Forever feeding our insatiable desire for the modern boheme, Shannon Pittman’s (of bridal label Bo & Luca) recent wedding epitomizes whimsical romance, with hand-beaded gowns and afternoon wanders through endless fields of wildflowers.
After first meeting Mark on a whirlwind trip to South Africa, the pair connected through time zones, with Shannon splitting her time between Cape Town and her native Sydney. Their wedding was held on the South African peninsula, hidden down a treelined driveway that led to a poolside restaurant nestled between apple orchards.
An extension of her brand, Shannon’s wedding was an exploration of freedom in design, with romance materializing in the smallest of details. An ode to everything local, Bo & Luca gowns and jewels were paired freshly picked blooms and company stationery. Guests dined on harvest tables piled with honeyed camembert and charcuterie, eating with antique cutlery collected from the couple’s travels across the globe…
Photography by Deon & Reni.
Names / Shannon & Mark
Wedding Date / April 7, 2018
Guest Numbers / 110
How We Met…
Mark and I met through some friends whilst I was on a trip to South Africa. I’m not sure if I believe in love at first sight, however, my husband is so handsome I was instantly attracted to him, we talked all throughout the evening and exchanged numbers. He was so sweet and a true gentleman. The next week he took me on the most romantic date, a picnic on the side of the most beautiful mountain with the most incredible views, Chapman’s Peak.
Our Engagement Story…
After 2 years of a long distance relationship, I decided to split my time between Cape Town and Sydney. Long distance is not for the faint-hearted. In the first 6 months we lived right on the beach in an area called Hout Bay which is based at the bottom of the beautiful Chapman’s Peak, where we had our first picnic date. One evening after work Mark came home and asked me to hike the mountain with him. When we reached the point on the mountain where we had our first date, Mark bent down on one knee and proposed to me. He is incredibly romantic I couldn’t think of anything more magical or thoughtful.
Marriage To Us Means…
Trust, compassion and friendship. Trust that we will always have each other’s back. Compassionate enough to never be too arrogant or angry to see the others point of view, always trying to understand our own personal views and letting each other grow. Friendship, having the ability to laugh when things are tough, having fun with one another, never having to be too serious.
I fell in love with my wedding venue the moment I walked in, it was a picturesque little restaurant surrounded by an apple orchard with a beautiful pond like pool under some hanging Oak trees. Mark and I had taken a drive out to a wine farm in an area called Elgin and we had stopped for lunch. The venue was hidden away down a long oak tree lined road and had this calm serene feel. The valley that the restaurant lies within has rolling green hills and fields of wild flowers.
Theme & Style
Romantic Garden Soirée – I wanted something intimate a little whimsical and a place where everyone felt like they were in their own little secret garden.
Wedding photos are one the most important aspects of the day, they capture a story of the most important people and day of your life. We were very specific from the start of what we had in mind and what was important to us. I feel you need to be very selective with your wedding photographers as they are going to be documenting an important moment for you.
We chose to work with Deon & Reni (previously Modern Hearts Photography), I loved their documentary-style photography. We were very clear with what we wanted them to capture, small moments throughout the entire day of all of our loved ones, we didn’t want to wander away for hours and have millions of images of just the two of us. It was to capture the celebration of life and all of the people we love. They were amazing and so easy to work with. Our images are very raw and real.
As a wedding dress designer for the brand Bo & Luca, I already knew exactly what I would create for my own wedding day. My brand and the beautiful brides that wear my gowns are everything that I stand for: strong, free-spirited, kind and a little bohemian at heart. Bo & Luca is a niche bridal brand, so if you are a Bo & Luca bride you truly understand my brand and everything that we do.
I wanted my wedding gown to be romantic, effortless and a little whimsical, it was everything me. I loved wearing one of my own gowns on my wedding day. It felt so special to wear a gown that I had created.
I had been searching for the perfect pale gold sandals for over a year. I finally ordered a pair of Gucci sandals from Net-a-Porter but when they arrived I realized they were far too high, I would never last the day in stilettos. While I was on a trip in LA I found this gorgeous little boutique on Melrose Avenue and they had the perfect pale gold sandal! They had a thin ruffled strap over the toes and a fine thin strap that buckled around the ankle. They were delicate and exactly what I had imagined.
I thought it would be nice for the girls to wear something a little special, it’s not often in life that you get to wear something hand-crafted. I chose two of our Bo & Luca dresses that worked perfectly for each of their body types. These were made from soft silk chiffon and hand beaded with a scattering of tiny pale gold beads, they fit the theme of the wedding beautifully, and the girls felt so beautiful in their dresses. They were glowing on the day, it really makes a difference to wear something that you truly feel so beautiful in!
We searched everywhere for the bridesmaids’ shoes. We were looking for a pair of thin strap heels in a muted gold. We finally found them at a small boutique in Stellenbosch which is a wineland area just out of Cape Town.
One of Mark’s best friends is an incredible jeweler who hand-crafts beautiful pieces. Mark wanted a non-traditional band and so York created him a raw edge silver platinum band that has a rough woven effect through the band.
I designed my own wedding band and my team of artisans hand-crafted this for me. It’s a thick 18K gold band that has been stamped with raw black diamonds along each edging. It has also been hand engraved with tiny Indian temple script.
Jewelry & Accessories
For my wedding jewelry I wore my grandfather’s gold St Christopher chain that was gifted to me when I was 14. I wore my hair pretty loose and natural on the day, so I wore the Bo & Luca 9K gold Aurelia earrings which I loved and finished my look.
Mark was pretty relaxed about everything and just wanted to wear a charcoal suit and a traditional black bow tie that you have to tie by hand (he was adamant that he did not want the already fixed bow tie!). The men also wore charcoal suits, crisp white shirts and black shoes.
It was important to me to feel as natural as possible on my wedding day. I have long wavy hair which I always wear loose so I had my hairdresser give me a nice blowout and loosely pinned around my face.
I wanted my wedding makeup to be as natural as possible, I don’t usually wear any makeup so I didn’t want to feel too overwhelmed on the day. My best friend is a makeup artist and she knows me really well so was perfect for the job! She used a light tinted moisturizer with a sheer base for the coverage, neutral colors for the eyes, black mascara and a small fine black cat eye slick.
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Stationery & Invitations
Our friends are spread out all over the globe and standard post is so tricky in South Africa that we decided to us an online application called Paperless post. From a selection of thousands of templates, we chose a very simple botanical print paperless invitation to send out by email to all of our guests.
For our menus and thank you cards, I used the Bo & Luca stationery, which is a beautiful off-white recycled paper which was gold foiled and stamped. The paper has been created from old textile waste which is so important to me. The garment industry is one of the 3rd largest industries in the world for water wastage so it’s important to do what little we can to preserve our world.
I love creating gifts for people, so for each of wedding our guests I created a perfume oil. I mixed each of the oils at a perfumery in India. For the women, I created scents of jasmine and rose petals while for the men I used Arabic spices. Each of these perfumes was accompanied by a handwritten, personalized card. It was so nice to write individual cards to each of our guests telling them how much we loved each of them.
Flowers & Bouquets
I love raw and wild botanicals, the kind that looks like you have just picked them from your granny’s garden. For the aisle/alter I wanted buckets of large oversized white florals that were loosely put together. The dining tables were set with long garlands and wreaths of local flora, white heather and penny gum and a little tuberose for the scent. I love playing with flowers so on the morning of the wedding my bridesmaids and I made our own bouquets filled with tuberose, white gladioli, rustic heather blowout and white wax flowers, we then wrapped them in twine to finish.
The morning of the wedding was a little chaotic, I wanted to do absolutely everything – from décor styling, cake styling and flower styling (which in hindsight it was a little silly of me). My bridesmaids and I all got ready together in a beautiful farm cottage sipping champagne. It was a really lovely time to just be with my girls, they all live so far away from me now, so I wanted to just soak in every single moment with each of them.
Ceremony Décor & Reception Décor
My husband and I love flea markets and there’s an amazing market near our house that is the length of 3 rugby fields. It’s by the seaside and we usually take a stroll through the market on a Sunday, so much treasure! Over the past year I have been collecting beautiful silver vintage cutlery and amazing brass trays. We used these pieces to style the Harvest table.
The venue setting itself was so perfect we didn’t want to overwhelm or clutter the tables with anything. The rustic wooden tables were decorated with rustic garlands, vintage cutlery and crystal glassware.
In the garden area we had gorgeous white British, colonial style Parasols that decorated the relaxed garden setting. The guests loved listening to Jazz and lounging in the garden.
Wedding Planner & Stylist
I didn’t have a wedding planner as I have been in the industry for a while and like to organize things on my own. I also wanted to be in charge of all the décor and styling.
However, I would recommend using an on the day stylist, they come in for the day and put everything together as you have asked and organize the catering and events throughout the evening. This gives you the freedom to just relax and enjoy the day ahead.
We chose to have a three-tier carrot cake which was covered in a white cream cheese icing. I decorated each tier of the cake in wreaths of tuberose and pale pink and white wax flowers.
For the ceremony song I chose a beautiful Sting rendition ‘Fields of Gold’ sung by a singer named Eva Cassidy. It had the most soulful melody, she sings this so beautifully.
For the first dance, we chose ‘Harvest Moon’ by Neil Young. The backstory to this is that a few years ago Mark and I were vintage shopping in an area called Woodstock, there was an old antique store that had hundreds of records and this was the first record we purchased together. ‘Harvest Moon’ was also one of the first songs we danced to as a couple, so it held beautiful memories for us.
Mark and I both love music and we have an appreciation for classical Jazz. We compiled a list of our favorite artists and songs and sent this over to our DJ. We had a meeting with the DJ SilkMusic, they were really amazing and understood exactly what we wanted. In the evening we just wanted everyone to have fun, so we wanted that old school 80s and 90s music that everyone of all ages loves to dance to. It really was so much fun.
Food & Beverages
One of the reasons for choosing our wedding venue was for the amazing food that is prepared by the chef Gordon Manuel and his team. They use mostly organic and farm fresh produce. Mark and I took his 92-year-old granny for a tasting at the venue and we loved the food so much.
We chose to have a harvest style selection for the pre-seating. This consisted of the most delicious cheese and charcuterie platters along with figs coated in camembert and homemade duck parfait. I had collected beautiful vintage, brass trays from the weekend flea markets and we used these to serve the dishes.
For the main course we chose lamb shank coated in a vegetable brûlée, the meat was so tender and melted off the bone. For dessert they served chocolate pudding with berry sorbet and fresh berries from the farm. The meals were accompanied by the farm’s signature Oak Valley Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc
We have some lovely friends that live in both Spain and Italy. We’re planning on spending a week in Catalonia with one of my beautiful bridesmaids, she has a horse ranch which we will stay in for a week, then a week in Majorca by the seaside with my other bridesmaid.
My husband asked if we could have time alone (I guess that is the point of a honeymoon, but it’s so hard when all of your closest friends live in the most amazing cities around the world!). We then fly to Italy where we will be driving the beautiful southern coast of Italy the Puglia region. After Puglia a group of our friends have rented the most beautiful Villa in Tuscany this is where we will end the remaining part of our honeymoon. My most favorite thing in the world is to drive through small villages, taste amazing food, chat with the locals and shop local treasures.
We had a wishing well instead of gifts, we already had a home full of everything, so a contribution towards our honeymoon seemed like a nicer gesture.
Couples these days have generally already set up a household and have everything you need, weddings are expensive and usually after the day there is nothing left for the honeymoon.
Our celebrants were the most amazing couple, Dirk and Lorraine who are a husband and wife team who had been married for over 40 years. They were genuine, and it felt like we were listening to words of wisdom from your grandparents.
They also create special rituals throughout their ceremonies, we chose to celebrate our Mothers and did a ritual for our mums. My Mother walked me down the aisle and before we were celebrated as husband and wife we gave our mothers one final last kiss. It was very sweet and a special moment. Weddings really are about family and letting your loved ones know how much you love and care for them.
Sources Of Inspiration
I’ve been working in weddings for a while now and I work in design so I find inspiration in so many different things. I knew exactly what I wanted and most of this came from childhood daydreaming in my grandmother’s beautiful rose garden. I love, love, love wild gardens and big old country homes and a lot of my inspiration came from Home & Garden magazines. I also loved searching through Pinterest and the ‘Lanes Real Weddings’ features.
A Memorable Moment…
Walking down the aisle and seeing all of the people that I love looking back, then seeing Mark at the end of the aisle with a big smile. Knowing that he was going to be my husband and life partner was the best feeling ever.
One Thing I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Wedding Plans…
How much work goes into hosting a wedding!!
If I Could Give Other Brides To Be One Piece Of Advice…
Do not make the wedding about all of the small things, it doesn’t matter if not everything goes to plan. What truly matters is remembering to celebrate the day, leave your wedding stress at the door and enjoy each and every moment with your loved ones.
Photography / Deon & Reni
Bride’s Dress / Bo & Luca
Bridesmaids’ Dresses / Bo & Luca
Groom’s Formal Wear / David Jones
Jewelry & Accessories / Bo & Luca
Makeup / Brie Stevenson
Stationery / Bo & Luca
Venue & Catering / The Pool Room, Oak Valley Estate
Celebrant / Dirk & Lorraine Miller
Entertainment / SilkMusic
Transport / Gaffleys Limos
Décor Hire / Hout Huis