Real wedding: Raelene & Nathaniel

Real wedding: Raelene & Nathaniel

Former Miss Teen SA Raelene Rorke and Bostonian Nathaniel Clarke brought their two worlds together for a special weekend-long celebration in Hoedspruit.


We loved the setting of Kapama River Lodge. It’s so luxurious and was big enough to accommodate 126 people comfortably, with lots of different areas to entertain our guests throughout the weekend – we didn’t have to use the main hall until the night of the actual wedding! The Kapama team was unreal, and the game drives were filled with wildlife action (almost everybody had an incredible viewing story). It was such a perfect safari-wedding experience.


With some 40 of our guests visiting Africa for the first time, the weekend was about them as much as it was about us, so the decision to have a safari wedding was an easy one. The theme was vintage African bush. We had a very romantic candlelit spit-braai under the stars on the Friday evening, with local dancers for entertainment, and finished with a traditional Xhosa wedding ceremony. Everybody came in traditional clothing and learnt some local dance moves!


I had chosen a dress way before the wedding date, but it got stuck at customs and was shipped back to the US. I tried on about 25 other dresses in Joburg, but they all started looking alike to me. On a trip to Boston before our wedding, I went to Vows Bridal Outlet and fell in love with three dresses, which I had no idea were all from the same designer, Monique Lhuillier. I chose the one I felt most comfortable in; it was perfect!


We kept the decor natural and elegant – canvas chairs, a hessian carpet for the aisle and lots of greenery, with a pink, red and lime green colour scheme for the flowers. The reception was set in a beautiful dining hall with simple wooden furniture, huge chandeliers, more than 200 candles and plenty of romantic roses.


We worked with the hotel to plan a simple, elegant menu that had something for everybody: roasts, vegetables, and for the starter, hearty soup. It was delicious. We also ordered 11 of our favourite cakes from Châteaux Gâteaux and had their Mozart cake (layers of Japonais with hazelnut praline cream and chocolate shavings) for our wedding cake.


There were so many amazing moments throughout the weekend, but at about 10 pm on the night of our reception, the skies opened up with a torrential downpour – the first of the season! Rainfall on your wedding day is meant to be a blessing, and as the area was experiencing an extreme drought, the timing was even more special. 

We also asked guests to donate to Umgazana Primary School, near my hometown in the Eastern Cape, instead of giving us gifts.


‘There Will Be Time’ by Mumford & Sons


Venue: Kapama River Lodge, Kapama Private Game Reserve
Photography: Louise Meyer Photographers
Co-ordination: Adiel Tryon at Umvini
Rings: Park Lane Jewels
Flowers: Flower Market
Decor: The Wedding Warehouse
Stationery: Lime By Design
Cakes & dessert: Château Gâteaux
Band: Tokyo Groove


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