Bridal feature…


Whether you’re planning (or re-planning) your special day, or you have just got engaged and need a little bridal inspiration, we’ve rounded up some beautiful imagery, gorgeous trends and advice and information from a few North Coast Wedding experts.



Bubbly, full of enthusiasm and focus and absolutely passionate about what she does . . . meet award-winning wedding coordinator and successful business owner, Joelene Botha.

You might think it a bit odd that someone with a degree in history and psychology from Rhodes University and a background in corporate sales decided to become a wedding planner. But then you obviously haven’t met Oh Happy Day founder and owner, Joelene.
Joelene absolutely loves everything about weddings. Proof of this might be the fact that she has been a bridesmaid 13 times … or the fact that she and her husband Stefan actually had two weddings! We caught up with the former Zululand girl to find out a little more about why she decided to ‘follow her bliss’.

When and how did you find your way into the wedding industry?
I think my love for events and weddings began when I was a little girl. I always dreamed of being a flower girl (which little girl doesn’t?). I often joke now that I’m going to overtake Katherine Heigl in the movie 27 Dresses, because I’ve been a bridesmaid more than 13 times! I also worked on events at varsity and in my corporate career, all of which helped me understand the fundamentals of event architecture and what it takes to pull off the perfect celebration.

Talk us through your career thus far.
I played with the idea of starting a wedding business for many years before I decided to leave my full-time job as a medical rep and take the plunge in 2014. It takes grit and guts to start your own business. I did it alone, but with the support of my friends and family, who had been quietly ‘pushing’ me for a while. As the demand for work grew, so did my team. We are now a company full of dynamic creatives, each with their own unique skill set and passions. I wanted Oh Happy Day to offer brides logistical help with their wedding planning, as well as encouraging them emotionally. We offer a stress-free, bespoke planning experience, and we aren’t afraid to step out of a perceived ‘typical wedding scenario’ and set the trend rather than follow it.

What do you love most about what you do?
Serving others is an honour and it’s the part I love most about my job, providing guidance to my team to support our clients. My team and I get to be ‘silent bridesmaids’ almost every weekend! Creatively, I love seeing the process come together. Our design, floral and coordination teams all work so well together and the end result is always a happy couple!

What, in your opinion, are the top three elements to consider when planning your wedding?
I would say the overall aesthetic first. This encompasses every design element, including the colour palette and florals to the stationery, cake and cocktail selection….the list is endless. But it starts with an overall aesthetic. The right venue and photographer are crucial – research is key here! Lastly, making sure the day runs smoothly and that everyone knows where they need to be and when.

What is your favourite part of a wedding?
Watching the ceremony take place and seeing the groom’s face when he sees his bride walking down the aisle. It’s a reminder to me that the bigger picture is always the marriage that comes after the wedding. It’s a beautiful thing!

Tell us a bit about your own wedding?
Stef and I actually had two weddings! Our first one was a ‘legal ceremony’ with just our immediate family in the same chapel my parents were married in, on the day of Stef’s parent’s wedding anniversary. This was a very special day for us symbolically. We did this two days before our actual wedding, which took place in the Midlands. We wanted a friend to officiate our ceremony, but he wasn’t ordained, which is why we got married twice!

What are some of the top bridal trends we’ll see this season?
I think florals have come back in a lovely way. Brides appreciate the investment of flowers in their wedding designs and I think we’ll see more focus on statement ceremony installations (instead of the usual floral arch) . . . think arbor pillars, pew gardens and floating flower installs with only smaller touches of greenery. I personally don’t believe that pampas grass is still a thing. It did pave the way for more interesting manipulations of dried botanicals though, and there is a definite dried foilage and minimalistic trend emerging, which we love! Sometimes less is more . . and I find the neutral colour palette so refreshingly new and interesting to explore. Then, with the current impact of COVID-19, I think there will be a more pronounced shift from large-scale wedding celebrations to micro-weddings . . . think intimate gatherings with a focus on personalized touches and even live streaming weddings over social media platforms!




Inspired by warm Autumn colours, textured florals and pure vintage charm, this exquisite bridal shoot showcases perfectly what the culmination of creativity, skill and experience in the bridal industry can result in.

Photography: The Shank Tank | | 083 233 9962 | Instagram: @theshanktank


The lady behind the elegant wedding dress on our cover is the talented, Ballito-based fashion designer, Julia Ferrandi, who, together with her mom, carefully crafts bespoke bridal gowns. We asked these local experts for their tips on how to go about finding the perfect dress to wear when you say “I do”.

1. How do you feel about following trends when it comes to designing a wedding dress? My philosophy when designing a wedding dress is to acknowledge the current trends without overly following them. I recommend asking yourself this question: will I love it in five years?

2. Do you think the lockdown and current crisis will affect wedding trends in the near future? In light of the current crisis, I predict there will be a renewed appreciation for the simple pleasure of gathering with our loved ones. This may mean that weddings will become more intimate affairs. This trend excites me because it encourages couples to consider what a wedding celebration means to them rather than looking to what has been done before. As we all find our way post pandemic this new climate will bring with it equally refreshing ideas.

3. Choosing a wedding dress is often overwhelming as there are so many options…what advice would you give the bride-to-be when it comes to narrowing down the decision? In amongst the loud noise of social media and online platforms that serve us endless ideas and peer pressure to keep up with the trends, I believe it is important to take it in and then stop looking. The goal is to look YOUR best – It’s that simple. Embrace your unique qualities and find a dress that feels the most like YOU.

4. Let’s talk about styles: from big ballgown to low back and A-line . . . which styles are the most flattering for which body shapes? The two most important features when it comes to a wedding dress are: colour and silhouette. If you get these two things right, your skin colour radiates and your body shape will look and feel well balanced. Generally speaking, the silhouettes that work well are ones that enhance your natural features. There is not one silhouette that can apply to all body shapes, this is all part of the fun of trying different styles. So be prepared to possibly surprise yourself with what you love.

5. What about accessories? When it comes to accessorizing your bridal look think about the complete picture. Your first accessories to consider are your skin, hair, nails and make-up. Look after yourself and sleep well. That bridal glow is all about you enjoying your wedding. If you are having fun, so will your guests. I recommend keeping a selection of jewellery on hand to make your final choice on the day as this will be the first time you see the complete vision of yourself.

Dress & studio space: Julia Ferrandi Bridal | [email protected] | Instagram: @juliaferrandibridal


To make sure you look and feel your best on your big day, North Coast make-up artist, Volenti Laurentina Duke offers us a peek into her makeup treasure trove and tells us how to create the perfect wedding day make-up.

Nourish your skin before the day
It’s important to stay hydrated leading up to your wedding. Volenti also recommends going for regular facials and exfoliating your skin. “This will help unclog your pores, boost circulation and allow your skin products to penetrate deeper, in turn leaving your skin with a more natural glow. And which bride wouldn’t want to glow naturally?”

Test drive your make-up look
A makeup trial is always a good idea prior to the big day. This allows the bride to explore different looks and see the idea she have in mind come to life. It also allows for both you and your artist to be on the same page before all the excitement of the day.
Prep the canvas
Priming the canvas is key! Start your makeup with a good primer to allow your foundation to blend in and adhere to the skin better. Match your foundation correctly to your skin tone so it blends seamlessly into your neck to avoid looking as if you are wearing a mask.

Waterproof all the way
Use waterproof makeup (a waterproof setting powder and waterproof mascara) and set makeup with a waterproof fixing spray at the end of the makeup application, as this will hold the makeup in place. Kryolan has an amazing waterproof fixing spray. This will allow you to feel confident and feel the emotion of the day knowing your makeup won’t let you down. If you feel the tears welling up, remember to gently dab them away, don’t rub.

It’s all about the glow
The current bridal makeup trend is to have a beautiful glow. We don’t want a shiny bride, so prepping the skin for foundation with a primer and setting foundation correctly with a translucent or setting powder is the first step. This allows for longevity of the makeup throughout the day and leading into the evening. We can then add the glowing effect with beautiful highlighters and soft shimmers. A gentle contour to define the features of the face, cheek bones and brow bones is beautiful. I love to add a little colour to the cheeks. Define the eyebrows and comb through – remember your eyebrows are the frames to your eyes and having your eyebrows shaped by a professional prior to your wedding day will help open and lift your eyes and allow for a beautiful application of eyeshadow. All of this will set you up for a beautifully defined face for photos.

Balance is key
Try find balance in your makeup. A basic rule is that strong eyes go with softer lips and vice versa. If you go for bold lips, a stunning wing liner is a nice option for the eyes. Alternatively, you can create balance by using similar tones throughout your face. At the end of the day you still want to look like you, so choose a style that defines who you are.

Have your emergency kit ready
Keep a basic touch-up kit nearby on the day of your wedding. Summer brides will have to contend with the humidity levels, so you want to make sure you are not glowing too much. Make sure to have a little blotting paper or a beauty blender and translucent powder (even a pressed powder in a compact with a mirror) to blot or absorb any excess dewiness that may occur throughout the day. Also, keep a lipstick or gloss in the same colour that your artist has used for touch ups. The first touch up will be needed after the ceremony (that first kiss) and before your photoshoot to ensure you look perfect in every picture.

Model and make up artist Pamela McNeil did her own make up for this particular shoot | Instagram: @_pamjam_ | Volenti: [email protected] Instagram: @volentim | Photo: Sean Baker


Think autumn hues, dried flowers, foraged branches and oodles of texture. Post-pandemic wedding florals are predicted to become a celebration of all the beauty we have growing locally says Ballito’s Adore Weddings owner, Carolyn Hall.

Set your own trend
Not a big fan on following ‘trends’, Carolyn suggests rather creating a look and feel that uniquely reflects your personality and story. “As a designer, it is truly special to put together personalised florals and décor that the wedding couple will enjoy, not just on their wedding day, but also in 20 years to come when they look back at the photos from their big day.” This being said though, the flower fanatic believes we have moved on from the greenery look to a more flower-filled feel. “The lockdown has thrown us for a loop and I think couples will be looking for well-structured, intentionally designed arrangements and installations as opposed to a sheer mass of flowers.”

Be kind in your choice
“There already is and I anticipate we will see a continuation in the movement to opt for responsibly sourced and designed florals.” Choosing locally sourced flowers and going largely foam free in the installation helps to make the impact on our planet gentler. “There’s an overall sense of working with nature and her seasons rather than against her. It’s a kinder, simpler approach.”

Local blooms to fall in love with
Late autumn bridal couples can choose Dahlia or alstroemeria to play with, as well as beautiful locally produced roses. “Going into winter we will see gorgeous snap dragons and Delphinium. Our stunning winter bulbs like anemones are lovely, followed by ranunculus during late winter/early spring.” Add texture to your look with autumn and winter foliage and even branches. “Think foliage in golden yellows, rusty oranges and those moody reds. Branches add interest to the overall feel and you can find beautiful colours here too with some of them going into an almost purple hue. We all see quite a few berry branches during autumn and winter which is great to add too.” Carolyn loves using winter grasses and fynbos for added texture. “Our winter grasses are exquisite! Their golden white colour is really striking. Fynbos is also excellent to add loads of texture to your arrangement. It’s all about having fun with florals and creating a look that you love.”

Flowers & concept: Adore Weddings, | 083 364 4658 | Instagram: @adore_weddings


…because who isn’t obsessed with shoes? To help you decide which beauties you are going to strut down the aisle in, we have called on the creative genius of bespoke wedding planner and owner of Oh Happy Day, Joelene Botha from Umdloti.


They say the shoes maketh the woman. Wedding shoes are a matter of personal style and choice, and are literally the one thing that could make or break how comfortable you are on your special day,” says Joelene. When it comes to selecting your style of wedding shoe, she suggests considering your style of dress first (or seek out the advice of your designer or boutique on style advice if you’re feeling a little stuck). To help inspire you, Joelene has shared a few fun options from some of her fave designers:

Elegantly on pointe: For the dazzling bride who loves a statement shoe that demands to be admired, she suggests a pointy, high-heeled, diamante-detailed shoe. Take a look at Badgley Mischka or Harriet Wilde for some inspiration. This look would pair well with a glamorous wedding gown.

Timeless and classy: Less is more…so opt for a simple yet sophisticated heel or strappy sandal. Think Kenneth Cole, Jimmy Choo or Valentino…the perfect shoes for a high fashion bride who wants to be understated at the same time.

Low and steady: The low, block heel is a stylish and comfortable alternative if balancing on stilettos is not your thing. Be inspired by Kate Spade and Prada’s designs. TIP: If you’ve found the perfect fit, but you are not mad about the colour, ask your dress designer or tailor to cover your pair in a matching material to your dress.

Cute and comfy: For the bride who can’t wear heels and does not want to wear flats on her wedding day, try Espadrilles or a wedge for the boho beach or safari bride. Take a look at Ernesto Terron’s wedding range or Schuttz online for some divine wedding wedge inspiration. A pair of comfy trainers or sneakers would work beautifully for a low-key bride who chooses comfort first. Keds and Kate Spade have collectively come out with a stunning range of bridal sneakers and Converse are a good option too if you’re looking to customise your own range.

Once you’ve found your dreamy pair, make sure to try on the shoes you choose for the big day and check if they are comfortable. “After all, you’re going to be spending about ten hours in them, so best they be comfy!” After you’ve made your decision and bought your favourite pair, she suggests that you spend a week or two before the big day ‘breaking them in’. “Wear them as often as you can…whether it be on your walk to and from work, doing the groceries, at home doing the housework – try to spend an hour or two a day in them.”

Joelene’s number one wedding planner tip is to always have a back-up plan…and that goes for the shoes too! “Pack your go-to pair of Woolies flats or trainers and keep them with your bridesmaids – just in case you feel like slipping into your familiar faves once the party gets going.”

Details: or Instagram: @ohhappydaydbn


Whether you are holding out for a fabulous, big affair, or you’ve decided to opt for a quieter more intimate wedding celebration, the one thing you will never regret is making sure you have the right person to capture your memories.

From the children giggling in the corner to the tiniest of décor details, it’s the little stories playing out on the sides of the main event that truly inspire Ballito husband and wife photography and videography team Chris and Emily Allan.
While many people are only now discovering what it’s like to live and work with their spouses all day long because of Covid-19, the Allan’s have been doing it for years. After leaving their jobs in the television and image library world, they took the leap and started their photography business, PeppermintPix Photography.

While they do a number of different types of shoots, Emily says they espeically love working together when they are shooting a wedding “We both shoot on the day and this allows us to focus on the main event as well as the little things behind the scenes. It also allows us to shoot video and photography at the same time.”
When it comes to wedding photography trends, Emily says while much has changed, a lot has also stayed the same. “That is what I love about weddings. I love the traditions, but also how creative and different bridal couples can be.” One new trend, she says, is to spread out the wedding day rather than rushing from one part to the next. “They are taking time to enjoy the day and giving themselves enough time to have photos taken and still enjoy canapes and drinks with their guests.”

Emily says there is also more of a focus on documenting the day as it happens, rather than using too many staged backdrops and fancy flashes. “We love that our clients are also always willing to try something new and allow us to be creative and even a little daring! We have shot couples at night under an umbrella in the pouring rain, been surround by a herd of cows so the bride (who was a vet) could have her dream photo and braved lions and buffalo in big 5 country for a game ranger and his new wife! We have stalked through sugar cane, climbed walls, waded into the sea and ridden on tractors . . . all in pursuit of a great, one- of-a-kind shot! And we love it. Or at least Chris does. I normally direct from somewhere safe and dry,” she laughs.

Speaking to the effect that the current pandemic might have on weddings in the near future, Emily suspects videography and live streaming might play a role in the future, especially if people aren’t permitted to travel. “We shoot both video and photography and although it’s something we currently take back to the studio and edit (so people can share it with absent families and friends), I don’t see why we can’t also live stream wedding services and receptions in the future.”

Asked what her very favourite wedding was to photograph, Emily says it’s impossible to choose! “We do really love weddings that take us to new places though as we love to travel. We’ve shot in Mozam, the Natal Midlands, Ballito, Johannesburg, Prince Albert, Durban, various game reserves and Dullstroom.”

Chris and Em’s top wedding photography no-no’s:
1. Don’t hire amateurs, especially for the photography. You would never let your cousin who is a home cook make food for 120 guests at your wedding, so don’t ask a friend who has a nice camera to shoot the photos and video. Wedding photography is a skill and an art and experience is key. It will be the only thing you take home when the wedding is done, don’t underestimate how much you will value those photos in the end.
2. Get to know your photographer. Don’t just choose someone because they have a good website and nice photographs. Chat to them on the phone, meet for coffee or Facetime. You will spend the whole day with them, so it’s vital that they make you feel relaxed and can make you laugh . . . and they don’t irritate you!
3. Don’t force your bridesmaids into outfits they wouldn’t normally wear. They will feel unhappy and look unhappy and you will know that every time you look at the photos. You love them for who they are, let them be who they are on your day.

Photos: Peppermint Pix Photography,, [email protected], 073 244 8854