Neve Gown – Natalie & Keenan
Natalie & Keenan Mulvaney
18 December 2020
HOW WE MET
First on Twitter, then at a mutual friend’s birthday drinks at a bar in Cape Town. We immediately hit it off, and a couple of weeks later drove to an out-of-town music festival together. Before the end of that weekend, Keenan had said:
“I know we haven’t known each other for a long time, but I don’t want you to be someone else’s girlfriend.”
HOW WE GOT ENGAGED
It was our 8th anniversary, and when Keenan didn’t propose at dinner, I thought it was not the day he was going to ask. But when we arrived home, our whole apartment was decorated with balloons and flowers and fairy lights, and our song was playing and it was so sweet and so us.
MARRIAGE MEANS TO US
The promise of navigating life, growing, and building our future together.
Our wedding was all about beautiful light. We leaned into the natural beauty surrounding us and went very light on decor and flowers. We knew the summer sunset and the fairy light canopy would create the dreamy, golden atmosphere we wanted for our celebration.
FINDING YOUR DREAM WEDDING GOWN
I always knew I wanted to find my wedding dress off the rail. I just didn’t know what would suit me or make me feel like a bride, so I didn’t want to design a dress that might not feel right when I finally put it on. On a sunny November afternoon, I stepped into Bo & Luca’s Cape Town studio and I knew I would find something that very day. The rails were heavy with silk and beading and soft fabrics hand-dyed in tea. It felt like stepping into a dream. With the help of their lovely studio team, I tried on about 15 dresses – even the ones I would never have selected myself – and loved something about each of them. But it was the one that made my friends say “you look so happy and comfortable” that I walked down the aisle in.
It fitted and flattered my body in all the right ways, skimming over my hips and sitting perfectly in my waist. The sleeves made me feel glamourous and whimsical at the same time. It felt like the dress was made for me. The intricate hand-beaded bodice and hand-dyed silk skirt looked like they had taken months to make – and that’s because they had. The level of thought and detail that goes into Bo & Luca’s dresses is what makes them so incredibly special and it’s what creates a fit and feel that is so absolutely once-in-a-lifetime.
NEVE bodice & ISRA skirt.
WEDDING DAY SCENT
I agonised over this, as I am very sensitive to fragrance and am prone to be completely transported by scent. I tried on all my favourites from Jo Malone and some new scents from niche designers. On a whim, I tried YSL’s new fragrance Libre, and the warm, romantic scent just felt so right. It has top notes of Lavender, Mandarin Orange, Black Currant and Petitgrain, middle notes of Lavender, Orange Blossom and Jasmine, and base notes of Madagascar Vanilla, Ambergris, Musk, and Cedar.
WEDDING DAY ACCESSORIES
My dress was so embellished, so all I really needed was a pair of earrings. My half-moon crystal studs were my “something blue”.
My bridesmaids chose their own dresses and ended up matching perfectly by chance. My advice to any future brides would be to provide clear guidelines about what you want your bridesmaids to wear. I really complicated the situation by trying to be too easy-going about what I wanted and instead of saying “I just want you to be comfortable”, I should have said, “I definitely want you to be comfortable, in a formal dress, in one of these 5 colours”.
My ring was made by Gold & I in Cape Town. Keenan’s ring used to belong to my grandfather and was a gift from my grandmother.
HAIR & MAKEUP
I did it myself, partly because of COVID and partly because I am so particular and how I like to wear my hair and makeup. I also did hair and makeup for a couple of my bridesmaids.
We gifted our guests with delicious treats from MaMère Confections. Everything Lexi makes is truly delicious, but the Speckled Egg Nougat in particular was a huge hit with our guests. They could not stop talking about it. The MaMére packaging is so pretty that all you need is a clear box and a thank you note to make it feel super special.
FLOWERS & BOUQUETS
My bouquet was a gift from my bridesmaid Misha and was made by Fleur Le Cordeur. I had no idea what it was going to look like until it arrived, and it was the most beautiful bouquet I’ve ever seen.
I ordered our cake online, from Sweet Lionheart. Their cakes are so delicious and so pretty and we served ours as dessert.
FOOD & DRINKS
The food and wine at Boschendal cannot be faulted and I ate everything on my plate. Our guests couldn’t stop talking about how good the food was.
SPECIAL WEDDING SONGS
Because of the COVID curfew, we knew we wouldn’t have time for dancing. Our daytime music was provided by Gary Thomas aka Moodships, and our first song was Lost in The Light, by The Bahamas – the same song that was playing when Keenan proposed.
CEREMONY & RECEPTION DECOR
For the ceremony, we didn’t do anything special. The surroundings at Boschendal are so perfect. For the reception, we had lots of greenery and pillar candles on the table, with the fairy light canopy of my dreams from Baie Goeters.
We weren’t able to travel internationally, but we had a glorious mini-moon at Nyati Safari Lodge in the Kruger National Park. Our dream honeymoon destination is Iceland.
MOST TREASURED MOMENT OF MY WEDDING DAY
We couldn’t stop laughing during the ceremony, not because it wasn’t serious, but just because we were both so so happy.
ADVICE FOR BRIDES-TO-BE
Since this is the biggest and possibly most expensive event of your life, it’s easy to become super overwhelmed with decisions and choices. Everything from the colour of your napkins to the flavour of your cake needs to be decided, and if you’re anything like me, that can start to feel very anxiety-inducing, very quickly. My advice is to limit your choices from the start. Decide on your decor supplier, and select only from what they have available. Once you’ve found your dress, stop looking. Give yourself 20 minutes to make a decision, and then go with your gut. This really helped me move from one task to the next without having sleepless nights about my choices.
VENDORS & SUPPLIERS
Dress: Bo & Luca
Hair & Makeup: DIY by Natalie Mulvaney
Wedding Ring: Gold & I
Bouquet: Fleur Le Cordeur
Wedding Planner\Coordinator: Dayna Viglietti, Strawberry Weddings and Events
Venue: Rhone Homestead at Boschendal
Decor/Lighting/Furniture: Baie Goeters
Cake: Frilly Antoinette by Sweet Lionheart
Wedding Favours: MaMère Confections
Videography: Aletta Francina
Music: Gary Thomas aka Moodship
Officiant: Pastor Patrick Boucher