Engagement Story: Chris + Nikki

Remember our photography feature on Adrian Frost? Well after chatting with him for our interview on Ruby & the Swallow, he mentioned that he had recently taken an incredible set of engagement shoot photos in the city of Joburg and that he'd love for us to see them. And WOW, are they fantastic! They are one of the most unique set of engagement photos we've ever seen - and the lovely Nikki was happy to share her engagement story with us to accompany them. We'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy!

Full names of the couple: Christopher Felgate and Nikki Grundlingh
Date of your engagement: 5th March 2011

So what’s your love story?
Chris and I met by chance through a friend whilst he was visiting family friends in Johannesburg for a few days. We instantly connected and spent the whole weekend together  leaving his family friends wondering where he had disappeared to! He sadly had to leave for a trip to Zimbabwe over the Christmas period of 2007 but we had made up our minds to give our relationship a proper go after that first wonderful weekend. After Zimbabwe he came back to SA to spend some more time together and we knew we had something great going which we wanted to pursue.  Chris at the time was qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games which meant racing in many different countries throughout 2007 and 2008 but in the end he qualified and participated in the Games in Triathlon. After the Games Chris, who was based in Perth at the time, moved to South Africa for us to try living together and build our home. We moved into our apartment at the end of 2008 and have lived there ever since with our two dogs Gunston (Staffie) and Fatty (Bulldog). He is currently trying to qualify for London 2012.
How did he propose?
He planned ‘something’ which was supposed to be a birthday surprise as my birthday is on the 8th March so under that guise he woke me up at a ridiculous hour on the Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and a note instructing me what to pack and to be ready in 45 minutes. Well-that was never an option as I take 45 minutes just to get myself ready-nevermind the packing. Anyway, I did as I was told and was packed and ready in the 45 minutes. We drove in darkness just outside of Johannesburg to a little game farm where a hot air balloon ride as the first surprise of the day. As we landed one of the other couples jumped out and he proposed to her which left Chris sweating as this was his original idea. Popping the question as the champagne was popped to celebrate the safe landing as is the custom with hot air balloon rides. Plan B was not far away little to my knowledge. We all went back to the lodge enjoyed some brunch whilst watching the resident Zebras drinking from the pool. I then thought that the birthday surprise was over and got ready to leave when Chris suggested we should head down to the dam and take one last look at it all before we left. We sat down talking and relaxing when he got onto one knee and proposed. I was so surprised that I spent the next while crying and crying! Second surprise. Third surprise was when we then went to collect our bags and checked in for the night. We popped our own bottle of Moet and watched the sun set over the dam with the resident Giraffe only metres away along with the other buck and zebra. No cellphones, no TV…BLISS!
Did anything unexpected or extra special happen on the day you got engaged that surprised you and your fiance? (Or just you!)
I think Chris was most surprised when the hot air balloon co-ordinator asked that Chris not bring his backpack with him on the ride as if there was to be a bumpy landing, the backpack could seriously injure him. He was panicking as inside he has hid the ring which was tied onto its own little balloon in a basket to mimic the hot air balloon ride that we were about to go on. Quickly he has to stash the backpack in the boot, rip the basket off the balloon and hide it in his pocket without me seeing. Thank goodness it was still dark so I didn’t notice any of this commotion in the boot of the car!

I was most surprised by the way he proposed I think. He had a little twig and some fishing gut in the basket to mimic a fishing rod as Chris loves to fish (and we were on the side of a dam at the time) so he asked me to open the basket and take out the ‘fishing rod’ he had made. He then made a little speech and put the ring trough the fishing rod and let it slide down the fishing gut around my finger-I was his catch!
Tell us about the ring!
He has asked me about rings and we had casually spoken about designs so at least he has some direction as to what I liked. Us gals have to wear this ring forever you know! He came out tops with a 18ct white gold ring set with 3 diamonds-Trilogy setting. For me the stones represent the past, the present and the future and I absolutely LOVE IT!
Have you set a wedding date?
We have-this was the most crucial part of it all as we wanted a time when Chris’ family would be able to come out to South Africa and make a good trip of it as well as making it easy for South Africans to also attend so in the end we settled for the 15th December 2012 as this is well after the London 2012 Games and allows family and friends from abroad to make a good holiday out of their time here in SA and it’s a long weekend for the locals!
Any wedding plans so far to share with us?
The moment I told my folks that we were officially engaged, my mum set off building a wedding venue on our farm in Kenton-on-Sea in the Eastern Cape! So we plan to marry at this special venue on our farm and have the ceremony at a stone chapel on a neighbouring game farm which is perched on the top of a hill in the middle of our corner of Africa.

Service providers for the engagement shoot:
Venue: Delta Park and New Market Square, Johannesburg
Photographer: Adrian (and Jax) Frost from FrostFoto
Decor/Props: Adrian supplied some of his and we supplied the dogs!
Dress/Outfits: We wanted something plain in the park shots and something more formal against the backdrop of the best graffiti Johannesburg has to offer
Hair: Roenel from Beautifully Touched Hair in Bryanston
Make-up: Nosiphiwe from Professional Touch Day Spa in Sandton

All photographs taken by Adrian Frost of Frost Foto, and may not be used without permission.

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