A taste of South Africa…
Celebrating the groom’s South African roots and the bride’s English heritage, Roddy & Sue’s gorgeous Staffordshire wedding blended elements of the two countries throughout. Their laid-back day focused on spending a lazy, sunny Sunday afternoon with friends and family, many of whom had travelled half the way around the world to be there. The great British weather obliged, and most of the day was spent outside in the fresh air – from the outdoor ceremony to a ‘Braai’ inspired BBQ wedding supper. Their wedding was beautifully captured by their friend from South Africa, Anthony Snyman, as a wedding gift. We spoke to Roddy about the couple’s big day at The Boat House…
Who proposed, where and how?
I proposed, on a beautiful almost deserted beach in Noordhoek Cape Town. As this is our second marriage and Sue had kept the surname from her previous marriage, it was a standing joke that I was always asking her to change her name as I felt odd booking into various places as Williams and Lee. So, I asked her again if she would change her name, this time to Williams. She first thought I was just asking as normal and told me to make a ‘sexual departure’… Then the penny dropped and she obviously said yes! The ring had been specially made for her in South Africa and is thus a one of a kind.
What were you looking for in a venue and what made you choose The Boat House?
We wanted something that was not your standard British wedding with the old mansion and big fireplace thing really not appealing to either of us. We wanted open space, natural light, access to water and the ability to host outdoors. The Boat House ticked all of these boxes. Nicki, who coordinated our wedding was an absolute blessing. Nothing was too much trouble – even though we did throw some big curve balls at her – and her unfazed can-do attitude really made things go smoothly.
What was your wedding theme and how did you create it?
Our theme was fusing Africa and England – it’s kind of obvious why, with me being from SA and Sue from here. We also wanted the day to be as informal and laid back as possible. Our rings symbolised this fusion – they were one of a kind made for us by kylesringcraft, formed from bands of English oak and African Sodolite that I collected myself while in Namibia – they’re truly special and never to be repeated. In the venue, we used African SweSwe print cloths as tablecloths, our cake was black silhouette African animals and oak trees on a background of an African sunset, and our centrepiece was the bust of an African Lion on a base of English oak. We had local and South African sweets on the sweet table and we served South African classics droewors (dried sausage) and biltong (dried beef) in baskets on the table to give everyone a taste of my home.
How did your theme flow through the rest of your day – outfits, entertainment etc?
The music before the wedding was a mix of international and African music. Some traditional African songs as well as African covers of famous songs which added a twist as people knew the tunes but not the words. The wedding party outfits were traditional – tuxedos for the guys and smart dresses for the ladies, and our colour scheme was blue and purple as these are Sue’s favourite colours. This offset us from the rest of the guests who were told smart-casual dress was the order of the day to fit with the laid-back Braai – or South African BBQ – themed wedding meal. We managed to source boerewors, which is a traditional South African sausage, which the chef at Aston Marina bravely cooked for us for the first time (though he did have expert input from the South African chef who made the sausage). We wanted as much of the day as possible to be spent outside in the fresh air, so the BBQ was a perfect fit.
Where did you say your vows?
Our vows were said outside under the Gazebo.
What was your evening entertainment?
We both dislike the trend of hosting both a day and night event as we feel it makes certain people feel like they are excluded, so our wedding was at 4pm followed by the BBQ and dancing.
What was the highlight of your day?
That’s a tough one as there are so many to choose from, but family and friends travelling halfway across the world to be with us was pretty special, as was two families coming together with one purpose and thus becoming one big family. For me, the highlight was seeing the beautiful woman I have married appearing in that dress with both her sons escorting her up the aisle, led by her daughter and our grandkids, while I waited with both of my sons as Best Men.
Photos provided by Anthony Snyman.