After the confinement of the last couple of years, it comes as no surprise that most people are yearning to fulfil the plan to finally have their dream wedding. However, large gatherings can still evoke feelings of anxiety in many of us.
This presents fiancés with a unique opportunity to take their wedding to the next level, with an intimate, elegant wedding at an exceptional destination.
Chances are slim that you have a couple of hundred people in your life that you hold dear in your heart. By whittling your guest list down to a few dozen, you’ll be able to invite the people you truly desire to capture these lifelong wedding memories with.
An experiential wedding will be talked about by your guests for many years to come, and choosing a magnificent destination is not only memorable, but creates an impressive location for your wedding photos.
Imagine a backdrop of stunning, pristine beaches at a luxurious Mozambican villa on an exclusive peninsula. Or the majestic, iconic Table Mountain setting the scene for your photos at an exquisite hotel. Or perhaps the nature abundant areas around Kruger National Park provide a perfect stage for your adventure wedding photos. They’re certainly all a far cry from the typical, characterless packed venue images, filled with acquaintances whose names you can barely remember.
One of the big draws of a small guest list and micro-wedding is the ability to actually focus on your guests, spending quality time with each of them.
Who you have around you on one of the most important days of your life should be of great significance.
Do you want to look back on those group wedding photos and not even recognise half of the faces, or would you rather be able to tell a story about each person in the image? It is a wonderful feeling to be able to create meaningful connections with each of your guests, and be surrounded by the people in your life who make you feel comfortable, and at your best.
An added benefit of a small guest list is the time you can spend personalising things like the save the date card, the wedding invite, the place cards, the wedding favours, and even the bottles of bubbly. You know your guests well, so you can really make them feel special with unique touches that suit their personality and taste.
At our Cape Town hotel, we hand-selected a stunning MCC for an event, and had our marketing team design the most beautiful labels with a uniqueness that tickled our guests pink.
Nevertheless, this is still your wedding and you can make it exactly how you want it to be. Think about how you’ve pictured yourself in your dream dress or suit, walking down the aisle or waiting at the pulpit, and all the people and things around you that you know are must-haves at your wedding.
Now, consider how to incorporate them into your wedding day. With only the people that truly know you around you on the day, you can wear something that shows off your personality. Why not wear your favourite bright colour, or black, or a bikini, or biker jacket?
Another wonderful thing about an intimate wedding is that you can make the ceremony itself really personal. We’ve all sat through a wedding and wished they’d skip a lot of parts. Well, why don’t you?
Traditionally, you need to include a processional, words of welcome and introduction, a reading, the officiant’s long-winded addressing of the couple, the vows, the kiss, the closing remarks, the recessional… phew. It’s a long list and not everything is absolutely necessary.
As long as you include the aspects that make it a legally binding marriage, then you can leave the parts you don’t want out, and add in other parts that give it a personal touch.
Maybe you can do it in song, or have everyone join in the vows, or indeed, hand out tequila shots to toast the happy couple after the kiss.
You could even bring your tattoo artist along to give you and your partner everlasting tattoo rings. We’ve known one couple who made a game of the wedding vows by having a cocktail hour before the ceremony and involving their guests in writing them, mad-libs style. A great idea for anyone who struggles with this kind of writing.
The point is, with only the people who know you best being involved, then you can plan anything you want on the day.
Photographs are pretty much obligatory, so while you and your new husband or wife are whisked away to capture the couply moments, it’s your chance to show your guests how well you know them and appreciate them. If they’re competitive, think about some lawn games like corn hole and giant Jenga.
A photo booth or selfie station is also a whimsical way to keep everyone entertained, while capturing some fun photos of the guests enjoying themselves. Of course, cocktails and canapés are usually a winner. In fact, many wedding hosts are turning to cocktail wedding receptions, instead of sitdown dinners, so this is a great way to kick that style of reception off.
Now back to the photos… what about your backdrop?
A wedding ceremony that overlooks a glittering ocean is high on many married couples to be’s lists.
The beauty of being by the sea is that it provides a stunning background for any photos. The advantage of somewhere like our exceptional ultra-luxury villa, Kilma Sanctuary, is it offers 360° views not only over the turquoise Indian ocean but also Maputo Bay and the Machangulo forest. This offers your photographer a plethora of sceneries to choose from.
For the ultimate adventurous couples, a SCUBA retreat on a private island would make a wedding to remember. Not many people can brag about a turtle photobombing their wedding photos. The pristine reefs and beach, and the warm Indian Ocean are certainly enticing. Our Mozambique island, Ilha do Fogo, is a destination where you can roll your wedding and honeymoon into one perfect package.
On the subject of icons… how wonderful would it be to have the legendary Table Mountain in the background of your photos? It was once voted one of the Seven Wonders of the World for good reason.
It is one of the most photographed attractions in South Africa, breathtakingly beautiful with its multilayers of rock, Afromontane forest, fynbos and other flora. Our eco-hotel, Vida Nova Retreat, is situated on the southern slopes of the mountain, offering an exquisite lawn with indigenous gardens, an onsite restaurant with a world-class menu and an in-house spa for guests to indulge in treatments before and after the ceremony.
With a whole portfolio of stunning venues in southern Africa and beyond, wedding packages that make organising easy and a list of suppliers who can provide everything your heart desires for your wedding, you can count on Fire Island Eco Retreats to provide the perfect destination wedding.