A flower-filled SOUTH AFRICAN DESTINATION WEDDING in the Natal Midlands

Kylie and Dave’s personal, joyful, floral-filled event was the stuff of South African destination wedding dreams. Kylie is a local girl, while Dave is American, and the pair met working on the yachts, (as they still do, travelling all over the world). With that kind of lifestyle, it was important to them to find a top wedding planner in KwaZulu Natal, where their wedding would be held, to ensure it was smooth sailing right up to the big day. Kylie was all about the flowers, while Dave really wanted an African touch, to allow all their American guests to feel a bit of the Mzansi vibe. We were happy to oblige on both counts! Their wedding was a powerful, flower-full combination of chic and stylish elements, with the most beautiful personal details that really made it all their own. From the clear marquee ceremony to the lavish reception, where guests toasted the new couple before dancing the night away to a live band, Crystal Barn in the Natal Midlands provided the perfect backdrop to a memorable celebration.

A week before the wedding, there had been flash floods at the venue, so although we’d originally planned a forest ceremony, we decided to bring in a clear, open-side marquee. As it turned out, it was a perfect, cloudless day in Nottingham Road, all the better for guests to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Crystal Barn estate. We provided parasols, to offer guests shade from the clear autumn sun, while each of the clear ghost chairs offered its guest a wax paper bag of confetti and an embroidered handkerchief for their happy tears! For the aisle we used a combination of Persian rugs and Nguni skins, for a boho African feel. But the romantic centrepiece to the ceremony was the arch, a combination triangle and semi-circle design. It was laced with pampas grass and bright blooms – a taste of the floral delights to follow. Kylie made her grand entrance, serenaded by well-known Zulu choir, the Kholwa Brothers. They later sang a version of Mumford and Sons’ ‘There Will Be Time’ for the couple’s first dance. It was an appropriate and moving choice for a South African destination wedding.

As you’ll know, the Oh Happy Day team LOVE our flowers, so Kylie was truly a bride after our own hearts. She told us right from the beginning that this would be her top priority. Having a bride who appreciates the value of what wedding florals can add to their day is a dream, and we had no limits on what we could do and where we could place them. Almost every piece of furniture had floral features that drew the eye, right down to the clear acrylic seating plan, which was filled with blooms. The result was magnificent. The smell alone was like stepping into heaven!

For the tables, we opted for velvet runners, gold and white accents, and flowers galore! They were dripping from every surface, cascading right down to the floor in an avalanche of orchids and roses. We also added kudu horns as an accent, to bring in the African touch that was a theme throughout the wedding. The photobooth was a particular highlight – a floral installation complete with a custom neon sign (which will take centre stage in the couple’s new home in Mauritius).

Food and drink were another wow factor at this South African destination wedding. During cocktail hour, we had multiple drinks stations set up throughout the grounds. These included an elegant champagne wall, a G&T caravan bar, and a beer-filled canoe. And, of course, there was a whisky bar later to honour Dave’s American side, complete with an antique drinks trolley, Cuban cigars, cut crystal glassware, and comfortable lounging pockets. We also served Southern-style fried chicken with canapés, which went down a treat! In fact, the menu throughout the day was a fusion of American and South African dishes, with nods to some of the destinations Kylie and Dave have visited during their travels. It was a wonderfully personal way to include guests in their love story. Another highlight was the cake table – a beautiful vintage dresser that we covered in floral creations, with a trio of delectable cakes.

I think one of the aspects I loved so much about planning this wedding, was the creative freedom we were given, and the ability we had to go as detailed as we liked. At no point was any guest bored (or hungry!) or stuck for something to do! As well as the Zulu choir, who performed at regular intervals, we had a live band and a DJ. The party rocked from start to finish!

Planning a South African destination wedding remotely can be a challenge for any couple, but having a local wedding planner on board makes all the difference. With Kylie and Dave based in the US, we had pretty much all of our meetings remotely, but thanks to Skype and Whatsapp, the world seemed like a much smaller place! Here’s what this lovely pair had to say about working with Oh Happy Day:

“We honestly couldn’t have done it without the Oh Happy Day team. It allowed us to fully enjoy every aspect of the day itself without worrying about minor details. They also presented us with options or ideas that we never would have even known about. We had a Friday night event as well and they were there overseeing that while also getting everything ready for Saturday! Amazing group. Couples may think it too costly to have a wedding planner but we honestly think that it was worth it to be able to spend more time with our loved ones and not have anything to stress about on the day.”

Be sure to check out Kylie and Dave’s incredible wedding video by The Minerals – you can find it here.

Photography: Vanilla Photography
Event Planning & Floral Design: Oh Happy Day
Venue: Crystal Barn