Real Wedding Story of Riaan and Cherize

A jollification celebration blessed by the appearance of a school of dolphins

Photography: Misty Kisses

Riaan and Cherize met each other at a mutual friend’s birthday party at a restaurant. Cherize had attended a wedding that particular day, but was still in a party mood, so decided to join the birthday party.  Someone recorded the birthday song and in this video you can clearly see Cherize staring at Riaan’s butt!  They hit it off from the get go and from there talked non-stop.  Actually they couldn’t get enough of each other, so moved in together after only being together for 3 months.  Cherize recalls telling her dad after the birthday party that she had met a guy that she liked a lot, but that he wore a moustache and very tight pants, clearly not the type she would go for. His reply was “well you can buy him new pants.”

Cherize is very proud of the fact that she made the holiday arrangements to Thailand where Riaan decided to propose! It was 2018, and Cherize says that the number 8 has always been her favourite number.  So along with herself and Riaan, 4 of their friends joined them on a trip to Thailand on the 18/08/2018.

The mode of transport for holiday makers in Thailand generally are scooters,  and on one particular day during the holiday, a scooter ride to a nearby waterfall was planned, which sounded like a lot of fun initially until Cherize had to climb a ‘mountain’ to get to the spectacular waterfall.  After climbing for a while, she protested that she was hot and tired and that she was not going to do any more climbing and proceeded down the ‘mountain’.  It was at that point that Riaan asked her to climb back up again to a smaller waterfall that was at the beginning of the route as their friends were there, waiting for them.  Grumpy as she was, when she eventually reached her friends, she proceeded to tell them how terrible the place was, that she was tired and very hot. However, when she calmed down she discovered that it was actually the most amazing spot.  As they were taking in the views, Riaan and friends produced some much needed beverages … huge beers for everyone.  At that point everyone suddenly wanted to take photographs of the waterfall, and Cherize remembers there were two men staring at them too.  Everyone was taking photographs and she eventually had enough of all the smiling and said, “ok, this is enough now, let’s go”, and it was at that point when Riaan went down on his knee and reached into his pocket.

Cherize says “I knew it! He asked me to be his wife with the most amazingly beautiful ring.  Suddenly my tiredness was gone, I was not feeling hot anymore and everything was just PERFECT!  Our engagement was celebrated with those cold BIG beers and lots of love, hugs and happy tears from our friends (and the 2 Oriental looking men were still very much part of our engagement, ha-ha!). “

Cherize had organized a couples shoot on the beach months before they went, and this turned out to be their Thailand engagement shoot! But, they also had to have another in South Africa as well. Riaan had planned everything so well.  Cherize recalls asking “where did you hide the ring?  And his answer – you were carrying it in your bag while sitting on the back of the scooter this entire holiday!”

When we asked this couple about their temperaments, Cherize says she is a very busy person.  She loves to plan a weekend full of festivities and sometimes overbooks with all the things she would like to do and hardly finds time to rest. Riaan on the other had is the exact opposite.  She says he has taught her to just relax at home with their two Boston terrier babies and watch movies. To her, Riaan is her safe place and that he knows how to calm her down when she is upset. Since getting married she feels even more taken care of and that Riaan is even more amazing than ever.

This couple had always dreamed of a beach wedding, and planning a wedding from Gauteng wasn’t the easiest thing, however, whilst surfing the internet they came upon a quaint venue that they both felt drawn to, which is situated on the North Coast of Kwazulu Natal.  They decided to go and see for themselves, and drove the 700km early on a Saturday morning and only spent one night there.  They both knew it was the place for them; it was informal and next to the beach, everything they had both wished for so they booked their wedding day there and then and drove back home.

Cherize made a short video of what they had experienced, from the little house they overnighted in, to swimming in the sea and of the venue where the wedding would take place and on the drive back home, she edited this video and made it their wedding invitation! Their guests loved it.

Their vision was minimalistic, tropical with white and green.  Both her and Riaan were not too keen on flowers, and wanted to keep the décor quite plain with lots of tropical leaves.  Why spoil a beautiful beach setting with over the top décor? All the signs were personalized in Afrikaans with their hashtag #snorenstrikkietrou which was visible everywhere (Riaan wears a moustache and Cherize loves bows).

We asked Cherize how she achieved her wedding look and she says she saw the most amazing gown online.  She had to provide measurements and had to wait 3 months to receive her gown, but her excitement was short lived.  When she opened the parcel she already started panicking, the dress was not what she thought it was.  Firstly it was made from the ugliest fabric and it did not fit… a bride’s worst nightmare! In a panic she called her bridesmaids and one thing led to another where she was helped out by a friend who had a relationship with the most special bridal shop, namely Whimsical Bridal. At Whimsical she tried on a few gowns and at first she said yes to a dress that she would normally not. As the day drew on and she had time to think about it, she was uncertain and questioned herself, how could she now not like the second gown she tried on and not be happy?  So on the Monday she called and discussed her concerns with them and they were most willing for her to come and try on a few more gowns, until she found the one she could walk down the aisle with confidence.  And that was exactly what she did, she eventually found the gown for her, a plain skirt with a beautiful low back and lace bodice, and a dramatic Cathedral veil finished off the perfect picture.  A word of advice from Cherize, if you ever have second thoughts about your gown, speak up, go back and find the gown of your dreams, a good bridal shop will always help, no matter what.

For her makeup she chose a more dramatic smokey eye.  Her accessories were a vintage looking set of long beautiful rose gold earrings, a bracelet with lots of bling and a hair piece that allowed her to have her hair styled with curls to the one side to show off her back (just what her groom had ordered)! She wore a comfortable pair of light pin wedges, purchased at Whimsical Bridal, and Cherize says her overall look was simple, yet timeless.

We asked this couple if there was anything different about their wedding, and this was their response:

“We had a huge choc chip cookie wedding cake that was layered.  The music was the hero of the day as her friend was the DJ and she walked around with a boom box on the beach whilst the photos were being taken.  Cherize recorded a special message for Riaan over his favourite Francois van Coke song, which was a huge surprise for him.

“As soon as that song started playing and my 2 dads and I walked in, EVERYONE cried.  From the biggest softy to the oldest Grandma, every single one cried,“ reminisced Cherize.

For every speech, a special song, specific to that person was played, which was something so unique and will be unforgettable. The bridesmaids’ dresses were chosen by Cherize and she said they were cute and weird but fit so well with the theme and location. White shoes!  Not Cherize’s favourite, however it was Riaan’s wish and in the end turned out well. One of her bridesmaid rapped a speech to them, with a flat cap on her head, it was hilarious. There was a Go Pro camera on a Tequila bottle, and even her grandmother drank tequila! They loved that they could play lawn games and drinking games with their guests before they went out to the couples shoot. Another highlight for them was that a school of dolphins that swam right in front of them just after they had said their vows, and unforgettable sight and very special.

Cherize and Riaan got married a week before in court, this apparently will be a surprise to most people reading this article, but in the end, they wanted a unique weekend wedding to celebrate their special day with their loved ones, and that is exactly what they got, and more!