It was a warm Franschhoek Saturday and I arrived in a garden with a tall canopy of trees and a sense of anticipation in the air. I had just spent ten minutes in the car with my nervous Dad and the driver whilst clutching my pink peony and desert rose bouquet. It was my turn to be the bride in the wedding car with the white ribbon. There were so many emotions to feel, that they almost cancelled each other out and I just felt calm.
Cold Play’s ‘Strawberry Swing’ began to drift from the speakers and many people tried to catch a glimpse of me from between the trees. My coral clad bridesmaids began walking towards the crowd and then it was our turn. My Dad hooked me in and we began moving. I tried to take it all in; the rose petals lining the hessian aisle covering the pebble pathway, the colourful pom poms hanging from the trees and all the little details I had spent six months choosing.
Everyone stood smiling, but all I could see was my future husband at the altar. His eyes appeared slightly teary and he looked at me as if he’d waited a lifetime for this. I felt nervous, anxious, overjoyed and nostalgic for the life I was leaving behind. I smiled and looked down shyly as everyone’s gaze was on me.
Vaughan took my hand and we stood before our Pastor. Bible verses were read, we worshipped Jesus and we couldn’t keep our eyes off each other. We were encouraged to persevere, sacrifice and have immense patience with each other and enjoy this journey that God created. We promised to love each other for a lifetime, exchanged rings and when we emerged as Mr and Mrs McShane, our friends and family erupted into joyful cheers and hundreds of bubbles lifted into the warm air.
The speeches were hilarious and emotion-filled, true words were spoken and I felt truly blessed to call all these people family- family who had witnessed our love bloom since the age of 17 years old. The décor I had chosen, made and bought with the help of family looked spectacular beneath the fairy lights and white lanterns in The Shed.
King Proteas, pink Peonies, desert rose succulents and Esperance roses filled many little jars and bottles. People laughed, ate, drank, cried and danced their hearts out. I remember thinking that I’d never been happier. I sang our favourite song, John Mayor’s “In your Atmosphere’ to Vaughan. It was one of the first songs he had taught me on guitar and when we started dating, he would always play it and I would sing.
We did a slow Samba to ‘The girl from Ipanema’, danced into the night and finally say our goodbyes. We had to remove a massive rooster from the backseat (courtesy of the groomsmen) and drove off in a car with cans rattling on the road, shaving cream smeared on everywhere and condoms on the side mirrors. I can honestly say that it was the greatest day of my existence. The overwhelming love we felt from our family and friends was unexplainable.
Even better than the paint finger prints guests left for us on a picture or notes they hung on our ‘Wish Tree’, so many people phoned, sent smses and told us that ours without a doubt the best and most special wedding they have ever attended. All the stress, exhaustion of the engagement months was worth it and we would want to relive this day over and over again. But luckily there was something spectacular to look forward to … honeymoon and life together.
Read more from Lauren as she plans her wedding in our Bride to Be section.
Photograph courtesy of Tiffany Burnham Photography ©
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