The story of Romeo and Juliet outlines what can go wrong when two people fall in love . . . . . . but it also draws attention to an important and often forgotten detail i.e. that a marriage is also about the joining of two families
Candice and I come from two very different families.
To expect them to bond together without any glue is unreasonable so we set about providing the much-needed glue i.e. a five day wedding extravaganza for the immediate family members.
We also included my six groomsmen and Candice’s six bridesmaids because that’s where we spend our time, either with our families or with our close friends.
We chose Prynnsberg Estate in Clocolan – a 14 bedroom sandstone mansion built in 1881 by the diamond mining magnate Charles Newberry.
In the LIVEOUTLOUD tradition the event had to be larger than life. We arranged clay pigeon shooting, bicycle polo, croquet and archery. Each evening had a different theme e.g. a masked Venetian ball in the old chapel and an Arabian evening on the terrace. At each event everybody was required to dress up. This was important to get people to relax but also made for awesome photos!
Meals were also a critical time for people to get to know one another. Every meal was in a different venue; this forced people to sit in different places and in different combinations. The main lounge was equipped with an espresso machine that ran 24 hours a day; folk were able to chat and discus the mansions interesting collection of fine South African coffee table books going back almost 100 years.
The extended period also allowed interaction of a more serious nature. Candice and I spent time with the pastor who married us. This allowed us to reflect on some of the more serious issues of a lifetime commitment. The night before the big day my dad and I spent in the mountain cave just hanging out and chatting about ‘stuff’.
The entire stay was documented by two photographers and one videographer. Ok, so my family LOVES photos but that aside – the photos provided us with a fun way to interact on FaceBook after the wedding – thus we were able to keep the conversations going long after the event was over.
Our wedding format drew a line in the sand and helped all involved to understand that family life after the wedding will never be the same again – new faces, new viewpoints, new values, new sensitivities and a new family dynamic. Every person is an equal member of the new family, from the grannies in their 80’s to my baby brother who is only 6 – and let’s not forget the family pets where who also present!
It was not all fun and games – during the stay we charged the two families and our friends that they were equal custodians of our marriage commitment; that they also had a responsibility to make this thing work, no easy task in this modern era.
The wedding format was a great success and achieved more than we could ever have hoped for. It is my wish that more families will take a more serious look at the mechanisms needed to join families together in a life long commitment that is part of this thing called marriage.
The five day event was featured on the South African TV Channel Top Billing SABC3 – Top Billing.
Here are some of the wedding photos