African TROPICAL CHIC elopement in Durban

Vanessa and Ron call New York City home base, but opted for a beach destination wedding in South Africa for their big day. They escaped with a handful of their favourite people to Salt Rock, on the KwaZulu Natal Dolphin Coast, for a celebration that was intimate, fun, and oh-so-stylish! Planning a destination wedding in KZN from another country is difficult to do, and I’m so glad they chose us to help, because Vanessa was a delight to work with. She completely trusted our ideas and let us do our thing. I especially loved that they kept the wedding small, and invested their budget wisely in order to give their guests an authentic African beach celebration. There were so many special touches honouring Vanessa’s home country, as well as their beautiful relationship.

For their tropical destination wedding in South Africa, the couple chose Canelands Beach Club as their venue. Steps away from the ocean, with the warm breeze ruffling the palms, it could not have been a more perfect setting! And if anyone knows how to rock a tropical wedding design, it’s the Oh Happy Day team. We wanted to include lots of tropical foliage but kept things elegant with a palette of whites and greens paired with natural textures and touches of gold. The details were gorgeous: bare wood tables, lush tropical arrangements in glass vessels, wicker peacock chairs for the bride and groom, leaf print linens, gold cutlery, and raffia place mats. One of our favourite elements was the wedding cake. This three-tiered creation sported a gold leaf world map, to highlight Vanessa and Ron’s love of travel and their different countries of birth. Pretty and personal!

The beach ceremony was extra special. Vanessa and Ron said “I do” with their toes in the sand beneath a circular arch decked with white flowers and tropical greenery, with the ocean waves crashing in the background. The bride’s stunning bouquet matched the theme with white anthuriums, orchids, and fragrant frangipani, crowned with a glorious white King Protea. She donned a beautiful floaty wedding gown, while the bridesmaids stunned in emerald and gold separates with shweshwe accents, and carried colourful grass fans. The groom and best man sported matching shweshwe boutonnieres. Following the ceremony, a team of African Storytellers from Africa!Ignite regaled guests with the love story of two people who were born oceans apart, found each other in America, and came back to Mother Africa to get married. It was a beautiful tale of love and finding forever in KwaZulu Natal, with the storytellers roping in the guests to dance and serenade the couple with African love songs.

I always say that you really need to trust your wedding planner, and rest easy in the knowledge that they will put your interests first. Vanessa and Ron completely put themselves in our hands. We planned the whole wedding over Whatsapp, and built an incredible bond along the way! Here’s what Vanessa had to say about her Oh Happy Day experience:

“The Oh Happy Day team are absolutely amazing! Over a ten month period we worked together remotely (I’m in the USA) to plan our dream wedding. Joe, Jessica, Rowena and the rest of the team are absolutely professional, sweet, creative and honest. They were very responsive, whether by video call, Whatsapp messages or email, and understood our vision perfectly. I completely trusted their recommendations and their creativity. I would recommend OHD over and over again - love these ladies to bits. Thank you OHD for making our dream wedding come true!“

Thank you Vanessa and Ron for trusting us with your destination wedding in South Africa, and allowing us to share in such a special moment in your lives. Congratulations on your marriage!

Photography: Bright Girl Photography
Design, Planning, Coordination and Styling: Oh Happy Day
Venue: Canelands Beach Club & Spa