These two are undoubtedly ahead of their time and before I could have even dreamed I would be in this industry, focusing on small non-traditional weddings they were doing it. If you think elopements aren’t the norm now, think back six years…it was unheard of!

Jacques breaks all the stereotypes of uninvolved grooms! He planned almost everything from the long distance proposal to the finer details of the day.

Although this story is {a very happy} 6 years old, Jacques and Katie’s enthusiasm and love for how they got married {and how they’ve been married since} is just too good not to share.

RR: Jacques for your story I want to go back a bit before your wedding day, tell me about your proposal?

J: Well Katie was in the UK and I was still finding my feet in SA but I knew I wanted her here with me. So for my proposal video I got my brother to film me and I climbed up this massive sand dune with the bay behind me. At the top of the dune after reciting a cheesy poem I wrote I asked Katie to marry me. Basically the only thing I could offer her was that view and the adventure of starting our lives together. Obviously that was enough because she said yes!

RR: So Katie you got this video in the post how did you say yes?

K: Jacques actually sent the video 2 months before the date I was allowed to open it. He was afraid it would get lost in the post so that suspense almost killed me. He wanted me to open it on the day we started dating. It came with a full step by step list of instructions and a countdown, he really planned it out! As soon as I watched it I phoned him and said yes!

RR: At the time elopements were not the norm, what made you guys decide to do it this way?

J: We obviously had the distance to consider, that did play a big role. We didn’t exactly want to meet halfway and get married in Nairobi. We also didn’t want the drama that comes with having family at the wedding. Neither of us are particularly religious so we didn’t want a church wedding either.

K: I think at the heart of it we were more interested in marriage than the wedding! We love telling people our wedding only cost 10pence! I also love the mystery of running away to another country to get married, it’s my story.

{It only cost 10pence because the marriage was free at the Registrar but we needed to print out the certificate.}

East London Beach Elopement-South Africa

RR: So why did you choose East London as your elopement destination?

J: Basically I was living with my brother down there and I couldn’t afford anything else. So by default my brother and his wife became our witnesses and our ride to the courthouse.

K: Just our luck though, I come to sunny SA and the day we got married was literally the only cloudy day.

RR: How long did it take you to plan your elopement?

J: I guess if you measured it out it didn’t take more than a day to “plan it” but the process from start to finish, making the video posting it, waiting for Katie to reach SA and then booking the wedding, that makes it sound longer, like 6 months?
Our registration offices were really accommodating over the phone, it was a simple, ‘Hello, yes to get married, yes she is a foreigner, alright Friday the 27th it is.’

RR: Did you face any challenges in planning your elopement?

J: From a technical side we got married in February so I had to make sure it wasn’t too close to Valentine’s Day. Bookings become a lot trickier around that time. We got a lot of pressure from people to do the traditional wedding and at times that got a bit irritating to deal with.

K: We also had to get married on a Friday because that’s the only day foreigners are allowed to get married in SA home affairs office.

RR: Tell me about the morning leading up to the ceremony.

J: This was the part of the wedding we kept absolutely traditional. We stayed in separate rooms the night before and I wasn’t allowed to see Katie until we were called to be married.

K: Even in the car to the home affairs Jacques was blindfolded. That was our touch of old school charm and tradition.

RR: Did you guys celebrate in any way after the ceremony?

J: After our marriage at the home affairs office we went down onto the beach, had ice creams and messed around for some photos. After that we went for a beautiful dinner on the pier.

K: The dinner on the pier was probably the fanciest part of our wedding.


East London Beach Elopement-South Africa

RR: How did you deal with the “why weren’t we invited” questions/disappointment from family and friends?

J: I was staying with my brother at the time and he and his wife were our witnesses and even that caused some people to be upset that they didn’t get invited. After the wedding we did go on a road trip and had one on one celebration’s with the people we really wanted to. That way we did get to celebrate with people but on our own terms!

K: Both our families come with messy baggage and we really wanted our day to just be about US so not including family wasn’t that big of a deal for us. We really did just shrug off any comments afterwards. Jacques made a joke that maybe next time we get married we would invite them!

RR: Was there anything about a “traditional” wedding you missed?

J: absolutely nothing.

K: A cute little flower girl would have been really nice!

RR: Katie you chose not to wear a traditional white wedding gown, looking back would you change that?

K: I’m really not much of a girlie girl so the fact that that I wasn’t in a traditional wedding dress with the flowers and everything actually made it more me. Jacques would maybe have wanted to see me in a wedding dress but maybe on our 10 year anniversary we can go to Vegas and do the whole big shebang wedding!

RR: Now that you’ve been married a few years if you got to elope all over again would you do anything differently?

J: I think the only things I would change are my proposal video. I wish it was better quality so I could show it off a bit more. I think I would have also killed to have a professional photographer on our day. I couldn’t afford it at the time and I still love the pictures my brother took but I sometimes do get really jealous of the quality of photos a professional produces.

K: Although it adds to the story of our wedding day the home office isn’t the most glamour’s place to get married. On our road trip after the wedding we saw this amazing field with an old broken down stone building. Although it was exactly the wedding we wanted, we didn’t really plan it that well. I think maybe we could have thought about things like the place we got married and photos a bit more.

Runaway_Romance_South Africa_Rebecca_wedding_planner_Polaroid_003

RR: What are 3 things you did because you didn’t blow an insane amount of money on a wedding day?

J & K:

We were able to move to the UK and start the life we wanted to start.


We afforded the deposit on our house much easier by not putting ourselves in crazy debt!

RR: Anything else you think I’ve missed that either of you would like to share?

J: When my brother got married he gave me a video camera to capture the day. Maybe three weeks later after the honeymoon I showed them this video and they were so excited to see it. Because on the day there were so many people and there was so much for them to do they missed so much. By the time they got back from photos people had already been seated and messed up most of the table décor and eaten all the snacks. They spent so much money on all of those elements and they only got to see it on my video three weeks later.

That didn’t happen on our day. We got to fully experience every single aspect of our day, together.

K: Our wedding day was exactly what we wanted but we don’t relive that day over and over. When we celebrate our anniversary we celebrate all the new stuff we’ve done together.



Friends please note this is not a wedding I was part of. I have featured it here purely because it’s awesome!

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