Rustic Red Dress Wedding With Home-made Details: Mckenna & Calvin
We have a very gorgeous home-made South African wedding up on the blog today and the lovely bride is wearing a very unique, alternative red wedding dress.
I love how childhood sweethearts Calvin & McKenzie made their day totally their own with lots of creative hand-made detailing and the sweetest meet-cute story too!
Words by McKenzie. Images by Kate Martens Photography.
We married at The Glades Farm, KZN, South Africa. We wanted somewhere that was far enough away to be a little break away but close enough to Durban so guests wouldn’t travel too far. And the Midlands are just so beautiful.
It has a very English feel which is what we wanted. We had many UK guests coming over and we wanted them to experience how diverse and beautiful Durban is.
I have always wanted a red wedding dress for as long as I can remember. I don’t know why but it’s the one thing I was certain I wanted. I chose the design I loved and my mom and I tweaked it as we went along.
I knew I wanted a fairly fitted dress because I’m short and curvy. So we went with what would suit my body shape. I also wanted something I could wear again.
So with all that in mind we ended up with the best fitting and stunning design that was definitely my style. I love it.
We didn’t have a theme. My dress was red, so we just chose a complementing colour for the suits and bridesmaids.
For the stationery we just put together a design of images and styles that made up us. It was all very organic, we didn’t really think of a theme.
The theme was us and our South African roots, lol. I guess it was very South African with the enamel mugs and proteas but we love that.
My earrings were given to me by my god mother, Barbara. She gave me the most amazing diamond earrings from Botswana, where I was born. They were perfect.
I didn’t wear any other jewellery because my dress was a high neck and long sleeved. I wanted to keep it simple.
The bridesmaids all chose shoes to compliment their navy dresses and what they would feel most comfortable in. There was some walking in grass, so I just said they should feel comfortable.
They all chose their own dresses. I wanted them to feel comfortable and to be able to wear their dresses again if they wanted to. The only stipulation was the dress had to be navy. I was in SA at this point so they all got together in the UK to check the dresses complimented each other.
I made the girls hair accessories. I sprayed some hair clips gold and made some chiffon flowers out of nude chiffon and attached them to the clips. This meant they could style their hair however they wanted and still be able to attach the hair clip however they wanted.
I had a matching crown I made with the same chiffon flowers and one navy flower to match them and as my something blue.
For the wedding flowers we went with the Protea, the typical South African flower. We both are very proud to be South African and absolutely love everything about the Protea. It is the most beautiful flower.
We felt the Proteas didn’t need much to compliment them. My bouquet and the bridesmaids bouquets all just had Proteas with a small amount of foliage from Calv’s grans farm. We wanted to keep everything very simple, so even the flowers on the tables we simple bouquets of Proteas and foliage laid on the tables not in vases.
My mom and I made the paper cones for the feather confetti out of old book pages. We twisted them into cones and glued them. We then filled them with guinea fowl feathers from Calv’s grans farm.
My dad Alan Cameron gave me away. We didn’t have music in the chapel, our minister played his guitar – it didn’t need anything more.
My most memorable moment has to be when I entered the chapel and heard the gasps because not many people knew my dress was red.
We met at primary school, Calvin wrote a letter to me when we were 10 to ask me if I wanted to be his girlfriend. He then gave me a ring and a necklace with a wedding and engagement ring on. Then a replica of the ring eventually became my engagement and wedding ring.
I moved to the UK and we stayed friends seeing each other when I came back on holiday. 12 odd years later he made the move to ask me out again. I then moved back from the UK to be with him.
Calvin proposed on his grans farm by the dam. It was such a perfect day. The sun was shining and we took a walk around the farm with the dog in toe. Calvin used the ring I kept all those years.
We both knew it was coming but he was still nervous. I couldn’t have asked for a more special location or day. His gran means the world to him and she got to be the first one to know.
Kate Martens was our wedding photographer – she was incredible. I met her when she did a family shoot for us the year before. Calvin and I loved her style. She takes the best candid shots and really captures the mood so well.
When it came to the styling of our day, we kept everything very simple – the venue was absolutely beautiful on it’s own.
We made the save the dates. They were planters with a seed kit for guests to plant their own Love Trees and to watch them grow in the run up to the wedding. We cut square pine posts into squares and drilled a hole into them. I then stenciled M+C and the date of the wedding with a heart on the front.
We then put together little seed packs with soil and seeds. With a wraparound label that also comes off for the fridge. This had instructions on how to look after the plant and also guest information for accommodation etc. I designed and printed all the stationery.
We made the candle holders on the tables. Calvin’s aunt’s friend had cut down a guava tree in her garden. We chose the branches we wanted and they were cut up into pieces. My uncle Russell then helped us drill the holes for the candles in his workshop.
Our wedding favours were enamel mugs filled with hot chocolate and marshmallows. With a little thank you note. We made them ourselves and the guests loved them. It was winter and a very cold night. So they were perfect.
We also made the name tags, we sprayed plastic animals white and tied a little label around the neck with the guest’s name and table number. We did as much prep as possible, so we didn’t do much on the day except lay it all out.
We kept things as simple as possible because to be honest the venue was so amazing we knew we didn’t need to do much to it for it to look amazing.
We also got all the foliage for the tables from Calvin’s grans farm. And the Proteas from Howick Protea farm. My bridesmaids and I then tied all the bunches together with string and laid them on the tables. So I didn’t need vases. It made life easier and looked really cool.
All the other decor we brought from our house like the old suitcases for the cards, the lamp and books.
Our focus was our guests, we wanted them to feel thought of and special. Everything that was on the tables they were free to take home with them. Even the little box of blankets we had and the books for the table numbers.
If you could impart any words of wisdom to a future brides planning their wedding day, what would they be?
Do as much as you can well in advance, it takes the pressure off. If you are trying to save costs then definitely do as much as you can yourself and ask family to help. They will all be more than happy to help. It left more money to spend on great food and an open bar.
Everyone always says don’t sweat the small stuff, but it’s very true. Everyone is there for the two of you and to be part of your special moment. So keep it simple! You don’t really need half the decorations or flowers you think you do ;-)
wedding credits / photographer: kate martens photography / wedding venue: the glades farm / brides dress: home-made / grooms suit: suit yourself / brides shoes: kurt geiger / hair & makeup: skinworxza / flowers: howick protea farm / wedding cake: home-made