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Aug 24

MARRIED…..Liezl & Matt’s Africa Wedding in Maun, Botswana – Destination Wedding Photographer

By julietlemon August 24 2013 - 07.21 AM

She was a cool city-chick living in Cape Town; he was a safari guide and professional wildlife photographer, whose natural habitat was in the depths of the African bush locating wild animals.

They met in Cape Town whilst he was on leave and as soon as he met her, he knew she was the one……..ahhhhhhh……….so cute!!  His strategy was to meet up and give her a calendar, that had been put together by the charity “Children in the Wilderness” (an organisation for which Liezl worked a few years back), that featured lots of his stunning wildlife photos. It was this ploy he used to get her attention.

So as you’ve gathered, his hopes and dreams all fell into place and here are the photos from their wedding day!

Liezl and Matt flew me over to Botswana to photograph their big day as well as pre and post wedding antics (have a peek here for the pre-wedding adventure) and it was such an honour.  They really are such a lovely and hospitable couple, who welcomed me into their lives for the fortnight I was with them and allowed me to let rip with my camera… I just hope that the photos have done their incredible day and celebrations justice!

The morning of the wedding was graced with yet another scorcher of a day with nothing but big, clear, blue skies and sunshine; absolutely perfect weather for photos.  There is something just so magical about incorporating blue sky into photos… Perhaps it is because of the serious lack such skies over here in the UK!

The girlies had enjoyed a chilled evening the night before and awoke early to enjoy a yoga session in their garden, much to the amusement of the zebra, who were watching with great intrigue.  When I arrived, they had been to the hair salon and were having the finishing touches done to their make-up by the lovely Jess, who had come up to Botswana from South Africa for the wedding.

Being present in the morning as the girlies prepare for the nuptials really is such a wonderful part of the wedding day.  It feels as if there is all the time in the world, sipping champagne (not me coz I’m working of course!) and getting ready for what has been months and some times even years of preparation, knowing that the day has arrived and is underway. There is such a buzz of excitement,  anticipation and needless to say, nerves in the air… which of course champagne bubbles help calm each time!

Liezl’s chariot to the ceremony was meant to be by boat on the Thamalakane River, but the water levels had dropped significantly in the last week so Plan B was by vintage Peugeot, which was perfect. The girls left for the ceremony in good time and arrived as planned, but ended up having to hold back and wait in the shade as guests were still taking their seats… unimaginable to think of the nerves and excitement  they were experiencing! It must have felt like an eternity for everyone to get seated.  However they were eventually able to make their grand entrance in the motor and emerged from the tree line and drove round the perimeter of the grassland with all eyes transfixed on the maroon vehicle as it made its way to the aisle.  There, the Bride and bridesmaid alighted from the car and were joined by their ultra cute flower girl and pageboy.  Once their wedding procession was in formation, they walked up the aisle ahead of the Bride, who remained there.  Sadly, Liezl’s parents had both passed away, but she carried them close to her on the day with photos of them in her bouquet. Unfortunately her brother, who lives in Ireland was too sick to fly, and she didn’t have anyone to walk her up the aisle.  So she let the rest of her entourage walk up the aisle and once they were at their seats by the altar, Matt, who had been waiting patiently, reveling in the sight of his gorgeous Bride, walked down to escort her to the altar.  It was an absolutely beautiful and touching moment and the joy beaming from their radiant faces as they neared the Pastor was such a delight to see and an absolute honour to capture in the photographs.

The ceremony was stunning! The venue, set on the banks for the Thamalakane River, with palm trees in the distance, blue sky up above and grassland all around captured their “Safari” wedding theme wonderfully. To keep cool, the guests fanned themselves with the cute fans that the couple had made up for them. Pastor Gary delivered a beautiful service and a very special part of it was when the couple poured sands from their home countries into a single vase. Liezl’s sand was from Cape Town, South Africa and Matt’s from the Kalahari Desert,  Botswana –  such a perfect symbolism of unity.

During the vows, Liezl did manage to hold back the tears although there were some guests who didn’t quite manage to, but that was soon replaced by laughter and applause when the couple gave each other a “High 5” and then a dramatic movie-style kiss.  All so beautifully romantic!

Handfuls of flower petals showered the couple as they walked down the aisle as newly weds.  Their reception was a short distance away in another part of the grassland shaded by a few trees, where sofas, umbrellas and rugs had been set out.  The guests congregated in the shade sipping ice cold beers and wine to keep hydrated. They all wore safari-style outfits, which fitted in perfectly with the theme of the wedding and they all looked wonderful in the photos against the rich, verdant surroundings.

During the reception, whilst the guests were getting sufficiently hydrated, I was able to have a little bit of picture taking time with the newly weds down by the river, obviously keeping one eye out for crocodiles!!!  The light in Africa is just so different from that of the UK.  There the sun sets abruptly at around 5.30pm, but the hour before that provided us with glorious golden light. The couple were  bathed in this glow and it provided beautiful warm lighting with the low sun being just the ticket for  silhouettes  as well as a few cheeky sun star burst effects 🙂

As the sun was setting, the guests made their way up the dusty track, which wound its way around to the setting for the rest of the celebrations in a marquee framed by the surrounding palm trees.  Once everyone had located their seats and charged their glasses, the newly weds, Mr & Mrs Copham made their grand entrance to the applause of the guests.

Speeches took place throughout the meal and they were all incredible.  It was great to see the girls take the mike. The lineup consisted of the  bride, her sister-in-law, her bridesmaid as well as her Grandma, who at the grand age of 92 years young, gave an emotional speech and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.  Obviously the boys lowered the tone when it was their turn… ahem… cranked up the pace and the groom had us all in hysterics. This has been preceded by the groom’s best man, Josh, who delivered an absolute blinder of a speech.

Needless to say that things turned a tad wild as the evening progressed.  The cheese cake, or more like the tower of cheese, which was brought in from South Africa, proved to be a big hit, as did the photo booth and the fancy dress box, which were a great source of amusement and I am pleased to report that there is full photographic evidence of the booth antics!  The dance floor was graced with rather tipsy party goers throwing impressive shapes and in the very early hours of the morning (at this stage I had finally put my cameras down and was nursing a well deserved double gin and tonic!) the groom had accosted a donkey and ridden it onto the dance floor……..only in Africa!!

Liezl and Matt’s wedding day was absolutely incredible.  So beautiful, so personal and so many of their lovely friends and family were there to share in their wonderful day with them and it was truly a total honour to photograph it for them.

Really hope that you enjoy looking a the photos from their wedding (you can see a few more here) and I’m sure that you’ll all join me in wishing them a wonderful marriage filled with happiness, love and laughter because they are such cool cats and they flipping rock!!!  x

 

 

Big SHOUT OUT goes to all the wonderful suppliers and people that helped make Liezl & Matt’s day absolutely incredible…….

Dress:  Cindy Bam (South Africa)
Bridesmaid dress:  John Lewis
Hair:  Hair Studio (Maun)
Make-up:  Jessica Orchard (South Africa)
Rings:  Adrian Dandridge
Venues:  Khwai Concession;  Shorobe; an open field next to the Thamalakane river in Maun.
Catering:  Chaplins
Decor:  Yvonne Kohler
Set up and operations:  Pride of Africa
DJ:  DJ Big Pun
Photographer:  Juliet Lemon
Cake:  Cathy Kays
Tent hire:  MC Equipment Hire
Equipment hire:  Leduo + So Where To Events
Musician:   Simon Shaw
Flowers:  Bows & Bouquets
Photo Booth Maker:  Ryan Edwards

 

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A big HELLO and thanks for having a peek at the blog! So a little bit about me.........well I absolutely love the wonderful world of photography. I'm lucky enough to work with great people and at each shoot make sure that we have fun whilst getting great photos. I'm based in the UK where I photograph a lot of weddings and lifestyle shoots but also get to travel to far flung destination for a spot of travel, wildlife and car photography. I'm a Licentiate of the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers as well as a Licentiate of International Nature & Wildlife Photographers and have won awards for my photography. My work has been published in national newspapers, wedding magazines, travel guide books, blogs and wildlife publications. My favourite colour is orange!
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