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Pushing the envelope with trendsetting ideas

Pushing the envelope with trendsetting ideas
Elsje Designs creates fun & functional gifts, stationery and table decor with a true South African touch


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Friday, March 16, 2012

Simplicity & Authenticity: A beach wedding with a difference

Recently I consulted on a wedding that was a bit different to many of the weddings I’ve been involved in – it was simple. And that’s what made it beautiful.

They didn’t do many of the things we take for granted as being part of a wedding – there was no church, no aisle, no music. There were no tables or chairs or table settings. No real speeches, no waiting for ages while photos were taken and no massive haul of presents, but what was there was what mattered most to the couple.

The ceremony was on the beach at Pringle Bay, with the bride & groom and almost everyone else barefoot. The space was help lightly by a spray of tall paper pinwheels, and the ceremony was outlined in fans of silvery layers that shone in the sunshine.

The ceremony started with the bride and groom walking onto the beach from opposite sides with their families in tow – the people who matter most. And then the personalized vows lead to the rings being carried happily in by Phoebe the Fox Terrier who was in attendance dutifully the whole time.

A ring ceremony allowed everyone to take a moment with the rings (on the safety of a ribbon!) and send them back around to the couple who finalized their commitment with a traditional broom jump to a group countdown, and then glorious showers of pink Erica flowers – we felt the fynbos confetti suited to the stunning fynbos of the area, and it worked a treat.

After a couple of photos on the dunes, they retired to the beach house where silver throws, hundreds of cushions on the lawn and stone walls, and a scattering of proteas in silver tea-pots and glass bottles welcomed everyone to sit back, literally, enjoy a glass of wine and then peruse the menus we had printed onto pillows before tucking into the crayfish braai.

And later to leave a message tied to the couples’ broom for future good wishes, and memories of a lovely, soul filled day on the beach with good friends.

Simple and true to the couple, it was such a good reminder that weddings are about the people involved.

The bride is, other than a recent bride, a brand expert who has also been working with me on understanding the brand that I’ve built in Elsje Designs, and also exploring the exciting and nerve-wracking possibilities of what that brand is and could be in the future.

Anneleigh has been a revelation in this process, not only because she has so much experience with brands in so many different contexts, but also because she listens. She knows her stuff, and then she listens and feeds back and helps you figure out your stuff.

And so from what I know about her, and what I’ve learnt about brands and branding from her, it was quite fitting that her wedding was simple and authentic because that is pretty much her mantra for working with brands!

She likes to say that brands are about telling the real stories of a business. If you can tell someone simply what it is you do that really – really - makes you stand out from the crowd, then you know what your brand story is about. And then you can shape everything about your brand authentically. And that is what she’s helping me do with Elsje Designs – and so far it’s been wonderful and I highly recommend her if you’re grappling with a brand or figuring out where your business’ real story is.I feel so fortunate to know such wonderful people – especially in a time of change which is exciting but scary. I hope you make a point of surrounding yourself with the best people when you face changes too.

It makes sense, doesn’t it, that her wedding - like the brands she tends - should have been the epitome of beautiful simplicity.

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