BARE feet, a white Greek-style theme, Alfred the ring-bearer dog, sisters as groomsmaids and their mothers walking them down the aisle are just some of the things that made a gay couple’s wedding special on the most romantic day of the year.
Happy Case van der Touw and Shaun Luyt, of Port Elizabeth, said “I do” in a beautiful beach wedding at The Island at Pine Lodge.
Guests had been encouraged to wear white as there was no bride to upstage.
The only person missing from their special day was Luyt’s father, who died a few weeks ago after battling cancer.
The whole wedding, from preparation to execution, was a family affair.
Parents and siblings were involved from the cake to the organising, with Luyt designing and sewing the flower girls’ dresses.
The couple, who wrote their own vows, said they had known as soon as Van der Touw had proposed that they wanted to have a Valentine’s Day beach wedding.
“We were going to get married on Valentine’s Day next year, but brought the wedding forward a year because I wanted my father, who was sick with brain cancer, to see me get married. Unfortunately, he died a couple of weeks ago,” Luyt, 31, said.
While the wedding was very traditional, the couple chose to have a cocktail party-style reception instead of a sit-down meal, with waiters serving anything from crocodile to springbok.
Because there was no bride, they decided to have their mothers walk them down the aisle along with Van der Touw’s father, who also wanted to be involved.
“When he heard our plan, he called and said he didn’t want to be left out so we decided they would both walk me down the aisle,” Van der Touw, 29, said.
The couple, who have known each other since they were in primary school, had a whirlwind romance before Van der Touw proposed.
“We were Facebook friends for a long time when I lived in Australia, but I had to come back to take care of my father when he was sick,” Luyt said.
“We chatted on Facebook and decided to meet up when I found out that Case still lived here.”
What was supposed to be just a 30-minute date turned into the start of a “beautiful relationship”.
The couple moved in together after two weeks of dating and were engaged after just four weeks.
The couple, who will honeymoon in Cape Town for a week with friends, have decided to join their surnames.
“Our new surname will be Luyt van der Touw, because we wanted to combine the two family bloodlines.
“Why should either of our surnames be lost?” Luyt said.
And what are they most looking forward to as a married couple? “Starting a family. “We are past the party stage and seriously looking forward to starting a family.
“We have started with our practice child Alfred [the dog], who was our ring-bearer at the wedding,” they said.