Wedding Stories

Colin & Jesse Midlands Forest Wedding

5 MAY 2018

How did you first meet? 

We met by chance through a friend. She had come to visit and to give my pet bunnies a smooch and Colin came with. After that he began to pursue me while he was on the coast for his December holiday. After his holiday he resigned and moved his whole life down to KZN for me and the rest has been bliss.

{Colin} We met by pure luck. I was on holiday with a friend of mine and she said she wanted to visit her friend quickly and smooch her bunnies. I was gobsmacked from the first second. Knowing our time together was limited, I did all I could to be around Jesse. After only a few days I knew this is where my happily-ever-after was hiding. In about a week after returning home I had a job down here and was moving to Durbs

Tell us a little bit about yourselves as a couple…

We love going on little adventures, but we love our home too. We love to DIY and create things as a couple. Colin is a complete romantic and loves to plan heart-melting activities like a cryptic treasure hunt for Valentines Day or a romantic weekend getaway.

{Colin} I think our dynamic is amazing. We both love to go on little adventures and fun activities. Our family is everything. We work well as a team when it comes to DIY projects at home. Jesse is the creative side and I’m the logical muscle. We are always busy with something to make our house more of a home.

What quality do you most admire about each other?

Colin became an instant dad when we got married because I had had a daughter (Mia) when I was 19. He has loved and cared for her with all his heart as though she was his own. He may not be her father, but he is her dad in every sense of the word. He took my biggest fear, being the acceptance of my daughter, and made it into my biggest love.

{Colin} I love that Jesse is so caring. It’s never about her. She is always out to help someone; always doing something nice for someone. We don’t have enough people in the world like her anymore. Jesse is also very strong willed. Once she gets an idea in her head it must happen. She might stumble here and there but she always fights through to make it work.

Tell us about the proposal… 

Colin whisked me off to the Berg for a romantic weekend getaway and it was rather cold and misty. He had prepared a lovely picnic with all my favourite things and he had painted the most stunning heart-shaped chalkboards with a geometric bunny and bear (Our nicknames – I am the bunny and he is the bear). He had set up a game where he would ask questions and we would write the answer on the boards and show each other at the same time. The last question was ‘Will You Marry Me?’ And I said YES!

{Colin} This is a rather interesting story. To start off, Jesse’s engagement ring was made in Dubai with the help of my brother and flown into the country by my Sister-in-Law Tracy to my Mom in Johannesburg. It then had a road trip down to Durban months before I asked Jesse to marry me – longest 4 months of my life – but I had big plans so needed to wait for the right time.

I booked an amazing place in the Drakensberg (the name eludes me right now) for the weekend. I had planned to do this all on the 11th of September because Jesse’s favourite number is 911 so the date was set. But, when we got there the weather wasn’t really playing ball. The weather on the day I wanted to do this was going to be miserable and I couldn’t really wait any longer, so we went for a picnic on the side of a lake overlooking the Drakensberg mountains. I had all her favourite snacks and treats. It was all going perfect. I had planned to play this Question Game during the picnic using these heart-shaped chalkboards I had painted with geometric animals. Jesse was a Bunny and I was a Bear. I had 21 Questions all laid out; the last one being ‘Will You Marry Me?’. As it came to the last few questions I lured Jesse onto this little pier overlooking the lake (set up the camera to capture the magical moment) and asked her to close her eyes so that I could reveal my last question – my stomach was in my throat at this point, so I was glad I didn’t have to say anything ha ha) With her eyes closed I went down on one knee, got the ring out of my pocket and asked her to open her eyes. The look on her face was spectacular and a look I will never forget. That day she made me the happiest man in the world.

How long was your engagement?

20 months . We got engaged on the 10th of September 2016 and married on the 5th of May 2018.

Did you find it challenging to find your perfect venue?

We are a family of animal lovers and the biggest thing for me was that our dog, Luna, be included in our Wedding Day as she is a part of our family. We had called around and queried at a few venues and they had told us that they have a strict no pets policy and even though the venues had been lovely, not allowing our dog had been a deal breaker.

{Colin} We were actually very lucky. We had decided that we wanted a forest wedding, so Nottingham Road was the obvious choice. We did our research and had a few places picked out. The challenge was that we wanted our fur baby to be a part of our Wedding. It was difficult to find somewhere that was as accommodating as Lythwood.

We decided on a weekend to make a trip up there and do some adventuring to find our magical place. It was getting late and we decided that Lythwood would be the last venue we would try for the day. Thank goodness we went to see the venue because it was spectacular and it had everything we wanted for our special day.

What made you decide on Lythwood as your wedding venue? 

We decided to take a drive up the Midlands Meander to look at some venues as we happened to be in the area at the time. We arrived at Lythwood and Colin went in to ask if we could take a look at the venue for a wedding and if our dog would be allowed to join us. They said of course she would be allowed to join us, so that was a huge tick in my books. Alison took us around and she was lovely and so friendly. We wanted a forest ceremony with beautiful gardens and Lythwood checked all those boxes for us.

{Colin} There where so many factors involved in what we wanted for our wedding. We wanted a forest wedding with an amazing setting. We wanted our dog to be a part of everything and it had to have that magical feel! The Ladies at Lythwood were so helpful – everything we asked for they said “we can do that”, “we can do that”, “we can do that” and as we drove out of Lythwood we both said that’s the one.

Describe Lythwood in 3 words…

Picturesque. Warm. Welcoming.
{Colin} Spectacular. Friendly. Memorable.

What was your vision for your Big Day… 

We got married in May. It was at the start of Autumn and all the leaves were beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow. We were getting married in a forest, so I wanted our theme to match the beauty of the season so we decided on Origami with a foresty twist.

{Colin} We both do photography and have been up that area during Autumn and the colours are spectacular. Jesse has always dreamed of getting married in a forest, so we were looking for a mystical magical feel to the wedding.

Both of us have Scottish heritage so I wanted a bit of a traditional feel to it as well (I was in my Kilt). It all seemed to blend seamlessly into what we wanted.

Did you have any special details and décor? Tell us… 

We hand made hundreds of paper cranes using old books and also made atlas paper roses. We re-purposed jars of all sizes as candle holders and we used moss and tree stumps for our centrepieces.

All our décor was handmade over our year of wedding planning and so much love went into each and every thing we made.

{Colin} We wanted a natural feel to our wedding and I’m a big fan of Origami so we decided to make all our own décor. We folded hundreds of paper cranes. We used an Atlas to make loads of paper roses. We had all shapes and sizes of jars with candles. Jesse made these vine rings with our names in the middle. All the décor for our wedding was made by ourselves and all that hard work we put in was so rewarding – it looked amazing on the day.

What did you find most surprising about planning a wedding?

The amount of work that goes into it. We luckily have similar aesthetics so deciding on the theme was the easy part, but the rest is quite daunting the further into the planning you go.

{Colin} The amount of different things you need to consider and how long it takes to get them all sorted. Weeks pass so quickly.

How did you deal with any planning stress? Do you have any tips or tricks?

Lots of chocolate and a supportive fiancé – one that knuckles down when you are at your wits end and helps you do the things that are upsetting you. Also, give yourself the time to plan and don’t leave things until the last minute.

{Colin} Support each other. Both of you are going through different stresses but it will all be worth it in the end. Do not leave things for the last minute! Other things pop up and you will be running around at the end to get everything sorted.

Oh! oh! and make sure you have at least two days of leave after – once its over you crash!

What did you find the most challenging part of planning your wedding?

All the DIY stuff was hectic. It took a lot of time to make and a lot of effort. In some instances, we thought we were saving money but if I look back at it, the amount of stress we went through and the cost of the supplies to make some of the stuff, it may have been easier to suck it up and pay a little more and not have the stress of making all the stuff. But, on the other hand, I think we would have lost the personal touch and love that went into making all our décor.

{Colin} I would say all the DIY we decided to do for our wedding. It took up a lot of our time which could have been used sorting something else out. Also the financial planning side – it normally costs a lot of money so make sure you have everything in order.

What was the most fun detail of your wedding to plan?

I think it was the décor and how things would look and play out was the most fun detail to plan. As a girl you dream about this day – when you get engaged the first thing you do is create a Pinterest board of all the things you love and you take inspiration from there and mould it into your own vision.

{Colin} I think it was the whole feel of how we wanted the wedding to be. The décor, the bridesmaid dresses, the groomsmen outfit. How we wanted the ceremony and reception to look. I enjoyed that part.

What did you learn about your husband/wife during the planning?

I learnt that Colin will do just about anything to help me, whether it was burning fingers with hot glue making delicate paper flowers or bringing me coffee while I sewed Mia’s flower girl dress, or building a wedding arbour and s’mores box. He was always 100% behind me on all decisions and he really made it the best day of my life.

{Colin} I learnt that Jesse is very strong willed and majorly creative. She will do whatever it takes to get the job done. She worked her fingers to the bone sewing our daughter a dress, making vine rings, making Luna a flower collar. Jesse’s vision of our magical day was amazing, all the creative ideas and her ability to put that vision into reality. I don’t know how she got through it all. She is one amazing lady.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learnt that sometimes I take on more than I can handle and try and do things on my own too much but, with the help of my husband, I can do just about anything.

{Colin} I’ve learnt that I’m a lot more capable with creative things. Woodwork has become nice hobby.

What’s your number one piece of advice for couples just starting to plan their wedding?

Support each other. Take each other’s views into consideration and build something special. There will be tears and there will be stress but those moments are small. Take moments to look at what you are doing, what you have done and how far you have come together.

{Colin} Be understanding. It’s a stressful time for both of you – be there for each other. All that stress will be worth it.

Plan! We did a week-by-week plan of what we wanted to accomplish and it did help us keep on track.

What would be the one thing you would recommend that a couple spends good money on for their wedding?

The wedding venue and photographer.

Your venue needs to be a place people can enjoy, that is warm and welcoming and reflects your personality. You can make or break a wedding from the vibe at your venue. They look after your guests, make the food and assist where needed.

Your photographer also needs to reflect your personality. You are leaving the massive task of capturing the special and cherished moments of your wedding in their hands. Find someone you like, meet with them and discuss your vision for your day. A good photographer will ask you to complete questionnaires to help them make sure they will get images of all the moments special to you.

{Colin} Definitely the photographer. We got an amazing photographer and the way she captured our day is exactly how I remember it. And the venue – having your wedding in a terrible place will result in you having terrible photo’s and memories.

Tell us about your dress, from buying it to how you felt in it on the day…

I think the dress to a woman is one of the most special things for your wedding day, and you should try and enjoy the moment, whether you go dress shopping on your own, with your mom or with a whole entourage. I went with my Mom, my best friend, her Mom and my daughter.

I had found some dresses from Bride & Co that I loved and wanted to try so I had emailed them and booked an appointment and sent through a list of dresses that I wanted to try. I had a budget and was doing pretty well sticking to it. When we arrived the consultant asked if there were any other dresses that I wanted to try so everyone picked out dresses they wanted me to try as well.

I had been eyeing this stunning 20s inspired, fully-beaded dress that I loved but sadly it didn’t look as beautiful on as I had imagined and I was heartbroken. All the other dresses didn’t seem to have the wow factor I was looking for, then my Mom asked if she could get a dress that she had seen for me to try. Well that was the one. It was delicately laced and beaded with pale blush accents and had champagne undertones with ivory flowy tulle – it was simply just stunning. When I came out everyone agreed it was the one but, to my horror, the dress was over R15 000 and waaaaaaay out of my budget. My Mom pulled me aside and said that she would pay half of it but now I needed to chat to Colin to see if he was okay with the out of budget price. I called him, and he told me if I wanted it and it made me happy then I must get it. Now that everything was sorted we went to the till to pay and the consultant gave me a scratch card and said they were having a discount promotion and I could get whatever discount was under the scratch card. I scratched the card and it was a crazy 40% discount! I called Colin back and just cried because I got the dress of my dreams at a price we could afford, and I was just so happy.

{Colin} Jesse looked absolutely amazing in that dress! When she went for the dress fitting she found this dress and loved it from the get go but it was out of our budget. She loved it so much I told her I would rather you have the dress of your dreams for the day you will always remember. So we planned to shuffle money around to pay for it. As she was paying the lady gave her a scratch card and she won 40% off her dress (Jesse is Crazy Lucky). I am so glad she got that dress because she was magnificent.

Give a brief description of the morning of your wedding – how did you feel, who were you with, what did you do?

My morning was fairly peaceful. My bridesmaids, flower girl and I had a lovely breakfast in my room and started to get ready at our own pace. My bridesmaids were amazing and made sure I had everything I could possibly want or need.

We had a minor train smash because the weather was going to be icy that evening and it would be too cold to use the Avellini Tent as it didn’t have sides. Danelle, Lythwood’s wedding coordinator, suggested their indoor reception venue, the Khaya Centre, but I was a bit flustered as I had made décor to fit the tent and the new venue was much bigger so I was worried that it would look sparse but she said that she would take care of it and make it look beautiful and I was not to worry about anything. Danelle and her Lythwood team really took care of everything, they were amazing.

My bridesmaid’s husband, Ryan, took care of setting up the ceremony venue and was such an amazing help. He went out of his way to make it look just how we wanted and it was stunning.

We couldn’t have asked for better help – everyone pitched, in from our guests to the venue, and they made our day special.

{Colin} Well I couldn’t sleep; I was so nervous and excited. I wasn’t really happy with my vows so I got up early to go through them one last time and landed up re-writing them completely.

As soon as that sun was up I was out and about making sure things were happening but everything was so quiet and peaceful. I remember the dew on the grass and a slight mist in the air. It was beautiful. Cold but beautiful. I bumped into my Groomsmen on the way up to reception. They had already been on a mission to get thing going and were coming to get me for breakfast.

We did so much running around, it all really became a blur. Everyone was helping out everywhere. Ryan, my friend from school and Taryn’s husband, was an absolute champ. I explained how we wanted our ceremony and he missioned back and forth to make sure that it was perfect. It was in the middle of a forest and all the leaves were red and orange – it was perfect.

The time flew by and all of a sudden it was time to get dressed for the photographer, which was great fun and kind of broke the stress a little.

Then all of a sudden it was time to welcome guests.

Tell us  a little bit about your ceremony… for example, did you write your own vows and, if so, what made you decide to do that?

Our ceremony was in the forest under the golden leaves of the autumn trees at 14:00 in the afternoon. Our bagpiper would play as I walked down the aisle. We had paper hearts on sticks that marked the aisle and banting crisscrossed over our heads. Everyone was seated and ready and our amazing Pastor announced my arrival and signaled for the bagpiper to start playing as I walked down the aisle (I never heard the song the bagpiper played). I was focused on the man I was about to marry who had the happiest smile on his face. Our Pastor made us all giggle and broke the ice when he called Colin, Sean Ferguson.

We wrote our own vows that we read to each other and they were incredibly special because they expressed the love we have and the promises we have made to each other.

It was the happiest moment of my life.

{Colin} Our ceremony was amazing. We were in the middle of a small forest. All the tree’s where turning red and orange. The setup was perfect. All our hard work had turned into something spectacular and I was just about to marry the girl of my dreams. As Jesse arrived the bagpiper started playing but as soon as Jesse stepped out I lost focus on everything else but her, she was all I could see. I don’t even remember what song he was playing. Our Pastor was brilliant. He landed up getting my name wrong ha ha ha! I don’t know if that was a joke but it definitely broke the ice. He decided last minute that we would face our guests as they were here to see us not him. It was a lovely touch.

We decided to write our own vows. It was something I really wanted and Jesse was very nervous about it, but she did so well. Her vows were so special and meant so much. I will always remember every word.

And your Reception? 

Our reception was laid back and fun. We had planned to not have very long speeches and lots of good food and drinks.

One of the hits was the Craft Beer station from Robsons Real Beer. Lythwood prepared an amazing Spitbraai with all the sides and they took such special care of my older sister and photographer who are both vegetarians.

The parents were able to relax because we made sure the kids were kitted out. They had a whole room dedicated to them with a child minder that Lythwood organised – movies, fun foods and sweets as well as a jumping castle.

Lythwood went the extra mile and found more décor items to fill the hall and set up the tables and gift tables so beautifully.

The evening shared with the people who mattered most to us was incredibly special with some of our guests coming from as far away as England and Dubai and many travelling down from Johannesburg and Cape Town. We really felt loved and honoured.

{Colin} We had such a great reception. Even though the reception venue changed last minute because of the cold, it all come together brilliantly. Lythwood helped out with some extra décor to help fill the bigger space. It all looked great.

Lythwood had sorted out this amazing Spitbraai for us, set up the Craft Beer we brought for the guests. We wanted it to be pretty chilled. People walking around being social. We didn’t even have a table placement, it was ‘sit were you want and make new friends’ policy.

The night was great. The speeches weren’t too long but meant so much. The highlight speech was my from Best Man who had organised a projector from Lythwood and a Powerpoint presentation just to embarrass me. The Music was great; the food and service from Lythwood was amazing. I wouldn’t change a thing.

What was the most memorable moment of your wedding for you? 

Walking down the aisle to my husband and sharing that special moment with our most loved family and friends.

{Colin} Definitely my beautiful wife walking down the aisle, our vows and the “ I Do”!

Was there anything about being a Bride/Groom and your experience of the wedding that surprised you?

It goes really quickly. The year and a bit spent planning and preparing for this one day goes by in a heartbeat. Take a moment to stop and enjoy it. Don’t let the little things get to you, it’s your special day and your guests are there to show you love and support.

{Colin} How quickly it goes. You are on Cloud 9 all day but it feels like hours.

In hindsight, is there anything you wish you had done differently – an aspect you would have left out, something you wish you’d done or perhaps something that didn’t turn out the way you had planned?

To be honest not really, everything turned out the way it was supposed to.

{Colin} Not really – maybe hiring a videographer. Very happy with how everything turned out.

Name one to three things that were a “must have” for your wedding – that were worth spending your money on…

The Wedding Venue. Photographer. Yourselves.

{Colin} A good photographer. A spectacular venue. All your Loved ones.

Where did you go on honeymoon and for how long?

My husband surprised me with an amazing honeymoon. We spent three days in Dubai and then we spent 10 days in Italy, travelling from Rome to Positano, to Naples and to Florence, it was the honeymoon dreams are made of.

{Colin} We had such an amazing honeymoon. Jesse had never been overseas, so I had to go BIG. I took Jesse to Dubai and Italy. We spent three days in Dubai with my brother and Best Man, then moved on to Italy which was spectacular. We made memories there that we will always remember. Taking random strolls down Rome side streets, finding small family restaurants with the best pasta I have ever had, visiting all the famous monuments, our trip down to Positano which was unbelievable – definitely a must if you can. We loved every second – battled with public transport but loved it.

Describe newlywed life in 3 words…

Wow it’s hard to describe it in only three words! I would say amazing, exciting and full of love, because it’s the start to a whole new adventure. Enjoy it, and when times are tough think back and remember the love you have and why you love each other, and you can overcome anything.

{Colin} That is so hard! Exciting. Memorable. Forever.

Wedding Suppliers

Photographer: Lauren Setterberg Please note picture quality has been reduced for display on our site.

Wedding Officiant : Ferdie Warwick

Wedding Dress : Bride & Co

Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Hoiden Bridesmaid Dresses

Kilts: Rob Roy Scottish Hire & Supplies

Hair: My sister, Biba Daubeny

Make-up: My bestie, Taryn Morgan from Beauty Guru

Décor & Flowers:  All DIY

Wedding Cake: Serendipity Gourmet Treats

DJ: DJ Worx

Wedding Stationery Design: DIY by us and printed by Shindig

Bagpiper: Midlands Bagpiper, Ian Turnbull

Craft Beer: Robsons Real Beer