Changed Minds

A South African Elopement


July 27, 2018
Words by Lauren Marshall
Photos courtesy of Catherine Mac

Megan and Robert’s original plan was to have a small courthouse ceremony prior to leaving for their lavish honeymoon in South Africa. But, after looking through photos of some of the places they’d be traveling to, including Franschhoek, they changed things up and went for a destination wedding/honeymoon combo instead! 

Given that the couple’s friends were expecting a small courthouse gathering, it was a surprise to hear of Megan and Robert’s decision to wed in South Africa.

“Some were surprised that we changed our minds and that we had such a short one-month engagement,” the two say, “but overall, it’s what we wanted and what worked best for us, so I think everyone was happy for us.”

Robert took the initiative of finding hotels and vineyards for the couple to stay during their adventure. During the search online, he discovered the boutique Mont Rochelle Hotel nestled by the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve.

“Rob saw some wedding pictures on [the hotel’s] brochure and suggested that we tie the knot there instead. As soon as I saw them, I was on board as well,” the brides says. 

The couple recruited Cara McLaughlin from Mosaic Weddings to work within their parameters and find all of the right vendors. Having a professional wedding planner turned out to be so important for creating the special ceremony, even though the couple would only have one guest: their officiant.

“Our wonderful officiant, Gordon Oliver, was once the mayor of Cape Town and had the honor of being the first person to greet Nelson Mandela upon his release from Robben Island. We were honored to have him officiate our ceremony,” the couple says.

Megan didn’t get married in her original dress by BHLDN, however. Unfortunately, it got stuck in customs. For fear of his bride being without a gown, Robert suggested buying a back-up gown at a market in Cape Town called The Watershed.

“At the time, I was still hopeful that my ‘real’ dress would arrive in time, but my fiancé convinced me that we should get this one just in case it didn’t show up,” the bride says. “That ended up being a good decision because my dress arrived two weeks after the wedding and then made its way all the way back to me in the U.S. six months later.”

Throughout changing wedding locations from a U.S. Courthouse to a South African boutique hotel with stunning views, this duo didn’t believe everything would be exactly what they’d dreamed it would be. Instead, they trusted in the adventure and chose a go-with-the-flow attitude from the start.

Vendors: Photographer: Catherine Mac, Wedding Planner: Cara McLaughlin from Mosaic Weddings, Ceremony/Reception Site: Mont Rochelle Hotel, Florist: Rowenna Rood from Botanica Flowers, Hair & Makeup: Cecilia Fourie, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Suit Supply & Tom Ford, Officiant: Gordon Oliver

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