In short, it couldn’t have been any better or more suitable if it tried.
I’m talking about Wayne and Candice’s wedding of course, the whole reason for Chantelle and my excursion to Durban a little while ago. The venue for the whole event was the Dragon Peaks resort in the Drakensberg, with the actual ceremony taking place in the little chapel down the road at the fabled Champagne Sports resort.
Now Chantelle and I had booked our spot months ago already, and after an exciting flight and day at uShaka Marine World on the Friday, we made the long 3 hour trip up into the Drakensberg where we were welcomed with a fabulous potjie dinner that Candice’s mom had prepared for all the guests. (She runs the restaurant part of the resort, so luckily we pretty much had the run of the place!)
Dragon Peaks itself is a beautiful family getaway spot, nestled deep in the mountains with some absolutely fantastic, lush views of mountain peaks and the most beautiful skyline that you will see anywhere else in the country. The actual resort is geared for self-catering cottages, caravaning, camping and even just day visitors, offering a huge amount of adventure activities to partake in and just in general, overwhelming your senses with the fantastic, clean mountain air, the beautiful trees and lawns that sprawl as far as what you can see and even the trickling of a beautiful river that ends in a gorgeous dam, right for that essential spot of fishing should you ever feel so inclined.
Our accommodation for the weekend was a quaint old, thatched roof little cottage that proved to be the perfect little getaway from the world and in which Chantelle and I spent many hours just relaxing and forgetting about the stresses of daily life. Breakfast was taken at the resort’s fine onsite restaurant and other than that, nothing could have budged us out of Dragon Peaks’ gates even if it offered us money for free.
Late afternoon pranced along far faster than anyone could have expected and after a mad rush to get finished (babes looked stunning in her newly purchased dress!), I managed to navigate Chantelle and myself down to the sports resort where we discovered that Wayne and his best man crew were just as lost as we were in actually locating the little chapel! However, find it we eventually did and boy was it packed. A lot of friends and family had made the trip and everyone gathered inside where we settled down and waited for the big moment.
The chapel itself was small, cozy, old and absolutely stunning, having one of the biggest panes of glass you have ever seen sitting right behind the pastor, giving you a bird’s eye view down the slopes of the hills and over the peaks of the majestic Drakensberg that served as the most beautiful backdrops one could ever ask for.
We weren’t sitting for long before we glanced a flower-decorated golf cart whiz by the window and before we could blink, best man Duncan and another friend had grabbed a microphone and proceeded to perform a spectacular duet to which Candice confidently strode down the aisle, arm in arm with her father to where a visibly excited (and slightly nervous) Wayne stood beaming away.
It was a very special, spiritual ceremony led by Pastor Robbie and his wife, a ceremony made even more special thanks to the fact that both Candice and Wayne are already quite close to that family, making the message just that much more heartfelt and perhaps it was fitting that God decided to punctuate the proceedings with a brilliant bolt of lighting and a large rumble of thunder halfway through, as if to say, ‘You had better not screw this up’.
Vows were exchanged, wedding rings swapped and a light kiss on the lips sealed the bond, meaning that at long last, Mr. and Mrs. Smith had finally been born!
Back outside and the crowd eagerly awaited their triumphant exit on signing the register, armed with petals and sparklers almost a meter long, and as the first drops of rain threatened to fall, the sparklers were lit and the newly wed couple emerged :)
From there it was back up to Dragon Peaks resort where the long wait began. Rain came and went as it pleased, and the guests eagerly nibbled on the plattered bites, all the while entertained by a skillful fellow on his selection of saxophones and flutes.
Finally however the time arrived to be ushered across the rickety wooden bridge, to the lapa type structure in the middle of the dam, where everyone hastily discovered their seats and awaited the call that the boat had finally been spotted. And yes, just like in a fairy tale, the bridal party gently floated in, the heavens graciously holding back on the raindrops as everyone gathered on the little jetty and eagerly welcomed the newly married couple to dry land.
Candice’s mom had gone all out with the decorations for the venue, the theme including a princess-like butterflys, fairy lights and drapes vista, complemented with a personality-matching assortment of greens and pinks that simply rounded off this most beautiful of venues. Lively, bubbly and just perfect for the giggling bride it must be said.
Starters were a delicious assortment of breads, chocolates and pate, before the speeches rolled along and we were treated to some fairly lengthy but appropriate talks, though a little lacking in humour if you ask me! ;)
Main course was simply a fantastic selection of simple, farm-style foods, served up as a buffet and then followed with biggest selection of desserts you can ever imagine! And of course, then there was the cake, including the especially baked liquorice and sweeties cake, made in particular for Wayne after it somehow got leaked that he would absolutely despise it if such a cake should ever make an appearance at his wedding one day!
The garter and bouquet tosses went off without a hitch and no broken heels or nails to speak of, and then it was time for the main event, the opening of the dance floor. Surprisingly enough, in the more than four years that they’ve been together, Candice and Wayne had never danced with one another before, and as such there was a lot of nerves pre-dance jitters backstage, but once the first notes rang out and the shuffle began, everything just quite simply, fell into place.
Naturally Chantelle and I couldn’t just sit there all night and we were soon in the thick of things, twirling and stepping all night long (well apart from the little bit where we went home to grab a quick change of shoes of course!) The mood was merry, the atmosphere bright, and even a few misplaced moments of rain wasn’t going to spoil this night’s proceedings!
As with all weddings, the night was over in a seemingly blink of an eye, but it really was one of those evenings that can only be described as magical, a wedding that Wayne and Candice can most certainly be proud of!
(I also managed to score major brownie points with my missus by the way, by hijacking the DJ right at the end of the show and getting him to put some Bryan Adams on, a song to which just the two of us happily shuffled along, much to the amusement I’m sure of all those remaining souls around us!)
Sunday morning started off with yet another brilliant organised meal, this time in the form of specially made ‘picnic boxes’, and bathed in the brilliant sunlight that had finally broken free from all the clouds that had engulfed it since Friday afternoon already, everyone loafed around, ate their food and in general just rounded off what had been the perfect weekend wedding getaway.
So thank you Candice and Wayne for inviting us along and allowing us to be a part of this most special of events for the two of you. May God bless your marriage and may there be many happy and blissful days ahead for the both of you!
Lots of Love,
Craig and Chantelle.