Breath-taking views and a touch of black and white elegance
Photography by Mark Dentry Photography
Sheri remembers that it was almost the end of the year and with all the festivities around the corner, they also booked their first holiday in the Lowveld together. Sheri had no idea that Stephen had planned the proposal and at their last visit to Jenna Clifford’s studio, the ring was not complete and they would be closing until end January and Stephen had told them that there was no rush.
The two went to the Kruger National Park and had booked accommodation in Hazyview to see the famous God’s Window and Mac Mac falls. They left early in the morning with a picnic basket packed for the day. When they arrived at God’s Window, Sheri says she noticed that Stephen looked a little irritated as there were so many tourists around and they could not find a good spot to sit and enjoy their picnic. They then moved on to the Mac Mac Pools and upon arrival were informed that they would be closing in 30 minutes.
They eventually found a spot and whilst they were enjoying their cheese and biscuits, Stephen said that he couldn’t wait any longer even though it wasn’t what he had envisioned and pulled the ring box out of his pocket. Sheri says it didn’t matter in the least to her, it was a lovely surprise and knowing all the trouble and effort he went through meant the world to her.
When it came to finding the perfect venue Sheri says that the breath taking views is what made them fall in love with Red Ivory and she describes her wedding as “incredible.” Having quite a few family and friends located all over the country and overseas, they decided on digital invites. They made use of sandblasted Perspex to match the glass tables, which included the welcome board, seating plan, guest book menus and a white selfie board.
Their vision was to host an elegant wedding, no theme per se, but the guests were asked to wear black/formal. Sheri says “the black/formal dress code for the wedding really made stunning photos, we also wanted our guests to dress up, but not to feel too formal, and we encouraged people to kick off their shoes and offered a pair of complimentary flip flops in a stand at the entrance to the reception. Even some of the gents ended up wearing them!”
As for the décor, their vision was a clean and classy look with only white flowers. The couple chose glass tables with white flower runners, glass under plates, candles and glass candle holders and the reflection of the candles and fairly lights added a dramatic look on the glass tables and the pond in the centre of the reception area.
Sheri had absolutely no idea what style gown to choose, except that she wanted to wear white. After searching through magazines, expo’s and online, she just felt like every gown she looked at was not for her until she decided to try on gowns at Biji La Maison. After trying on a couple, one was almost perfect, except it wasn’t white. Back to searching again, but after trying on a few more gowns, Sheri realised that she wanted the gown she tried on at Biji and went back to her and she ended up replicating the gown in white for their special day. Sheri says, “The dress has a beautiful open back, crystals that sparkle as you move, and an awesome fit flare style. I wish someone could create an event where you could wear your wedding dress again. Everything else like my hair, jewellery and shoes was planned to complement my dress.”
Sheri shares, “in August 2019 Wedding Collection online magazine advertised the, Nimue Skincare International “No Make-Up Bride, 12 week challenge” and I entered and was privileged to win. During the 12 weeks and in the build up to the wedding, I received facial treatments and home products from Nimue. A blog was created so people could see the progress of my facial skin and my wedding planning. Stephen was very supportive during this time, helping me with interview preparations and social media posts. After 12 weeks I had the choice of going foundation free and to win a very generous cash prize from Nimue. The results of my skin were already an amazing prize in itself, so it was an easy choice to go foundation free on my wedding day. I only had eye shadow, lashes and lip gloss on. So, I also achieve my makeup look – 100% ME!”
Sheri and Stephen decided to have two seating plans, as they figured that when guests don’t know each other, cliques are formed. As the guests sat down at first, the MC announced that they should not get too comfortable in their seats. The starter was served at the first seating and guests got to know people they may not have known. Everyone was invited to go outside for a group photo and whilst this took place, the venue staff placed the second seating plan at the entrance. Even though it was a huge risk, the feedback they got was fantastic and all the guests thought it was a great idea.
To include Sheri’s sister who passed away, her bridesmaid compiled a video with photos of her using the music of “Michael learns to Rock – Angel Eyes”, whom she loved dancing to with their dad.
During the father/daughter dance Sheri says she wanted the focus to move from them to her sister as she also had this time with their dad. This had most of the guests in tears but she says it wasn’t her goal; she just wanted her sister to also be celebrated on their special day.
The cake from Café Mozart was another hit amongst the guests. The three layered, carrot, lemon and butter cream with chocolate coffee gnash was beautiful and more importantly, absolute delicious. One of the guests remarked she doubts that she will ever find another carrot cake that tastes like that.
They had black boxes on the tables with little thank you notes in and these also served as name cards. As gifts for their guests they placed a fortune cookie and a R25 lotto ticket and Stephen mentioned in his speech that he hopes someone wins the jackpot and they would feel as lucky as he felt on his wedding day.
We asked the couple if there were any surprises or if anything went wrong on their day and they said that there were a few things:
- They booked their honeymoon flights with SAA and due to the strike, were unsure of they would go at all.
- As she and her bridal party slept at the venue the night before everything including the bridal outfits and her gown, the gift for the bridal party and extra décor was loaded into Stephens’s car. He and the groomsmen had to collect the sweet/love table on the way to the venue, and couldn’t find the place, they then ran late.
- This delayed the entire bridal party from getting dressed and also the photographer and videographer from shooting the “getting dressed” images. Stephen and his groomsmen did not even have time to enjoy their whiskey and cigars.
We then asked Sheri to describe the highlights and this is how she replied:
- My beautiful dress
- My amazing skin results
- How special it was having my dad cry even before we started walked down the aisle
- How beautiful our bridal party, guest and the entire wedding set up looked. I couldn’t stop looking at how beautiful my bridesmaids, flower girl and mothers looked.
- The fun party we had till 3am because of the good music
- The tons of compliments we received and still receiving from guest about every part of our wedding
- The love we felt having our friends and family present on our big day and hearing all the good wishes they wished for us
- Our beautiful photos and video.
- We were finalists for “Droom Troue” and then blessed as the winner of the Nimue NO-makeup Bride experience alone was a highlight of the wedding for me
- All the effort the groomsmen and bridesmaids made to great unforgettable bachelors and bachelorette parties. And just their support during the time, as well as my work colleges and manager that arrange a beautiful bridal shower for me
- Heidi from Miss Dressed was my savior. I had dresses in mind for my bridesmaids and flower girl. She added detail to the dresses that made it even better and I couldn’t believe the invoice!
- My bridesmaid and family sitting till the morning hours to help with final wedding things, and my brother driving around for us picking things up.
- My sons’ special message he wrote in our guest book
- EVERYTHING about the venue, food, service, Red Ivory really created an unforgettable wedding day
- Lastly and most important getting married to Stephen Johnston. He not only gave me a perfect Wedding day but he is also the perfect person and the highlight in my life.
Sheri’s words of advice to brides planning their wedding day is to delegate as much as possible. She personally did not accept help that was offered as she is very fussy and wanted things done her way. She realized that doing it all herself had its toll on her so she started to delegate. “You can always change it if it is not done the way you want it,” grins Sheri.