Ahhh where do I start with this magical day? Well I’m always totally biased when it comes to a bush wedding on the banks of the Zambezi River – middle, lower or upper Zambezi – sign me up! I’d never been to this spot on the river before and it really was such a peaceful, perfect spot. The white-fronted bee-eaters were out, elephants dung and guinea-fowl feathers peppered the ceremony site and Charlotte and Nick said their vows while white-browed robin chats scurried in the undergrowth and Ilala palms swayed in the breeze above us. After the ceremony, guests got onto a sundowner cruise and slowly made their way downriver to the reception site. Nick and Char decided to take things slow, sipping champers with their bridal party on the banks of the river while the festivities continued on the cruise.
Nature continued its background symphony and kept things interesting when two very gentlemanly elephant bulls stopped by for a visit during Char and Nick’s couple photos. They were clearly keen for their evening dip and drink but we had stolen their spot, so they waited patiently in the shadows until we noticed them (thanks Buck!) and ducked out of their way. When we moved and felt that we were out of their route and could see that they were relaxed with our presence we also relaxed and just stood their quietly, breathing in this very beautiful gift. It was really important to Char and Nick to not be rushed on their wedding day so they could actually be present and savour the day. We had planned really carefully to make sure we managed that and so the gatecrash by these two eles just made things that extra special.
And the eventfulness continued! Last year I photographed Char’s cousin Cassie’s wedding on the shores of Kariba (this family clearly has a thing for beautiful Zimbabwean wedding spots) and Cassie went into labour during the speeches of Char & Nicks wedding! So she unfortunately had to leave the party early but she and her husband Danny welcomed a beautiful baby boy later on that evening, born in Victoria Falls! I think that was definitely a first for Louise from Vic Falls Occasions who did a great job getting Cassie to the delivery room – and also organised yet another gorgeous Zambezi wedding. The reception venue at the Into Africa jetty was soooooo pretty – twinkling fairly lights framed against the fading light of a mauve Zambezi sunset reflected off the river.
Right – picture time!
Char and Nick thanks so much for trusting me with this very beautiful day under a Zambezi sky. You two were truly an absolute pleasure to work with – you handled the photos graciously (and gorgeously!) despite your photo-phobias and I loved every part of the process with you.
Here’s wishing you a lifetime of love and laughter together with your special families.
Venue: Zambezi National Park – ceremony. Into Africa Jetty – reception
Wedding Officiant: Tafadzwa Mugova
Wedding and Day Coordinators: Louise Nielsen-Doran from Vic Falls Occasions. Not only did Louise help us plan and coordinate the perfect wedding she also for took control to help get Cass to the hospital to deliver her baby. It was comforting knowing she was in the background organizing things so that me, my bridesmaids, and my family could just relax and enjoy the day.
MC: Drew Rosser
Caterer: Bush Cuisine
Set-Up: Vic Falls Occasions
Décor: Vic Falls Occasions did the tables, chairs, lights, and cutlery. The centerpieces were made by Joe Centra at 1820 Workshop. The flowers down the aisle, were done by my Gran, my Aunty Lindy, and Suzie.
Flowers: my Gran (Janet Marchussen) arranged the flowers for the bouquets and my Aunty Lindy (Linda Foss) brought the proteas from SA in her bag the day before as we couldn’t get them – I had no idea there was an issue getting the proteas, they all handled it secretly so I wouldn’t worry, which was such a kind and special thing for them to do. John (Fynes-Clinton), Nick’s step-Dad for kindly contributing the spray of orchids for the corsages for the mothers and gran and Nick. My Gran (Janet Marchussen) and Aunty Lindy (Foss) made these up on the day. Gran and Bonka paid for all the flowers (Peter and Janet Marchussen).
DJ : James Salim
Cake: Aunty Lindy made a beautiful vegan cake for me, it was so delicious no one would have known it was vegan. She made it in Durban and carried it in her hand luggage on the flight to Vic Falls and assembled it at the wedding.
Make Up; Sarah (Sarah Jane Symonds) – my sister and Matron of Honor
Hair: Fiona Mason did my hair, all my bridesmaids, my mom, my mom-in-law, and my Gran’s hair. I would also like to mention my twin cousins, Amy and Sasha Marchussen who braided my hair, and my aunt Dom who helped oversee my hair, and made suggestions to make it perfect and she put flowers in my hair.
Dress: David’s Bridal in Lexington, Kentucky USA is where I bought it.
Favors: Joe Centra for making the wooden coasters and Tash Murrell for wood burning the design onto them. Tash also made the ‘Welcome Family and Friends’ sign.
Wedding Bands: Alpha Jewelry
Equipment Hire: Vic Falls Occasions and Bush Cuisine
Photographer: Mana Meadows – Photos by Mana: We cannot thank Mana enough for taking such gorgeous photos and really capturing the atmosphere of the day. She had such a special presence and made us feel so relaxed and comfortable, which was quite the challenge as we both are not big fans of having our pictures taken. She helped organize us and slow our day down to savor the moment, something that made a huge difference. Our wedding would not have been the same without her there, it felt like we had known her for years and that we had a friend there with us.
Videographer: Buck O’Donoghue for filming and Jo Craig for helping organize the details at Bad Rabbit Studio
An extra special thank you to… My Mom and Dad (Debbie and Rafe), for giving us the wedding we didn’t know we wanted. My mom for being so involved and helping to coordinate and plan the wedding and for lending me her jewelry. I was also very sick before the wedding, and she helped take care of me, and get me well enough to enjoy my wedding day. She made sure everything was in order, so I did not have to worry about them. Nick’s Mom (Yvonne) and step-dad (John) who put money towards the wedding. My bridesmaids (Sarah, Emz, Onj, and Dana) for being there by my side on the day, as they are in life. Nick’s groomsmen (Jono, Dan, Pete, and Boyd) for being so supportive and for helping him relax and have fun. My cousin Cassie, who had her baby at the wedding, she came even though we knew it would be tight with her due date being near, and it made the wedding even more special for us that we will share our anniversary with her first baby’s birthday.
Extra thank yous: My uncle Keith for bringing shepherd’s crook for the flowers, and some of the centerpieces to Vic Falls in his truck. My great aunt Fiona, for bringing centerpieces. Sue Christie for bringing my wedding dress on the plane with her. My uncles for bringing the flowers on their plane the day before.