Chantal & Stefan's rocking South African wedding

By on Jan. 8th

The Offbeat Bride: Chantal, Graphic Designer

Her offbeat partner: Stefan, Computer Engineer

Date and location of wedding: Galagos Country Estate, Cullinan, South Africa — November 11, 2012

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: We knew from the start that we preferred to have a venue who would do as much as possible for us, which is why we eventually found Galagos. Including the venue hire, they also did the catering, and provided a wonderful DJ for us (who's also a big fan of heavy metal and rock, by the way!). We also had great decor, thanks to Red Ruby Events. We told them that we wanted a blue/lilac themed wedding, and they really helped us out.

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They were also really excited when I showed them my idea of a bouquet! And yes, I got the idea from Offbeat Bride.

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Tell us about the ceremony: We decided on a Christian ceremony, to keep our parents happy (I'm actually pagan, but they don't know it yet). We found the greatest pastor who was perfectly ok with marrying a non-Christian couple – he even suggested a bilingual ceremony (Afrikaans/English), as it would be more discreet (and much shorter) than the traditional Christian ceremony. In the end, it was a beautiful ceremony, and I'm not sorry we didn't go for a handfasting or a plain civil ceremony.

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Our biggest challenge: My biggest challenge, I would say, was the table plan – I wanted it laid out in such a way that no one would have to be at the same table with whomever they were having issues with. In the end, though, everything worked out perfectly, and my uncle actually told me that I started something peaceful between the families there, so that's great!

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It's also very easy to become overwhelmed by all the details, but luckily I had a lot of help – the original beading on my wedding dress didn't work for me, so my mother-in-law offered to fix it for me. She also helped me with the wedding favours. We decided to keep it simple, and just add a thank you card to some cherry sweets.

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My favorite moment: This is so difficult! The whole wedding was amazing, so it's very hard to figure out which was the most meaningful moment! But, there were three: the first, when the ceremony began, and my song started (Nina Simone – "My Baby Just Cares For Me"). I got goosebumps!

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The second, when Stefan and I walked into the reception hall — they played "Cadence To Arms" by the Dropkick Murpheys, and we had to walk straight to the bar to drink our shooters. The moment we downed the shooters, the non-traditional part of the song started to play. It was awesome! My third most meaningful moment, was when my sister-in-law (who was also my maid of honor) made her speech. Another great thing for me was to have both my grandmothers there.

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Was there anything you were sure was going to be a total disaster that unexpectedly turned out great? The cake! On the wedding day, I asked my maid of honor to go find out if the cake arrived, and apparently nobody knew where the cake was — in the end the cake was apparently delivered the day before, and they almost forgot about it! But it wasn't such a bad thing, the cake was at the reception by the time we arrived there. So there wasn't really any near-disasters.

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My advice for Offbeat Brides: Go with your gut. If you don't want a white wedding dress, for example, then don't go for one! And don't let anyone pressure you into doing something you don't want to. We went for a venue that is actually very expensive, but we got married on a Sunday, which was much cheaper. If you find a venue that you love, find out what days are cheaper, and how you can pay, etc. Also, shop around! Some vendors are very, VERY expensive, but if you look around a bit, you will definitely find something more for your budget, and just as nice.

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What was the most important lesson you learned from your wedding? Have fun! Don't be afraid to ask for help! There are so many people willing to help you if you have a problem, so take advantage of it! But we also didn't want to load too much stuff on those who were willing to help — so with most of it (like the decor and bouquets, etc.) we just hired people who did most of it for us. And a very important thing I've learned, that I know I will remember: don't look at all the planning still ahead, because you will get overwhelmed! Take it one step at a time.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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