There are many exotic places in the world to have a wedding, but there is a special magic found in South Africa, a captivating country of rolling plains and big game. Couples intrigued by the idea of a safari-centric celebration can find inspiration in this elegant wedding that took place at Boulders Lodge at the Singita Private Game Reserve. Brides.com brings you celebrity event planner and South African son Colin Cowie, who designed this wondrous African safari party. Photos by Sang An.
Family and friends are greeted with cool passion-fruit drinks, then dive into their goody bags to find bush hats for the men, cowrie shell jewelry for the women, sunscreen, disposable cameras, and some native sweets such as hertzog cookies and soetkoekies (recipes can be found at africhef.com and 3men.com).
The reserve’s open-air lobby is rustic yet polished. The wedding ceremony took place at sunset, underneath an arch of suspended, flickering lanterns. A burlap runner, hand-painted with a tribal motif and the bride and groom’s names, leads the bride to her groom. Then, instead of throwing rice, guests toss bush-willow pods as the couple shares their first married kiss.
The wedding feast takes place in a boma, an intimate enclosure of acacia branches. Here, mud-cloth covered chairs surround a long table decorated with beaded Zulu chargers, antique African dishes, and pyramids of brightly colored fruit. As they enjoyed the meal, guests were serenaded by the clicking of crickets and the crackling of the boma’s campfire. Mud cloths, wooden bowls, and pedestals add tribal panache. Pier 1 Imports, street fairs, museum and gift shops with a global outlook are good sources for rough-hewn wooden objects as well as African fabrics.
Place cards were made from torn paper and burlap are accented with porcupine quills. (Calligraphy by Ellen Weldon Design, 212-925-4483.) Chilled-tomato soup with crème fraiche hearts was followed by a traditional meal of roasted leg of kudu venison, accompanied by Meerlust Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the country’s elegant blends.
After-dinner entertainment is provided by native performers who encourage everyone to join in the merriment. South African dancers and Shangaan tribal members wearing ceremonial feathers and skins sing native wedding songs. For your own party, African music CDs are widely available in shops and online; afropopshop.org has a huge selection.
Other great touches featured in this African wedding: an amarula cream liqueur wedding cake adorned with beads and feathers… A bouquet of wild savanna grass and an African wedding bowl… floral-and-citrus water for guests to freshen up with… and a bark-covered guest book, fastened with porcupine quills.
For more photos of this and other weddings, visit Brides.com.
Made of rustic tapestry fabric in exotic tonal neutrals with a print inspired by the Sahara landscape–palms, acacia trees and giraffes–this tapestry luggage tote bag is for anyone with an adventurous spirit. Makes a great bridesmaid gift!