A Wild WeddingWords by Taylor Wilson
Photos courtesy of Kim Tracey
When imagining your dream wedding, most people picture themselves with the love of their life and their closest friends and family in a somewhat traditional setting. Hardly any of those imaginations include elephants, giraffes and lions as the guests of honor, with the exception of Jana and Jandré. Their vision came true as they escaped to the bush for a truly remarkable destination wedding.
With a fervent love for nature, Jana and Jandré wanted to wed in the great outdoors. A family farm in Africa spurred the idea of a destination wedding to one of the most exotic places in the world. A venue neighboring the farm gave the destination wedding a more personal touch. “The family farm has been in the family for three generations. So the area had a very sentimental meaning to us,” says Jana.
Although a destination wedding in Africa may seem like a daunting excursion, their family and friends were ecstatic and ready for adventure. The journey to the wedding was quite the experience and sounded like it could be straight out of the movies.
“To get all the guests across the border was a worry for me, due to the cable car not working because it was washed away by the floods in January. Everyone had to go by boat and carry their own luggage to the river crossing including the DJ, hairdresser and violinist with all their equipment,” explains Jana.
This thrilling wedding week kick-off got everyone’s adrenalin pumping and excitement building for the ceremony of a lifetime. Best of all, the drive from Limpopo River to the main camp was like a built-in safari with the stunning landscape views and remarkable wildlife the nature reserve had to offer.
With help from the local Sarie Bruid, an African bridal magazine, Pinterest and The Pretty Blog, Jana collected the inspiration she needed for a rustic wedding. She was able to contact vendors and organize arrangements through email and acted as her own wedding planner throughout the planning process. Her mother created all the floral arrangements and decorated the dinner tables, and with help from her cousins, friends and sister, Jana creatively wrapped all the guests’ wedding favors. It was truly a group effort!
Overall, Jana and Jandré’s bushveld wedding was a remarkable experience with many cherished memories. Although they spent much more than they would have on a wedding closer to home, it was definitely worth it. “The game viewing and the whole bushveld experience brought on an extra dimension to the wedding. A lot of guests described it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” recalls the bride. Also, the guests were able to spend much more time bonding and catching up than they would have otherwise.
As far as advice goes for brides-to-be looking to plan a destination wedding as unique and thrilling as hers, Jana urges you to follow your heart. “Do what you like. It’s good to listen to all the advice from your friends and family, but it is ultimately your day. Go the extra mile to make it extra special.” Above all, “Enjoy and drink in every moment!”
Vendors: Photographer: Kim Tracey, Ceremony/Reception Site: Mashatu Main Camp/In the Bush Reception, Gown Designer: Carol Bruining, Florist: The Green Chameleon, DJ: Johan de Bruto, Violinist: Ivan Lazarov, Hairdresser & Make-Up: Odette Townsend (Paradigm Hair)
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