Intertwined in our daily lives there are the moments that come and go and then there are the moments that stand still, that are so tangiable they make you hold your breath, that leave such a casting footprint that, when you look back, you struggle to remember how it was before that moment. When this happens after connecting, I mean really connecting, with someone you know that life is better for having met them.
I write this not because its casual words and they are easy to say, but because they aren’t. If what I say does not stir something inside of you or make you think of a few people then carry on searching – you need to experience this at least once in your life.
Chandré & Juan-Louis came across our paths on a hot summer’s day in Febraury. It was a time that was very difficult for me, having recently lost my father. To an outsider it may have seemed like a standard business meeting to discuss their wedding planning project. Little did we know at the time just how much of a rollercoaster ride this journey would be.
Shortly after building their foundation that would sculp the wedding planning process, Chandré’s mom phoned to share her struggle with us. Can one ever trully understand such hardship’s that cross another’s path – I think we all try to but it seldom hits home – this one did. Life does not always go as one plans, life has got pebbles, stones, twigs and boulders it throws your way. You see, Mrs Alison had terminal cancer that had, in the few months leading up to our engagement in the portfolio spread to a large degree of her body. The planned wedding which would have taken place after a two year time period needed to be pushed forward in the hope that she would be able to experience her daughter’s special day. Can you even imagine talking about your future, or lack there of, when you are living month for month and day for day! Because of her failing health she needed us to provide the necessary support to make sure this day takes place exactly as her daughter would like.
Although a personal struggle, I identified with that need; it increased the importance of every task, every meeting and every opportunity – sort of like having your senses intensified. Chandré knew exactly what she wanted – this made it easier – but also more difficult at the same time. You see, we are forever trying to exceed expectations, but with this one it was at a whole new level – I had this silly feeling that if we can get Chandré and her mom excited, despite ALL the numerous pictures and concepts they had seen, it would somehow plant that seed to hold on just that little bit longer to see it unfold to the full degree.
Her wish for a classical, elegant protea wedding had to be taken and put together in a very special way. Some may disagree but in my opinion it’s difficult to make a protea ‘elegant’ – just thinking of it’s natural habitat, its a robust flower that grows on the mountain side of the Western Cape. It faces some of the most extreme growing tempertures exceeding 35 C in the summer. Its harding and lasts several week’s after being cut. Thinking back now, I can associate Mrs Alison and Chandré’s fighting spirit with this flower which makes it so fitting. We planned a look the embraces the strength and impression of the Protea with soft feminie blooms such as peonie’s, tulips, cymbidiums, carnations to name but a few. The texture was beautiful with pops of marsala splashed throughout the scene.
Little did we know that the effective planning would take a new turn….
A mere six weeks before the wedding date we got a dreaded call – Juan-Louis had dove into the swimming pool and broke his neck. While they have no clear idea as to the extent of the damage the wedding would not be able to take place as was planned and needed to be postponed. His own private battle had started.
The wedding date was post-poned for a further 7 months – as much time as could be granted to Juan-Louis who needed to undergo rehabilitaion to walk again but keeping it as short as possible due to Mrs Alison’s cancer battle. Juan-Louis’s promise to Chandré was that he would dance with her on the night of their wedding. This determination made the challenges and pressure of every physio appointment meaningful. As each new step was conquered the hope and anticipation of the wedding again started to become a reality. With this too the failing health of Mrs Alison.
She unfortunately lost her battle on 4 March, one she fought hard and challenged until the very end. Chandré would not want me to tell this is a a way that leaves you feeling sad, so despite the tears we celebrate who she was and the life she was able to live. We celebrate her presence throughout the milestones that her daughter achieved and we celebrate her influence in making Chandré and her brother the people they are today. They are strong, positive and don’t let life’s challenges get them under. They conquer, and they triumph; which is exactly what Juan-Louis did.
Not only did this remarkable man surprise us all by walking down the aisle without assistance nor cruches but he kept his promise and danced with Chandré on their wedding day. So no matter what you face, the struggles and challenges, remember that you too can triumph and create your future. Choose to do so daily and never let circumstances get you under.
We leave you with these great memories of their special day, beautifully captured by Sulet Fourie – rejoice with us in their happiness and everything they have conquered.
Key Role Players –
Venue // Bakenhof Estate
Wedding Planning, coordination and Styling // Celeste Styled Events
Photography // Sulet Fourie
Videography // Shireen Louw
Hair and Make-up artist // Evelyn Francis
Florals // Celeste Styled Events
Dress // Anel Botha
Rings // Viljoen Jewellers