Musician & teacher, Vana, married his beautiful photographer fiance, Jeanne, under the Karoo sun in a village called Nieu Bethesda. Their nuptials were playfully dubbed #JavaSayTheyDo. Like many other Karoo villages, Nieu Bethesda started out as a Church village, the name is of biblical origin and means “place of flowing water”.
Guests were asked to wear disco-glam to the wedding – and no one disappointed in that regard. Guests also received handmade tambourines with bells and were able to block the sun with parasols that were painted by Vana’s students. Other DIY items include the Disco Dance Floor, hand painted by the bride and her friend Andrea.
The bride and groom shared their destination wedding with friends and family as well as their lively Welsh Terrier Shelby, who enjoyed the celebration as much as anyone.
From the bride: ‘Vana and his brother, Hein, spent the week cleaning up and packing stones for the ceremony. The labyrinth was overgrown and seemed unlikely to be ready in time but we had a vision.
We completely forgot about confetti, and I only realised when the ceremony started. I whispered to Vana that we didn’t have confetti, he quickly asked everyone to spin their umbrellas as we walked passed. I love improvising and how much better it works than the original plan sometimes.
I was so nervous that I fumbled my words during the I do’s but Vana just looked at me and his eyes said just breath, I love you, you got this (like they do on so many occasions).
It was extremely special to us that people traveled so far (including my three very good friends from the UK and Dubai and my brother, all the way from Italy). This town means so much to us, we fell in love there, it was only fitting to seal the deal there. We are part of that ‘storybook’ town now and forever.
The harsh Karoo landscape contrasted perfectly with the glam disco theme, reminding us to take the good times with the bad. We have always seen the beauty and fruitfulness in the vast seemingly infertile regions of the Karoo, and life for that matter. Nieu-Bethesda is a reminder in itself that there is always hope, always an oasis and a way forward.
My advice – spare a moment during the day and think about the people that weren’t able to celebrate with you on the day, for me it was my mother. I would also say, leave room in your mind for last-minute oopsies and changes, they always happen and that’s ok! No one really knows the original plan anyway. Have fun, it’s a party! Try and keep things as local as possible and ask for help from family and friends so the festivity becomes more special. Don’t forget about your husband, it’s about the two of you not just you looking pretty! Take a chance on a destination wedding, that way you get to celebrate a few days and not just one… it goes by so quickly.’
The labyrinth where the ceremony took place, was made by artist Albert Redelinghuys.
View the wedding video made by Frans Karoo Borman below.
Photographer: Sean Brand & Henry Engelbrecht
Videographer: Frans Karoo Borman, assistant Christiaan Kritzinger
Dress: Suzanne Heyns
Rings: Lorean Jewellery Design
Bridesmaid Dresses: Zara
Town: Nieu Bethesda
Bridal Suite: Ibis Lounge
Venue: Die Karoo Lamb
Pre Wedding Dinner: Die Waenhuis.
Party: Die Ramstal
Cakes: Polka Cafe & Yolandi Prins
Minister: Pedro Barbosa
Vinyl DJ: Jaco Mans
Wine: Môrenson Miss Molly (Guide Dog fund) and Hermanus Pieterfontein
Food: Two Goats Deli, Karoo Lamb Potjie en Jenny Nel
Guest Gifts: Handmade Owls from the local crafters in town