The past few weeks we have all been busy preparing and then celebrating our eldest daughter Tess and her beloved Ryk’s wedding.
Tess had always dreamed of having a forest wedding with both the ceremony and the reception in a forest clearing and under trees along the river, but it rained … and rained … and rained. Rain fell all Friday evening and all Saturday. In Africa, and in our ongoing extreme drought, rain is a mercy and a blessing, but for Tess, it meant that all her long-cherished wedding dreams had to be surrendered.
Her best friend Hannah planned, prepared and worked on all the decor and wedding arrangements. Her team (her hubby, brothers and sister) agreed to set up the reception in the barn but to wait until the last-minute on Saturday morning to see if the weather would clear for the ceremony to still take place in the forest. But, no, the rain continued to gently fall and so the men brought all the soaked benches into the reception hall and we had to quickly transform the dance floor area into a forest!
In the months and weeks before her wedding, Tess made all her bridesmaids’ dresses in muslin which she and her sister Lara then hand-dyed in varying forest greens.
I made her wedding dress. What a privilege to create a dress that she designed and loved! Kate created the beautiful flower wreaths for the bridesmaids. Hannah made all the bunting, banners, did all the flower arrangements and penned the table seating cards. Her husband and brother hand-carved apricot wood into candlesticks which were given as party favours to all their guests. The team created flower wreaths for signage to the hall, made the intricate arrangements that fitted under the glass domes. Everywhere we looked were the beautiful hand-made gifts as a demonstration of their love to Tess and Ryk’s on their wedding day.
It was a beautiful wedding!
Here’s the poem I wrote a few days afterwards ~
Forest Wedding Poem (for Ryk & Tess)
The wedding day dawns as gentle rains fall from the sky,
And the disappointed young bride, in her room, begins to cry,
Wet benches outside are now taken into the hall,
A created forest transformation requires frantic work from us all.
Ferns and ivy tied up to hang daintily on strings
And pillars are covered with green foresty things.
Food placed on platters, tables decorated with fairy lights,
The hall, now complete, looks like a forest delight.
While the groomsmen sweep away fallen leaves lying everywhere.
Kate gently applies Tess’ makeup and does up her hair,
Bridesmaids put on their long dresses dyed in forest greens,
Arrange their hair with flower wreaths, looking like fairy queens.
The beautiful wedding gown is pulled on and buttoned closed,
As bridesmaids follow the photographer into the wet forest to pose.
The Mother of the bride sees that all is done and everyone is ready,
She hugs the father and he holds her steady.
Guests, now all seated inside, whisper as they wait,
Bridesmaids & young ring bearers gather as the bride is slightly late.
Then the guitar, the drum and tambourine start the song,
As the beautiful bridesmaids enter, singing as they walk along.
Carrying lanterns and banners with blessings that they bring,
They walk down the aisle gracefully and sing.
Holding on to her father’s arm and her exquisite flower bouquet,
Tess, the radiant bride slowly comes in and makes her way.
Ryk, watching Tess approach, wipes away some tears from his eyes.
Grandparents and some others, in awe and joy also cry.
Embracing the groom and then kissing the bride,
The father gives away his daughter and steps aside.
Jakkie shares the message of Jesus, our Saviour who changes everything,
Then Ryk and Tess whisper their vows and exchange their rings.
Now, here they come, the joyful bride and groom step out of the hall,
As the delighted guests cheer and clap and confetti is thrown by all.
While the bride and groom and family pose and smile,
Guests enjoy sangria and savoury eats and mingle a while.
Inside the hall, the little fairy lights shimmer and all the candles glow,
While delicious lamb on the spit cooks till tender, turning slow.
Ryk and Tess then enter & dance to “Piece by Piece” in romantic embrace,
Smiles of delight shine on every watching face.
Champagne corks explode and speeches and toasts declared,
Grace is sung and the wonderful food is served and shared.
The evening is filled with songs, dances, chatter and laughter,
A perfect beginning to Ryk and Tess’ “Happily Ever After”.
Here’s the link to the video of the bridesmaids singing as they enter before the bride.
In the wink of an eye, my darling little girl is married and all grown up. It all goes by so fast!