A picturesque outdoor wedding at Galileo Farm in Elgin, South Africa, was the perfect way for fun-loving Louwna and Matt to celebrate their love with their nearest and dearest.
The couple met in 2012 at Stellenbosch University but began falling for each other on a road trip through Botswana in 2018, en route to a mutual friend’s wedding in Zimbabwe.
Join us in reminiscing their special day through forever moments captured on camera;
“The day is going to happen just the way it is, if the cake falls over, laugh about it, if you end up with the wrong earrings on, it doesn’t really matter in the bigger picture.”
Louwna & Matthew
3 December 2022
MARRIAGE TO US MEANS
Waking up every day and putting the other’s needs first, by choice, not just when we feel like it.
Having a life partner makes the mundane, the chores, and the repetition of life a fun adventure. Life is not just fancy dates and wild overseas adventures, find someone that makes washing dishes and doing the laundry more fun than it would otherwise be.
Head photographer @byChelsey and a friend Craig took some dance photos and then the sparkle send-off.
THE MOST TREASURED MOMENT OF MY WEDDING DAY
Number one was walking down the aisle with my dad. He was in an accident in 2020 and was actually declared dead on the scene more than once, but miraculously (for real) he made it through, albeit short a leg! It was super special that he could walk me down the aisle given the last two years he, and the rest of us had been through.
For the same reason, the father-daughter dance was also super special. It started off slow and then suddenly snapped to a choreographed dance which Matt and his mom then also joined in. Dance has always been in our family and sharing that moment with my Dad and my new family meant so much to me.
Number three was definitely reading out the vows that we wrote to each other! Tough to get through but worth every tear.
Lastly, there was a moment when I went to sit with my Ouma (gran) on one of the couches later into the evening; sitting there looking out at the dance floor and seeing almost all my favourite and most dear people in one place celebrating together was a real pinch-me moment.
Galileo Farm, Elgin, Western Cape, South Africa
HOW WE MET
Matt, an English-speaking Durban boy, and Louwna, an Afrikaans Karoo meisie, met at Stellenbosch University in 2012. However, probably owing to the significant language divide at the time, nothing came of it. It was only in 2018, on a road trip through Botswana en route to a mutual friend’s wedding in Zimbabwe, that we both caught feelings.
HOW WE GOT ENGAGED
It was next to a lake in the moodiest Western Cape weather, with bright sun bursting through dark clouds. We were on a road trip heading to Louwna’s hometown and I (Matt) had flown down from Durban a couple of days earlier (getting the ring only hours before departing). I wanted Louwna to be able to celebrate with her family after getting engaged so had targeted that trip home.
Unfortunately, the place along the way that I had planned to propose had been ravaged by a forest fire and so as we continued onwards inching closer to her hometown I was frantically on the lookout for a better spot; needing to come up with ever more creative excuses to get off the beaten track.
Then, while on a random gravel road, we came over a hill and there it was, this huge willow right on a lake. I instantly knew that this was the spot but then had the trouble of convincing Louwna to get out of the car, which she saw no need for given how cold it was that day! Eventually, I got her down to the lakeside and after a few special words (it was only at this point she realised what was happening) I dropped the knee.
The bride had seen a few Bo & Luca wedding gowns on Instagram and said that she knew when the time came, that, “Bo & Luca was going to be my first, and hopefully only, stop.”
Louwna exclaimed how she loved every dress she tried on and was struggling to make a decision until she fitted on the Ella,
WEDDING DAY SCENT
Cotton by Rain
WEDDING DAY ACCESSORIES
I wore a golden signet ring that my dad gave my mom many years ago (that was passed to me after she passed away when I was much younger); a subtle golden necklace with small equally spaced stones that my mother-in-law gave me, together with a thin golden-beaded necklace that Matt gifted me.
The earrings I wore were gold Art Deco earrings but were not the ones I originally bought for the day! I had mistakenly packed the wrong jewelry box with my wedding stuff.
The jewelry box with the earrings I had planned to wear was packed deep among a whole bunch of my other belongings that were going to be driven back to Durban in one of the groomsmen’s cars. My poor bridesmaids spent a good while searching for them but in the end, I am actually so glad that we couldn’t find them and I wore the ones I did!
All I dictated to the bridesmaids was a colour palette and that their chosen dress needed to be at least mid or full-length, other than that they were free to find a dress that they loved and felt confident in. It’s hard to have fun in clothes that you don’t feel comfortable and confident in and that was more important to me.
I had hinted to Matt that I was keen on a champagne-coloured and oval-shaped stone but other than that the ring Matt designed was a complete surprise to me and it’s perfect!
Matt’s ring is the one my Dad wore in his marriage to my mom before she passed away. It’s an old-school traditional gold band.
ADVICE FOR BRIDES-TO-BE
Be free to be you, be real about what is important to you, your likes and dislikes, and stand up for those things. Don’t forget that this is the one day that is actually about you. If there are traditional wedding day activities that you don’t identify with, then ditch them, and feel free to replace them with something that is more you.
We decided to ditch both the garter thing and throwing the bouquet because we had never really enjoyed that at other weddings and have not once regretted it. It also meant we had more time for other things we valued more such as the speeches and dancing.
Then, stop for a few seconds every hour or so to look around and take it all in. Your wedding day flies by so fast and I think it’s important to intentionally slow down to take it all in.
Something will at some point go wrong. Have grace for it. The day is going to happen just the way it is, if the cake falls over, laugh about it, if you end up with the wrong earrings on, it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
Something you really wanted to be perfect might not be as you hoped but you’ll be sad if you didn’t choose to have fun in spite of it.
PS, no great story ever came from life happening exactly the way you planned.
FOOD & DRINKS
We had a family-style dinner so that it would be more interactive, giving that typical family dinner feel. It also meant that those with big appetites and those with smaller tummies each got the amount of food they needed.
Our caterers were Damien and his team from The Velvet Effect. They really went above and beyond with a private home tasting but most of all they were just an absolute joy to have there on the day.
SPECIAL WEDDING SONGS
Walking down the aisle – Saturn by Sleeping at Last
Entering reception – Signed, Sealed and Delivered by Stevie Wonder
Father-daughter dance – Father-daughter by Paul Simon + Special Star by Mango Groove
CEREMONY & RECEPTION DÉCOR
Most of our decor and all the furniture, including the bedouin tent and hanging basket ceiling, was trucked in by 4 Every Events. Our beautiful handmade candles were from Ohrr candles and my stepmom sewed all the table runners and serviettes for us.
FLOWERS & BOUQUETS
The lady who owned the farm on which we got married gave us carte blanche to raid all the trees and shrubbery on her farm. I wanted mostly greenery and fewer flowers.
We had a few flowers for the tables (by Adene’s flowers) and other than the greenery on the tent ceiling which Nadia from 4EveryEvent did for us, the rest was the result of a lot of hard work by the bridal party.
Lasché, my best friend and one of my bridesmaids, did all the bouquets and corsages and my stepmom worked her magic with the leftover greenery on the arch we got married under.
We started with two nights at the Willow Cottage at Underhill Farm which was really close to our venue. We wanted to stay close the first night so that we could slow down a little before traveling after the whirlwind that was the wedding day. The cottage looks like a hobbit house from the Shire!
We followed this up with four nights at Narina Lodge at the Lion Sands Game Reserve in the Sabi Sands and then two nights at Summerfields Rose Retreat and Spa. The game viewing and lodge at Lion Sands was world class and Summerfields is the most incredible rainforest experience!
OUR WEDDING VENDORS
Wedding Coordinator: @nearest.and.dearest
Venue: Galileo Farm Elgin
Caterer: The Velvet Effect
Music + Entertainment: man with music
Photographer: By Chelsey
Floral: Adene’s Flowers
Décor and Tent: 4 Every Event
Grocery & Cutlery: Goeters
Hair: Nomad Hair
Makeup: Britney van de venter
Wedding band: Mustard Jewellery
Candles: Ohrr candle collection
Wine: Raats family wines