Celebration in the South African Sunshine

Today’s real life wedding is a true stunner. I mean seriously, think uber cool, garden wedding vibes, with a bride in blush and a wedding breakfast set up which is to die for. Oh, and did I mention it takes place in South Africa? Told you it was going to be gorgeous.

Chloe met Mark when she moved from South Africa to London over ten years ago to study. 

“I have family in Cheshire and he was one of my cousins good friends. We met when we were both in a relationship, but a few years later when we were both single and met up at a party our relationship started from there,” explains Chloe.

After getting engaged the couple began their search for the perfect venue, which led Chloe back home, to South Africa. Forest Hall, an historic country estate, ticks every box for those looking for a relaxed, stylish venue, with enviable outdoor space in abundance. Nestled between the foothills of the Outeniqua mountain range and the shores of the Indian Ocean, Forest Hall borders forest and sea and has views to die for at every turn. 

“I got married in my small hometown, Plettenberg Bay, in South Africa,” describes Chloe. “The wedding venue was the first thing we checked off our list and most probably the easiest decision throughout wedding planning. It was the first and only venue we went to go see. A small old country house with a modern twist in the forest on the edge of beautiful seaside cliffs. I wanted a venue where we would be able to dance all evening and then all roll into bed. I was able to get ready at the venue and have my bridal party and family close to me.”

This ultra organised couple spent two years arranging their gorgeous celebration, adapting their timescale to be able to suit both their needs and those of their guests. Planning a destination wedding can be laced with logistical challenges, however, as Chloe works in events, each element was thought through and tailored to their vision. 

Enlisting a professional planner to assist on the day meant the couple couple could truly relax and enjoy time surrounded by loved ones. This can be a perfect compromise, when you enjoy the planning but want to make sure you are fully present on the day and not worrying about details.  

“We had a two year engagement so that our guests had time to save up to be able to fly to South Africa for the wedding. Luckily I’ve worked in events so I am super organised and know what are the most important things to cover first. We had a wedding planner who helped with the logistics of the day, but most of the wedding was planned by myself.” 

These stunning images were captured by Dear Heart Photography, who are based in Cape Town. Seeking a natural approach to blend seamlessly with their surroundings, Chloe and Mark began searching for a photographer who could be both unobtrusive and yet capture each of the stunning details you see before you. I simply cannot get over the beach sequence; the light, the emotion, the tenderness, these timeless portraits perfectly captured the love shared by this couple. 

“I wanted someone who took photos documentary style wedding photos. I spent a lot of time finding Dear Heart but when I came across them on Instagram I instantly knew they were right! I am obsessed with their photography and still follow them now to see the weddings they are currently shooting”, laughs Chloe.

“I then found Orpen Videographers who have a very similar style to Dear Heart. They created the most incredible wedding video and told me to trust them when choosing the music for it. They got it spot on!”

Mark and Chloe opted for an outdoors ceremony (why wouldn’t you when the views and weather are that beautiful!?) and reflected this with their chosen styles. With touches of bohemian elegance, Chloe’s stunning strapless dress, with blush underlay and delicate lace appliques was a true lesson in trusting your instincts when it comes to “the dress search”. 

“My mum and little sister came over to the UK to help me choose my dress. I booked loads of appointments over one weekend as I was determined to find ‘the one’ with them. I tried on the first dress and absolutely loved it but was afraid I had that ‘feeling’ because it was the first one I had tried on. So I carried on going to appointments and tried on… 98 dresses! I couldn’t get the first one out of my mind and on the last day tried it on again and knew it was the one!”

Mark was every inch the handsome yet relaxed groom, partnering his gorgeously cut Ted Baker suit with brown brogues, spotted socks and that eternal icon, the pair of Raybans. 

When styling their beautiful space, flowers were a key element in bringing together this couple’s vision. Seeking to reflect their gorgeous forest surroundings, Chloe wished to bring the outdoors in to their reception area, achieved by suspending the most incredible foliage from the glass roof- creating a true canopy under the stars. Entrusting this immersive idea to a lifelong friend meant the couple could truly trust their vision would be perfectly translated. 

“The flowers were one of the most important elements for our day. I have known Pippa my whole life and knew she would create a magical room, and knew she would get my idea. I wanted everyone to feel like they were sitting in the beautiful forest at our dinner tables. I requested for them to build big frames to be able to hang load of greenery and fairy lights from. It made a huge impact and one of the talking points from the wedding.”

“Music was also super important to us and we wanted to make sure our guests were dancing together until the early hours of the morning. We had Jonny Wolf on an acoustic guitar during the ceremony and pre drinks and then had a live band call Me and Mr Brown who covered all our favourite songs.”

The couple’s natural, green themes also ran through to their stationery suite, which was an utter joy to create with them!

“I used to work for a company that produced Brides The Show so had seen EYI Love at the event the year I got engaged. I wanted stationery that was slightly different, ahead of the curve and EYI Love was everything I wanted. Lorna and her husband were really helpful, I came to them with the theme of my wedding being greenery (loads of plants) and rose gold.“

“They were happy to mockup a totally different look to what they normally do that complimented one of their original designs. I knew I wanted something modern and in rose gold. I have always been a fan of foil so it was a simple choice.”

After feasting under a blanket of fairy lights, foliage and phenomenal stars, the couple, surrounded by their loved ones partied the night away into the wee small hours. Reminiscing on their beautiful day, Chloe had this advice for couples in the throws of wedding planning. 

“I think 18 months is long enough to plan a wedding, any longer and you start to get super frustrated and impatient for it to happen. Also when planning make specific boards on your Instagram account so you can save images you love in specific categories – a lot easier to find!”

We would like to wish Mr & Mrs Bebbington a lifetime of happiness and thank them once again for sharing their jaw-dropping day with us!

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