Wedding Stories

Christopher & Melissa

How did you first meet? 

Chris owns a restaurant in Howick called Delish Dish. In June 2008 I moved back to Howick after two years of living in Jo’burg, and started to frequent the restaurant with friends. After a couple of visits, we naturally got to know the staff pretty well and Chris and I had an instant connection. A couple of months later, and a few dates in, we started dating seriously.

Tell us a bit about yourselves as a couple…

We have been together for 11 years. We bought our forever home four years ago, which has been an enjoyable project for us. We have two fur babies, Izzy and Diesel, who take us for walks on a Sunday evening, haha! We both have long working hours so we try make the most of our free time by spending it with our family and friends.

What quality do you most admire about each other?

Chris’ willingness to help others. If anyone is in trouble, he’s the first to help.

{Chris} How loving Mel is, she has such a big heart. And she is super reliable!

Tell us about the proposal…

It was our Anniversary weekend and we had planned a quiet getaway in the Kamberg for two nights. As we could only check in after 2pm, Chris suggested that we drive up Sani Pass before making our way to the Berg. As I had never been up Sani before, I jumped at the opportunity! The weather at the top was dreadful! It was misty, extremely windy and freezing cold. We dashed indoors for a cup of coffee, before attempting to walk out to the view point – fighting the gale force winds! There was no stopping Chris, despite being pushed around in the wind he still managed to get down on one knee, holding on tightly to the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen , and asked me to marry him. I cried (a lot!) and of course, said yes!

How long was your engagement?

17 months.

Did you find it challenging to find your perfect venue?

Not really. I think it gets challenging when you give yourself too many options, so we made a few enquiries via email and then narrowed it down to only three venues to view.

What made you decide on Lythwood as your wedding venue? 

Everything! It just ticked all the boxes. We had a small wedding which most venues wouldn’t cater for (or had a minimum charge), but Lythwood had no parameters on number of guests.

We also opted for a midday Ceremony followed by a light lunch, which meant that our menu ideas were different from the usual ‘set menu’s’ at most venues. Lythwood let us create our own menu, no questions asked.

And a big tick was that we had the entire to venue to ourselves for the whole weekend, which made it very personal. It is such a special place, right on our doorstep!

Describe Lythwood …

Accommodating. Caring. Professional.

What was your vision for your Big Day… 

A laid back, social celebration with our nearest and dearest!

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

I had a butterfly in my bouquet, in memory of my late sister.

What did you find most surprising about planning a wedding?

That it is not as difficult and stressful as it seems.

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

Don’t rush! Everything will fall into place if you give yourself enough time to plan. It keeps the stress levels low, and helps financially too!

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

The seating plan, it really isn’t as easy as it sounds! We eventually decided to have one long table, with no seating plan.

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

All of it!

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

That Chris is rather creative, and far more practical than I am.

{Chris} That Mel is great at event planning!

What did you learn about yourself?

That I thoroughly enjoy planning weddings. Career change, maybe?

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

Stay true to yourself, it is the one day that you get to call all the shots. You will find that people will try to influence your decisions, but just remember that it is your and your partner’s dream day, not theirs!

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

The Honeymoon. It’s not just a holiday, so treat yourself and make it special!

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

The first place that I tried on dresses was at Sposabella. My mom, my sister and my best friend were with me. I chose dresses that I liked, and let them choose their favourites too. The moment I put on ‘The Dress’ we all teared up. It was so stunning, and I felt so comfortable and confident. I couldn’t believe that I was lucky enough to find my dress at my first fitting, so I decided to try another boutique – just to be sure. I am so glad I did because it just sealed the deal with Sposabella, and put my curiosity at ease. I felt incredible on the Day! It was simple yet elegant, and perfect for our daytime wedding.

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

I was wide awake at 4am! Excitement overload! I watched the sunrise with my mom, taking in that the big day had finally arrived. Messages started flooding my phone and we read through a couple of them together, tissues at hand. That was a very special moment! Once the girls joined us we put on some music and sipped on Mimosa’s whilst having room service breakfast. We just thoroughly enjoyed the pampering, and soaked up every moment.

{Chris} I was extremely anxious and very emotional on the morning of the Wedding (good emotions, of course!). After 10 years, I couldn’t believe that the day had finally arrived. I had arranged a Barber for the morning, who came to Lythwood and did hair cuts and shaves for the gents – we can be pampered too, haha! We popped the Bubbly and took the morning in our stride, waiting ‘patiently’ for the final hour.

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 very intimate, just as we wanted it. A lot of happy tears were shed, and our Pastor kept the mood light by cracking a few jokes, which was really calming for us. Chris and I are both very emotional people, so we chose to exchange our vows privately, over a beach dinner whilst on Honeymoon at Phi Phi Island.

Tell us about the moment your saw your Bride/Groom for the first time?

{Mel} When I saw Chris for the first time, my heart wanted to jump out of my chest. I was so excited to finally share this moment with him, and would have run down the aisle to him if I could!

{Chris} I was overwhelmed with emotion and couldn’t hold back the tears. She looked absolutely stunning!

And your Reception? 

Fun fun fun! We had one long table which made it easy to interact with our guests. The food was delicious and we danced until our feet hurt.

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

{Mel} Chris’ reaction when he saw me walk down the aisle, as well as the heartfelt speeches at the Reception.

{Chris} Seeing Mel for the first time, walking towards me.

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

{Mel} How much love can be felt and shared on your Wedding day. It was surreal.

{Chris} How much it hurts to smile! haha

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?

Nothing at all, it was perfect!

What was a ‘must have’ for your wedding – that were worth spending your money on….

{Mel} We had a Live band play after the ceremony, whilst we went off for photos. Our guests thoroughly enjoyed it and it set the tone for the day.

{Chris} Tequila and veldskoene!

Where did you go on honeymoon and for how long?

Thailand for two weeks.

Describe newlywed life in 3 words…

Fun. Exciting. Adventurous.

Wedding Suppliers

Photographer: Jonathan Burton
Wedding Dress: Sposabella
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Forever New
Satin Gowns: Sew Couture
Suits: Woolworths
Veldskoene: Groundcover
Rings: Marcos Jewellers
Hair & Make-up: Dios Gracia Hair & Makeup Artistry
Décor & Flowers: forWedz
Marquee Letters (C&M): Aisle Hire It
Wedding Cake: Copperfields Wedding & Event Catering
Wedding Stationery Design: Fuchsia Fine Event Stationery
Save-the-Dates, Favours, Signs, etc: Rustic Laser Art
DJ: DJ Roshan
Photobooth: First Shot Studio