30 June, 2008

Photo of the Day

I just discovered the beautiful work of Ann Hamilton! I love finding a photographer where pretty much every image makes me go "wow!".

Venues, Venues everywhere...

I have to make a teensy confession: I started venue-hunting before I even got engaged. Not in a crazy "reserve this venue for me every year so that if I ever get engaged I can use it on the day I want" kind of way, but, you know, just getting the lie of the land. Seeing what's out there. Getting informed on options. Oh, and creating a folder full of information in the process, and then burying it deep in my documents so Mr Ruby Slippers-to-be doesn't freak out.

Once we actually GOT engaged (I knew it was coming, it was just a matter of when), I made all nonchalant-like and pretended to start looking for a venue. Luckily Mr Slippers was quite content for me to create a shortlist of places I liked, and help me choose from there. (Read as: Miss Ruby Slippers does the gruntwork while Mr RS plays computer games. Luckily Miss Ruby Slippers really enjoys this sort of work!) So I went into intense search mode. I must have been to every South African wedding planning site there is. Some venues I disregarded immediately because they were going for a bushveld or safari feel, which was so not what we wanted. The bride petting an elephant? Yeah...um, I don't know, it just feels a bit forced. Not to mention I would flip out if my dress got dirty! And elephants are not clean, trust me. So me, in my wedding dress, anywhere NEAR an elephant? I think not.

But I digress.

Other venues asked more for venue hire than we were willing to pay. Others either had crappy websites (I'm a stickler for that kind of thing; seriously, if you can't get your website right, how are you going to get my wedding right?) or the venues themselves just didn't look that nice. We also knew that we wanted to get married near enough to Johannesburg that we could go out to the venue when we needed to organise things.This was after witnessing the mission it was to pull my sister's Drakensberg wedding together from here. She'd never met the florist, seen the bouquets, met the officiant, hair & make-up people, photographer, NOTHING. Unbelievably it all pulled together pretty well, but I vowed that I had to have a closer rein on things than my slapdash sibling!

So getting married near home ended up meaning one thing: The Wedding Mile inMuldersdrift. So named because it has so many venues in such close proximity to one another. It's like Wedding City out there. And it makes for such easy scouting! They even do tours, though we didn't. That seemed a bit...weird.

First up on our list: THE BRIDGE.

I'd been recommended this by a work colleague, and they don't charge venue hire, which was a huge plus in our somewhat skint books. It consists of a reception hall, simple chapel, and lawns which roll down to a river running along the length of the property, and on which the bride is brought on a little raft or barge to meet the wedding party. It's a lovely idea, but the place as a whole didn't blow us away. The river was rather muddy, and the place, while well-kept enough, just didn't seem special. It would be like having our wedding in our grandmother's garden, we felt. No matter!

Onto venue two:AVIANTO
Wow, is all I can say. Avianto is a Tuscan-inspired village (Read:mansion) and it is gorgeous. Picture Monte Casino (those of you in Joburg) without the casino and shops and dodgy gamblers. Again, we were recommended it by a friend who does dancing shows there occasionally. It is on the pricey side, but it's stunning. Perhaps...a little TOO stunning? Mr Slippers and I are not fancy-shmancy people; we don't worry about etiquette and we seldom have people over for an elegant dinner. This place just didn't seem like us. I think I'd have felt underdressed at my own wedding. This is why:

Bring on Venue Three: KLOOFZICHT.

We'd been to a wedding here in 2006, so we knew we weren't likely to choose it for our wedding. It just felt like THEIR venue, not ours. It has the most beautiful scenery, though - our friend got married under a gazebo overlooking a lake surrounded by hills - very calm and beautiful. But we didn't like it enough to want to "repeat" her venue so soon afterwards. So onward and upward!


Sorry, but I've got to say, I wasn't really impressed with them at all. Considering they're the premier wedding venue out that way, and they do all the bridal expos and publish a magazine, I just expected something more...special. Parts of it are very pretty, but most of it I thought was kind of average. I've seen some gorgeous photos online that were taken there, though, but you can do wonders with great photography! In reality it's really rather plain. And can I just say that a pet hate of mine is excessive white fabric draping? They use it everywhere!


It looks soooo cute and picturesque on the website, so despite the steep venue hire I told Mr Ruby Slippers we should look at it. I was in love with the Olde Englishness of the name. It is very quaint there, and the chapel is lovely. There are rose gardens and a river (or perhaps it's a lake, I forget). But we couldn't find anyone to let us into the main building, and it wasn't quite stunning enough to justify their price, so we left.It just should have been SWEETER, you know what I mean?

We tried to stop into VALVERDE next, but it was closed for the day, so we gave it a miss. But it looks nice on the website, so I've counted it here as venue Six.


Apparently there are two venues at Glenburn, but we only looked at the one, as there was something happening at the other one and we couldn't gatecrash. It's set in what appears to be a holiday resort, complete with rondawels just like we used to stop over in on our way to the Cape on family holidays. We found this a bit odd! The chapel is roofed but open at the sides, and both it and the hall overlook a wide, fast-flowing river (the same river that runs through half these venues, I presume!).There is a bridge overhung with a weeping willow, which I found quite charming. Think of the pictures! But yet again, we weren't bowled over by the place. It had to speak to us! This was beginning to be harder than finding a husband. Just kidding, that WAS hard. I honestly don't know how I got so lucky to find my perfect match. Oh wait, this isn't the mushy "What I love about Mr Ruby Slippers" post. My bad. Anyway, the end of our venue search was nigh! Bring it on....

Next time!

29 June, 2008

Photo of the Day

Great angle by Kal Danner! A fresh take on the old "veil shot". Not that I have anything against veil shots (in fact, I love 'em), but this one is really unique!

28 June, 2008

Photo of the Day

I'm loving Hollye Schumacher at the moment! She takes such beautiful, clean, bright images without going photoshop-nuts. Love the flare and golden aura it creates!

Cupcake Heaven

Someone on Weddingbee pointed me towards the unbelievable talent of Zalita, cake-crafter extraordinaire. AND she's local! Durban-based brides, you should think about snapping this lady up. Of course, no one will want to eat her cakes, because they are just too perfect, but still. I think I've died and gone to cupcake heaven.

Look at the genius of these. Soooo cute!

27 June, 2008

Photo of the Day

I love the bright yellow and greens of the grass, and the soft veil wrapped around the groom. It makes me happy, like summer. By Julia W. Newman.

A Suiting We Will Go

Bah humbug. Men have it so easy! On Sunday we went to a mall or two, ostensibly to look for Mr Ruby Slippers' wedding ring (more on that story later) and we passed by a suit shop. I suggested we go in to check out prices and see what was available. This was how the conversation transpired:

Shop Assistant (hereafter known as SA): Hi, can I help you?
Mr RS: I'm looking for a black suit.
SA: Here's one. Would you like to try it on?
Mr RS: Okay.(He goes into the change room, and I go look at ties. I'm still trying to find a white one so I can convince him it actually DOES look nice, when he emerges)
SA: I'll pin the legs shorter for you.
Other SA: We've got these tie and waistcoat sets. Do you want to try one on?
Mr RS: Okay.(They show him three, he picks one.)
SA: That looks great.
Other SA: Yes, it does.
Mr RS: Yes, it does.
[At this point Miss Ruby Slippers is getting a bit perturbed (while feeling proud of yummy Mr RS all dashing and suited up), because surely we're just looking to see what's out there, and now these guys are going to expect a sale!]
Miss RS: It does look nice, but...
Mr RS: I'll take it.
Miss RS: Um, don't you want to look around first?
Mr RS: Hell, no!

And that was that. One groom's suit, tie, waistcoat and pocket handkerchief thingy, all in the space of twenty minutes. And he's never going to second-guess his choice and wish he could have ten weddings so he could wear ten different suits. Apparently that's all left up to me. If only hunting for a dress had been this easy! Can we say three months? THREE months!Versus 20 minutes! Bah humbug.

How fast did your hubbies pick out their outfits?

26 June, 2008

Photo of the Day

Love this one by Jim Garner - the veil seems to become part of the clouds.

25 June, 2008

Photo of the Day

Isn't this the cutest thing ever? There had better be a sunset at my wedding so we can do this! By Andrea Carlyle again (because she's awesome!)

My first love

They say you never forget it. Your first love...the one that made your hands go clammy, and your heart go pitter-pat. The one you envisioned yourself with, on a very special day in the not-too-distant future, surrounded by your family and friends...

This was mine:

What did you think I was talking about??

I found this dress in a wedding magazine one day at work, about a year before I got engaged. Let's face it, I'm a girly-girl ("I don't want He-Man! He's a boy! I want She-Ra!"), and I luuurve wedding magazines. I've always paged through them, whether I was single, in a new relationship, or waiting for a proposal - none of this halts my enjoyment of wedding stuff! Anyway, so I spotted this dress and immediately knew I HAD to have it. It was perfect - it had straps, a nice cleavage-enhancing V-neck, a full skirt that was princessy without being poofy, and a lovely slimming bodice. Drool, smack chops, etc. I had no idea where - or if - I could get this dress in South Africa, but I didn't care - I was going to wear a dress like that One Day When I Got Married, so there.

Well, it didn't work out like that. First, there was the problem of unavailability. Then I found a shop that imported Jasmine gowns. I thought I had it made! BUT. Huge BUT. They wouldn't import it for me without my paying for it upfront. So basically I'd be paying for a dress I'd never even seen, let alone tried on. And how much would I be paying? Nine and a half THOUSAND Rand. For a dress that might look really crap on me, or even just really ordinary. Ummm...no, thanks.

So my next option was to look for a dress that was similar. Except no one seems to carry dresses that have that sort of neckine! It's all strapless, strapless, strapless. And I was convinced I didn't WANT strapless, because of the inevitable tugging on the bodice all night that I was sure would ensue! However, the lack of options didn't leave me with much choice, and luckily the strapless dresses don't actually look too bad on me.

This one is okay but not great...

This one makes me look like I'm wearing a big satin apron...

I loved this one, but it looks a little plain (I apologise for how dorky I look)

So I moved on and up in my choices! Ok wait, this one is almost the same idea. It's very pretty, though. The bodice was covered in sparklies. And I'm totally having fun! That, or bored of having my picture taken.

So I moved on and up, really this time. I went all bold and tried a split-front skirt! Whoa, baby, hold me back!

Somewhere in the midst of this I also tried on a sheath and a mermaid, but somehow we didn't get pictures because I didn't really like them on me...and, frankly, I didn't know I'd be blogging about the whole thing! *Bangs head* Always get picture documentation, dammit! Have I learnt nothing from Weddingbee?

And that brings me to my final dress choice, which....


I'm not going to post. Not yet, anyway. But I will say that it's not too far a departure from the last one, because, despite all the trying-on and time-wasting, I know what I like! (I've spoken about it here) And, yes, I love it even more than my first love. I can't wait to wear it on that special day, surrounded by my friends and family.

PS - When I was fifteen, this was going to be my wedding dress! Oh, the joys of early 90's Days of Our Lives!

You can't see the skirt, but believe me, it was POOFY.

23 June, 2008

Photo of the Day

Look at the colour! Gorgeous! By Phillip Lloyd, as you can see.

22 June, 2008

Photo of the Day

A new Photographer discovery! I spent all of last night on his blog. The supremely talented Jason Qtran.

I would blow this up and hang it on one huuuge wall, if I were this couple!

21 June, 2008

Photo of the Day

WOW. The curved staircase is just perfect! Beautiful positioning and I love the railings. By Andrew Van Gundy.

Free stuff...yeah baby!

I love candles. I want a ton of them at my reception, on every table, reflected in mirrors, lining the walkway, the whole shebang. But, well, they're pricey. And essentially I wanted them to be in little glass votives or big hurricane lamps, because I love the look of a flame in glass, and it's safter that way anyway. But those are even MORE expensive! So the week before last I was chatting to this lady at work about candles, and I mentioned that it might be cheaper if I just bought el cheapo candles and melted them down and set them in little glass holders, rather than BUYING them like that, and she said, "Oh, I have a bunch of half-burnt candles from my daughter's wedding; do you want those?" So I said yes please, of course! Duuuh. But what was great was that when she brought them most of them were barely burnt down at all! Seriously, once they're lit you won't even notice that they aren't new. So I'm just going to use them like that, none of this melting and setting nonsense :-) Three green shopping bags full! I have candles coming out the wazoo.

I could do this on every table if I wanted! Only not in the glass holders...

Then (I love this lady) we got talking about petticoats, and how Bride & Co wants R500 for a petticoat (daylight robbery), and she immediately offered to lend me her daughter's one too! I tried it on the other day and it's perfect! So whoohoo, freebies on two pretty big items (you know, not big like photography or food, but big enough for me to be thrilled!) Anyone else get some awesome free gifts or loans for their wedding?

20 June, 2008

Photo of the Day

Photo by Christina Craft of Funkytown Photography. I love the red glow from the lamp post. The whole picture has such an old, classic feel.

19 June, 2008

Bring on the black, red and white!

Originally my wedding colours were going to be crimson and white. Simple, right? I'd be in white with dark red flowers, and my girls would be in dark red with white flowers. The end. Why would I need something else? Then I got worried. Was it too blah? Did I need an accent colour? OMG, did I need TWO accent colours??

After a brief dalliance with purple, I decided that to bring in the Hollywood glamour feel I would need to add a bit of black. The flowers will still be crimson/dark red/burgundy/claret whatever you want to call it, but the black is going to come through in ribbons (bouquets, programs, etc) and borders on the place cards, menus, and other stationery.I've made an inspiration board for this colour scheme! All inspired by thetop left-hand picture of the red tulips on the monochrome damask cloth.

I am toying with the idea of getting black or black & white damask table runners (the tablecloths are white in our venue), but to be honest, it just feels like yet another expense that hardly anyone will notice anyway. I have to know when to stop! Little things add up in a horribly frightening way. Anyway, I'm using this pattern as the border to my placecards and menu:

And I'm using this look for my programs. I love the idea of it so much morethan a normal book-shaped program.

I'm also going to have the confetti cones, proably half in crimson and half in black. More paper to buy, oh dear....

Photo of the Day

A beach wedding by Mario Sales - I love the softness of the veil and the blue-ish tones.

Photo of the Day

Love the contrast of the black clouds and the green, green grass! By CG Photography.

18 June, 2008

Photo of the Day

Photo by Emin Kuliyev. I love the way the veil mixes with the curtain.

17 June, 2008

Old Hollywood Inspiration

Well, at the rate I am chopping and changing with this wedding theme & decor stuff, I will probably change my mind the night before. My latest inspiration is Old Hollywood Glamour. I adore old classic films - give me Bette, Judy, Katharine, Cary, Fred and Ginger and I’m in heaven. (That’s Davis, Garland, Hepburn, Grant, Astaire and Rogers for the uninitiated).

Anyway, I luuurve the look and feel of this theme. I’ve also recently discovered inspiration boards on some wedding blogs (as if I wasn’t spending enough time on wedding websites). So I thought I’d try my hand at my own “Old Hollywood” inspiration board! This is what I came up with:

To be honest, I’m not sure where I got all those pics from. I never thought, when I started collecting ideas and inpirations, that I might need a record of where I found them! Line 2 pic 2 is a still from the film “Swing Time”, and the last pics on lines 3 and 4 are from a real wedding you can see here.

I'm loving the idea of feathers in my bouquet, as in the last pic on line 2. How vintage and romantic! Just scrumptious. Look at these other beautiful ones I found:

(Photo by Jennifer Skog)

Another suggestion I've heard is to have a classic romance playing on a big screen (silently, one assumes!) during the reception. While I like the idea in theory, in practical terms it would be too much of a hassle to set up and play, too much of an unnecessary expense, and too much of a distraction for the guests, who will probably sit and stare blankly at it instead of enjoying the damn party I'm throwing for them! So.... no classic movie in the background, much as I love the idea of sharing my obsession with everyone!

Photo of the Day

LOVE this one from Climie + Co. Climbing a tree to get a great shot of the couple gets my vote!

16 June, 2008

I need a change! Post haste...but post-wedding...

Ok, so over the last few months I’ve grown totally sick of my hair. I never DO anything with it! It’s so flat and booooring. So now I really feel like mixing things up, cutting it all off or going red, or something. The only problem is…THE WEDDING! I can’t change anything until after the wedding! Because I want long, loose curls, so it has to be long, and I want to be blonde, because I’ve been blonde for 29 years and my wedding photos is not the place to change that! So suddenly I can’t wait until November when I can do something like totally radical, hey.
You know how boring Gwyneth Paltrow is? My hair looks like hers. Only thinner and less well-groomed.

I think I could carry off a choppy bob like Elliott did in Scrubs a few seasons back, when she did a big makeover:

Fun, Huh? Anybody else planning on making a big change after their wedding?