Photography by: German Wedding: Melissa Meyer Photography – South African Wedding: Ironrose Handcrafted Imagery
Lisa and JP decided to not just have one ceremony, but two! Carefully planned, they said their vows on the grand, opulent, regal and luxurious style S.S. Maria Theresa ship with its 18th Century décor for the first time and then again on home ground, in Pretoria at the dramatic Nazareth House Chapel in Waterkloof where the atmosphere feels so sacred with all the light of the chapel and it’s statues, vases and candleholders. Followed by a party with family and friends at Mooikrans Venue and Garden.
Lisa and JP met twelve years ago at the company they both worked for, however, he only asked her out on a date five months after she had left the company. Lisa remembers the surprise proposal was on Friday the 1st December 2017. She had had a good day, as it was her end of year party, which started in the morning and lasted the whole day. JP had asked her to meet him at a five star hotel in Pretoria for a family dinner with his sisters that evening and when she arrived she couldn’t help but wonder where his sisters were. Then JP asked if he could show her the view from the board room of the hotel. She should have heard alarm bells ringing at that point, but she says she had no clue what was about to happen.
She says, “When we walked into the room it was actually one of the hotel rooms set up with a trail of rose petals and candles leading to the balcony where there was a table set up for two with dinner, candles, a bouquet of flowers and champagne outside overlooking a view of Pretoria. The proposal was wonderful – It was very romantic. JP knows how much I love watching the reality TV show ‘The Bachelor’ so he asked me if I would ‘accept his final rose’ before getting down on one knee on the balcony with the engagement ring and saying some special words about our relationship and how much we had been through together. We had dinner by candlelight outside on the balcony at the hotel with our own private waiter serving us. After he proposed he told me that his sister Jemima Hegermann, who lives in Australia, had made the engagement ring herself. When she visited South Africa for JP’s niece’s wedding in November 2017, she brought the ring over to him so he could propose.”
For this couple, trust, honesty and respect are the most important characteristics of their relationship. Lisa says she trusts JP with her life. JP is analytical, a thinker and a numbers guy, whereas Lisa is a spontaneous, creative and a dreamer. Because they are so different it was tricky navigating how to handle each other in the beginning of their relationship, but, Lisa says, they have learnt over the years to understand and manage each other’s different personality types. It’s all about compromise and understanding each other’s differences, so you can adapt your ways slightly to help the other person and at the same time recognize each other’s talents and strengths.
They had actually booked and paid the deposit on a venue in SA, but when visiting a friend who knew all about cruises who showed them a catalogue of the river cruises, they became intrigued and decided to do some of their own research. They had never seen the S.S. Maria Theresa Ship and had never been on a river cruise before but were blown away by YouTube videos and information about the ‘Enchanting Danube and Munich Cruise’ and all the sight-seeing on offer, so they devised a plan to say their vows on a ship as well as at home. In keeping with their budget, they figured out a way to have the best of both worlds, some negotiation with suppliers for their South African wedding, and then choosing to elope and have a ceremony on the cruise first. Lisa says, “Plus it’s so super romantic and exciting to have a ceremony on a ship – just like in the movies!”
South African wedding:
After booking and paying for a well-known venue in Magaliesburg, Lisa and JP had to cancel, as the dates clashed with their plans to say their vows on the ship and their ceremony in South Africa. They fortunately found Nazareth House Chapel in Waterkloof for their second ceremony. They both fell in love with the chapel. “The atmosphere felt so sacred and is very light and bright inside with beautiful marble, we just knew this is where we wanted to say our vows for the second time,” says Lisa. For the reception, they chose Mooikrans Venue and Garden because they both loved the uniqueness of the function room and they loved that it felt intimate and warm. What really appealed to them were the different sizes, shapes and types of wood of the tables of the venue. Lisa says it felt like you were in someone’s home, with different types of lounge furniture, armchairs and couches, as well as a fireplace and inter leading kitchen. “We also loved that the venue had glass doors around the entire function hall opening up to overlook a beautiful pond and tranquil garden, there were ducks walking in and out of the venue, the harvest table would be set up in a separate section of the garden, there was a garden bar in another section and a comfortable seating area around the pond. We also loved that the lounge furniture could be set up in various parts of the garden. This venue offered us value for money and was an intimate and personal setting.”
The words they use to describe their weddings are, for the German Wedding – Regal and opulent luxury and for the South African Wedding – Intimate and close to nature. To set the tone for their weddings, Lisa set up a beautiful website invitation and app and used the engagement shoot photos on the online invite. She wrote their love story and all about how they met, in a fairytale style starting off with ‘Once upon a time’. It listed what could be expected for the ceremony on the S.S. Maria Theresa Ship with a video of the cruise and imagery, as well as a travel tab explaining the cruise itinerary in case any of the guests wanted to join them. It also listed Nazareth House Chapel and Mooikrans Venue and Garden for the South African wedding.
To achieve her wedding day looks, Lisa had two gowns made, because the weather in Germany would be between around 5 – 10 Degrees C and the South African weather would be reaching 28 -33 Degrees C.
For the German wedding, her goal was to achieve a modern, classic and stylish look which would include pearls and gold. The princess style dress of her dreams was made by Estelle Designs, as well as a matching garter. She actually wore two garters as she had bought one with blue on it for her ‘something blue’. Her shoes were ordered online from David’s Bridal in the USA as well as clip in hair extensions. She had her makeup and hair done at a salon a few blocks away from the ship in Passau and with the help of some photos on Pinterest and some hand signals, due to the language barrier; Lisa was totally satisfied with the outcome. She wore a headband by Bijou Brigitte bought in France and earrings from Colette bought in South Africa.
For the South African wedding, she again wore the wedding shoes from David’s Bridal, and the clip in extensions, however this time her stylist curled the extensions for a different look. Her goal for her look was the 60’s which would include a dramatic eye and nude lip, and Lisa says, her make-up artist got it just right!
The bridesmaids all chose their own dresses in line with the colour scheme of blush pink, champagne and gold in the style they liked and they all chose their own hairstyles and makeup. The groomsmen suits were from Designer Warehouse in South Africa, and everyone looked amazingly glamorous!
Ivana, the event manager on the S.S. Maria Theresa Ship, sent out invitations the night before their wedding to every room to invite cruise-goers to attend their wedding and the reception after. The Uniworld S.S. Maria Theresa’s staff went above and beyond, treating them like royalty. Lisa says they were extremely prepared and organized. They quickly steamed Lisa’s dress and veil for her the night before the wedding and Captain Richard Martin walked her down the aisle to JP – it was amazing! They also did a Captain’s cheers for us after the wedding ceremony and organised delicious cakes and treats for our guests at the reception. As a gift from the ship, they were given beautiful champagne glasses with hearts on the stems. . They organized champagne and chocolate dipped fruit and candles in our room the night of the wedding and more than once on the trip. Lisa says, “It was the best day of my life!”
Back in South Africa, Lisa’s bridesmaids organized video messages with wishes from our friends in other countries around the world who could not attend the wedding and they played them on a screen for us – it had them in tears.
When asked what was special and unique about their wedding, Lisa says “Most things were unique about our wedding as we turned everything back to front! We first went overseas to see the sights and beaches of Spain, we then went to the Louvre and saw the Mona Lisa painting and then saw the Eiffel Tower at sunset in France before they turned the lights of the tower on. We then took a train to Germany where we stayed in a modern hotel for two nights before we boarded Uniworld’s S.S. Maria Theresa Ship to have our wedding ceremony on the opulent, luxurious and regal 18th-century decorated ship the next day – This is any little girl’s dream come true! We felt like a prince and princess in a modern day fairy tale! And we learnt so much about the history and rulers in different countries. After enjoying all the excursions of the cruise and the amenities of the ship like the beautiful swimming pool and doing yoga lessons in the morning sailing past some of the most magnificent scenery in the world, we returned home to South Africa to say our vows once again in the presence of our family and friends. JP and I loved sitting together at the same table as our guests, we did not want to have a separate table sitting in front ‘on show’ – we wanted to be seated with our loved ones and enjoy the conversations and food with them. The music we chose had a sentimental meaning for us and we personally picked out every song. “
Lisa’s words of advice are to get at least three quotes for every supplier and negotiate to get the best rate. They feel that by saving on their wedding allowed them to afford to travel.