Destination I Do
Friday, October 23, 2015

Homecoming Nuptials in Africa

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Cami Jane Photography

Keegan and Amy are both originally from Africa, so it only made sense for them to go home for their wedding. “We are living in America by circumstance, but we both originate from Zimbabwe and desire to ultimately move home to Harare in a few years to raise our family,” says Amy. “We wouldn’t have wanted to get married anywhere else! Our hearts belong in Zimbabwe, so that’s where we wanted to make our vows.”

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With family and friends from all over the globe, the couple knew travel would be required for almost everyone. So, thankfully, their loved ones were more than happy to make the trip back to the couple’s hometown. “We had an incredibly positive response, which lead to about 100 people traveling to Harare to share our special day with us.”

The couple always knew a destination wedding back to Africa was going to be their choice and the bride also already knew the venue. “Family friends of ours own the wildlife sanctuary Wild is Life. As a young girl and into my teens, I had dreamed of getting married there. Roxy and the team made my dreams come true!”

The couple looks back on the planning process happily, but admit it is due to lots of help from their loved ones. “I would say that our experience was unique in that both of our parents were living in Zimbabwe, so they were able to do a lot of the planning and ground work,” says the bride. “We just tried to keep it as simple as possible and accepted the help offered by friends in many instances – don’t try to do it all yourself!”

Once the couple’s guests arrived, they got creative and fended for themselves when it came to accommodations. “Once there, some guests chose to stay in hotels and B&B’s, but the rest stayed with family and friends in spare rooms, mattresses on the floor and every couch available! On the wedding day, we hired buses to take people to the church, the reception and then home.”

While the couple “kept things simple,” the charm of their venue was undeniable. Comfortable and welcoming seating areas within the tent encouraged their guests to relax and take in the nature around them. And, not surprisingly, there was a lot of nature to see. It’s not every day you get a wedding where giraffes, elephants, lions and cheetahs are in attendance!

While the wildlife sanctuary largely spoke for itself, the couple did opt for a few personalized projects. “A friend made a beautiful scrapbook for the guests to sign, as well as a big world map where people could pin the country they came from,” explains Amy. “We had guests from all over the world, so that was a really fun touch to show how far people had traveled to be able to celebrate with us!”

The love these two have for each other and their homeland is evident in every beautiful picture. There is no doubt they made the right decision to travel home for their wedding and the bride has some words of advice for other couples planning their own wedding away. “At the end of the day, none of the details matter – on the day you will deliriously happy and nothing will be important except the fact that you are making a covenant before God, your family and friends, to love your spouse for the rest of your lives. My dad gave me the best piece of advice. He said, ‘Don’t let the preparations for the wedding day overtake the preparations for your marriage. Your wedding is just one day, your marriage will be forever.”

Vendors: Wedding Location: Harare, Zimbabwe, Photographer: Cami Jane Photography, Wedding Planner: Davies Events, Ceremony Site: Highlands Presbyterian Church, Reception Site: Wild is Life, Florist: Tracey Middleton, Stationery: Primrose Mhunduru, Cake: Dawn Miller, Hair: Tammy Birkett, Gown Designer: David’s Bridal, Groom’s Clothing: Friar Tux, Bridesmaids’ Clothing: The Jersey Maid, Catering: Sarah Lilford

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