The proposal. The white dress. The bouquet. Something borrowed and something blue. The garter toss. Sleeping with a piece of wedding cake under your pillow.
Let’s face it. There are countless wedding traditions, some old and some new, but the best part is that nowadays it is widely accepted for a bride and groom to include whatever customs and traditions they like, or none at all, to make their special day entirely their own.
Or, the happy couple can choose to break tradition altogether and opt for a destination wedding. Of course we think this is a grand idea and we have helped orchestrate some of the most enchanting, magical weddings (and honeymoons) for our guests. Here are just two of our most recent favourites…
Safari Wedding Chic
When former lodge manager and head ranger duo, Nicci and Mark, met at &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, they had no idea how much the reserve (and the people working on it) would mean to them six years later. Although they had recently moved back to Johannesburg, they were both adamant that the wedding was to take place at their beloved ‘home’, &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve.
Their big day was to be classy and elegant, yet fun and highly social. The intimate ceremony took place under the dappled canopy of a grove of Tamboti trees and guests were seated on white chairs beneath the tree shade while Nicci and Mark exchanged their tearful vows.
The sophisticated sit-down dinner, which was a grand and stylish affair, was savoured under the starlit African sky amidst a kaleidoscope of twinkling fairy lights and glowing lanterns. &Beyond Phinda Forest Lodge Executive Chef and the couple’s long-time friend, Sam Mnguni, regaled the crowd with his ever-entertaining and from-the-heart stories, as he announced the night’s decadent six-course menu on behalf of Executive Chef Andries Ndwandwe, also a dear friend of the bride and groom.
Nicci, Mark and 120 of their nearest and dearest laughed, shared heartfelt toasts and danced the night away, and the unforgettable wedding went down in the &Beyond books as a day the Phinda family will never, ever forget.
Images © Greg Lumley.
Tropical Island Vows
Further north, on the snow-white silky shores of &Beyond Mnemba Island, former general managers Mike and Tess celebrated their own intimate and utterly romantic beach affair, overlooking the impossibly turquoise waters and a beautiful blazing sunset.
Tess walked barefoot down the sandy aisle, arm-in-arm with her father, and met up with her soon-to-be-husband, who was grinning ear to ear, under the white, flowing makeshift altar. As the sun gently dipped over the waves on the horizon, Tess and Mike exchanged their vows amidst a carpet of pink and white rose petals that were scattered on the velvety soft sand.
Mike’s quintet of best men, all members of the &Beyond Mnemba family, looked sharp in their white kanzus and oh-so dashing crimson Zanzibari kofias. They escorted the beaming couple back up to the dive centre where countless champagne corks were ceremoniously popped and the most irresistible tower of sinfully decadent chocolate brownies was devoured.
This dream ceremony was just part one of a glamourous East African wedding weekend, with the main event taking place a few days later at Tess’ gracious family homestead on a beautiful, and most charming, farm in Kenya.
Images © Andrew Morgan Wedding Photographer.
Our most heartfelt congratulations to Mark and Nicci, and Mike and Tess, as they embark on the next exciting chapters of their &Beyond romances. So …? What are you waiting for? Do away with tradition and plan an unforgettable wedding (and honeymoon) with us. Here’s an amazing honeymoon offer to get you started…
From the game-filled plains of the Masai Mara and the dreamy overwater beach bungalows of the Maldives, to the lush time-forgotten vineyards of Argentina and the châteaux-like &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge with its twinkling chandeliers and fragrant long-stemmed roses … these are places dreams are made of. And if you’re looking for even more inspiration, you’ll love this blog about our 10 most romantic moments.