The wedding

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Mar 16, 2009

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Flag of South Africa  ,
Saturday, July 19, 2008

IMH: Despite the fact that they were getting married in only a few days, everyone who has ever been down that road knows how chaotic things get closer to 'the big day', Andre' and Sandri still managed their time exceptionally well and were even able to host a full family dinner on the night of our arrival. Not only did they prepare a delicious three course meal (desert compliments of my Mom), they were also kind enough to collected me from the airport. The soon to be married couple's future home looked amazing and very different to when I saw the place last, I could see a woman's touch through-out the house that was previously a bachelor's pad. I'm sure they'll share many happy years in their beautiful little home. It was even a greater surprise when my parents and younger brother who I would only have seen later that week also joined us for dinner, very quickly I felt right back at home.
Unfortunately as our visit to South Africa was limited we could not fit time in with all our friends and had to settle for a few phone calls. I was fortunate enough however to see my beloved friend Cia, who treated me royally to a day at a spa in the country. Wow, what a special day - thank you so much Cia! We enjoyed a wonderful dinner with Michelle, another dear friend of ours and I went to bed that night feeling loved and thankful for special friends.
My parents, Andre and Marina, are very special people and are amazing at multi-tasking whilst making everyone feel involved, loved and taken care of. I was privileged to spend two full days at their house before the wedding weekend. We got my wedding outfit sorted (which was not a priority, but my mom dedicated her focus on getting me organised before moving to the next item - amazing how some Moms live for their children and make them feel, even for a short amount of time, as though the world revolves around them and their needs), we attended a thought provoking art exhibition, they took me out to a superb dinner with great wines and a personal tour of the progress of the new house they are building, of which the roof would have been fitted the following week. My father explained all the details and intricacies and practicalities of the architectural design. The house is going to be breath-taking and I can't wait to go and visit when we return from our trip.
The wedding was an intimate affair in the beautiful Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands in a town called Mooiriver. Ryan and I was chauffeured to and from the wedding (a 6 hour drive) by Jacques, my youngest brother, and had a great time catching-up with him.
The wedding-weekend started with a "braai" (barbeque) paired with Zulu dancing in a big boama outside. This gave the new family and friends a chance to meet and get to know each other before they officially became family. The dinner was superb and had various meats, salads and other typical braai accompaniments. The following morning we all met for a delicious brunch filled with wedding-anticipation.
The wedding ceremony took place on Saturday afternoon, which turned out to be a beautiful and sunny day - perfect for wedding photos. When Sandri walked into the chapel, overlooking the Midland landscape, everyone's eyes filled with tears, including the groom's. Sandri looked absolutely gorgeous and Andre' more handsome than ever. I was so proud of my little brother that I used to torment for so many years.
The reception afterwards was hosted in a beautiful setting and was mostly done by Sandri and Andre' themselves. Andre and Sandri each spoke from the heart when thanking their families and toasting the respective parents and for a large part there was not a dry eye in the house. We met some lovely people and had a wonderful time! The day was perfect for the perfect couple.
The weekend ended with a family brunch where we also celebrated my mother's birthday. Saying good-bye to my family for another seven months was difficult, but knowing that we'll spend out last night with Ryan's family and the new addition, our niece Ruby and our favourite nephew Gabriel, made the first farewell at least bearable.
It was very special to spend time with the Hilligans (my other family) - from Brian, Ryan's Grandfather (at 86 the oldest in the Hilligan family) to Ruby (at 4 months the youngest). It was also very special that we were in South Africa at the same time as Natalie, Ryan's sister who was visiting from Egypt. As luck would have it we were also lucky to get to see Ryan's uncle, aunt and nice, Mike, Leslie and Kara.
When the final afternoon drew near the reality set in and we knew this would be our final farewell. It was very special to be able to spend quality time with family and friends, we had a wonderful time in gorgeous South Africa and I can not wait to return.
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