Tuesday October 30 2012.


I adore hearing from brides for these Real Bijou Bride posts, being wrapped up in the magic of their day is quite special.  In her own words today’s bride explains where it all started “We got engaged on an autumn day in October 2011 sitting on a beautiful wooden bench in Central Park, New York.  We knew right from the beginning that we did not want a long engagement and decided to get married in May 2012 in South Africa. We are both from a town on the coast called Durban and we knew that we wanted to make the most of the beautiful weather and get married on the beach!”  I’m sharing this with you dear readers because it sets the foundation for this sublime rustic beach Wedding captured by Hajley Petein.

rustic beach wedding

Destination favouring brides and grooms will tell you that the majority of your Wedding planning takes place remotely, over email, telephone and if you are lucky enough through local relatives.  A little Bijou suggestion for you, make the most of modern technology – use Google’s street view and the like to your advantage.  Venue images may look dreamy but it’s no good if you are parked next to a rubbish dump.  Rhys and Kel managed to cram a lot of their rustic beach Wedding planning into a two week trip “First thing we chose was our beach. We spent one day beach ‘hopping’ to decide on the perfect one, the very first beach we went to was Umdloti Beach near Durban, we absolutely loved it so we stopped looking. Our reception venue was the same; we walked into The Market Restaurant and absolutely loved it so we booked our date straight away. Everything else pretty much followed the same pattern, even down to the wedding dress, grooms outfits and all the smaller details.”  You can feel pressured to look, look and look again but my advice is to go with your gut instinct, be realistic and don’t look at anything over your budget.  And who wouldn’t want a view like this.

durban wedding


Our main focus was to make our wedding relaxed and rustic with a vintage edge.”  And Kel’s bridal look encapsulated that wish to a T.  A flower crown was a priority with the hues mirroring the sandy beach and blush tones of the bridesmaid’s dresses.

flower crown bride

And when it came to the Wedding dress Kel explains “Initially I wanted a Jenny Packham dress and it was only by chance whilst looking online that I came across the Spanish designers Yolan Cris, who make the most exquisite lace dresses. Right then I knew I had to have one so I quickly researched online where in London they were sold and it happened that only 3 shops stocked Yolan Cris and one of them was in the area that I live, I could not believe it. I lined up 5 dresses to try on, the second of which was the perfect one.”  Bijou readers you know I’m a big Yolan Cris fan and the Spanish lace provides the vintage vibe Kel so wanted from her bridal look.

rustic beach wedding

rustic beach wedding south africa


This is one Groom who wasn’t going to settle for ‘ordinary’ Wedding attire.  Luckily a stylist friend of a friend, Jose Luis, was happy to lend an expert hand “The inspiration was a vintage, 50’s, Oliver Twist style. Most of the garments and accessories came from Vintage Boutiques in London and some items were from Jose Luis’ personal wardrobe.”  I adore the mismatched look and the fact that they all look so comfortable in their chosen outfits.

funky groomsmen

sockless groom


After the beautiful beach ceremony, complete with Rhys and Kel’s DIY details such as wild white daisies in silver tins and seashells on hessian string guests headed off to the reception.  Only after dusting the sand off their feet with big paint brushes, provided by the thoughtful bride and groom of course.

rustic beach wedding durban

“Our reception was held at The Market restaurant situated in a quiet courtyard behind a classic 1930’s colonial building in Durban. The courtyard had a beautiful stone fountain in the middle surrounded by a ring of leopard trees which were decorated in fairy lights and glass jam jars with tea lights. We wanted to keep our reception really relaxed and so decided to set it up café style with different size tables.”  The more I hear about this rustic beach Wedding the more I wish I’d been a guest.  A jazz band provided the soundtrack to the evening as guests sipped champagne and tucked into a South African style feast of biltong sticks, boerewors, roasted pork belly and milk tart.  Groom Rhys is a chef so getting the food right was a priority.

 market restaurant durban

Suitcases hosting the seating plan are not new but this couple ensured theirs was a personal story.  The suitcase belonged to Rhys’ grandfather.  As I have said before, the devil is in the detail.

suitcase wedding table plan

Can you believe the lace trimmings on this Wedding cake were made from icing?  Incredible.  Crafted by Groom Rhys’ amazing mother the mouthwatering cake consisted of three layers decorated with lace made from icing and sugar roses. ”

homemade wedding cake


Having Hajley Petein shoot our wedding day was the best decision we made. We love each and every photo, they bring back all the emotions and joy we felt on the day and how she managed to get so many incredible photos is still a mystery!”  I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times before but the photos are what you have to tell the story of your Wedding day, take the time to research a Wedding photographer who suits your style.

Congratulations to this dropdead gorgeous pair.  Rhys and Kel I hope your life together is just like your Wedding day, full of love, easy choices, great food and simply sublime in every way.rustic beach wedding south africa


Photographer: Hajley Petein

Wedding dress: Yolan Cris

Groomsmen Stylist: Jose Luis Alvarez

Venue: The Market Restaurant