Marelize and Matt Wilké came together in perfect harmony when they bound their lives together at their vintage wedding on a cool wintry afternoon. The newlyweds radiated love throughout the ceremony and reception – and this was emulated by the close-knit group of family and friends who were part of their magical day.
The couple made sure their wedding was a family affair: Matt’s father married them, while his mother and sister welcomed Marelize into the family by adorning her satin wedding gown with the family tartan, thereby making her a member of their clan. Marelize then walked down the aisle to the sound of Highland Cathedral Bagpipes. The stuff of dreams!
‘We wanted a good time and we were blessed to infinity and beyond with a miracle. Matt’s father, Reverend Terence Wilké, who married us, suffered a seizure days before the wedding and was released from hospital by that Thursday. He stayed on the dance floor until 11pm!’ says Marelize.
The couple met four years ago when a mutual friend brought them together because he had a feeling they would hit it off. Being sceptical, Marelize brushed off the idea, but her friend was persistent and took her to Foresters Arms, a pub in Cape Town, where she met Matt. ‘My friend totally ambushed me and introduced me to Matt, a cool guy with a grey hoodie who worked in advertising. I was intrigued.’
After their initial meeting, Matt left for Europe for three weeks and Marelize thought that was the end of it. ‘Matt added me on Facebook, but left for Switzerland for three weeks. When he arrived back in Cape Town, we hung out … and made out … and ever since, we’ve been talking every day. It’s been four years now.’
When talking about how the couple got engaged, Marelize says that she was totally taken off guard – even though she had claimed she would be able to see through any plans. ‘I said something along the lines of, “You know, if you want to propose one day, I’ll see right through it. You can’t keep anything from me.”‘
But Matt was indeed able to surprise her. He took her on a romantic drive and they then had dinner at the same restaurant where they had had their first date, Bertha’s in Simon’s Town. During dinner Marelize noticed that he was acting strangely. ‘Matt went to the bathroom at least three times and kept on making meaningful eye contact with the waiter,’ she says.
After dinner Matt said he was taking Marelize on a ghost hunt with a few friends, so they went out onto the pier to wait for them. However, there was no ghost hunt, and when Marelize turned around after looking at her phone, Matt pulled out a ring box from his hoodie (the same one he had worn on the day they met) and proposed.
‘I screamed so hysterically, the poor security guard thought that Matt was a stranger who was harassing me! After that, it took an hour for me to stop crying, laughing and shaking. We invited our closest two friends over and drank champagne.’
Even when she was a little girl, Marelize always had a general idea of what she wanted her wedding day to be like. ‘I’ve always loved Charlotte York’s wedding to Trey MacDougal on the cult series Sex And The City: the tartan, the simple bouquet of white roses, the traditional church, the bagpipes.’
Little did she know that one day her fiancé would be Scottish and she would get everything she had ever dreamed of. Matt’s Scottish heritage led a lot of their wedding decisions and they knew that they wanted a traditional but informal celebration. ‘I wanted something that I could look back on in 20 years’ time and not cringe,’ says Marelize.
Marelize knew that being in Cape Town they were spoiled for choice when it came to wedding venues. Not wanting to go the traditional route of the wine farm, the couple took advice from their family, who suggested the enchanting restaurant The Wild Fig, which felt like a rustic farm venue – perfect for the couple.
When they walked into the venue, the lovebirds knew this was the place where they wanted to host their special day. ‘As soon as we set foot in the restaurant to look at the venue, we were impressed by the helpful manager, the cosy, rustic, historical interior and the yummy food on the menu,’ says Marelize. ‘By that Monday, I was already bombarding the poor owner with e-mails to get a booking date and a quotation. It was a done deal.’
The bride’s fascination with old-Hollywood glam and simple lines led her to create her stunning satin wedding dress with her high-school friend, Elrico Bellingan, who, along with his wife Ritza, is the designer of the brand Elrico Zarr.
Marelize wanted to accentuate her figure and gorgeous red locks, so she went for a figure-hugging, elegant and cream creation – the perfect combination for such a beautiful bride. She was so happy with the final outcome and with the whole process.
Marelize has an important tip for brides who want to get their dress made. ‘If you get your dress made, pick a designer you can feel completely comfortable with. It’s no use picking the “big” brand names if you are going to feel intimidated by a snooty designer.’
‘Since Matt’s family tartan has colour (reds, greens, yellows), we knew we had to keep the rest simple,’ says Marelize. The reception venue, with its low ceilings and warm lighting, created a warm and cosy feeling that went well with the tartan colours.
The couple knew that extravagant, tall flower arrangements were not going to work, so they opted for classic white flowers in glass vases. Candles added a warm glow to the tables and they featured hints of the tartan theme throughout.
Marelize says she is so pleased with how everything worked out and she knows they were truly blessed to have all their friends and family (as well as the much-needed rain in Cape Town) with them to celebrate. ‘We had a rain shower as soon as we arrived at the venue. Blessings galore. We both wanted a wedding that ALL the guests could enjoy, from our grannies to our oldest friends.’
When asked what she loves most about Matt, Marelize talks about how loyal and soft-hearted he is – traits she has been looking for her whole life. Of course, it never hurts to laugh either, and that’s something she has in spades with her partner. ‘Matt has a wicked wit and sense of humor. But most of all, he is the most loyal person I know. He sticks to his word. And behind the wit and the bushy red beard is a heart of gold.’
Venue: The Wild Fig Restaurant
Photographer: Leanne Steyn-Begley from Leanne Love Photography (https://www.leannelove.com/)
Décor: Jenny Barber from Jenny B Flowers (www.jennybflowers.co.za/)
Bride’s hair and makeup: Suzanne Potgieter from Skoonlief
Bridesmaids’ makeup: Suzanne Potgieter from Skoonlief, assisted by Isobel Kriel
Wedding cake: Stephanie van Vuuren from Jack Rabbit Chocolate Studio (http://www.jackrabbitchocolate.co.za/About-Us/)
Catering: The Wild Fig Restaurant
DJ: Chris Gore from Event Music Solutions (http://www.eventmusicsolutions.co.za)
Groom’s suit: Will Carter from Staghorn Scottish Outfitting and Hire (http://www.scottishoutfitting.com/)
Wedding dress: Elrico Bellingan from Elrico Zarr (http://www.luxo.co.za/the-editor.php)
Bride getting ready (venue): Protea Hotel Mowbray (http://www.marriott.com/hotels/fact-sheet/travel/cptmw-protea-hotel-cape-town-mowbray/)
Wedding bands: Claire Sandham from Reverie Designs (http://reveriedesigns.co.za/)