Lifestyle Magazine

Real Wedding: English Country Garden Meets South African Cape Chic

By Claire

They make a won­der­ful cou­ple and this wed­ding is a real inspi­ra­tion. When Linzi got in touch to share her day with us all I couldn’t resist — and I’m delighted to be able to share Linzi and Freddie’s wed­ding story with you today. Linzi has writ­ten an amaz­ing wed­ding report for us all with details of every­thing from her wed­ding signs to the sur­prise flash mob!!… and the images of the wed­ding are by Mandy Mead­ows.


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Linzi and Freddie’s beau­ti­ful Isle of Wight wedding

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Who pro­posed, and how?

Fred­die pro­posed (nice and tra­di­tional!) after a morn­ing run on a beach in South Africa close to his parent’s home on the Gar­den Route. Just me, Fred­die and his par­ents’ Jack Rus­sell Phritzy! It was roman­tic as he pro­posed with a ring that was made up of his great grandfather’s wed­ding band and set with his grandmother’s engage­ment dia­mond. He had car­ried it around with him for a year before proposing!

Wed­ding venue: Osborne House, Isle of Wight

We were liv­ing in the Nether­lands when we got engaged and a month later, moved to Hong Kong. With Fred­die being South African, me being British, we met in Canada (whilst play­ing rugby!) and then lived in Hong Kong, we wanted to find some­where that meant the least amount of travel for every­one. We set­tled for the UK, as I had always wanted a tra­di­tional Eng­lish coun­try gar­den style sum­mer wed­ding. We chose Osborne House (Queen Victoria’s res­i­dence) on the Isle of Wight for its unri­valled beauty, his­tory and it was the first place I had taken Fred­die when he vis­ited the UK. I also had spent many a happy day on the island sail­ing so it made sense.

Wed­ding pho­tog­ra­pher: Mandy Mead­ows of Wight Stu­dios, Ryde

How would you describe your wed­ding style? Tra­di­tional Eng­lish coun­try gar­den sum­mer meets South African cape chic

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The wed­ding ceremony:

Reli­gious or civil? We had a reli­gious cer­e­mony at St Mildred’s in Whip­ping­ham, East Cowes. It is a beau­ti­ful old CoE church steeped in his­tory. Freddie’s father is a min­is­ter in the Dutch Reformed Church and we had a won­der­ful Vicar who allowed him to con­duct parts of the cer­e­mony for us – it made it so special!

We actu­ally had to have our legal cer­e­mony in Hong Kong a month ear­lier due to the rules around mar­ry­ing in a church, how­ever the church bless­ing was as close to a full mar­riage as it could have been and we treated it as such with the Hong Kong part being a means to an end. The other spe­cial part was my Brother in Law Ivan McCarthy who is an extra­or­di­nar­ily tal­ented musi­cian and singer and played our organ through­out. He was perfect!

Which read­ings did you choose?

We had such an eclec­tic mix of guests (Nation­al­i­ties as diverse as / peo­ple trav­el­ling from Canada, New York, Hous­ton, Dubai, South Africa, Hong Kong, Thai­land, Greece, Mex­ico, Nige­ria, The Nether­lands and prob­a­bly a few oth­ers I’ve for­got­ten) and vary­ing (non) reli­gious beliefs that we really wanted every­one to enjoy the cer­e­mony and feel relaxed in what was quite a for­mal set­ting. There­fore we selected a mix of con­tem­po­rary and traditional:

- Love is a tem­po­rary mad­ness — extract from Cap­tain Corelli’s Mandolin

- Gen­e­sis 2:15,18–24

- Extract from The Vel­veteen Rab­bit — Margery Williams (1881–1944) – I actu­ally got the idea from this one from Eng­lish Wed­ding Blog as I recall!

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What did you wear?

Bride: I had my dress designed in Hong Kong and had last minute alter­ations and changes done by Annette at Rags to Stitches in Wim­borne, Dorset. With­out her, I would have been in trou­ble, as the dress wasn’t fin­ished when I left Hong Kong!

My some­thing bor­rowed was my veil from a dear friend Gin­nie Dal­lard. My ear­rings were from a small fam­ily jew­ellers in Lan­cashire where I grew up and Fred­die pre­sented me (via my father) with a gor­geous yel­low dia­mond neck­lace made to match the ear­rings on the morn­ing of the wed­ding. It was made by Ryder dia­monds in Hong Kong who also made our wed­ding rings.

Groom: The groom and his team wore morn­ing suits from Abi­gails in Corfe Mullen, Dorset.

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An Eng­lish coun­try gar­den wed­ding reception:

What were your wed­ding high­lights? We were cheated out of a nice sum­mer day as the rain started at least a week before the wed­ding and did not stop until 2 days after… Our mar­quee was cold and water­logged so my won­der­ful friend Lara Caines who was help­ing out as my wed­ding plan­ner and the team at Osborne House (Dou­glas Wors­ley) made con­tin­gency plans for the drinks recep­tion. We should have had them on the ter­race over­look­ing the solent but we instead we had a cham­pagne tour of Osborne House all to our­selves! Every­one loved this.

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The other won­der­ful high­lights included our table plan and sig­nage done by the very tal­ented Zoe Rusga from Bunny Deli­cious and the sweets on the tables sup­plied by peter at Hum­bug on Cowes High st. The flow­ers were out of this world, the brief to Nicky our florist was South Africa meets Eng­land and the result was vin­tage style giant pro­teas (South Africa National flower) and white Eng­lish roses – stunning.

Wed­ding venue styling and details:

We had a mar­quee on the Dun­bar lawn and we used Fin­ish­ing Touches in Ryde for small things like bunting along the walls for hats to be hung with pegs, fake tea lights (as we weren’t allowed naked flames in the venue). My amaz­ingly tal­ented Brother in Law Alwijn Burger who runs his own events man­age­ment and design com­pany in South Africa, designed the most incred­i­ble place set­tings – every­one loved the details.

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The menu was very infor­mal with the South African and Eng­lish theme run­ning through it. We also had a lovely savoury cheese lay­ers with port and whisky for the end of the sup­per. We used our deli­cious Vic­to­ria Sponge and fresh straw­berry wed­ding cake as the pud­ding. The cake was cre­ated by Ali­son McCal­lum from cen­tre­piece Cake Designs ( We also asked peo­ple to RSVP with post­cards from around the world — it was really fun to receive them and we then dis­played them around the mar­quee pegged to the bunting – great talk­ing points!

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I grew up in Lan­cashire and my fam­ily are still there so hence the Lan­cashire cheese pie for our veg­gie option… You can take the lass out of Lan­cashire but you can’t take Lan­cashire out of the girl!

My wed­ding plan­ner was a fam­ily friend Lara Caines who also owns her own event man­age­ment com­pany:

My chief brides­maids were my best friend since school in Lan­cashire, Helen Feeney and my sis­ter Laura Blakey.

Cater­ers were David and team (sole sup­pli­ers at Osborne House) from all about cater­ing:

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Wed­ding music and entertainment:

One of the mas­sive high­lights of our whole day was the very spe­cial vol­un­teer choir – Med­ina Com­mu­nity Choir lead by Han­nah Brear. I really wanted a choir for the church and every­one (Fred­die, the vicar etc) told me it would be fine just with our con­gre­ga­tion but I was deter­mined! After exten­sive inter­net search­ing, I found Han­nah through google on 16th May so less than 2 months before the wedding.

After a few skypes, we sorted out a plan for music prior to my arrival, dur­ing the inter­val (as we didn’t need to sign a reg­is­ter) and as we were leav­ing. What Fred­die (or any­one else) didn’t know is that I had planned for Han­nah to plant a few choir mem­bers in the con­gre­ga­tion dressed as guests and along with 2 of my friends who were tal­ented singers, they did a flash mob as we were about to leave the church whereby they stood up ran­domly and broke into song “Son of a preacher man” – per­fect for Fred­die who wasn’t expect­ing it!

Our guests thought that we were being boy­cotted by some crazy singing guests but it was all planned! This along with a duet of Pie Jesu, which had every­one in tears…. They were such an amaz­ing part of our day that we have set up an annual dona­tion to sup­port them. Our live band were a huge hit and due to being in Hong Kong we had only heard record­ings via the inter­net and a rec­om­men­da­tion from a friend – but they really got the crowd going.

Mem­o­rable wed­ding day moments:

Pre­sent­ing my Father with a Pan­erai watch before we left for church, see­ing my gor­geous lit­tle flower girls and page boy (made up of our god­chil­dren) on arrival at the church (our page­boy went ahead of me up the aisle wear­ing a sign say­ing “Uncle Fred­die, here comes your girl!” – it made every­one laugh and broke the for­mal­i­ties!, see­ing Freddie’s face when the flash mob started singing, see­ing all our friends and fam­ily from across the world (lit­er­ally!) in all their fin­ery (all the ladies wore hats or fas­ci­na­tors or hati­na­tors as my request which was lovely!), so many lovely mem­o­ries!

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Wed­ding day advice:

- If you are over­seas, a wed­ding plan­ner or project coor­di­na­tor is a must

- Make sure you are clear before­hand with how you want things to run on the day per­haps even con­sider a small printed plan for the offi­cial wed­ding party.

- Pro­vide an agreed list of impor­tant pho­tos you want and gen­er­ally how you want your pho­tos (i.e cap­ture all guests in infor­mal sit­u­a­tions) oth­er­wise you get just what you get

- Pin­ter­est became a really help­ful tool for ideas

- Put together a very sim­ple pow­er­point inspi­ra­tion board – we then used this to email sup­pli­ers etc as ideas were devel­op­ing and it helped every­thing come together in a coor­di­nated way on the day

- Detail IS impor­tant, guests notice it and it makes it dif­fer­ent to other wed­dings. It doesn’t have to be expen­sive. We made lit­tle wel­come packs for all our guests (con­tained a can­dle made on the Isle of Wight, instruc­tions for the wed­ding, direc­tions and tim­ings in case peo­ple didn’t bring their invites, a small pot of South African chut­ney which were made espe­cially for us by Martjie at Food by Pre­serve in Stel­len­bosch — who is Ivan, our organist’s sis­ter and some Eng­lish fudge)

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Rec­om­mended wed­ding suppliers:

  • Won­der­ful wed­ding coor­di­na­tor at Osborne House – Dou­glas Worsley
  • Mar­quee was from coast and coun­try:
  • Flow­ers by Nic – stun­ning and rea­son­ably priced — Nic Downer — 51 Union st Ryde PO33 2LF
  • Make up and pre wed­ding beau­ti­cian Amaz­ing Miranda, calm, cool, pro­fes­sional and ill make sure I go back to her for facials when­ever I’m back on the Island!
  • Hair — — Alan has been my hair­dresser for years and it was so lovely to have him there (despite the dis­tance he trav­elled!) – choose some­one who knows you and knows your hair!
  • Creche — Free­dom Child­care — 23 New Street Lyming­ton Hamp­shire SO41 9BH. Invalu­able to look after the babies and let the par­ents party!
  • Cake — Mrs, Ali­son McCal­lum — Fire­stone Glade, Woot­ton Bridge, Ryde, Isle Of Wight PO33 4LH
  • Dress adjust­ments — Anette Elliott and team 73C Leigh Rd, Wim­borne Min­ster, Dorset BH21 2AA Saved my life!
  • Table plan, place name set­tings, menus and recep­tion sta­tionery by Bunny Deli­cious and
  • Choir — Han­nah and the Med­ina com­mu­nity Choir (amaz­ing, every guest we have had thank you or have spo­ken to said that these guys made the church ser­vice extra spe­cial)
  • Mar­quee décor — Jules Fin­ish­ing Touches 15 Cross Street Ryde Isle of Wight PO33 2AD
  • B&B who were amaz­ing with our guests —
  • Sweets for tables — Peter, Hum­bug Sweet shop, Cowes High St, West Cowes PO31 Isle of Wight
  • Cheese boards / cakes — Gabriella McK­eague The Fine Cheese Co. 29 & 31 Wal­cot Street Bath. BA1 5BN Won­der­ful ser­vice and deli­cious cheese – best Brie we have ever tasted!
  • Band — or Georgi Georgiev at [email protected]
  • Wed­ding car (off the island but still fairly rea­son­able and the dri­ver was won­der­ful)
  • Sta­tionery — Min­ster Press Mel is the con­tact of my wed­ding plan­ner Lara Caines. They are really rea­son­ably priced and good!
  • Con­fetti — Came in a lovely box with colours that were coor­di­nated and nice cones for each guest

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