The bride was married on her birthday, in a twist of sheer serendipitous luck.
Everything from the mountain setting, the Grace Kelly inspired gown and headpiece, the handmade touches and genuine love and happiness of the bride and groom’s family and friends resulted in a truly elegant and beautiful wedding. It’s hard to believe it was pulled off in only four months!
So, let’s get into it!
Aqeelah’s second dress for the wedding reception was another hand made stunner, dreamt up by herself. She travelled far to find the perfect dress (China!), based on an image of a dress she stumbled upon on an Instagram profile. The dress in the image had a skirt of “stiff, layered Italian tulle, with each tier having a wide-edged hemline”. Roaming the bridal district of Guangzhou (or Canton) she finally found a dress with the exact same skirt. She hauled it (it weighed 5kg!!) back home to Cape Town, South Africa, where she had the original, strappy, corseted top removed by a trusted seamstress and had the long sleeved, hand beaded top with buttons down the back made. This dress had literally flown a thousand miles and endured a complete makeover to reach, what I think, is a beautiful end result. The skirt has just the right amount of princess-y poof to be elegant and the top of the gown is modern and edgy with its unique pointed design.
The headpiece was inspired by Grace Kelly, and handmade by the same lady who made her Nikah headpiece.
The Venue (in the bride’s words)
I wanted a venue that was simple and chic, but not too flashy, summery but not under a marquee. I wanted a drive out so people wouldn’t just eat and leave. I wanted a view and grass for the children to run freely on. After hunting for two weeks, my cousin mentioned a wedding venue her friend had recently been to. “It’s in Paarl and called Belair or something. My friend can’t stop talking about it, see if you can Google it”. I did, and it was love at first sight. I was initially disappointed that the venue was only for dry hire (ie: completely empty, without catering or decor except chairs and tables), but I couldn’t resist the elegance in its simplicity. We drove out to have a look, and we couldn’t flaw the Pavilion at Belair on anything. It was perfect.
Inspired by the black and white diamonds in my white gold ring, my theme was, kind of, black and white. Although it somehow ended up being white and silver, which worked out way better in the end.
My bouquet was made with orchids picked from (my friend) Zorah’s garden, and coincidently made by the daughter of the woman who made my mom’s wedding bouquet.
The bridal party
I was super happy to have my five best girlfriends by my side. I wanted bridesmaids but not the traditional kind. They had no male counterparts, didn’t walk down the aisle with bouquets, and I never chose their outfits. Their only brief was to wear something next-level fabulous, reflecting their personality and it had to be black in colour, while the ever-logistical La’eeqah organised white rose corsages for everyone. These girls did everything for me, from arranging the best bachelorette to fluffing out and carrying my train every step of the way. What made the day extra special was having Inge and Leonor fly down from Joburg and Doha respectively just for the occasion, with Leonor, Aisha and Zorah making speeches that left us all teary. They’ve all been in my life for years, and at some point we have all been apart for long periods of time yet maintained the bond, which taught me that real friendship and love knows no distance.
So many hands somehow contributed to make this day extra amazing, and we were truly overwhelmed with kindness, generosity and love. Despite the odd mishap, it really was a dream, and by far the happiest day of my life. I’m usually a stressball, and always thought I would be a crazy bridezilla, but I have never been more calm or more present in my life!
Photography: Flashbox Photography