Beneath sunny South African skies, a romantic real wedding abroad celebration bringing together the best of two cultures…


WHO: Anneke & Asanga

WHERE: Clouds Estate, Stellenbosch, South Africa

WHEN: March 2010


See the gallery for this real wedding here

How they met

Anneke remembers feeling a flash of excitement when she first met Asanga in the coffee shop at the offices where they both work. “I was instantly struck by how attractive he was, and I loved his accent,” she says. “Over the next few weeks, we kept bumping into each other unexpectedly. One day I was walking along Oxford Street in the rain when he appeared from out of nowhere and offered me his umbrella. I was expecting him to ask me on a date – but instead, he invited me back to his desk to see his family photos!” The couple finally had their first date a few weeks later, at the pub near their office – and the rest, as they say, is history‚Ķ

The proposal

Anneke and Asanga were on holiday in South Africa when Asanga popped the question. “We were at a game farm feeding the elephants, when Malika, one of the baby elephants, presented me with a gift in her trunk,” Anneke remembers. “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I realised that it was an engagement ring! Asanga had spent months on the phone organising the romantic surprise.”

“I knew Asanga was going to ask me to marry him, but I never imagined an elephant would deliver the ring!

The bride’s outfit for her real wedding abroad

Anneke fell in love with a breathtaking Vera Wang gown from The Wedding Shop in Selfridges. “It was a strapless fitted A-line style, with tiers of ruffles, a drawstring corset and a bustle at the back, from the Luxe range,” she says. “I knew as soon as I put it on that it was The One: it was everything I had ever dreamed of.”

The accessories

To complement her stunning real wedding dress, Anneke wore a romantic bespoke diamond and gemstone necklace made in South Africa, with sparkling Swarovski earrings: a Christmas present from Asanga. Sensuous Myla underwear and shoes by Harriet Wilde provided the perfect finishing touches

The groom’s outfit

For his real wedding abroad, style-conscious groom Asanga chose a sleek charcoal grey suit from Marc Wallace London, teamed with a crisp 1850s-style white shirt from Favourbrook and an ivory cravat. “He looked immaculate: the most handsome boy ever,” sighs Anneke. “When I saw him, I wanted to run over and throw myself into his arms.”

The bridesmaids

Anneke chose five of her closest friends and relatives to support her on the big day. “I had my best friend, my sister, my sister-in-law, a friend from university and my colleague, with my little niece as flowergirl,” she explains. “They were fantastic, co-ordinating my hen weekend, helping to organise our guests, especially the ones from overseas, and pampering me. It was wonderful to have them all with me, having fun and sharing in such an important milestone in my life.” Their light and floaty dresses were made to order in South Africa and complemented the vintage real wedding theme perfectly. “The bridesmaids all had wrist corsages and pretty parasols, too: they looked beautiful,” says Anneke

The ceremony

As Anneke’s father has sadly passed away, the bride walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major on the arm of her brother, Danie. During the emotional outdoor ceremony, Anneke’s mother read a moving passage from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. “When the vicar read the words about us being together until death us do part, both Asanga and I started to cry,” Anneke remembers. “Those words really confirmed that we want to be together forever and beyond.”

“We found all of our shabby-chic reception details at a Notting Hill flea market…”

The decor

Anneke and Asanga chose delicate and romantic blooms in a palette of pink, including roses and lilies, with the pretty arrangements put together by florist Jo-Lize from Floral Affairs “We also wanted lots of vintage accessories, and managed to get our hands on candelabras, shabby chic birdcages, an old-fashioned bicycle and even a 1940’s gramophone, which we found at Notting Hill flea market and had flown across the Atlantic,” Anneke laughs

The entertainment

It was a musical feast for Anneke and Asanga’s guests, who were entertained by a string quartet during the real wedding ceremony and a jazz trio during the pre-dinner drinks reception. “We had a DJ during the evening, and had our first dance to Starship’s Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” says Anneke. “We wanted to impress our guests, so we had a few dance lessons to help us choreograph a routine, and it went down a storm!”

The honeymoon

The romantic newlyweds hopped across the continent for their honeymoon in Kenya, where they went on safari in the Masai Mara before heading to the exclusive Msambweni House resort.

The real wedding gallery