A Wild African WeddingWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Amy Caroline Photography
Lauren and Brendan are originally from Zimbabwe and knew they wanted to travel back home for their African destination wedding. When it came to the “where,” the answer was pretty simple. “Brendan spent many years on [Imire Safari Ranch & Sable Lodge] as it’s owned by his best friends and it always held a very special place in his heart,” says the bride. “Once he pitched the idea to me, I was sold and even more so after going there to visit. The people, the animals and the place are one of the most unique and special places on earth.”
While the bride was relatively new to the venue, Brendan and the gorgeous place go way back. “[Brendan] spent many weekends off from boarding school on that farm with his best friend who owns it, hunting, farming, spear fishing and all those good things boys like to do,” says Lauren. “After I went to visit the farm with him, I could see why he loved it so much. It was also an unusual venue, exclusive in the way that it is not open to the public...”
These two knew what they wanted for their destination wedding from the beginning, but it didn’t come to fruition without a lot of effort. “Logistically, it was a bit of a nightmare as there is no infrastructure for weddings out there and everything had to be outsourced (food, bar, cutlery, crockery, waiters, barmen, etc.), so this caused a bit of stress…,” recalls the bride. Thankfully, the groom’s mother still lives nearby and was on-hand to put out any fires.
The couple also ran into some issues when it came to accommodations for their guests. Thankfully, their guests were up to the challenge and got creative. “The lodge could only cater to about 28 guests, which we prioritized for family,” recalls Lauren. “Fortunately, the rest of the guests were easy campers and pitched their tents near the reception area.” Guests camping out for the reception? That’s a DID first.
While the couple’s unique and special venue meant for some logistical complications, they have no doubts they made the right decision. “The game ranch is a rhino sanctuary as well. We wanted to get married in the bush amongst African animals (rhinos, elephants, giraffes, etc.) and trees. [The logistics were] a minor issue as we would not change our venue for anything. Everything fell into place on the day.”
Come W-day, Lauren and Brendan got exactly the wild wedding they always envisioned. While a venue not typically suited for weddings caused some added issues, it was all worth it in the end. The bride has some advice for other couples planning the destination wedding of their dreams: “Choose a photographer whose work you love and admire. [Also,] think about the time of year you would like to have your wedding, the seasonal colors and whether they’re your style. Spend money on what matters to you, don’t spend too much money on things which are not a priority for you as a couple…you can save a lot of money by doing things yourself.”
Vendors: Photographer: Amy Caroline Photography, Ceremony/Reception Site: Imire Safari Ranch & Sable Lodge, Zimbabwe, Africa, Florist: Jacqui Meikle, Cake: Megs Treats, Hair: Leanne Champion, Makeup: Kerryn Lane with Complexions, Gown Designer: San Patrick, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Selected Homme, Paris, Bridesmaids/Groomsmens’ Clothing: Forever New Australia/Selected Homme, Paris, Event Rental: Rooney’s Event Hire, Reception Staff: Zest Training & Event Staff, Photobooth: The Photobooth Co, Megan Langworthy
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