Lizel & Luke
South African sunshine meets softly glowing light at this rustic wedding
PHOTOGRAPHY BY June Joubert Photography, junejoubert.co.za
Few love stories begin in such an exciting setting as a game reserve in South Africa, but for Lizel and Luke, this dream destination became home. “We both started out in hospitality at the same time. I was working as the camp manager and Luke was a newly qualified game ranger. Over the next few years we fell in love.”
It only seems appropriate, then, that Luke proposed to Lizel on a private game drive for two. “It was a beautiful, winter afternoon in the bush and we’d spotted a cheetah already. When we stopped for a sundowner, Luke suggested we walk to a new place he’d discovered nearby.
In the clearing was a fire with chairs pulled up to it and lanterns hanging from the trees. The most amazing part was the bed Luke had built, suspended from the treetops. I was blown away. Luke proposed there and our friends joined us for a small celebration afterwards.”
Like many brides, Lizel had imagined elements that she might like in her wedding dress, but she needed guidance to reach a final decision.
“Yolande Wortmann, my dressmaker, helped me to design my dress. I wanted something that would tie in with the bush, where we had chosen to have our ceremony. It needed to be ethereal but also classic. The dress Yolande created was perfect!”
The gown featured layers of lace, tulle and silk in an A-line shape. A small hoop at the bottom gave the skirt structure, helping it to keep its shape. “I loved the sleeves and the keyhole back,” Lizel smiles.
“I believe less is more, so I wore a simple flower crown, diamond stud earrings and a bracelet gifted by friends for my something blue.”
Luke visited Suit Yourself to source his khaki suit jacket and trousers, white shirt and navy tie. “When I saw Luke for the first time, my heart nearly burst with joy. He looked as handsome as ever and I couldn’t wait to finally be his wife.”
Five bridesmaids attended the bride, wearing floor-length dresses made from a soft fabric in blush shades. “I also had a flower girl and pageboy. My flower girl wore a lovely lace and tulle dress in cream.”
A mother of one of the bridesmaids, Louise from Lou-Lou Bel Hair Salon, took care of the bride’s hair. “She totally understood what I wanted and executed it perfectly. I wore my hair up in a loose, low bun that looked natural and soft, with a few added hairpieces to help create more volume.”
Lizel and Luke married in a Christian ceremony at Zuka Private Game Reserve.
“My brother gave a reading during the ceremony and my father walked me down the aisle to The Piano Brothers’ cover of ‘A Thousand Years’. We walked back up the aisle to a song by a local band. It was lovely to see our friends and family around us, sharing our happy day.”
Rather than choose a strict theme, the couple opted to take inspiration from their surroundings for a simple, fresh and natural wedding style. “We spread white linen and hessian runners over the long tables and decorated with jars of daisies, candles and greenery.
The roof was styled with branches that we’d collected on the reserve and painted white and we hung white lanterns above the dance floor. Settings supplied the equipment we needed for hire and Taryn Livsey from Posh Weddings helped during the planning.”
While Lizel and Luke created the table arrangements themselves, they did enlist Talking Flowers to create the bouquets, flower crowns and some of the table blooms too.
“Weddings are expensive, but swapping some traditional flowers for greenery we could source ourselves kept our costs down.”
“A friend of ours designed our wedding invitations, which were then printed by Out There Designs. We were also lucky enough to have a friend bake our Victoria sponge cake! It was layered with jam and cream and decorated with sugar roses and fresh lavender.”
In keeping with their wild theme, something to plant was the natural choice for their wedding favours. “Luke potted baby red ivory trees for each guest. We gave one to each of them and asked that they each plant their tree.”
The newlyweds shared their first dance to ‘Waiting Here’ by Jake Isaac.
“We both knew instantly that this would be our first dance song. The lyrics and rhythm were perfect for it. Pay more for one good DJ, rather than splurging on too much entertainment, and your guests will party the night away!”
After the wedding, the couple enjoyed a dual-centre honeymoon to Kenya and the Seychelles. “We spent five nights in Masai Mara in Kenya at the luxurious &Beyond Kichwa Tembo camp. The next five nights we enjoyed at the Constance Ephelia Resort in the Seychelles, it was magic!”
Another magical experience from their wedding day was the couple’s photographs. “Luke and I aren’t very keen on having our pictures taken, but June made us feel at ease and kept it fun. We adore our photographs now, they capture the memories we will treasure forever. It was a lovely surprise to enjoy it.”
VENUE Zuka Private Game Reserve, South Africa
DRESS Bespoke by Yolande Wortmann
GROOM Suit Yourself
HAIR Lou-Lou Bel Hair Salon
INVITATIONS Out There Designs
PLANNER Posh Weddings
FLOWERS Talking Flowers
HONEYMOON &Beyond Kichwa Tembo, Constance Ephelia Resort