MARCH 2018

Every wedding is a little magical, but the wedding of Paul Krendl and long-time fiancé Akemi Welsh was a little more magical than most.  On his recent trip to South Africa as part of the popular “The Illusionists” where this “Houdini of the modern era” entertained audiences with his death defying headline water chamber escape act, Krendl fell in love with our beautiful country and it got him thinking – why not share this paradise with long time love and soul mate Akemi by “tying the knot in Africa”.

Krendl smiles as he says “Akemi and I have been planning our wedding for a while but with our crazy schedules (Akemi is a professional dancer and more famous than me laughs Krendl), we have just not found the right time” – we were hoping to get married in January but a Vegas show confirmed and well, that’s show business shrugs Krendl.

But this “magic man” had a plan – Akemi was due to join him in South Africa for a 10 day holiday after the show run and he decided that this was the perfect opportunity to have a memorable wedding and a honeymoon that people only dream of. Small catch; he decided to surprise Akemi with this dream wedding so she had no idea that she would be arriving in SA to celebrate her wedding day.

Having decided to take the plunge, “self-proclaimed romantic” Krendl got in touch with the Indaba Hotel wedding co-ordinator Tanja Marais and with the help of the Marketing Team, the whirlwind wedding was planned. Akemi would arrive in SA late of Friday evening with the wedding planned for Monday – enough time to let Akemi recover from the long haul international flight from the States.

This small, intimate wedding was planned to the very last detail with a few shared laughs and moments of pure hysteria from Krendl and the Marketing Team as each “to do” was ticked off the Iist. “That’s what makes our jobs exciting”, laughs Crystal Muller, who was key in the planning was of this big day.  Krendl quickly chose the gorgeous “Love Lock Lane”, a hidden secret garden gazebo overlooking the tranquil Kgotla Dam, as the perfect spot to share his vows with Akemi and “lock in his love forever”.

The team waited with bated breath on Monday morning as Krendl and Akemi enjoyed a romantic breakfast on the deck overlooking the dam and gardens – finally the thumbs up from an ecstatic Krendl – “she said yes” he laughed “we are getting married today” as the marketing team jumped into action and whisked Akemi off to “make it happen”.

A mad dash for passport photos and then on to Bride & Co to find the perfect dress and shoes. After trying on a few options, Akemi settled on a gorgeous floor length chiffon gown in pearl pink embellished with touches of diamanté – the perfect dress for this elegant bride with the unusual colour of setting her dark looks beautifully. With only minor alterations needed, Bride & Co promised that the dress would be ready by 14:30 – excellent service from a professional team.

Dress and shoes done, it was a mad dash to Sandton for the “bride to be” to meet Krendl at the American Embassy to get the necessary paperwork needed to make the ceremony legal (as both Krendl and Akemi are American Citizens, this proved to be quick and easy) and then back to the hotel for hair (thank you Lizel Groves from Tiplady & Groves for the gorgeous updo), make-up (thank you Jessica Jonk for calming nerves and making Akemi even more gorgeous) and a blissful foot and hand massage from our fabulous Mowana Spa therapists to relax the gorgeous bride.

And then it was time – with Vusi Majola and the Chiefs Boma Marimba Band playing an African Beat wedding march, Akemi floated down the petal strewn red carpet towards an opening, emotional Krendl and a small collection of cast and crew of The Illusionist family (a slightly star struck Krendl was in his element having fellow illusionist David Williams at his wedding – “I watched him on TV as a youngster – he was my hero – who would have thought he would be a guest here today”, smiled Krendl) – a fairytale come true. After exchanging their vows, the couple “locked in their love” as part of the ceremony by adding their love lock to the trellises of the Gazebo – the simple inscription reading Krendl & Akemi – love always. All moments of laughter, love and commitment were captured beautifully by Wynand Joubert of Studijoe Photography – a perfect memory to share with friends and family “back home”.

This truly special African moment in time was enjoyed late into the night as the couple were whisked off in style by Boyang Gape Chauffeur drive to enjoy a 7-course degustation menu with wine pairing at Amuse Bouche created especially for them by talented Executive Chef Jandri Niemand at the stylish Amuse Bouche Food & Wine at FBH (Fairlawns Boutique Hotel) – the perfect end to their dream wedding.

Krendl and Akemi enjoyed their honeymoon at well-known Ivory Tree Game Lodge before heading to Durban to experience the “Miami vibe”, catch a few waves and try out Shark Cage Diving – a bucket list experience that this couple can now tick off. The couple loved every moment of the “African love story” and can’t wait to come back to make more memories.


A special thank you to the following suppliers who made the day special:

Mowana Spa – 0861 MOWANA (669262)

Boyang Gape Tours & Travels – 011 465 5053

Liezl Groves – 073 665 8435

Jessica Jonk – 061 233 1988

Vusi Majola and his Marimba Band –

Wynand Joubert – 079 057 7079

Michael Kelsey of FBH – 011 804 2540

Indaba Hotel –

Watch their video here