Real Wedding: Melissa + Gary

This wonderful couple have been together for nine years and married for two and all we can say about their wedding is WOW. Melissa is the craftiest and most creative bride we've encountered so far, having done all the decor, stationery and flowers for her big day with the help of her friends and family. So sit back and have a look at what a little bit of forward planning, a little bit of creative flair and a lot of passion can put together! We love DIY brides and this girl wrote the book! 


The Bride and Groom: Melissa and Gary Richardson
Wedding Date: 7 August 2010
Venue: iNsingizi Game Lodge
Colour and/or Theme: Outdoors and Rustic


So what’s your love story? 

Gary and I met 9 years ago through mutual friends at a night club (not the greatest but hey!). We started out as friends and when the sparks started flying we made things official on the 30 August. He asked me to his Matric Dance which was our first real date.

How did he propose? 
My best friend Stacey Skinner was Gary’s spy!  The two of them spoke daily about how to propose and where. He asked her to get the scoop on what I wouldn’t like and what I would - too cute!  Then Gary told me he has a secret date set up for us on the Sunday, I couldn’t wait for the day to arrive to see what the surprise entailed, not at all thinking it would be a proposal. He took me to the Moses Mabhida stadium (at that stage it had been open for only a few months) and tricked me to go onto the sky car.  As the doors of the sky car opened we walked out onto the platform and he went down onto his knee and behind him was a table with red roses and champagne.  He popped the question on the arch of the stadium. It was just the two of us up there and it was absolutely amazing.  My adrenalin was rushing and It was so unexpected, what an amazing surprise! We even made the front page of the Daily News!
What was the best lesson you learnt through planning your wedding? 
We only had 6 months to plan our wedding and this was by our own choice because we had a specific day in mind. The best lesson would be to create a list of exactly what you are envisioning as this will help you work towards what you need.  Once you have created the list and you have started inquiring on certain things you can “tick” them off the list.  This is a great relief when you look at your list and you can see what has been completed and what is outstanding.

Any tips for brides to be? 
Just remember your wedding day is meant to be the best day of your life!  Just keep telling yourself that when times get tough and you feel overwhelmed. It is a day all about your love for one another and your new start together as husband and wife so just enjoy every bit of it.
How did you decide on the colour or theme of your wedding?
I wanted a outdoor/rustic type of wedding.Once we found the venue it seemed only fitting to have greens and white and natural elements such as wheat, straw and wood in the decor. This was great as green is my favourite colour!

How involved was your husband or family in the wedding planning?
Gary was very involved as he is good at making decisions. I would show him what I had in mind and he was always ready with a solution on how to achieve it.  I also had my mom, sister, mom in law and friends Stacey, Vanessa and Debi helping every step of the way. I delegated alot to them and we had DIY evenings where we would make the invites, seating charts and decor.
What would you change about your wedding day if you could? 
I know this sounds so cliché but there isn’t anything I would change. It was the most magical day of my life.

Were there any elements of your wedding that you did yourself? 
I was a do-it-yourself bride. With help from Gary, family and friends we created everything from centre pieces to decor to wedding stationery. You name it, we made it!  I am too much of a perfectionist to have outsourced anything and I wanted to do it all myself.
Did anything unexpected or extra special happen on your wedding day that surprised you and your husband? (Or just you!) 
I would have to say my dad’s speech. He is a man of few words and he got up there and wowed us all with such a beautiful heart to heart speech.  It was very emotional but amazing at the same time.  Everyone in the room felt a bit teary.
What was your wedding song? 

Well this is a hard one as everything we thought of was so over used at weddings.  We ended up choosing a song that had a lot of meaning in the words – Shania Twain’s Forever and For Always. Listen to it here.
What was the flavour of your cake? 
We didn’t have a traditional cake instead we had a whole lot of tiers of cupcakes with chocolate ganache icing.  There was a top cake which was death by chocolate cake with ganache icing.  It was too die for!  My very special friend Vanessa spent 6 hours creating all the cupcakes and the top cake for us to cut.  A lot of love went into making the cake and cupcakes.
Did you go on Honeymoon? And if so, where did you go? 
Yes of course! We went to Umngazi River Bungalows. It is so beautiful there! It felt like we were on our own little island.  It is just too beautiful and the honeymoon suite was divine.  I would definitely recommend this as a romantic getaway.

Venue: iNsingizi Game Lodge
Coordinator: I did it all myself! 
Photographer: Locolizzard Photography 
Decor: Did it all myself 
Stationery: Did it all myself
Dress (including bridesmaids dresses): My dress was created by Esther 083 777 7514 and Bridesmaids dressers by Agnes 083 587 7288
Hair: Jody at Jeans Hair Co Intercoiffure 031 464 7353
Make-up: My aunty Mandy 
Flowers: Did it all myself
Catering: Cathy and Adrian - family friends
Cake: My special friend Vanessa 

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