Kanthan and Sarah kept their relationship fairly under wraps so when Sarah announced on Twitter and Facebook she had gotten married, without actually alluding to who the lucky groom was, people were very intrigued.
Sarah sits down with me for this little Q&A and shares all the planning, mystery and love that went into their Clarens elopement.
RR: With all the places you could have picked tell us why you choose Clarens as your elopement destination?
S: I love mountains. We wanted to get out of Joburg and drive for long enough for it to feel like an escape, but not so far that logistically it became a challenge. Clarens is a 3 hour drive which suited us, and because it’s charming and tourist-orientated, that convinced us it was a safe bet.
RR: How long did it take you to plan your elopement?
S: A month – we did a recce one month ahead of time, found our witnesses via Twitter, who in turn found us our celebrant, and then booked the B&B. In that time, I found my outfit and we bought the rings.
RR: One month is a pretty short timeline considering you planned it all yourselves, did you face any challenges with your planning?
S: Biggest challenge was sorting the paperwork – I managed to lose my divorce decree and the lawyer didn’t have a copy so we had to get another one from the court room. Finding a celebrant was also challenging – we were very lucky that we found a former dominee in Clarens who turned out to be perfect for us.
RR: Traditional wedding days come with a lot of people and preparations. Tell me about the morning leading up to your ceremony.
S: We woke at about 7.30 (having had a late night before) to hear rain pouring – most unseasonal! I updated some client stuff on Facebook and Twitter – I don’t have minions able to do that for me – then went for a bracing walk to the local dam. I got back to our cottage completely soaked, then had a shower and started to get dressed. The only hairdresser in Clarens is a 7th Day Adventist and doesn’t work on Saturdays so I ended up doing my hair and makeup myself. The photographer took shots of us getting dressed. 10 minutes before the ceremony, I constructed my bouquet out of Pick n Pay roses, tin foil and a pink streamer. And to steady any nerves we might have, we both had a glass of the red wine left over from the night before.
RR: Nice! I think after being hairdresser, makeup artist and florist you deserve a glass of wine. So what were the highlights of your intimate ceremony and reception?
S: I loved the dog, Holly the border collie, who was one of our witnesses (if accidentally). She asked me to throw her ball for her, so I kicked it.
We also loved the fact that the celebrant quoted the BeeGees in his speech to us, as we had been listening to it on the day before.
RR: As a person who is always connected and sharing your life on your many social platforms how did you keep your plans for an elopement a secret?
S: I alluded to it in a tongue-in-cheek way, but never said anything outright. The thing with social media is that you have the option to share, and we were lucky in that none of the people who did know of our plans leaked them.
RR: How did you and Kanthan deal with the “why weren’t we invited” questions/disappointment from family and friends?
S: My family were amazingly relaxed about it. As for Kanthan, he laughed at people who moaned and pointed out that nobody was there to witness anything. The fact that I had a birthday party planned for 3 weeks later anyway meant that we could use that as a wedding reception, and people felt less left out.
All or nothing – this is the big question. We went for a very small wedding with no family at all, not even Kanthan’s children, but this could be extreme. It worked for us because nobody could feel put out.
RR: You’ve been married before, what perspective or advise can you give couples now that you’ve experienced a traditional big wedding day and a smaller intimate elopement?
S: Firstly, do what feels right for you. Having done the proper thing the first time, complete with the white dress and string quartet, I didn’t need to get that out of my system. I would guess that women who haven’t ever had that experience might long to at least have that big day – whereas a smaller ceremony makes a lot of sense for second marriages. It helps if you’re older and more experienced. At the age of 26, I felt a real sense of obligation towards my family – I was the first grandchild to get married and I needed to do the right thing. Now that I’m older and my family no longer has those expectations, it was easy to convince them that eloping made sense.
Also, give family and friends an opportunity to share the day with you in some way afterwards. We did it with a birthday party and we also have dinners planned with specific friends. My friends who wanted to get involved in a wedding reception were able to have the fun by helping with the birthday party.
If you invest in anything, invest in a photographer. Ours cost more than the rest of the wedding put together, but the photos are what last.
RR: I agree on investing in the photographer! Do you think you will wear your elopement wedding outfit out and about?
S: Yes, I’ve worn it to my birthday party and will wear it whenever the weather is cold.
RR: If you got to elope with Kanthan all over again would you do anything differently?
S: The one thing I wished I’d worn was the opal pendant I bought as a gift to myself on my last trip to Australia. That would have completed the symbolism. But other than that, I was very pleased with how it all worked out.
RR: You had a perfect day, you’re happily married and you didn’t break the bank. Tell me what are 3 things you can now do because you didn’t blow an insane amount of money on a wedding day?
S: Put in a new kitchen! Travel overseas without feeling guilty, and host more dinners for friends.
RR: Anything else you think I’ve missed that either of you would like to share?
S: Twitter played an important role – it’s how I found the witnesses (that story is quite wonderful in its own right – I’ll tell that another time). And I made sure I included Twitter and Facebook at the time, without giving away who I was marrying.
For more from this lovely lady please go and read her article “5 good reasons to elope”
Friends this is not a wedding I was part of. I have featured it here purely to celebrate it!