Abi & Travis' Love Declaration Celebration

Updated Oct 12 2015

Remember when Ariel's mind got bended? Well here's the deal behind all that colory stripy goodness.

The Offbeat Bride: Abi, Accounts Manager and DJ

Her Offbeat Partner: Travis, Copywriter and DJ

Location & date of wedding: Mount Park, KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, South Africa — 11 April 2009

What made our wedding offbeat: We were married in a meadow, under a 100 year old oak tree, by a tattooed freak! The Pagan handfasting ceremony was blessed by a white Sangoma (witchdoctor) and we included a yichud walk from the Jewish tradition.

I wore my ultimate party frock in purple, red and pink, with polka dot shoes and a bright pink parasol. He wore a tailored suit made out of shweshwe fabric, indigenous to South Africa and typically used in dresses worn by African women in the field.

Manning the two huge potjies.
Manning the two huge potjies.
Our Love Declaration Celebration was the mother of all potlucks! Due to minimal budget and a firm belief in the Burner spirit of participation (we take a disco camp to AfrikaBurn, South Africa's regional Burning Man event), we asked all our 180 guests to contribute something to the event in lieu of gifts.

Everyone had a role to play – the officient, the greeters, the hair & make-up artists, the photographers, and the food wizards were all friends of ours. One friend made sushi, two other friends tended the fires and cooked two huge potjies (traditional South African stew, cooked over coals, in a potjie, or "cauldron"), another cupcake wiz friend made delicious Guinness and chocolate cupcakes for afters.

Not that we left it all to our friends without getting involved -– we folded 1000 cranes, baked quiches and made mixed CD's of all our favourite love songs for our friends. We couldn't have been left out of the music, and both DJ'd on the night.

1,000 cranes surround the 100-yr-old oak!
1,000 cranes surround the 100-yr-old oak!

Our biggest challenge: Co-ordinating 180 nutjobs, each playing a part in making it happen. On Friday afternoon when I was marching around with a clipboard, co-ordinating various teams, I realised why people pay so much for wedding planners! Luckily my big sister, who arrived on Friday night from Cape Town, insisted that I spend the morning before the ceremony as far away from the setting up as possible. So on Friday night I explained to her my vision with the food and set-up and I explained my vision for the décor to another friend. This meant that Saturday was indeed spent relaxing, being massaged by a friend and hanging out with my husband. I would have been a wreck if I'd tried to do it all myself on the day.

And the weather -– we didn't have a bad weather back up plan. The night before our big day it poured all night, and I threatened to call the whole thing off if I couldn't be married under the oak tree! Lucky for all of us, we woke on Saturday morning to a perfect sunny, blue sky. I took a little early morning walk by myself with tears of gratitude in my eyes.

My favorite moment: 1) Looking out of my cottage window sometime on Saturday morning and seeing my sister deep in conversation with Clive, who she'd met 5 minutes before, planning the layout of food tables and decorations. Peeking out and seeing a whole army of friends decorating the meadow with the colourful ribbons that we'd asked them to bring along. It was truly special to see how our friends came together to make our celebration happen.

Not sure whats going on with these drummers -- but I like it.
Not sure what's going on with these drummers -- but I like it.
2) Walking across the stream into the meadow, and seeing all our friends as they turned to us. I will never forget the image imprinted in my mind of all of our beautiful friends, in the most beautiful surrounds and the overwhelming emotion that took hold of both of us. Holding the hand of my dear husband, we walked together to be embraced by the warmth and love of all our friends and family.

My advice for other offbeat brides:
Let go: It wasn't easy (as a control freak) to let my vision for décor and the setup to be interpreted by everyone else. But I'm glad I let go. Let people do whatever they would like to help you, even if it wasn't exactly what you had in mind. It's really special to have everyone's unique input.

Be true to yourselves: Think about every thing that you include in your ceremony and your celebration, and be sure that you're doing it because it's true to you and who you both are. As offbeat brides the temptation is always going to be there to do things to turn heads and cause a stir. Follow your heart, not the hype.

Have fun: This was the one day in my life when I got to have the biggest party ever – and I did! One day dedicated to celebrating love, friends and the freedom to do it in which ever way you choose. Enjoy it!

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn (again):

  1. "Let go: It wasn’t easy (as a control freak) to let my vision for décor and the setup to be interpreted by everyone else. But I’m glad I let go. Let people do whatever they would like to help you, even if it wasn’t exactly what you had in mind. It’s really special to have everyone’s unique input."

    This is my wedding motto. Thanks for the perfect wording!

  2. fantastic, unique and so personal – this wedding is AWESOME!
    with this kind of color and artistic expression, the prim and proper traditional bride and groom cake topper makes me laugh!

  3. this is seriously one of my very favorite weddings featured on this site! i want to get married under a giant 100 year old tree too! SO PRETTY

  4. You guys are SUCH an inspiration! It was an honour to be a part of such a wonderful ceremony…. by getting your guests involved you ensured that we were all emotionally invested! I've said it before and I'll say it again – please can you do it all again next year?

  5. Intense and wondrous! That looks like a party not to soon be forgotten. Though I'm not surprised burners always have the most splendid 'weddings'. Congratulations and hope to see you on the playa someday!

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