Andrew and Anja’s nature-inspired wedding can be seen as a cultural explosion, with love fueling the fire. With Anja being from South-Africa and raised in Tanzania, and Andrew being British, they had guests coming from several different continents to celebrate their love. Like most other girls, Anja dreamed of her wedding day since she was 14. She had one venue in mind and wouldn’t settle for anything less. All their family and friends came together at the beautiful Mufindi Highland Lodge. The venue’s unique architecture together with the thick forest as background made for the most beautiful wedding day. When Anja took a moment to take it all in, she described their wedding celebration as a glimpse of what heaven would be.
Scroll down to explore more about this lovely couple and their story.
The engagement story:
Our engagement story is not the most romantic. We talked about getting married a lot so the surprise aspect wasn’t really present. We went for a walk to one of our ‘spots’ where we would usually go for walks when he came to visit me. It was on a golf course that was surrounded by greenery and the sun was close to setting, cascading a warm golden glow over the golf course and reflecting off of the lake that we stopped at to sit down. We were just having one of our normal chats when Andrew started steering the conversation to a more serious and intimate note.
Tips to couples getting married:
Our most valuable tip would be to make sure you listen to each other. I was so swept up in the day that I failed to ask my husband if he was happy with everything and enjoying himself. Because of this we missed out on some really great and important photo opportunities that he wanted to include.
Favorite wedding memory:
I am South-African and grew up in Tanzania and Andrew is British. Our wedding was incredibly multi-cultural with guests that came from literally every continent. My favorite memory of my wedding was the night before the wedding. We had a bonfire and a spit roast. There was music of different genres and cultural backgrounds- from sokkie music, to Tanzanian tunes, to old English rock and roll. Later in the evening, we were incredibly blessed to experience a traditional Masai wedding tribal dance/ initiation of the groom. It was a very rare thing to experience since the Masai only perform this dance with their own kind and it was a tradition that was not performed lightly within their culture.
The whole evening was a celebration of cultures where everyone was celebrated. South-Africans danced with Romanians, Belgians danced with Kenyans, Malaysians danced with Americans! To me personally, it was a small glimpse of what heaven will be like.
The Wedding Dress:
I bought my wedding dress three years before my wedding. My friend and I love thrift shopping; On one occasion we walked into a charity shop and decided to try on their wedding dresses. Incredible masterpieces from the 80’s and 90’s with big Princess Diana sleeves and vintage lace was the main attraction. As I was flipping through the dresses my hand landed on a beaded bodice. I pulled it out and thought wow – this is princess diaries pretty! I tried on the dress and it fit like a glove. It was magnificent! After examining the dress and researching the attached tags, I walked out that day with an American designer wedding dress for a whopping sum of R800! Easily the best buy ever!
Musical choices at the Wedding:
The worship music in the church was an important part of the wedding that Andrew wanted to be involved in. He had complete control over the music during the ceremony. Throughout the rest of the celebration, especially the reception, we asked guests ahead of time to send us song requests.
Our first dance song was not really something either of us had thought about and in the greater scope of things, we weren’t too bothered about it. We both decided to go with Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud.
The Wedding Cake:
Initially we weren’t going to have a cake because the only cake the lodge cook knew how to bake, was Christmas cake, which neither I not the groom was a fan of. As a wedding gift, my brother’s girlfriend asked if she could be in charge of the cake. We gladly handed her the challenge. At the end of the day, she managed to fly in 3 tiers of carrot cake from South Africa to Tanania. The cake survived a 3 hour flight and a 17 hour bus journey – all in one piece! She assembled it at the lodge and whipped up a cream cheese icing. I might not have been the most aesthetic cake in the world, but it was definitely the most delicious!
Throughout my childhood, my family would visit this place called Mufindi Highland Lodge. Almost every holiday and Christmas we would go there and we eventually became friends with the owners of the lodge. I call the lodge, ‘my little bit England in Africa.’ I have dreamed and imagined having my wedding there since the age of 14. So when we started planning our wedding, my husband asked where my dream location would be and I told him. Without much convincing, we agreed and booked our venue.
Wedding colors and decor:
We didn’t have a set color palette. The whole mood of the wedding from theme, to decor, to the cake can be described as effortless. A lot of natural greenery was used within the decor. White sheer fabric was draped on the tables and recycled glass bottles, sand and wooden stumps were used. The church was again decorated with a lot of greenery and natural components. If I absolutely had to give a color palette, I would probably say white.
I wanted everything to look natural, warm and intimate. I don’t think there was a specific influence guiding the decor style. Because our wedding was held in an incredibly remote location, we had to either drive up the decor items or we had to make do with what the lodge and environment had to offer. Since I have envisioned my wedding day at this specific location, I had a very good idea of what I wanted.