruan also loved the “country” tone of many of the looks and references they chose. They admit that some ideas where taken straight from Pinterest, and other ideas they came up with on their own.
Elle being a DIY presenter and blogger, knew she wanted to DIY her décor and flowers, not only to enjoy but to save on the budget. She says she is so grateful for all the support and assistance she got from friends and family who helped to bring their vision together. Elle collected and sprayed all different sized glass bottles for the centre pieces with warm metallic like copper gold and bronze. These were filled with her two favourite “wild flowers”, namely bright sunflowers and Protea Silvia’s, along with baby’s breath and eucalyptus leaves. It was fortunate that the venue also had a store room of decor they could use and they found some complementary “DIY” choices, like wooden signs, old ladders and tree trunk slices. Elle says she only really had to concentrate on a few decor elements for the reception in the barn, as it already looks amazing with the built in fairy lights and lace bunting hanging from the ceiling. In the maze gardens where the ceremony took place, they opted for Mother Nature and the sky as the decor. A stunning touch from the venue, they gathered dried flowers and foliage from the surrounding fields to lay down “carpet” on the aisle.
Elle shares that she had a big ballroom gown in mind for her wedding day, however, when we went to try on gowns with her mom and bridesmaids, the ballroom gowns just didn’t feel right and didn’t suit her at all. A fitted lace dress was suggested and she tried it on just for fun. She says it felt “more me” and when she stepped out to show her entourage, they couldn’t believe how stunning it looked. It was the unplanned champagne coloured dress that got the thumbs up.
Elle says “Ruan and I also decided to go the less traditional route and see each other before I walk down the aisle. We felt that it would be a magic moment of just us seeing each other and we can get the nerves out before the ceremony. The moment when Ruan and I opened our eyes to see each other all ready to marry, was amazing. We have a few photos of the moment and I really loved having Ruan just to myself before we see our friends and family at the ceremony. I was calmer and a little less nervous walking down the aisle. The day was perfect and I am not just saying that, it was relaxed, beautiful and charming. My groom and I truly enjoyed every moment, just taking it all in. I keep describing it as the day off planet earth in the clouds, not just for us the bride and groom but for everyone. It was a day of complete happiness.”