We were married in June and it was without a doubt the most glorious day. It being Women’s Day in South Africa, I thought it due that I brag a little about the women we met and worked with, the women who touched us, inspired us, and left their mark on our special day.
God’s little favour to us was surely to keep us surrounded by loving individuals and meet new friends living here in Durban our new home town. These women are not only beautiful souls but movers and shakers and makers of fine little industries. Talented beyond belief and showering us with compassion, we were blessed indeed all the way up to the precious celebration.
This is Sue. She is my mother. Isn’t she fabulous?
Sue is the most talented women I know hands down. Don’t let her history of a great career in retail, her own brands and starting a successful school for the disabled fool you, there’s more! It’s been a while since this mastermind picked up her pattern-cutting scissors, but I coaxed her into doing just one more project… My dress. And did she outdo herself!
This piece of art took her six months to make. After mocking it up five times it fitted like a glove. It moved like a dream. She spent months cutting and attaching delicate leaves made out of silk and organza to the skirt to give the 3m hem circumference even more body. This was a work of love as well as a showcase of her brilliance. So many little personal touches like the hand-embroidered hanger cover, the embroidered message under my hem where only I would see it, the hand-sewn garter, all made this dress one-of-a-kind and something a girl could never imagine.
To wed the man of your dreams wrapped up in a gift of love hand-made by your mother, I can’t tell you how it felt. Her heart was stitched into every seam and forever Mum, this will be your finest work. A gift no other could compete with.
A mother of four (I know how does she look this good right?) and whilst she’s not busy raising the next awesome generation, she finds time to blog and photograph as Ludo Police (https://ludopolice.wordpress.com/).
Chris and I met Julie for a drink one evening after the superwoman had put the kids to bed and changed gear into business mind. Immediately we were moved by her graciousness and calmness. The big eyes and gentle heart. Chris and I asked her to capture our day focusing on prized little moments and the people who would make our day special; our family and friends, some who had travelled from so far, all celebrating together. Ours is an enormous, unique family, over 90 family members on the guest list in fact! All a bit faulty and delicious from my brother in a wheelchair to my 90-year-plus granny and new-born babies so we couldn’t get too precious about perfect photo shoots! Capturing the happy disorder and raw realness of this big family and dear friends was what we were after.
Julie blew us away. She went above and beyond what we asked for. She arrived early and left with the last guests capturing the gorgeous chaos of the girls getting ready with children and laughter a-plenty right up till when the loosest of dance moves hit the floor. She was never intrusive but quietly snapped-snapped away with her nimble little fingers. Looking through the photos now and you can’t but help feel you were there. She caught candid moments and little gestures between people and love overflowing, now documented forever. Her compassion and heart shines through her work and for us especially the ceremony pictures are so evident of the soulfulness that was there on that day. The finest, prettiest fly-on-the-wall we ever did meet.
This is the gorgeous Debs, Mrs Bouwer.
Recently back from working in Sydney at Little Flowers, Debs has thrown herself back into Durban life. She is holding up her office job but obviously the green finger got her good! She has started her own business Bouwer Flowers (http://bouwerflowers.com/) and I have a sneaky feeling we will be seeing a lot more of this brand in the future.
Debs takes her posies seriously. She worked through the day and night and the result was the most breath-taking floral styling I’ve ever seen. From the raw, wild table garlands to the delicate hairpieces for my one year old niece, Debs’ talent and attention to detail is astonishing. Did I mention she’s also a really nice person? Apart from being hooked on her weekly bunches, a little friendship has blossomed and I am hoping to be seeing more of this charming creature in Durban days to come.
This is Kim , a hungry talent, capable of house do-ups and interior assortments like never I’ve seen. Since moving back to Durban with her husband Jarryd, she’s launched her speciality décor rental business, Crystal & Vine (http://www.crystalandvine.co.za/)
Crystal and Vine showcases this woman’s amazing taste and flair for decor. Her little hand-written note that was delivered with the goods is the kind of little things that keeps this business personal and true to the loving individual she is. Kim is also serious about skills development and is currently training and employing potential talents in artisan crafts. What a champ Kim, might I mention she is about to featuring in Garden & Home magazine? Keep your eyes peeled for this gem.
Gabriela McKenzie, positively the most genuine, unassuming master-mind I’ve ever met. She is the venue manager (and so much more) at The Glades Farm in Nottingham Road (http://www.thegladesfarm.co.za/) and had a hand in every second of the best day ever!
Genius-come-planner-from-heaven, Gabi never let the plans take the magic out of the proceedings. She relentlessly reminded us that this was a treasured day to be celebrated and kept the butterflies a-flying but all the stresses at bay to ensure our day was just that. We were so lucky to have her hugs behind every door and her sincere delight at our love peering out from behind her clipboard.
And the beautiful Jacelyn.
Owner and designer of White Lilly (http://www.whitelillybridal.com/) and one of my dearest friends, Jace is one of those people who are laden with gifts. This girl can snowboard, design wedding dresses, grow businesses and people and touch loves like no other. Just being a ridiculously talented make-up artist too (Yes, I’m still talking about the same person), Jace spoilt me by being the best personal hair and make-up artist for a beauty-phobe, pretty clueless bride. God just shines through this woman and to have her with me building up to “that moment” was a true blessing. White Lilly has been featured in countless magazines and write-ups and you only need ask any of Jace’s brides to realise the dedication and passion of this amazing woman. Jace has trained her previous domestic worker to be a skilled beader in her little White Lilly machine team and is basically busy changing people’s lives! I treasure her friendship and her influence on my life so much and want to be more like Jace when I grow up.
Introducing Neeltje Wasmuth.
She heads up the Young Adults Group at the school my brother attends, Pathways (http://www.pathways-kloof.co.za/). One of Pathways’ missions is to enable children with disabilities to socially interact and learn new skills. Neeltje’s passion and devotion to her group often results in them embracing new projects and programmes. One such project was bead-work and these angels were soon making glass angels themselves for Christmas decorations. We commissioned the group to make us 180 glass angels for our wedding day, each carefully hand-made with big love from this amazing group and their teacher. Every guest at the wedding received an angel of love and hope instead of regular favours and to say it hushed the crowd is an understatement. These kids have had such an effect on us and we were so honoured to have their work and the group themselves involved. With the delivery of the angels, Chris and I received a hand-made card, signed by every pupil. Neeltje, we tip our hats to the incredible woman you are.
This is my darling Jen.
Jen Hands is a minister at St Thomas’ Church, was my reverend all through my 18 years at school, and more than anything is a dear friend to my family. She brought a harmony to our day and has supported our family through so much heartache through this past year. Her gentle words of wisdom and relentless love to Chris and I are testament to her selfless character and unyielding love for God. Before the ceremony Jen was praying in the garden and brought me a piece of Lavender she had picked, the symbol of the delicate, gracious woman. She was so much more than a pastor or marriage officer, a truly devoted disciple and fisher of men and bringer of peace.
Thank you to all the special women in my life and happy Women’s Day to all you courageous, independent, gentle, adoring, capable and gorgeous women out there. May we all strive to be a little more of the Proverbs 31 woman every day…