An Outdoor Fusion Wedding With Hanging Lights & Dreamcatchers: Pierre & Merve

Pierre & Merve married on a picturesque wine estate in Franschhoek, South Africa.

Their English/South African/Turkish fusion wedding had an elegant feel, combining their cultures and gorgeous atmospheric detailing of hanging fairy lights, dream catchers and beautiful proteas – all in a magical outdoor setting!

Words by Merve. Images by Yolande Marx Photography.

I did not want a big puffy princess dress. Traditional Turkish weddings are all about being like Barbie for the day – bigger and brighter. That’s not me. I was looking for more of a mermaid, body-hugging style. And the Pronovias collection was just amazing.

My dress had a lace bodice with sweetheart neckline in petit pois tulle, decorated gemstone straps and a daring semi-sheer back with appliques, and a frilled tulle skirt finished with lace and buttons at the back.

I also loved the way you could shorten the train by simply clipping it up on the back for easier movement. I tried on quite a few, but this one was just perfect. I couldn’t resist.

I also wore a stunning Pronovias veil/train with tulle and lace.

Our wedding was, in many ways, a culmination of North & South. Christian & Muslim. English & Turkish. Young and old. So we originally wanted a jazzy, retro theme.

But then as things transpired, we tried to make it as natural and relaxed as possible, to let the day define itself through the mix of cultures, traditions and ages.

It was a small wedding after all, and it really did become something so unique on its own.

Petals were scattered on the red carpet that ran between garden chairs leading to the wedding arch. The arch was decorated in simple green foliage, with two protea baskets on wine barrels on either side.

My father walked me down the aisle to La Vie en Rose – played live by the French-style clarinet/accordion duo – 5th Avenue.

Pierre proposed on our last night in Bali at The Rock Club, which is an awesome chill-out lounge on the rocks with a small private beach. After a number of rather ‘Strong’ Island Iced Teas, we went for a stroll on the beach at sunset.

At some point, Pierre suggested we look for buried treasure. He made an ‘X’ in the sand. We dug together and I found a box. I knew what it was, but didn’t want to accept it, so threw it away and ran towards the sea. I slipped on the rocks (nothing to do with being slightly intoxicated), and Pierre ran to save me from falling into the sea. We then proceeded to recover the box, and Pierre got down on one knee and proposed. All went fuzzy after that, I still don’t know if I said yes ;)

A couple of weeks later, Pierre took the ring back to get it resized. One night we were off to dinner, but he took us back to the place where we met. He said he wanted to show me something. We parked, walked to the reception of the building and next thing we are back in the shuttle bus that used to take us to work – just the two of us and the driver, who drove us to a restaurant. Pierre proposed again on the shuttle bus with the resized ring.

This time I said ‘yes’.

Photography is one of the most important things to plan for a wedding. Choosing the right person to capture your special day, is a daunting task. But, with Yolande, we didn’t think twice.

From the first communication, right until the last, Yolande was super professional. We had to plan everything from abroad, but she made it so much easier, by suggesting certain supplier etc too.

Her attention to detail, her creativity on the day and her knowledge of lighting angles and timing, took all the stress and worries off our shoulders. She made me feel so comfortable and special all day long.

Nena Brucher of Ivy Blue Flowers & Decor is an ex-wedding planner from the venue, so her understanding of the table settings, the decor, name tags, table arrangements, guest favours and just about everything else, was impeccable. In fact, we couldn’t have done this without her. She provided so much advice, and was such a pleasure to work.

Proteas were a main influence in the styling. From the first time I saw them growing wild in South Africa on a previous trip, I loved them for how they stand out in their natural surroundings. Firm, colourful, and yet a little wild. They became my favourite flowers and still are. In fact, just after the wedding, I had a small Protea tattooed on my ankle, as a gentle reminder.

As half the guests were Turkish, there was no better choice than a small bottle of Amarula Cream liqueur… as a hint of Africa – the other half having South African roots, there was no better way to ward off the demons than with a tiny Turkish Evil Eye – attached to the bottle, so guests got the best of both worlds with the wedding favours.

For decor we had hanging long-stemmed proteas and dream catchers. Hanging from the large Oak Tree were fairy lights, candle lights and lanterns plus Turkish evil eyes and recycled paper name tags.

Another co-incidence perhaps. But Wade shares the same surname as Pierre (oh, and I guess me too now), and Arda is from Turkey too. So together, we agreed on something uniquely special.

We chose a Naked Cake, as we both hate icing and are not big on sugar. The naked cake offers the best of the soft sponge, with a little sweetness in the Amarula cream filling, and complimented by the natural fruits from the area. It looked amazing too.

Naturally, when Pierre read his wedding vows, that was one of the most memorable moments, I truly realised how sincere and loving he was.

But my favourite moment has to be… our first dance. We practiced what we had learnt in the very short time we had prior to flying to South Africa and we were both very nervous. Then came the moment of truth, and no-one knew we were prepared.

The song was so beautiful, the stage was dark and incredibly enchanting… a bit fairy-like. We were both lost in our own combined world, oblivious to our surroundings, and when it all ended, there was a huge sigh of relief from both of us, yet I wanted to do it all over again.

The song was: Love was my Alibi, by Kris Fogelmark. It’s the closing soundtrack from the Russell Crowe film, The Water Diviner… which had a very significant meaning to both of us. There was a special romance between an older Australian Crowe (like my South African/British – Pierre) and a young Turkish woman (me), played by Olga Kurylenko. It’s just such a beautiful song. And such an amazing movie.

If I could impart any words to future brides and grooms I would say…

If you can afford it, get a wedding planner. But make sure you stay in control of the decisions, as some wedding planners will do a simple cut and paste job. Use the basics, but by all means, be unique. Stick to your dream and run with it – it’s your day after all.

wedding credits / photographer: yolande marx photography/ wedding venue: rickety bridge winery / brides dress: pronovias / brides veil: pronovias / hair & makeup: ida webster / florist: ivy blue flowers / wedding cake: cakes by wade  / catering:rickety bridge winery / entertainment: 5th avenue

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