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This Couple Had Their First Dance to an Afrikaans Song at Their Wedding in South Africa’s Winelands

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Chelsey Selby

When James Klerck met Anina Visser, his roommate was taking her to their Stellenbosch University formal, which they all were taking a two-hour car ride to get to. The annual event was known to go until sun up, and Anina’s date showed no signs of slowing down, so she decided to nap in the car at around 4:00 a.m. It turns out James had a similar idea.

After that night, they started sharing music that they liked, going on coffee dates between classes, and ended up spending their summer holiday in the same place. “He officially asked me out on one of these summer nights on the beach to Jet’s song, ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl,’” Annie says. After four years of dating—with the last one spent long distance between South Africa and China—James proposed in a blooming peach orchard in the Koo Valley.

Since Anina is a journalist at a media company, her co-workers made sure to save her all of the bridal magazines they received from the publishers, so she could find as much inspiration as possible. She was initially set on a Grace Loves Lace dress for her wedding, but after looking at local designers, she went the custom route at Cape Town bridal studio Robyn Roberts. Together, she and the team came up with an off-white crepe gown with a low back and plunging neckline. “James got his suit from David Jones in what he made out to be one of the easiest shopping trips ever,” the bride says. “I was a little jealous!” 

Nestled between the Stellenbosch mountains, they found their wedding venue in the Olive Press at Boschendal Wine Estate. “The venue itself had a beautifully balanced aesthetic that was the perfect combination between authentic and chic,” Anina says. The bride and her mother planned most of the wedding together, but they hired Leigh Harding as a co-coordinator to make sure everything went according to plan. 

On September 14th, 2019, in the heart of the town where many of the couple’s memories had been made, the two were married in the United Church. The bride walked down the aisle with her brother, Du Toit, to “Stave Alive” by Jose Gonzales. “James was beautifully emotional, but warned me before hand, that he would probably cry during those first moments in the church,” Anina says.

After being pronounced as husband and wife, everyone made their way to the reception, where pre-drinks and lawn games were waiting. Then guests headed into the dining space, decorated by Botanica Flowers and Baie Goeters Decor. Hanging greenery and naked bulbs were placed above the tables, where menus and name cards by Carmen Coetzer of Grand Central, who did all the stationery for the day, sat along with pots of honey. 

“The evening was characterized by LOTS of dancing, laughing, catch ups with friends, chats around the fires, and stargazing on the beanbags on the lawn. All in all, it was a celebration of love—which is what we really wanted it to be,” the bride summarizes. The two entered their reception to “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and had their first dance to an Afrikaans song called “My Engel” by local band Melktert Kommissie— “because both our home languages are Afrikaans,” she adds. 

The evening ended by Anina and James walking through a spontaneous tunnel of their friends to the cottage, where they were staying. The next morning, they had a quick breakfast with the bridal party before immediately taking off for their honeymoon around their home country of South Africa.