A Beautifully Rustic Destination Wedding at Leipzig Country House, South Africa

All photography in this post copyright of Real Simple Photography

Toying with the idea of a destination wedding abroad? Well you’re not alone, more and more of us are jetting off to far flung shores to get hitched. So we thought we’d share some destination wedding love with you all and (for today) say goodbye Sussex and hello South Africa…

British born teacher Rebecca and South African born rugby player Gerhard (who currently live in Italy, but will be heading back to Blighty’s shores this summer!) chose to marry in a gorgeous ceremony in South Africa in March, earlier this year.

We caught up with beautiful bride Rebecca to tell us all about planning her big day from miles away:  
“We chose to get married in South Africa as that’s where Gerhard is from. Most of his family still live there so it was a chance for my family and friends from the UK to visit and see what a beautiful country it is as well as get to know the family. We spent two weeks travelling around the area with close friends and family so we also made a holiday out of it with the highlight obviously being our wedding We have to thank Gerhard’s mum and sisters for most of the help and support with the planning, without them over in South Africa it would have been almost impossible. His mum spent many hours making table runners and confetti cones all out of hessian and they all spent a long time trying to find the things we wanted on a very long list we sent them! They also found the suppliers for us locally and spent weekends looking around venues which took a lot of hassle out the planning.  The thing I enjoyed the most about the planning process was coming across new and interesting ideas when looking at blogs and getting excited at how we could incorporate them at into own wedding. We also both really enjoyed planning the trip around South Africa whilst we were there but particularly Gerhard who couldn’t wait to share everything he loved about South Africa with friends and family.  We chose our photographer Jacques Lloyd and his lovely wife from Real Simple Photography after looking through their portfolio online and fell in love with their style straight away! We were so lucky as they are both such lovely people and made us feel so relaxed on the day! Lucky for the UK they are also relocating here very soon!  We didn’t have a colour theme, we wanted a mix of neutral colours in the flowers and linen with hessian/burlap. The bridesmaids were in a sage green colour which I fell in love with when I found them in Coast.

“I Don’t Think Any Dress Was Going To Bring Me To Tears”

I bought my dress from the UK, although I wouldn’t recommend buying a dress from somewhere if you don’t live there, as after two fittings I couldn’t return to try it again until the day before we flew out to South Africa. Luckily it fitted but I would have been stuck if not!  Also don’t believe people when they say you will know when you have found ‘the one’ because after trying on over 35 dresses I chose this one because there was nothing I didn’t like about it but not because it made me cry when I tried it on! Don’t get me wrong I loved wearing it and the way it fitted me and moved but I don’t think any dress was going to bring me to tears.  Getting Hands-On

We made our own invitations with a hint of the theme running through them, using hessian and luggage tags as part of the inserts. Me and my bridesmaids spent a couple of days intensely cutting and sticking until they were finished. 

I also made the buttonholes because I had seen some I liked online and after talking with the florist I realised the only way to get them how I envisioned would be to make them myself and I have to admit they looked great and were pretty stress free to create. 

Gerhard’s mother was fantastic, creating lots for the wedding, but we were most impressed with the ring cushion which has such intricate detailing including lace crochet around the edges knitted by Gerhard’s mum’s neighbour who is blind.  Many of the flower pots arranged around parts of the reception were also made from old jars and tins with ribbon and lace wrapped around. We were so grateful for everything people did to help us create our dream! 

The Personal Touches 

I asked my bridesmaid to sneakily steal the groom’s shoes to write a secret message on them so he could find it at some point during the day. 

I also made bridesmaid boxes for the girls with a pin badge for them to wear on their dresses with a map of South Africa and the location of the wedding, along with photobooks of me and the bridesmaids and personal messages along with essentials for the day, e.g. mints, plasters and shoe jellies, jewellery.  For our guest book we had an engraved wooden puzzle  where the guests could write their messages onto the pieces, we plan on framing it or putting in into a coffee table.  U.K and S.A Traditions

We tried to mix UK with South African traditions so there was a couple of things the UK guests and myself were surprised by such as the tossing of the garter for the single men to catch, but only after the groom has been blind folded and had to search for it with his teeth! 

It is also tradition to spread flour across the dance floor before the first dance.

The favours were lottery tickets from the UK as we wanted to bring something from England with us for the South African guests.  Our First Dance

For our first dance we chose Colbie Caillat’s Bubbly – a song which reminded us of being together in South Africa a few years earlier, it played on the aeroplane when we landed in 2008 so holds a special place in our memories.  Honeymoon Hotspot

We have booked our honeymoon for this summer when it is the school holidays as being a teacher means I cannot book time off and Gerhard’s rugby season has just finished, we are going to Kuala Lumpar for three days then moving to the Island of Lombok in Indonesia to the Jeeva Klui resort for ultimate relaxation. At the moment we are living apart in different parts of Italy due to work so we both cannot wait until the summer when we can go on our honeymoon and move in together again back in the UK! 

My Top Tip For Other Brides…

I would say don’t try to take on everything yourself, let your future husband have his input and get friends and family to help and support you along the way because they love to be a part of it, don’t feel bad for asking! 

If We Could Do It All Again We Would…

Not change a thing! 


Venue: Leipzig Country House

Wedding photographer: Jacques Lloyd

Bride’s dress: Benjamin Roberts 

Bride’s shoes: Faith

Bridesmaids dresses: Coast

Customised pin badges: Bookity

Groom’s and Groomsmen Suits: Brook Taverner

DJ: DJ Glen

Transport: Horse and Carriage

We don’t know about you, but we loved having a temporary trip overseas! This South African meets UK dream day clearly took lots of planning, but looks just gorgeous.

As Rebecca found, her South African based family, including her Mother-in-Law (how amazing is she?) really helped to make hers and Gerhard’s ideas a reality and played a really important part of their celebration. So, bear this in mind if you’re inspired to say ‘I do’ on far flung shores.

Our bride, Rebecca also refreshingly announced something that many bride’s feel but may not admit: “My dress wasn’t going to make me cry!”, we can totally relate to the whole the dress is not the be-all-and-end-all thing (but have to say she looked amazing!).

Big thanks to Jacques Lloyd from Real Simple Photography for sharing these wonderful snaps with us too and a big welcome to the UK to Jacques too who is moving to sunny Hampshire (check out his wedding photography offer for Love Sussex Weddings readers here by the way).

We wish Rebecca and Gerhard a wonderful long over-due honeymoon and lots of luck in the beginning of their British-based life together later this summer! It seems it’s the place to be…

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