A Beautiful Burgundy-Themed Wedding in South Africa

yolana douglas wedding couple in field in front of mountains
Tasha Seccombe Photography

In the days leading up to Yolana and Douglas' May 29, 2018, wedding in Franschhoek, South Africa, the country's western cape was experiencing a severe drought. And while a water scarcity might not climb to the top of a busy bride's list of burdens, it was indeed worrisome for Yolana, who was concerned her 75 guests wouldn't be able to shower before the big day. But, "the week of our wedding, the skies opened [up] and it rained almost nonstop," she recalls—a sign that their ceremony and reception would be perfect.

In fact, "perfect" is how both the bride and groom describe their burgundy-themed wedding, held at Vrede en Lust Wine Estate. "It sounds cliché," Yolana admits, "but everything was so smooth and calm on our wedding day." The fall fête—May is technically autumn in South Africa—embraced the surroundings' changing colors with a color palette built off dark purple and accented with pinks and reds. "I remember looking through wedding photos as part of my research online and the first time I saw a burgundy wedding, I knew that was it," Yolana says of the theme.

Perhaps the most special part of the day was not its beauty—though that's hard to believe, we know—but who attended it: The couple's guests came from six continents and 12 countries, and Yolana's 80-plus-year-old grandmother took her first-ever flight in order to be there for the big day (now that is special!). The result? A family-centric wedding that celebrated both the bride's South African heritage (through traditional music and an epic mountain landscape!) and the couple's relationship.

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The Perfect Fit

yolana douglas wedding bride seated
Tasha Seccombe Photography

After trying on fewer than 10 gowns, Yolana fell for a Pronovias wedding dress that featured a sweetheart bodice. "The volume of the Mikado fabric was elegant and timeless, and it had me from the start," Yolana says. "My friend and I call it the butter dress because it was like butter on my skin!"

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Pretty in Pink

yolana douglas wedding bride pink shoes
Tasha Seccombe Photography

While Yolana kept her look simple—she didn't even wear a necklace—she added a pop of color in the form of her pink satin Ted Baker heels. "The minute I saw the bows on those blush heels it literally took my breath away," Yolana says. "I knew [the shoes were] the perfect pairing with my dress and fit well with my wedding colors."

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Formal Attire

yolana douglas wedding groom
Tasha Seccombe Photography

Douglas donned a tailored black tux from Indochino.

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Bridesmaids in Burgundy

yolana douglas wedding party bride groom bridesmaids groomsmen
Tasha Seccombe Photography

Yolana's sister—her maid of honor—and bridesmaids were allowed to choose their own burgundy gowns. Because they all live in different parts of the world, Yolana explains, this simply made sense—but it ended up working out. "I loved that their unique personalities shone through on the day and that everyone did not look the same," Yolana says. "I did not see their dresses side-by-side until the wedding [day], so it was a wonderful surprise to see how beautifully they blended."

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The Bouquets

yolana douglas wedding burgandy bouquets
Tasha Seccombe Photography

The bridesmaids each carried a bouquet of burgundy-hued orchids.

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Rain Check

yolana douglas wedding outside ceremony space
Tasha Seccombe Photography

Yolana and Douglas planned to hold their ceremony on the great lawn of Vrede en Lust Wine Estate, but hours before their wedding—after weeks of drought—it was finally raining. "All my life, I had dreamed of an outdoor wedding with mountains in the backdrop," says Yolana, who grew up in South Africa. "Now, it looked like I would be married inside." But two hours before the ceremony was slated to begin, the skies cleared. "This overcast and gloomy morning gave way to the most stunning picturesque mountain landscape emerging behind the parting clouds," she adds.

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The Ceremony

yolana douglas wedding outside ceremony arch
Tasha Seccombe Photography

The ceremony arbor provided a beautiful frame to an even more stunning backdrop: green, cloud-topped mountains.

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On the Aisle

yolana douglas wedding ceremony bride mom processional
Tasha Seccombe Photography

Yolana and Douglas didn't have a first look—instead, the couple saw each other for the first time on their wedding day as Yolana walked down the aisle with her mother.

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Keep It Simple

yolana douglas wedding ceremony couple seated laughing
Tasha Seccombe Photography

The couple chose to have a non-denominational Christian ceremony with traditional vows sans music.

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The Recessional

yolana douglas wedding ceremony couple recessional
Tasha Seccombe Photography

After the ceremony, Yolana and Douglas walked back up the aisle as husband and wife to Nina Simone's "Feeling Good."

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Music to Their Ears

yolana douglas wedding music and dancing
Tasha Seccombe Photography

Thanks to the good weather, the couple was able to host their cocktail hour outside. Guests enjoyed hors d'oeuvres and music played by Kirya Kuti Project Band, a mix of saxophone and African marimba. "They were an absolute hit," Yolana says.

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The Reception

yolana douglas wedding reception space and tables
Tasha Seccombe Photography

For the reception, the couple moved inside the estate's glass-enclosed terrace "so [that] guests could enjoy the view of the vineyards and mountain," Yolana says.

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The Décor

yolana douglas wedding reception table
Tasha Seccombe Photography

Long wooden tables were draped in blush fabric and illuminated with Edison bulbs. Botanica Floral Design created stunning burgundy, white, and green arrangements.

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Candle Magic

yolana douglas wedding reception tablescape candles
Tasha Seccombe Photography

Taper candles lent a romantic feel to the reception.

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Table Numbers

yolana douglas wedding reception table numbers
Tasha Seccombe Photography

Large gold numbers helped guests find their seats.

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Place Cards

yolana douglas wedding reception menu on plate
Tasha Seccombe Photography

Light pink monogrammed menus doubled as place cards. "The food was five-star—completely out of this world and guests keep telling us how good it was," says Yolana, adding, "I still have dreams about the lamb shank we had for dinner."

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The Food

yolana douglas wedding reception food on platter
Tasha Seccombe Photography

In addition to lamb shank, guests dined on potato gnocchi, risotto, and more.

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Dessert Table

yolana douglas wedding dessert table
Tasha Seccombe Photography

Not only did Yolana and Douglas offer guests cake, but they also provided an entire dessert table spread, packed with chocolate brownies, donuts, and macarons.

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The Cake

yolana douglas wedding cake with berries and flowers
Tasha Seccombe Photography

For the cake, by Wade's Cakes, "we went with red velvet, which is a favorite in our household," Yolana says. The two-tiered confection was decorated with fresh flowers and raspberries.

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First Dance

yolana douglas wedding couple first dance
Tasha Seccombe Photography

Yolana and Douglas shared their first dance to Ray LaMontagne's "You Are The Best Thing." Yolana says, "It's such a great song to dance to and the words ring so true."

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yolana douglas wedding couple kissing holding bouquet
Tasha Seccombe Photography

Photography, Tasha Seccombe Photography

Venue and catering, Vrede en Lust Wine Estate

Event planning, The Mosaic Wedding Company

Flowers, Botanica Floral Design

Videography, White Jasmine Films

Officiant: Johannes Muller

Stationery, Lara Friday Design


Wades Cakes

Music, Kirya Kuti Project, Gina Jeanz, Benjamin McCarthy

Bride's gown and veil, Pronovias

Bride's shoes, Ted Baker

Hair and makeup, Kirsten Murphy Makeup and Hair

Groom's suit, accessories, and menswear, Indochino

Lighting, Authentic Planning

Sound, FSharpMusic

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