Emma Charlotte Anne Lovett and Dominic Luke Harding were introduced by his future-best man, when the two were living in Hong Kong. Coincidentally, Emma’s boyfriend, at the time of her introduction to Dom, was Dom’s sister’s ex. “A rather small world!” Emma remarks. It wasn’t until she left Hong Kong that she realized that perhaps there was more than friendship between them. “Dom knew a little earlier on than I did, apparently!”
After two years of long-distance, he proposed at the Singapore Botanical Gardens. “Well, he somewhat gave the game away because never before had I been woken up at 7:00 a.m. with a bouquet of flowers and told to wear something for a picnic breakfast,” Emma says. He handed her champagne glasses and got down on one knee.
Since Emma and Dom had both been to South Africa multiple, separate times with their families over the years, it was a special place in both of their hearts. It was also the location where he first met her family, so they planned for a February, 2016 wedding in Africa. “It was either going to be a winter wedding in Switzerland or a summer wedding in South Africa,” the bride, who grew up around the mountain in Gstaad, remarks. To help plan their whole wedding weekend, the couple hired Anna H Styling.
Surprisingly for the bride, who loves clothes and works with fashion clients, she didn’t particularly love her wedding dress shopping experience. Her mother wanted her to go for a more traditional style, but that didn’t exactly add up with a summer wedding and the heat. In London, Emma visited Le Spose di Giò, where her sister-in-law had purchased her dress from, and was overwhelmed by her first appointment. She ultimately went for the “best option” she found there.
“In hindsight, I would have liked to have immersed myself in the process more and enjoyed it,” Emma remarks. Looking back, she wouldn’t have ended up with the dress she chose and says she would’ve gone straight to Emilia Wickstead.
Under a giant tree amongst the Franschhoek vineyards with the mountains as the backdrop, the bride walked down the aisle, arm-in-arm with her father. “We wanted the structure of a traditional British ceremony but blended with buckets of South African spirit,” Emma explains. They sang English hymns and had a traditional African wedding song and dance performed—it was the ideal hybrid.
Once announced as husband and wife, everyone moved into the gardens and courtyard of the vineyard. After the delicious dinner under the stars of langoustine, roast lamb saddle, cured springbok, and seasonal vegetables, the newlyweds and their guests did a full wedding shot of local liqueur and moved to the dancing area and opened the main bar.
The new Mr. and Mrs. had their first dance to “You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne, and then they were stuck on the dance floor all night long. “My husband is rather known for doing the worm,” Emma says. “There are many memories of the dance floor clearing, so that he could do the worm with everyone around cheering and laughing.”
The bride’s favorite moment was actually the following morning, when she and Dom woke up early and watched the sunrise while reflecting on their marvelous wedding day. “It was such a special moment,” she says. “It was just perfectly ‘us.’”