We battled, as we have with a few weddings recently, to come up with the right words to describe the event that was Casper and Carin's wedding at The Old Mac Daddy. There was just so much to it. Even though they live in London, where they run a super successful design studio, called Shotopop, which kept them on deadlines right up until the week before their wedding, they managed to pull off a wedding that truly reflected who they are. They had a clear vision for a weekend away of fun and celebration, food and unusual cocktails, with a small group of friends and family from all over the world. They wanted a wedding but not a wedding. And they certainly got it.
The small group of about 40 guests spent the weekend at quite possibly one of the most unusual hotels in the world, The Old Mac Daddy Luxury Trailer Park in Elgin. The hotel, with its vintage Airstream trailers and comically-themed interiors such as the velvet-walled, mirrored-roof Mills & Boon (our home for the weekend) or the cheeky Dirkie Sanchez with its mexican wrestling ring bed complete with Luchadore outfits, is well known for its laid-back setting amongst the trees on a hillside overlooking the orchids and vineyards of the Elgin Valley.
We arrived on Friday evening to chilly weather, but a lovely braai (barbeque) and a few local ciders from the valley warmed our bellies. A great start. It got even better when we settled into the mountain of cushions set up in the barn for My Fair Lady on the make shift screen, with plenty of popcorn and candy floss to last the night.
Morning came, and with bright sunshine, the day everyone was there to enjoy. Those who weren't chatting over breakfast were hiking in the hills, planning a day trip to a brandy distillery or setting up strings of lights and feathers across the hotel grounds. We love documenting the setup of a family-made wedding - it's great when everyone chips in to get things done. Weddings held at one venue and especially over a weekend like this are a real pleasure to document. We were a part of the celebration and so we were able to move in and out of various aspects of the day with ease and get pictures that were real and relevant.
The format for the day was unusual in that the cocktail hour (two in this case) preceded the ceremony. Bride and groom joined guests on the lawn for games and a train of food and drinks that just kept coming.
Chocolate milk and doughnuts were a highlight.
We went off together for a short portrait session and then because Casper and Carin had always imagined a ceremony on the deck to an amazing sunset, they reshuffled the traditional order of the day to make this possible. Proof again that the wedding format is open to interpretation. Make it your own. This shift also meant that we got to shoot their portraits with them before the ceremony, again unusual for us, but we loved the change of pace. The pressure was off the ceremony and the light neared perfection as we ended our portrait session with them. They had timed it well. Very well.
As the sun began to set, and everything went golden, the guests moved down to the deck on the water for the ceremony… but more on that in Part Two tomorrow ;)