Weddings and Celebrations: Hands and hearts

IF you want something done right, do it yourself, believe Davene and Neal Prinsloo and they put this into practice for their wedding at Evergreen wedding venue near Seaview in December 2011, handcrafting everything from dresses to decor. 

“Throughout our relationship, Neal and I have made handmade gifts for each other; even if we purchased something it would be accompanied by something handmade, so it felt right to both of us to have a handmade wedding,” said Davene.

The couple hail from Uitenhage where Davene attended Strelitzia High School and Neal Muir College before finishing his schooling in America.

They were so hands-on with their wedding that apart from designing their own wedding rings which have each other’s thumb prints engraved on them, Davene, 24, also made two wedding dresses despite having no formal training.

“I learnt to sew from my paternal grandmother. As a little girl I would sit and watch and eventually my visits resulted in me sewing something with her machine,” says Davene.

She went with two very different looks when it came to her dresses, the first a gown which was both rustic and pretty with lace and masses of white tulle and the second a more playful boob tube party dress with chiffon and ribbon, which she finished the day before their wedding.

“I can’t say where the inspiration for the designs came from. I saw what I wanted in my mind’s eye and made it,” says Davene, a wedding and lifestyle photographer based in Port Elizabeth who decided on a second dress two days before the wedding while playing around with some leftover tulle.

The dresses weren’t the only thing that got a very personal stamp from the couple, in fact they also created all the decor, which included wire and chiffon hearts that hung from the ceiling, shabby chic table runners, little paper hearts delicately placed in wine glasses, heart collages, guest books and bunting which worked together to create a theme Davene dubbed “fun vintage”.

“Doing everything ourselves was in no way stressful, in fact I worked on the wedding stuff when I wanted to relax,” said Davene.

When it came to creating for the event, Neal, a 28-year-old technical drawings teacher and aspiring architect, was by no means a bystander and got in on the production from the start.

“I wanted to be involved in every aspect as far as I could be,” said Neal

The creative couple who initially bonded over their love of God and poetry wanted the wedding to be a true reflection of who they are and went for it with gusto.

“We wanted to have our dream wedding and not leave the reins in anyone else’s hands. I was fuelled by excitement and love and would not have been able to sit back, so I didn’t,” said Davene.

They enlisted the help of friends and family and Davene’s eight bridesmaids also came in handy.

“Although everyone must have been tired of making things, they followed my instructions to a tee without complaining,” said Davene who late on the eve of their wedding knocked on the door of her seamstress aunt for help to complete her second dress because she couldn’t do another stitch.

“What made our wedding so special was that everyone who had a part to play truly wanted Neal and I to have an amazing wedding,” she said.

Even nature played along with it hailing on the day, something the couple saw as a good omen because “if rain on your wedding day is a blessing, then hail must really be a gift from God”.

“Everything was perfect. God even threw in hail for us, with a rainbow and misty streets and an awesome photographer who found shelter and kept on taking photos. I wouldn’t change a thing,” says Davene.

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