Me, Lindsey, two dogs, two oceans, a wedding and kilometers of empty roads, driving through a beatiful country.
After a good night of sleep, it was time to pack up our bags and move to Rieebek Wes, the location of the wedding, 80km north of Cape Town. The dogs (all four of them, Kirsten's Lucky and Dub and our two) travelled in another car while we collected the flowers.
The day was fantastic, no sign of clouds in the sky and the long drive to the countryside part of the Western Cape, far from the Ocean but still on the nice side of the mountains, where wineries keep popping along the roads, was relaxing enough, with Lindsey driving. I was just holding the precious flowers and decorations for the wedding in the back of the car. No pressure.
The farm chosen by the future Sprawsons was incredibly nice. I didn't even look at the brochure or the pictures months ago, all they told was that they were getting married in a barn.
So in my mind I imagined some strange and hilbilly-ish place on the mountain where dodgy Afrikaners would squeeze us in a small and smelly place, surrounded by cows and pigs.
Luckily I was wrong (and this happened a lot during the trip).
I don't remember much of my own wedding's preparation. Probably because I wasn't there. While the Thomsons were checking up the arrangements made by the professionals, I was in a drinking and swimming in a pool with my overseas friends. So when I volunteered myself to help out with the preparation I was expecting to just sit around, sip some local wine, and spend 10 minutes helping with the decorations.
The Thomsons literally took over the place. Everything was arranged by Kirsten's close and extended family (like her cousins Debbie and Bronwyn and her auntie Della), who arranged flowers, banters, tables while trying to get ready for a wedding.
After spending some time hiding with Curtis, to avoid girlie duties (you know, I hate flowers), we decided that maybe it was time to help a little. I spent some time setting up the camera (I brought all my kit to film the special event) and then just doing the bits and bops, like taking care of my way too excited dogs.
The camera was ready, the lights in the barn were ready, and almost everyone was there (Andy's family arrived maybe 1 hour before the ceremony, to keep it exciting): it was time to start.
Andy arrived with his brother (who was playing the guitar), and the door at the bottom of the barn opened to let the bridesmaids in: Bronwyn, Nicola (Andy's sister), Lindsey and Jill. Then it was Kirsten's time to walk the aisle with her father David (who just 1 year and 1 day before walk another aisle with another daughter). She looked wonderful, and you could see Andy's face finally relaxing and letting the tension fly far, far away.
The ceremony was probably the quickest I've ever seen (15 minutes top), and I must say that I really liked it this way: short and sweet. No too many songs, no too much preaching, just the usual words and a nice exchange of vows (I wasn't really listening, I was too focused on framing it, but Lindsey told me the vows were cute).
Since I was filming, I didn't take many pictures, but you can check the official pictures in the link at the bottom of this page.
After the usual session of photos, it was time for me to swap the cameraman's hat for the master of ceremonies' hat (yes, I'm a multi task man, you can hire me for your wedding, all I need is a ticket, some cash and free food and booze).
The reception was outside, and the weather was perfect for the occasion. Very hot to start with (when everyone was still in the cold barn) and gradually turning to a pleasant 25 degrees, while everyone was eating. The food was great, and the speeches (David, Andy's brother and Andy) fitted the occasion.
Andy then got the acoustic guitar and sang Adam Sandler's I want to grow old with you (here's the link to the original video, from the Wedding Singer's movie).
Then, it was time to party. Back in the barn, converted now from a church to a disco, we plugged my iPod and Andy's computer and danced the night away.
Few hours later, it was time to go to sleep, and in the silence of the valley, the only thing you could hear was the dogs barking (Cucciola apparently doesn't really like people with a different colour of skin).
The next morning, before everyone went back home, we had a gigantic breakfast together and then we said goodbye to the newly married couple who left to go to Paternoster, somewhere by the sea in the Western Cape (I think).
Lindsey and I were assigned to stay at the Sprawsons' cottage, house sitting their dogs. For me, after days of travelling around, it was a nice occasion to finally do some work and relax for a week.
I was so wrong.