Our DIY Woodlands Wedding

More like our Do-It-With-The-Help-of-All-Our-Friends-and-Family Wedding


{brides and wedding planners, feel free to forage through this list of what our woodlands wedding day entailed}

On October 3rd 2014 amidst family, friends, trees, sky and each other’s teary glances, Collin and I swapped rings, said our I do’s, feasted and made our merry way into marriage.

I whipped up the ‘best day of our lives’ (and it really was) with tons of creative masterminding and much pinterest-sifting.  All these plans and ideas were excuted by myself, my now lovely husband, and the help or input of pretty much every single person we know and love.

These cost effective, easy-ish to accomplish, and thematically stunning ideas include:

The stationary

save the dateemail signature

As traditionally expected, I introduced the wedding theme and colors in the ‘save the date’ and invitation – Mint, silver and woodlands animals (which I sketched myself). I even designed an email signature to use for all wedding related emails as a cute touch.  The invitation was sent out as a website, but for the wedding party and parents I made a keepsake version – a white tin, a private letter, fridge magnets of little owls, and the invite that pulls out from a ribbon tag.

invite x11

This woodlandsy minty silvery theme then continued throughout this booklet which were handed out to guests arriving at the wedding.







back cover


My dress


I designed my dress based on bits and pieces I liked from various different dresses. The kind lady who made my dress adjusted it slightly to the more realistically flattering version. (Dress makers see all styles of dresses on all sorts of shapes and sizes, trust their instincts!) This lovely garment was made for me by Estique Wedding Wear in George.dressIMG-20141004-WA0001

If you live in a big city like I do, consider avoiding over priced boutiques, mass produced dresses, or shoddy handmade cheap dresses by finding a decent boutique in a small nearby town.  Whether you buy a ready made dress or ask them to make you one, you will most likely be able to buy a very well made dress from them for cheaper than renting one in the city… and then you have an actual dress to sell or keep.

My Hair, Make-up and Accessories

Wedding-32Wedding-58  Wedding-98

With the help of some stunningly skilled friends, my hair (with extensions) (by Ferrigno Hair Design) and make-up (by Natural Living) was super affordable/free and enchantingly beautiful.  These lovely looks were adorned by an incredible gift from my MOH of a diamond necklace, and the extremely sentimental and made especially for my wedding day earcuff (by Forever Love).

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The Bridesmaids


A very sweet and generous family friend offered to make my best girls some simple but smart dresses in the length they chose.  We then added a bit of glint by sewing costume jewelry bracelets onto ribbons to tie around their waist. Their hair was all done in various braids as suited each best, and they could wear any silver jewelry they chose, though they all lovingly chose to wear the necklace I gave them in the bridesmaid brunch.



The Flower Girls

I bought many many meters of tulle and ribbon in white and various shades of mint which the flower girls’ mom generously turned into the most adorable tutus.  Skipping through the trees and walking down the aisle, ribbons in hand, in their tutus, white t’s, glittery sneakers and bunny pins (made as a gift by a wonderfully talented friend of mine), they were the cutest picture of woodlands whimsy.


The Groom & Groomsmen 

I went for smart casual, with Collin’s best men in grey shirts, charcoal skinny ties, and black chinos. I originally planned on all stars, but the boys weren’t too keen on sneakers, so we found some form of foot apparel middle ground. As boutonnieres (lolwat at that word, that spelling should not be allowed anymore 0o), they had ferns pinned on by little fox badges (also made for us by the same talented friend). (For the grooms party photos, credit and appreciation to Adri Viljoen)


We searched long and hard for Collin to look so dapper in his non traditional jacket.  We chose to categorically avoid a suit jacket, as Collin wanted to feel more sentiment and less formality.  The jacket we did find, along with white shirt, textured grey skinny tie, black chinos and the fancier side of sneakers kept him looking smart whilst fitting snuggly into the grey/woodlands/folksy theme.



Looking back at the photos, I am in love with the picturesque combination of textures and colours.

The Ceremony


We were wed amongst the trees, under the sky at a hidden away forest venue called Pampoenkraal on a farm in Durbanville (Western Cape, South Africa).



It will always mean so much to me that we were married by the same officiant that married my parents 30 years ago.


My own father (who is also an officiant/pastor) said a few very special words,Wedding-143


and we were swept away in the moment by friends of ours who also happen to be members of a Hillsong worship team.  {friends who sing at weddings are special, professionals who sing at weddings are breathtaking, friends who are professionals who sing at your wedding are breathtakingly special.}


We then planted a tree for many poetic reasons, but also because now we can go back once a year and take a photo under it as it and our family grows. {awwwww}


Woodlands decor came naturally at this beautiful outdoors venue among the trees.  I adorned an awkward tree stump with photos pegged to twine, scattered rice lights (china town battery operated!) and chalk boards all over the trees, tied mint and silver ribbons to all the backs of all the plastic chairs, and edged the aisle with ivy. (When I say ‘I’, what I actually mean is my amazing mom spending hours watching soapies tying ribbons together, and my awesome wedding party who all jumped when I hinted ‘bounce’) One of my bridesmaids made bunting from book pages, silver colored brown paper and hessian stapled to twine.  Fyi, typo sells copper (and other colored) staples for a neater finish.


The main attraction (until I arrived) was the aisle runner – Our timeline, from meeting to that moment.  A family friend cut the vinyl stickers for me as a gift, and I stuck them onto good ol’ cheap white fabric lining.  We then pegged (literally with tent pegs) the lining into the ground and hid the pegs under the ivy.  Clever hey!  This is the BEST solution I could find (make up actually) for an on grass aisle runner, after ages of sourcing and hunting and pricing.  To keep it white until I arrived, we used ivy as a ‘no entrance’ chain and the groomsmen instructed guests to find their seats from the outside aisles.


Our confetti moment came to life after months of punching tissue paper (which by the way is one of the most biodegradable materials), and if you still don’t trust it, you can buy ‘biodegradable tissue paper’ on ebay (but I think that’s just a marketing ploy tbh).  Besides being not-so-bad for the nature, it was so pretty as it floated slowly to the ground.


The Photoshoot

Giant credit to Nina Claasen Photography who blessed us with these stunning memories of our wedding day.
I asked Nina to capture happy, natural moments rather than ‘smile’-click ones.  She did exactly that, and so beautifully.  I really am in love with our wedding album.  Here are some of my favorites.

Wedding-192Wedding-200Wedding-208Wedding-211Wedding-214Wedding-226Wedding-236Wedding-245Wedding-259Wedding-263Wedding-260Wedding-273Wedding-296Wedding-297The ‘interlude’

I’m not actually sure what the part where the guests have welcome drinks and eats is called, but that’s what they did.  And they did this in a lovely lapa area between the ceremony and reception areas.


I made an easy recipe of mint lemonade (this recipe + the tiniest bit of berry carioca for color).  For presentation, I got some crates of bashews bottles from my (now) mother in law, and bought a few more on the road side (about 90x cheaper than hunting them down in antique stores).

This was served with platters of cheese.  Collin was very upset that cheese would be eaten without him, so I arranged a platter and drinks to be brought to the photo shoot (helped with the casual, natural vibes at the shoot too).

All of these wonderful eats and drinks (I assume, what bride has time to eat), were enjoyed by our guests to the folk (at our request) sounds of the talented Dirkie & Talisa. Music during the interlude, even if not live, makes a big difference to the vibe.  It is after all that awkward time when all the people you know but don’t know each other mingle for the first time.


The reception

We celebrated our nuptials directly after the photo shoot/interlude in an earthy, rondavel type hall at the same venue. a I would totally recommend enjoying your whole wedding at the same venue in one big easy flow.  It makes setting up SO much easier, and the guests don’t feel like they’re dedicating n entire day driving and finding venues at your beck and call.  Also it helps keep all the guests around (none of those slip aways between venues).


In line with the woodlands theme, there were animals rather than table numbers.  I had them laser cut from cheap wood, glued book pages to them, and tea stained them.  These correlated to the woodlands animals sketched (by me ^^,) on the seating charts, which were pegged to twine in keeping with that woodlandsy look.

20140811_231825 (1)2014-08-23 13.02.31Wedding-25Wedding-18

IMG_7537172423999Once at their table, guests could find their seat by their name tags attached to the brownies (which we – the bridal party – baked till 2am the previous morning). The brownies were our very affordable, yet yummy favors.  I designed, printed and cut the tags myself which worked out a lot cheaper and easier than buying pre-cut tags.


The guitarist and violinist from the interlude were kind enough to move their equipment a few meters and continue playing at the start of the ceremony.  Their festive music was our ambiance till dessert, when the DJ took over.

Speeches were split up between each course, starting with our best man and maid of honor before starters were served. Between starters and the main course (amazing buffet with meat braaied on a fire in the middle of the lapa) each of our fathers said a few words, and just before dessert Collin and I each said a short thank you speech.  We found that keeping the speeches short and sweet, and splitting them up throughout the evening allowed each speaker the guests’ full and non-bored attention.



The cake…that cake… drool. We have committed ourselves to buying that same cheesecake every single year just once a year.  It is as special as anniversaries, birthdays and mothersdays, it needs to be celebrated, but only once a year.  And yes, I did say cheesecake.  It was a MISSION to find a bakery that were willing to make us cheesecake for our wedding.  Finally we did find the wonderful Frostings in Durbanville who made us a stunningly beautiful and delicious 4 tier cheesecake covered in chocolate slabs.  The bakery also arranged these meeple toppers for us and we asked them to paint the hearts in our wedding color.


Let me take you through it slowly – that’s 1 tier of blueberry cheesecake covered in dark chocolate slabs; 1 tier of strawberry cheesecake covered in milk chocolate slabs; 1 tier of caramel cheesecake covered in caramel chocolate slabs; topped with 1 tier of lemon cheesecake covered in white chocolate slabs.  Oh my goodness I’ll have the whole wedding over just for that cake.


The Dance Domain company helped us (in about 6x1hour lessons) learn a choreographed boogie dance for half of the song Timber (yes, actually the one by Pitbull and Kesha… yes that actual one).  Right where the song builds up half way through we (pre arranged with some so there’s no awkwardness) had our friends all join on the dance floor.  The perfect trigger to partying the night away. (And yes I changed dresses, to a R150 factory white summery dress and danced happily in my cute silver sneakers ^^,)



The Video

The best videographer I’ve ever seen captured our stunning day, and at a phenomenally affordable price (even before he blessed us with a discount).  Nick Waring is astounding at what he does:

All in all, I’m loving married life, and I love the day it started ❤


Pink bows and a baby bump

A not boring Baby Shower

If you’re looking for some great co-ed baby shower games click here }

It might be the time of the year, or my age, or my ovaries crying for attention, but there are pregnancy announcements, baby bumps, and newborns everywhere I look lately.  There won’t be any little hardcore gamers or artistic geniuses for a couple more years, but in the meantime my broodiness is subdued by the soon to arrive, little miss Karlah.

hello Karlah

My beautiful cousin, Cassandra, is excitedly {and frustratingly} anticipating the arrival of her baby girl {hang in there! 9 months is your last hurdle before Karlah’s no longer conveniently packaged to go everywhere with you without diaper bags, prams and crying ;}


The exciting part for Collin and I is, we have the honor of being god parents.  We’re pretty sure that means we spoil and sugar up baba and hand her back to mommy at the end of the day :D.  Right?  We’re also super keen to help out, be supportive to brave, young mommy-to-be, and be a part of Karlah’s close community growing up.  Mostly though, I’m excited to finally have a friend to watch disney movies with… who has never seen them before!!! 😀 😀 😀

My first ‘god-motherly duty’ (though it was more a favor for my lovely cousin and niece-sort of) was to help with the baby shower.

The baby shower was adorable, pretty standard baby shower adjective, but gran-, grandpa- and aunt-[Caitlin]-to-be went all out with the sweetest decor, masses of delicious eats, and arranged a friend to make the, baby shower essential, baby bump cake.


I was in charge of the games… hie hie ^^,

Before listing the [incredibly successfully enjoyable] games [even if i do say so myself… also thank you pinterest.. a little :P], here’s a couple of things to consider next time you’re in charge of planning baby shower games:

  • If it’s co-ed, get the guys to do most of the nasty/funny/uncomfortable games. They’ll generally be better sports about it, and always get a good laugh out of the ladies.
  • Have some games planned that everyone can easily take part in without leaving their seats
  • Mix the present unwrapping, nasty/funny games, and group games up.  It keeps people entertained and eliminates that awkward disinterest by a couple of guests in the games, and by other guests in the hour or more long process of gift unwrapping.  We did one or two funny games, a group game, and then a couple of presents, rinse repeat.  Worked perfectly.

As for the shower games, here’s what we did for funny/uncomfortable/entertaining at the cost of others-games:

  • Setup – Mommy-to-be got adorned with a sash, tiara, pretty pink scepter with which to judge the winner of each game, and a bunch of pretty pink girly stickers to stick on the foreheads of these winners.  As for the contestants, Daddy-to-be was (of course) dressed in an adult diaper and giant dummie, and joining him were the rest of the [volunteering] guys who all split themselves into teams of two.  Each team had to decide who was going to be fighting for the ‘world’s best mommy’ title, and who would be fighting for the ‘world’s cutest baby’ title – and each was given the appropriate badge.

cass and hein

  • The Birth Experience – All the men labelled ‘mommy’ were given a nice big blown up balloon to tuck under their shirts [already a riot of laughter and we’ve just begun], after which they had a race to see who could get their balloon out from under their shirts first. Catch = without using their hands. Funny stuff this, I promise.
  • Baby bottle downer – We used sippy cups full of milk, but many sites suggest baby bottles full of beer (assess your crowd), which the ‘baby’ men had to down in the typical-race to the finish-bottoms up-drinking game.
  • Feeding Time – Here ‘mommy’ guys had to feed chocolate pudding to their teammate ‘baby’ men.  This one’s catch = ‘mommies’ were blindfolded (I got some cheap cloth diapers to stay to theme) and ‘babies’ hands were tied up. The winner was decided by the Mommy-to-be based on the most eaten and the least mess. This was no easy decision, the guys were all pretty eager to eat the pudding, but none of them actually got much of it in their mouths.
  • It’s a girl! – Since little miss Karlah, will (most likely) be a girl, we had the men practice their girly make up and hair styling.  ‘Mommies’ had 1 min and a box of cheap china town make up {I found the brightest pinks and purples} and hair clips {butterflies and bows} to make-over their ‘baby’ in hopes of impressing Cassy (mom to be) for another sticker.

cutest babies


  • What baby wants – This game went along the thematic idea that babies cannot outright ask for exactly what they want.  It’s effectively [actually exactly] a game of 30 seconds.  ‘Babies’ were given cards with a list of baby related items that they had to ask their ‘mommies’ for without saying the actual words.  This turned out especially funny because, naturally, these young men hardly knew what any of the items actually were, and least of all how to describe them.  A great way to wind down the entertainment with a laugh.
  • Prizes – I had intended to make spray painted trophies out of cheap baby bottles, filled with sweets.  When I ran out of time though, I resorted to just the baby bottles filled with sweets.  To be honest, I don’t think the men really cared :P.  These were awarded to the first and second place teams, ie. the ones with the most stickers collected.  In a touch of irony, I awarded the booby prize of [easter] eggs to the losing team ^_-.

In between all these little contests, I had all the guests join in a few-crowd friendly, easy to manage, quick to setup, stay in your seats-games:


  • Guess who – Mommy or Daddy? – While Cassy opened a few gifts, I handed out little pieces of paper and pens to each guest.  I then sent around two baby photos numbered 1 and 2 and guests had to write down their guesses of which was a baby pic of the daddy-to-be and which was once the mommy-to-be.  I had some milk bottle marshmallows as prizes for those who guessed correctly.
  • A portrait of Baby – I handed out a paper plate to each guest and told them to make their best effort of drawing what they guessed baby Karlah would look like, whilst holding the paper plate on top of their heads.  It worked well to instruct them how to draw, eg.”Draw a circle and add eyes, ears, mouth and nose. Now draw a pretty bow… etc”  The ever judging Mommy-to-be chose the best pic and the artist won more sweets.
  • Baby songs – I gave guests 1 min to try remember as many songs with the word ‘baby’ in it as they could and write their list down on the other side of the piece of paper I had already handed out earlier.  Since most of humanity doesn’t actually know the titles of songs, lyrics were sufficient.
  • Guess her belly size – As Cassy opened the last of her gifts (which were still quite a pile, lucky baba), I sent around some pink ribbon and a pair of scissors.  Guests had to cut off what they thought would be the size of Cassy’s baby bump (measuring around her waist).  I kept this one till last, so I only had to make Cass stand up right at the end.  I also kept it simple by only measuring once around her with the first person’s ribbon (which was way too big) and then disqualifying anyone who’s ribbon was bigger than that one.  Then measuring the next smallest, and so on.

The games and presents wound down perfectly into eats, tea and chatter amongst the now relaxed guests.

All in all a pretty fun baby shower – and not just for daddy- and mommy-to-be 🙂


Baby Karlah, we look so forward to you joining our crazy, fun lives ❤


Brunch and Bridesmaids

A special request for 4 special ladies

So yesterday marked 2 months of being engaged to my Collin man person.  We had decided on the night that we’d wait 2 months to get through his wow raiding [a new patch] and my exam studies before taking on any wedding planning-ness.  It wasn’t so much that I was counting down the seconds (which was probably as much a distraction as wedding planning itself would’ve been) but also a happy coincidence that my sister and her boyfriend were visiting this weekend.  So I had to take up the opportunity to start the nuptial planning process by asking my best girls to be my bridesmaids.

The weather played along, and Saturday was a beautiful sun-shining, bright day.  I set up a table outside complete with bunny, bunting and brunchables.

brunch table

brunch table

For each of my lady people I had a gift box which on the lid read “he popped the question, now it’s my turn…” and opened to read:

giftExcept for my longest girl friend person Kelly’s which read, “Will you be my Maid of Honor?”

Inside each box was:


  • a personal letter
  • a magnetic photo of the two of us saying “team bride”
  • a ring of shocking value and astounding quality
  • a flash with mind maps of my wedding dreams
  • and a pretty necklace for the pretty ladies ❤


I cannot wait to start all the fun wedding planning, and to share this time with my amazing girls.  I know full well that the wedding is about the marriage, and I’m so excited to spend my life in matrimony with my Collin man through the good and bad and all.  I look forward to my whole life with him with all my heart.  But considering that my plans are life long, this is my one time to be a bride, and I’m planning to enjoy it thoroughly and embrace it completely.

Now I have a team of the most awesome ladies to share the whole crazy, cheesy, exciting experience with ^^,.  Love you girls lots, Kelly, Amy, Cailtin & Jamie.

Jesus & Bron’s Joint Birthday Party

My Christmas Themed 25th Party

Bron Bday Invite

Presents for everyone!!

 My birthday is on the 8th of December, and for the entire of my comprehensible life I’ve had a rule in my family to keep Christmas decor in the cupboard until the 9th of December, Jesus can wait his turn, He has after all had a good 2000 more birthdays than me.

Last year, however, I gave in and decided to deck the halls early and combine the festivities.

Should’ve done that years ago, what a jolly, festive, merry event!  Decor was a breeze and a blast.  Cheapest event decor ever, considering it was all already in our cupboards.  So besides the tree, string lights, baubles, stars and tinsel, I spent the extra money and effort on:

  • Cookies & chocolate milk of course374396_10151530123718066_688523060_n
  • Gingerbread house birthday cake – that lights up (well that had cheap battery operated LED christmas lights crammed inside, but still how cool right!!) Best birthday cake EVER! I’m so good at this ><Screen shot 2013-08-16 at 9.31.43 AMScreen shot 2013-08-16 at 9.31.15 AMScreen shot 2013-08-16 at 9.32.01 AM
  • Brown paper christmas stockings filled with m&m’sScreen shot 2013-08-16 at 9.38.39 AM
  • A christmas roast buffet – which looked and tasted a lot fancier than the effort that went into it.  If you’re catering a christmas dinner for 20+ people from one little oven, and it’s also your birthday (so why should you do all the work), use creative initiative and buy 3 pre roasted chickens, a tray full of roasted lamb and a tray full of roasted beef from a Spar deli.  But do bake a tray full of potatoes and a tray full of carrots and onions and have a pot of rice on the stove, both to save some money and to (appear to) totally be slaving away in the kitchen when you dish out the feast.Screen shot 2013-08-16 at 9.38.12 AM
  • Ice cream & star shaped watermelon for dessert. ❤ cookie cutters.  Also because it’s so cute and christmassy, you can get away with styrofoam cups – after party dishes? pfft what dishes.60804_10151530158628066_1808241245_n
  • Hand made christmas crackers filled with mini chocolates, christmas jokes (picked by me) and the random number for the:
  • Present game – where each person brings a present worth R20; piles them all up under the tree; and starting with person #1, s/he picks any present and opens it; then person #2 gets to either steal person #1’s gift (in which case #1 repicks from the pile) or pick a new one to open; so person #3 gets to choose between #1, #2 and the piles gifts and so on.  And so everyone got a present at my party – I didn’t mind, spirit of Christmas and all68613_10151530143983066_1694205676_n
  • And of course a christmas soundtrack – no thanks to Justin Bieber

This was one of my favorite parties so far.  I was tempted to ignore the birthday completely and it’s insinuations of a gradual decline to 30 (not that 30’s old, but just so grown up sounding ><), but I’m terribly glad I didn’t.  It’s the most fun I’ve ever had planning an event, and it was the easiest party to enjoy, for everyone.  Who’s gonna complain when there’s presents for everyone and a cake with more sweets than cake.  And if there wasn’t enough entertainment already, Collin had to oblige.

Knights & Princesses

My 21st Birthday

This was my opportunity to immerse myself and everyone I loved into the fantasy world of knights, princesses, bravery, dresses, candle lit feasts and dancing.  It was also my first real opportunity to engage in my eager and creatively frustrated skills in events coordination.  Huzzah – success!

My enticing, thematic, personalized invites...it was not to be resisted

I enticed my guests to join in the festivities with thematic, personalized invitations which I printed as Jumbo photographs and to this day I happen upon them on the occasional relative or friend’s fridge. This is occurring less and less, but I’ll consider letting it slide, on account of it being 5 years ago and such.

In all honesty though, I can highly recommend taking the extra hour or two to personalize your invites. Nothing like seeing your name printed in high gloss to urge on the obligations.

What I loved most about my party, besides the fact that I was the utmost center of attention, and besides my dearest Duncan friend singing me my favorite song, and also besides my own personal Templar Knight of a Collin saying wonderful and true things about me in front of everyone else that I love and some that I also envied (righteous moments like these keep us going), what I loved most was how much everyone contributed to make it happen.

895_53711895629_8220_nFrom decor:

  • Candle sticks pre-melted over bottles
  • fairy lights
  • hessian table cloths
  • tables and chairs arranged in a horse shoe format
  • a conveniently medieval feeling venue with stone walls, a stair case, and chandeliers
  • mass amounts of tea light candles
  • a burning fire place – or in our death by summer in South African December case, a fire place decorated with tea lights on the logs of wood – a very pretty solution by a darling Kirsty friend
  • walls hung with (well designed) banners, medieval weaponry, and of course, a family crest – which should be made with love by your benevolent father (thank you Daddy ^^,)

To dessert:

  • manageable ice cream scoops with (I really can’t remember but would’ve been as good as) sticky chocolate pudding
  • precursor-ed by trays of medieval styled appetizers (which I quickly learnt can never be enough and was rescued by my heroic Mom and her friends who managed to flesh out the food in the moment of crisis)
  • in turn precursor-ed by a welcoming tot of sherry

my troop of victims

Favors were flying in from any friend or family who could spare them, and some who couldn’t. A friend of a friend made me a dress, a troop of hard working victims helped set up and clean up, and everyone made a genuine effort to suit up to theme.  A community made event guarantees success – if success for you is enjoying yourself utterly and thoroughly.  You cannot not enjoy an evening you were involved in the making of.

And one cannot forget or excuse that one smart arsed Jenna friend who rocks up as the dead princess. ^_-

myself & Jenna as Princess Di

myself & Jenna as Princess Di