Elisa & Danie

From the outset, you can feel the love between Elisa and Danie! Their day surrounded by lush farmland is the perfect backdrop to their stunning white dresses and bridesmaids in deep burgundy. Family was at the centre of their day, as Gemma Clarke Photography seamlessly caught all the special moments at Ottimo HouseElisa is sharing their day with us, as the self-confessed ‘wordsmith’ of the relationship!

Danie and I met through Danie’s sister. Her and I started playing soccer together, however it wasn’t until many years later that Danie and I became best friends and spent most of our time together – the rest I guess is history, as they say! Our friendship moved into uncharted territory and blossomed into something neither of us was expecting but we haven’t looked back since.

Our wedding was held at Ottimo House, in Denham Court, on the 31st of March this year. The venue is on large farmland and has this spectacular view from up on the hilltop, plus the day we had was brilliant blue skies, so it set off the best day for us!

We didn’t have a theme as such exactly, it was sort of a green woodsy type feel, flowers that fit with a relaxed garden with pops of burgundy to match our bridesmaid dresses. We wanted everyone to enjoy the day and not go overboard with theatrics or embellishments, the venue in itself is breathtaking, and we wanted to match that atmosphere.

Choosing a song to walk down the aisle to was a bit of a process! I had songs I wanted, but most of them too fast and upbeat to walk down the aisle to! A bit of you tubing and a few songs later I picked Ellie Goulding’s ‘How Long will I love you’.

Danie’s choice was Luke Graham’s ‘Love Someone’, she knew she wanted that from when she heard it on the radio one day in the car! On the day however, we had some interference with the speakers and so the songs couldn’t play loud enough for us to hear, I don’t think I actually walked down the aisle to anything in the end!

Danie and I weren’t planning on finding our dresses the day that I picked mine out. We were looking for bridesmaids’ dresses and if we found something for ourselves it would be a bonus! Danie was expecting that she would find her dress before I would and to be honest, I thought the same. I knew it would be something like the styles I found (and pinned) on Pinterest though! We had decided that neither of us wanted to see each other’s dresses so it was a bit of work trying to pick something that the other wouldn’t see!

At one of the stores I remember seeing this dress as soon as we walked in and whispering to my sister that I wanted to try it on. Unfortunately, that store told us we’d never get any dresses ready and delivered by March and so we walked out again without being able to try the dress on. When we walked into the very last store for the day, I wasn’t hopeful of finding something, but the universe thought otherwise because when I walked in, I saw the dress I wanted. I tried it on while Danie went outside and I knew it was the dress for me, but it was out of my price range and I knew I wouldn’t be able to push the envelope on this one, so I tried on other dresses and none of them made me feel the same.

The lady in the store was really lovely and she offered me another amount to help with my budget – if I decided that was the one and if I put a deposit on that day, but I still wasn’t sure I could afford it, so again, I left the store without a dress. We found the bridesmaid dresses that day which was great but I knew the dress I tried on was the one I wanted and so I told Danie I may have found a dress, but it was more than what we’d budgeted for. She said if I really wanted it and knew I wouldn’t like anything else, to go back, try it on again and decide – so my sister and I went back, I tried the dress on and put a deposit down straight away!

Danie found her dress after trying on about 10 different ones with her Mum and good friend. She had put the one she liked in the ‘maybe’ pile and wasn’t 100% on it at first. After trying on the others she liked, it came down to 2 and after trying on the one she got for a second time, her mum teared up and that’s when she decided ‘I think this is the one’.

For our bridal parties, I had my sister and two brothers as well as my cousin, who is just like a big sister to me. Danie had her sister and niece as well as her very close friend!

Gemma our photographer was amazing! She captured some amazing moments and I couldn’t have asked for a better result. The photography was another one of my designated tasks for the wedding, because like the flowers, photography is another love of mine and I had a very specific idea in mind of what I wanted. Danie and I aren’t the ‘serious, look into each other’s eyes and hold that pose’ kind of girls, as you can see from our pictures, we’re mostly laughing! Gemma was great though, she knew that wasn’t what we wanted and so was like, just walk over there together, forget I’m even here and just take in the day…that’s when she captured some sneak shots of us NOT laughing.

Even at one point when some stray horses were coming towards us and I was freaking out one would eat my dress her assistant Katie was there to guide them away and calm me down – in one of the sunset photos you can see I’m slightly leaning into Danie and away from the horse too!

Gemma is an amazing photographer and we’re really glad we stuck to using her on the day!

Again, I had an idea from images I pinned, so it was a matter of finding a florist who could emulate that within our budget. I was very close to securing one when it fell through as soon as I was going to make the deposit – the florist booked the date out and so it was back to the drawing board. I looked around, sent through quote requests and then found a florist who could provide what I wanted within the budget.

We visited Petals and Leaves, discussed arrangements and Amy, our florist did an amazing job! I did make some changes to our original selection, but the result was just perfect. I had deep red carnations, dusty roses, succulents and white freesias, Danie had the same but with burgundy dahlias and white carnations and the bridesmaids had a combination of both.

I’m a bit of a lover of flowers and carnations are my favourite. Most of what we had in our bouquets were flowers/items I love. Danie had already designated flowers to me so I had free reign on this one!

I have so many favourite images! If I had to pick, it would have to be one of Danie and I on hill (there are quite a lot!) but it’s where Danie has her back to the camera and we’re laughing at something…we have so many like that. I also love the one of my youngest brother hugging me after the ceremony and the one at the end of the night with my siblings.

Danie’s favourite photo is one that I’m standing on my own and picking up the tule on my dress, she has it as her screensaver on her phone and always goes on about it

The venue, photography and florists were all pretty standout vendors, and our celebrant, who is the wife of a family friend, was just amazing. We couldn’t fault any of them!

In terms of our favourite part of planning, you could probably ask any of the vendors but we were actually pretty cruisy when it came down to it! We only had a short time frame to get things sorted – normally you’d aim for a year of putting it all together, but Danie and I did it in 7 or 8 months I think. Personally the end was a favourite!

We only used the one venue, it’s quite a way away from where Danie and I live as well as most of our family and friends so we wanted somewhere that both ceremony and reception could be held, and this was a perfect fit. As soon as we saw Ottimo House, we looked at each other and agreed this was the place!

The photos showcase just how amazing the venue is and we’re happy with how our entire day turned out – it was all we could have hoped for and more.

Our table seating chart and our party favours were made by us! The party favours doubled as name places as well! We also gave our bridesmaid, flower girl and ourselves personalised glasses – we DIY’d the names on them – that was a process in itself!

We had this song picked a long time ago for our first dance! We were watching Twilight one night and Christina Perri’s Thousand Words played, and we knew that would be our song. It was also the night we got engaged so seemed fitting!

Danie isn’t into dancing as much as I am, but we did a practice at home without the music just to see how we’d dance – and didn’t even do that on the day! Danie had fractured her ankle a few weeks earlier and so we were dancing in tiny little circles, basically the same spot, for most of the song! Neither of us wanted to be in the spot light for that long and Danie’s ankle wasn’t ready for a full song, so midway we asked our family to come and dance with us for the rest of it.

It went from being a little awkward to watch (and be watched) to being one of the most emotional parts of the entire day!

Advice for any future ‘marrieds to be’, I think you just have to remember that the day is about you, pick a venue that resonates with you, not just somewhere convenient or close or extravagant. If you want a farm wedding, choose it, if you want a castle wedding go for it.  No one else should factor into your day apart from you and your other half.

Pick food you know you’ll love (even though we barely ate ours!), choose songs that speak of your love. Don’t stress about the weather – it’s the one thing no one can control. If it rains, your photo’s can have an amazing effect with the right photographer! Go with your gut feelings and stick to your budget – but always be flexible. If you can’t save on one price, look at saving on another, that’s what we did!

Lastly, enjoy your day!! You can’t fix something before it happens, so take it as it comes. If you have your dress/tux, the one you love waiting to marry you and the people who matter around you, the day is already perfect. Take the time to go, “WOW!”, the day will be over before you know it so take as much in as you can.

Ms Zebra Says: It’s hard not to have tears in your eyes as you witness the true love between Elisa and Danie! Congratulations lovers! We wish you all the best in your wonderful lives ahead.