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Q&A with Cheryl McEwan

17 June, 2011

I’m continuing our series of Q&A today with an interview with the photographer of yesterday’s lovely wedding, Cheryl McEwan. I know from experience that Cheryl’s an absolute sweetheart as well as a fantastic photographer (she took all the pics at the hen party I organised last year) and I’m so excited that she’s joined the other amazing photographers lighting up the industry in Cape Town. I’m also SUPER excited to announce that she’ll soon be starting her own series of guest blogs here on Cap Classique, as our newest real life bride! So look out for that in the next few months. In the meantime, here’s a chance to get to know Cheryl just a little better.

Hi Cheryl – thanks for answering my questions today! How did you get started as a photographer?
Hi Gaby, I’m so excited to be interviewed on Cap Classique! Thank you:) My love of photography started whilst I was living in the UK, and was lucky enough to travel extensively around Europe. Along with my passion for travel I wanted to be able to capture the essence of these amazing places as well as the cultures of the people that I was seeing and meeting. Ultimately I turned my focus to weddings and was lucky enough to second shoot on a number of UK weddings, which led to me going solo and shooting my first wedding in London.

How would you define your style?
I have a reportage type of style – I aim to ‘capture the moment’ as the day unfolds and most importantly I aim to tell a story through my photos.

Which part of a wedding do you like shooting the most?
My favorite part of the wedding has to be the couple shoot, where it’s me and my camera capturing the special love between the newlyweds, and generally just having loads of fun with the two of them – capturing their reactions amongst lots of laughing! I like to form a good relationship with my clients, getting them to relax and enjoy the shoot.

Do you have any favourite photographers or major influences?
South Africa has an abundance of fabulous photographers, however there are a few whose work I really admire and whose work constantly inspires me, namely a few of these photographers would be Nastassja Harvey, Nikki Meyer, Wesley Vorster & Lizelle Lotter. These guys have been so supportive and fantastic I can’t thank them enough!

You recently moved back to Cape Town – how does shooting in SA differ to shooting in London?
Wow I must say I am being a bit biased, but coming from the Cape Winelands, shooting back in SA is amazing. London is great too but has a different type of beauty, a more urban feel to a shoot. I am a country girl at heart though so I adore being in nature and shooting the beautiful surroundings that we have in the Cape. Of course we also get that magic ‘golden hour’ in SA which one doesn’t see too often in the UK! Generally speaking I also find that there is a lot more attention to detail in SA weddings which of course makes for fabulous photographs!

You’re also starting out on your own wedding planning journey – how is it being on the other side of things?
Yes, I am going to be a bride next year! It’s actually so much fun being on the other side of things and being able to plan our big day! I am loving the whole planning process, and I love attention to detail so I have lots of ideas for my own wedding:)

What wedding trends are inspiring you most right now?

Loving the whole vintage trend right now as well as the country farm feel weddings. I also think the whole DIY creative side to weddings is just great too! There are so many things that one can do oneself and involve your whole bridal party in making your day special.

Do you have any favourite Cape wedding venues?
There are some amazing venues! I love Hidden Valley in Stellenbosch, Kleinvalleij in Wellington is also just stunning! Franschoek too has so many beautiful venues with views to die for! I recently second shot a wedding at Dieu Donne restaurant in Franschoek which was gorgeous.

Any advice for couples planning their weddings right now?
Enjoy every bit of the planning process, book your venue in advance and of course get yourselves a great photographer (those memories are for a lifetime!)

I’m passionate about… capturing the world and emotions through my lens!

If I won the lottery I would… travel endlessly taking photographs.

Cape Town is… supercalafragilisticexpialidotius! (best place in the world to call home!)

Contact Cheryl at:  *

Real Wedding at Delsma Farm {Terri & Tim}

15 June, 2011

When looking at weddings, I often see that little verse crop up: “Today I marry my best friend”. And it’s such a special thing about relationships, how the person you fall in love with becomes your friend as well as your partner. But sometimes you come across a couple who really have married someone who was their best friend first. It’s a rare and wonderful thing, and today’s couple are it. I can’t even imagine how amazing that must be, but you can see Terri and Tim glowing with it on their wedding day. Aaaah! Not to mention all the other gorgeyporgeyness. Oh, just you wait. The bride’s dress? Amazeballs. Terri said it made her feel like a princess and wow, did it ever make her look like one! Bridesmaids dresses? White. SO cool, so on trend. In fact, all the guests wore light colours, and Terri mentions the way it gave everything a 1920s vibe, which I also happen to love. Dessert? Sweets bar. Entertainment? One of the coolest photobooths I have yet seen with a massive selection of props. It all adds up to an absolutely dreamy celebration at Delsma Farm, captured by the very lovely Cheryl McEwan. You can find out more about Cheryl on the blog tomorrow, but let me just say, this lady has a talent for bringing out the beautiful in everyone she photographs. I could have done a whole post on just the pictures of Terri, and it was really hard to narrow them down. You’ll see what I mean…

From the gorgeous bride:
Tim is originally from Belgium, he moved to SA when he was 12. We met about 15 years ago when we were in high school. We lived one road apart so we used to walk home from school together. Tim and I have basically been best friends ever since. We lived together twice, Tim spent his Christmases with my family, he dated my friends and I dated his, we were there through each other’s heartbreaks and we shared lots of important moments together. While I was living abroad we chatted daily – he was my constant while I missed home, and over this time he asked me to come home to give us a try. That year we went on holiday to Mombasa, Kenya and we made it official. Two years later he proposed. This is truly a story of me marrying my best friend. Tim designed the engagement ring and the day he collected it, it was clearly burning a hole in his pocket – he proposed to me in our flat in Cape Town about five minutes after getting home – he couldn’t contain himself. Needless to say I said yes!

We are both quite minimalistic, so we went for a plain but elegant and romantic look. Our main colour/theme was white with mirrors and lots of candles. White tablecloths with a mirror runner, loads of big white candles and white roses in mirror vases. We found the venue through one of my friends (one of my bridesmaids); she and her husband are good friends with the owners of Delsma Farm. We loved their massive modern hall, the hands-on owners and the fact that it would be a weekend away wedding, Delsma itself could accommodate about 40 of our guests and Riebeek Kasteel is a magical area.

We wanted our guests to be relaxed and have a party. Tim and I are entertainers – we love hosting dinners and parties and I think this came across at the wedding. It was a real celebration! Everyone partied from beginning to end.

Guests were encouraged to wear white or light colours. The combination of white dress code and the candles gave it a Gatsby-like feel, and it looked gorgeous. We had a sweet table that sported about R2,000 worth of white and cream sweets – this was a major highlight among the guests. We also had a photo booth, and made about 80 signs – they were fun, crazy and personal. This was a major hit.

My family and friends were all there for our special day – about 30 people flew in from all over of the world which was incredibly moving. I have a massive family and a few of them are living in other countries (Germany, New Zealand, Canada and the Middle East) and they all flew in for the wedding. I have also travelled quite a bit – I lived in England, Germany, Australia and the Middle East. Special friends that I had met through my travels also flew down for the wedding. These foreigners ended up being a huge part of the wedding… from my Moroccan friend Majda taking the floor with her belly dancing to my Irish friend Sharron moving her feet like a scene from Riverdance. All the nationalities were incorporated into the speeches, and when someone made a reference to a country, that country would start cheering. It made everyone feel included and it definitely brought everyone together.

The Bridesmaids, Groomsmen and some of the guests spent a month learning a flash mob dance to the Black Eyed Peas ‘Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night’. They took over the dance floor and all the guests started dancing at different parts of the song and more people started dancing as the song continued. It was fantastic! This was organised by my awesome bridesmaids.

My advice to future bride is to start the organising as early as possible; there are a million things that you need to do, and the earlier you start, the less stress you will have closer to the time. Get references on suppliers, it’s important that they are there for you on the day. Besides that, the day goes by in a flash – enjoy every second of it!

Thanks thanks thanks to Terri & Tim, for sharing your beautiful day! And a big round of yays for Cheryl. As always, you can see more on her blog here.

Service providers:

Venue & catering: Delsma Farm
Photography: Cheryl Mcewan
Marriage officer:Tertius Spies
 Florist & decor: Charlie’s Angels – Bronwyn, Lorraine, Edith and Cheryl
Cake: Nelie du Toit
Stationery: Renee Nesbitt
Bride’s dress: Oleg Cassini at Bride & Co.
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Marisha Eygelaar
Groom: Pringle
Hair: Scar Hair Salon
Makeup: Leigh-Ann Benedict and Gabi
Hiring: Rent a Candle
DJ: Theo of Deejays Music

Crowning Glory

15 June, 2011

Blame it on Elizabeth Messina, who first had the awesome idea of topping her own wedding cake with an antique crown, and then went on to photograph that same crown on some of her clients’ cakes, or in their hands, or on their pretty heads. They’re iconic pictures – the kind that stick in the mind and inspire a flurry of googling. Or blame it on Kate Middleton, for being all royal and getting married, and reminding us why we wanted to feel like princesses on our wedding day. Or just blame it on the tiny piece of gorgeous perfection that is a vintage crown. Either way, these have been popping up as cake toppers (and photo props) in some of the most beautiful weddings and style shoots of the last year, and every time they do, I get a little thrill. So of course I had to do a roundup, but right off I’m going to apologise, because I may be leading you brides up the garden path a little. Truth is, I have no idea where you can find these crowns, especially in South Africa. I did spot a couple on eBay and elsewhere online, and I’d love to hear from anyone who knows of a supplier or rental option in Cape Town, but chances are you may just have to start scouring local antique shops or getting creative. Even so, in the words of Dinky Bossetti (and if you get that 80s film reference I will totally love you forever), it’s good to want things. So here we go. Let the covetfest begin.

Sources: 1 – Jose Villa via Style Me Pretty; 2 – Elizabeth Messina; 3 – MW Photography via Style Me Pretty

Sources: 1 – Union Eleven via Style Me Pretty; 2 – La Dolce Vita Studio via 100 Layer Cake

Sources: 1 – Elizabeth Messina; 2 – Thayer Allyson Gowdy via Kiss the Groom; 3 – Sedona Cake Couture via InStyle Weddings

Sources: 1 – Linda Chaja Photography via Wedding Chicks; 2 – Brancoprata via The Knotty Bride

Real Wedding at Lagoon Beach Hotel {Liezl & Daniel}

14 June, 2011

Every love story is special, we know this. Every chance meeting, every barrier crossed. But sometimes I get a bride’s wedding story and I get swept up in the enthusiasm she has for her wedding and her marriage, and the love she and her new husband share. Because this is why we’re here, people. The details, the dresses, all the prettiness? They’re awesome, but they’re accessories to the main event. They’re really just ways of a couple expressing their personalities and for all the people who love them to share in their joy. And today’s wedding is full of that joy and exuberance – I know you are going to LOVE it! Plus, these are some of the most gorgeous pictures it’s been my pleasure to work with. Ian Mitchinson always has such a unique and dramatic take on wedding photography, and it works perfectly with this beautiful bride and groom and their city cross beach chic wedding. It’s everything a Cape Town city wedding should be.

From the awesome bride, Liezl:
My story begins with a book (‘He’s Just Not That Into You’), a pub in Blouberg and a good looking man and all the things your mom told you not to do on a first date! I was his “exception to the rule”. Shy and unwilling, I went for a few drinks with my brother. A few cocktails later, the shyness disappeared…. At the bar counter awaits the inevitable bachelor celebrating yet another Blue Bulls victory in the Super 14 (my husband’s only flaw…). Me happily single and not really looking for “The One” and Dan focusing on the Blue Bulls winning and the beer in front of him, certainly not ready for what happened next…. For the next three months nothing but us mattered! The stars could have disappeared and we wouldn’t even have noticed. Another three months later, a very romantic weekend and my parents making sure Dan knew what he was letting himself in for marring this wild at heart girl.

Dan and my mom planned the proposal to a tee. A Christmas treat at a spa, a note on the windshield to follow the roses led to Dan proposing to the girl who never saw it coming! Tears of joy and there was only one thing left to do… planning a ‘feastival’ of love with those closest to us!

Our dream was for the unconventional… We had looked at quite a few venues when Dan suggested as we drove past the Lagoon Beach Hotel to pop in and look at it. This was the first time Dan’s face lit up and it suited the concept of the wedding perfectly. As a chef who has worked for By Word of Mouth I have seen so many unbelievable weddings and I knew right from the start what I wanted. This was no easy task convincing my mother who had her own idea of the big day! I wanted a to celebrate the occasion in a very relaxed, informal atmosphere (my Dad’s fantasy of dressing up like Jack Sparrow became a reality!)

I think out of the box because I live out of the box and it takes a special man to marry into our crazy creative family. I loved planning it all (fowers, food, music …) to the finest detail and with the help of family and friends making my dream a reality. Finding a similarly creative dress designer, photographer, florist, DJ and even a chef all added to the magic of the day.

Aeroplanes filled to the brim with our friends and family all dressed up in white, varying from formal wear to flip flops and shorts, welcomed us with spontaneous applause as I entered the church. White balloons filled the air, sangria and the sounds of classical guitar kept the atmosphere alive with  the “Cape Doctor” at rest for the day. A short trip to Lagoon Beach and we were welcomed by the sweet sounds of a saxophonist, white lounge areas and no seating arrangements to keep family comfortable for the feast of love to begin… Chef refined food was passed around in small bowls: lamb shank with caramelized mash, duck springrolls with crispy ginger salad, slow roasted pork belly with pear chutney and fresh honeycomb… all served with the Mother City lights glittering as the backdrop.

Some of my favourite moments…
I was so relaxed on the day knowing that the two of us were going to last and finally it was our turn to walk down the aisle and say the most important two words of the day: “I DO!”, and then kissing him for the first time as his wife… Taking photos with Ian who is just so awesome at what he does, making us all feel like supermodels. And the photobooth we had instead of having formal family portraits taken… Our private moment we took for ourselves just to take a breath and reflect on our amazing day looking in from the outside to our guests partying the night away.

My advice to future brides… Don’t let anyone tell you what you should or can’t do on your day. This is your day and if anything does go wrong don’t let it spoil the rest of it. Soak up every moment as you are creating a memory for life. Work with suppliers who understand you and who compliment you, making your dream a reality.

Thank you so much, Liezl and Dan! I’m sure you’ll agree Liezl did an amazing job co-ordinating her big day (including stationery and decor!) and the good news is she’s available for catering and co-ordination now too (Tel: 082 780 9287). Thanks also to the fab Ian Mitchinson – you can see more of these gorgeous pictures on his blog.

Service providers:

Venue & catering: Lagoon Beach Hotel
Photography: Ian Mitchinson
Flowers: Carin Botha
Cake: Wade’s Cakes
Bride’s dress: Cindy Bam
Hair & makeup: Lori Mauerberger
Hiring: Theme Creations
DJ: Riaan Geldenhuys

Gift Idea: Money Cranes

13 June, 2011

When I got the invite for the wedding I attended this weekend, it included a request from the couple – who have lived together for a while – that guests forego the usual wedding gifts and instead donate to a charity that’s very close to their hearts (Raise the Roof, who support a South African orphanage). What an awesome thing to do. And it’s not just my friends, more and more couples (including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) have been making the same request recently. I think it’s such a wonderful way to spread the love of your wedding day that little bit further and to raise awareness of a cause amongst your guests. There’s just one little problem. For me, arriving at an event empty-handed feels weird. And there’s something a little impersonal about making an online donation or just turning up with cash inside a card. I wanted to make the couple feel special, to know  that they are special to me.

So I came up with something really fun to do with the cash. First, I turned it into origami cranes (often used for weddings since cranes symbolise loyalty, and the tradition of folding 1,000 paper cranes is supposed to represent the time, patience and understanding required for a successful marriage). Then I placed these inside a cute little birdhouse, and wrapped that up to give to Kate and Jim.

Now I have to warn you, folding these cranes… was not fun. It’s fiddly and frustrating work, and I definitely wouldn’t have had the patience to make more than the two cranes that I did. But if you’re willing to brave it, here’s some advice.

  • To make an origami crane, you need to work with a square. If you’re using dollar bills, you can use this tutorial to get that square, but if you’re using British currency, you have to fold the notes in half and then fold a small tuck along the bottom to get the square, which makes the rest of the work more difficult, but it can be done. Don’t panic if it seems like it’s going wrong – keep going!
  • Make sure you use fresh, crisp notes, otherwise it simply will not work.
  • To help with the folds, I used a pair of scissors to press down on each one and also sometimes to make corners properly. Again, I couldn’t have done this otherwise.
  • There are a couple of different ways to make a crane – this is the tutorial I found had the best method for these materials.

Have you had the same dilemma? What creative ways have you used to gift money at a wedding (or other occasion)?

Inspiration Board: Lavender Glam

13 June, 2011

Good morning everyone! I’m stuck in bed this morning with a horrible cold, but I don’t mind because I had the best weekend! A group of us headed to Devon for my friends Kate and Jim’s wedding, which was so heartfelt and lovely and reminded me again why I love weddings so much. I got to rock some head candy and shoe candy and a pretty dress, and we all danced until ridiculous o’ clock. There’s a few details I’ll be sharing with you all in due course, one of which is a little DIY to look out for this afternoon. In the meantime, here’s today’s inspiration board.

I’ve been wanting to do another lavender board for a while now, ever since the nice folks over at the East India Company sent me some lavender cordial to try. If you’re not familiar with the East India Company, they make an amazing array of teas and other delicacies, all of which are beautifully packaged and could make great favours or even decor pieces at your wedding. One of their top products is a line of cordials, which all make lovely additions to a signature cocktail or refreshing drink on your big day. Originally I’d been thinking along the usual shabby chic lines, but the more I looked, the more I fell in love with the weddings where couples had superimposed ballroom-level elegance onto rustic venues. Think chandeliers in a barn. Because why not? Why should you have to choose, and the mixture of two styles is utterly charming. Add in some gold metallic to balance the pretty purples, and you have a look that’s absolutely bang on trend and perfect for a bride who can’t choose between a wine farm and a Cape country venue.

Colours: Purple and gold

Top row (l-r): Lavender champagne; goat’s cheese cake; bride and bridesmaids (Samm Blake); mirrors in barn (Cameron Ingalls)
Row 2: Gold frame (Trent Bailey/Daughter of Design); gold shoes (Katherine O’ Brien Photography); lavender cordial from The East India Company; place setting (Lane Dittoe/Brooke Keegan); lavender boutonniere (Beaux Arts Photographie)
Row 3: Gold chairs (Beaux Arts Photographie/Kelly Oshiro); lavender bouquet with gold bangle (Andrea and Marcus); rustic glam barn decor (Mark Brooke Photographers); bride and groom

Note: This is not a sponsored post and The East India Company is not a Cap Classique advertiser, but they did send me some of their product to try. Thanks, East India Company!

London Brides!

10 June, 2011

It’s that time of the year again, when the South African season calms down a bit and we get lucky enough in London to see some of the fabulous people in the industry over here for the European summer (Ha! Summer! Hardly, this year.). And heading to London later this month as part of a whistlestop continental tour is the fabulous Aleit. I met up with him when I was in Cape Town last year, and not only is he totally charming and funny, but has an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of everything wedding from all his successful years in the industry. And he’s offering the opportunity for you to get some of that experience and insight fo your own wedding. Here’s the details…


Aleit in London again!

In light of the fact that the number of international clients The Aleit Group attracts annually continues on the upward spiral, it stands to reason that Aleit’s presence in the United Kingdom and Europe is an effective strategy. He will be heading to Europe from 13 until 30 June 2011 for consultations, media meetings and of course an event or two. But all work and no play makes for a boring person – something we know Aleit is NOT – and never to be underestimated, Aleit has decided to celebrate his birthday in the fabulous city of Paris! I mean, why settle for Parys when you can have Paris!

This time around, Aleit’s travels will take him to London, Paris, Munich, Prague and – wait for it – Warsaw, to work on an upcoming wedding in Poland! He will be available for consultations in London between 17 and 21 June – these consultations comprise of a dynamic one-on-one session at a central location of your choice. The consultation will be charged at a fixed rate of £115. This buys you – future brides and grooms – one and a half exclusive hours of Aleit’s time which enables you to chat about your wish list and the details of your wedding day. This productive session will without a doubt, give you a comprehensive idea of what is possible, the available products and services in the area of your wedding location, which of these are ideal to achieve your desired look & feel… and of course ultimately, it will leave you even more enthused about your big day! You will be armed with creative ideas and left with a definitive direction on how to incorporate your personal style. Of course, should you decide to go for a full coordination service, wedding planning will be a stress-free experience from the word ‘go’ with Aleit and his team at your side.

To all future brides located in Europe, please do not hesitate to contact Jeanne-Loïs on to arrange a personal consultation with Aleit.


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