Lauren and Ryan chose Mjejane Private Reserve in the Kruger Park as the venue for their safari wedding. Ryan and his family are originally from South Africa (now living in the USA). They had returned to celebrate his grandfather’s birthday and decided to end their trip with a safari style elopement.

A little bit about Lauren & Ryan… they met in 2011 in college, where Lauren was a resident advisor on call. She was called to a neighboring building because Ryan had broken his wrist. But, they didn’t actually talk until they met about a year later at a party. They realised there was something worth holding onto when they were locked down in his dorm room during a terrible snowstorm that closed down the university for two weeks. Lauren and Ryan balance each other well, with Ryan bringing out Lauren’s more adventurous side and Lauren helping Ryan become more organised.

Tying the Knot with Nature as Witness

They chose the Kruger Park for its enchanting beauty and unique charm. On the banks of the Crocodile River, the reserve offers a stunning natural backdrop wedding ceremonies. The sound of flowing water and the rustling of the leaves create a serene atmosphere that perfectly complement these joyous occasions.

A Safari-Inspired Celebration

Guests were treated to a game drive from the lodge to the ceremony area. Lauren followed closely behind in her own game vehicle. Along the way, they stopped to watch a herd of elephants, waterbuck and rhinos. The reserve’s breathtaking views of the Crocodile River provided the perfect backdrop for a romantic and intimate ceremony. The lush landscape and vibrant wildlife set the stage for a wedding that would be etched in the memories of all who attended. Lauren and Ryan exchanged their vows in front of their families in a heartfelt ceremony surrounded by the beauty of the African wilderness.

There were some lovely touches added… Ryan’s grandfather was the ring bearer. Each guest received a fan, a little bottle of insect repellent and a bag of biltong to snack on.

Following the ceremony, guests were treated to a memorable experience with sundowner cocktails. These were created specifically for Lauren and Ryan, served in personalised glasses. As the sun started setting, guests enjoyed a game drive back to the lodge while Lauren & Ryan enjoyed their couple shoot, making the most of the golden hues of the sunset, and serene setting.

A Night to Remember

The celebration continued with a delicious traditional South African braai dinner. Guests were treated to an array of flavors, savoring the rich and aromatic dishes that showcased the country’s culinary heritage. The dinner overlooking the Crocodile River provided the perfect setting for heartfelt toasts and speeches.

Laughter and joy filled the air as parents and siblings took the stage to share touching toasts and speeches. The celebration was not just about Lauren and Ryan; it was a tribute to the bonds of family and the joining of two worlds. As glasses clinked and laughter echoed, the night became a testament to the love and unity that Lauren and Ryan had found in each other. Lauren and Ryan shared a slide show of their lives both separately and together, leading up to this special day.

This wonderful celebration brought together three generations from across continents to celebrate love, life, and the enduring bonds that make family gatherings truly special. The South African bush served as the perfect canvas for their love story, and the wedding became a cherished memory for all who attended. This magical wedding not only marked the beginning of Lauren and Ryan’s married life but also created lasting memories for everyone fortunate enough to witness their love story unfold in the heart of Africa.


The amazing team behind this elopement:
Photographer – Jolian’s Photography | Hair – Natural Glow Hairdressing | Makeup – Shelly Cue Makeup Artistry | Marriage Officer – Louise from Runaway Romance Marriage Officers | Planning, flowers, décor and on the day coordination – Runaway Romance |

Comments (0)


I accept the Privacy Policy


If you’ve come this far and like what you’ve read, sign up and become a Runaway Romance Renegade (coz the real fun stuff happens behind closed doors

*Please subscribe to our newsletter above.