Annika and Juan dreamt of getting married in the ‘platteland’ and were married in Letsatsi Lodge, Vanrhynsdorp. An organic, earthy, and unique ceremony where even each flower used was handpicked. The tones throughout the wedding aligned with this overall elegant and rustic aesthetic.
The two first met in 2012 in Stellenbosch, Trumpet Tree, “I was the girl at the bar with the red lips, he was the boy at the bar with the brandy… Juan found me at the bar.”
They were engaged eight years later, the couple was visiting his parents in Riversdale when Juan wanted to climb the mountain, Sleeping Beauty. He was planning on going down on his knee on the peak but Annika got Covid. Instead, they ended up climbing a hill, overlooking the unreal landscape, when he took the opportunity to propose!
Juan & Annika Venter
16 October 2021
MARRIAGE TO US MEANS
Marriage to us means being best friends that want to kiss each other forever. It’s loving someone unconditionally, loving each other’s flaws, taking turns to lead, supporting each other, and ultimately just enjoying this life we were given, together.
Cilliers Visser Weddings.
Cilliers and Esmari were recommended to us by another photographer whom I trust very much. Even though we got better with 8 years of practice, Juan and I are both a little bit awkward when it comes to taking pictures together. It was important to us that the photographer captured moments and not stiff and over-posed pictures.
Cilliers and Esmari made us feel at ease the moment the cameras were lifted. We had the best time with them, constantly making jokes and laughing at each other, our smiles on the photos are authentic. They took control of the entire day, and we could just enjoy ourselves. We couldn’t be happier with the result. The photos reflect the energy of the day and that is exactly what we wanted.
Annika had been following Bo & Luca for years, even before she was engaged to Juan, she dreamt of getting married in a Bo & Luca wedding dress,
“The details, the beading, the fit, the extra care they put into making the dress and then, of course, the material. Just like everything else in the wedding, I wanted the dress to be unique too.”
She started her wedding gown journey in March 2021 and after visiting our studio, she fell in love with two pieces. Annika says, “When we left Bo & Luca, I knew I found my dress, I just needed to decide which one. At the second fitting, my mind was made up, PRIMROSE was the one for me,” and that her dress had a life of its own.
Primrose, Temple by Bo & Luca
Van Nierop Jewelers
Our wedding rings were designed by a dear friend of Juan, Mari Barnard. Juan had a big task on his hands as I wanted my engagement ring to be a surprise, it needed to be something different, and to top that off, I’m quite picky. Mari did a wonderful job at listening to him, aiding him, and ultimately designing the most exquisite ring for me. She also designed and created our wedding rings. Juan’s ring was also a surprise, I wanted to have a little bit of fun too, luckily for me, he also loved his ring.
HAIR & MAKEUP
Hair & Make-up by Almari
I went to school with Almari, but she finished a few years before me, but what I remember most about her, is her heart. She is one of the kindest people I have ever met. She did the hair and make-up for two of my friends and I knew back then that I wanted her for my special day. Not only did she dance (and cry) with us on the day, she made us look beautiful. Juan prefers me without any make-up, so I needed to keep it natural and that is exactly what Almari did, she used my features and amplified them. I stayed up till 4 am the next morning, hair, and make-up still as perfect as the day before.
Daisy – Marc Jacobs
WEDDING DAY ACCESSORIES
Jeanne and Co – The Byron
I wanted each bridesmaid to decide on their own dress, their own style, but a few weeks prior to the wedding the picture I had in mind didn’t come together. We looked everywhere for dresses that could work but couldn’t find any in my color scheme. Questionable weeks before the wedding I took the risk of ordering their dresses on Shein, not knowing if it will arrive on time or if it will fit them. They looked beautiful! Each one is a different color and it fit them perfectly.
ADVICE TO BRIDES-TO-BE
Plan, even if it feels like you are too much, plan ladies. There’s so much happening at once and on the day these things can take away your happiness. If you plan, you know everything is going to work out and you can just enjoy the day for what is it, without any stress or anxiety.
Say yes or no and move on. Make the decision, it will make your planning process a lot easier.
The smaller things are the most important, make the day special for you, your husband, and your guest.
Trust your vendors and suppliers, they know what they are doing.
Have fun with your husband.
MOST TREASURED MOMENT OF MY WEDDING DAY
Juan: Our vows, it was a nice touch, it was a nice everything.
Annika: Predictable, but my husband. He was light, cheerful and happy. His happiness inspired me to be happier if that was even possible at all.
FLOWERS & BOUQUETS
My now sister-in-law and her husband export dried flowers and as their wedding present to us, they provided our entire wedding’s flowers. The flowers were the most special part of the décor, each one unique.
The bouquet was done by Bázeru Events with the wedding flowers and some additional flowers he selected.
The wedding cake was done by one of my dearest friends, Joaneske Nel. She started her own business only a few years ago, Sugar and Spice Patisserie, and has since been asked by Blos Bakery in Stellenbosch to make wedding cakes for them. I was important to us that our guests also get a piece of the wedding cake. The bottom section was a chocolate cake, with dark chocolate ganache and a dash of salted caramel. The top section was layers of Marnella Macarons. Every guest walked to their chalet with a handful of macarons for a midnight snack.
FOOD & DRINKS
Food and drinks were done by the venue, Letsatsi Lodge. We had pre-drinks under the trees with a gin station and a Cederberg Brewery stand. The guests could enjoy the canapes while we were busy with our photo shoot. The main meal was plated and had a lot of interesting elements on it and finally, our dessert was our wedding cake.
We decided to not give the guests wedding favors, but we wrote a special welcoming note that we left on each bed, with a packet of gingerbread cookies that a tannie from my hometown baked for us.
SPECIAL WEDDING SONG
Before I arrived, I asked the DJ to play a special song to my husband to be, Grow old with you by The Popcorn Buckets. I walked in on Heartbeats by José Gonzáles. We entered the ceremony on Forever by Chris Brown. Our first dance was I love you always forever by Donna Lewis and lastly, my father and I danced on Teenage Queenie by The Pussycats.
CEREMONY & RECEPTION DÉCOR
A local legend when it comes to wedding decor, a ‘Boer’, a pianist, and someone that looks after the community. I can write essays about Boeta, he is just amazing. From the moment we hired him it was one big party. He was just as excited as me about the wedding. I honestly could not have done it without him.