Long distance relationships will make you do crazy things. Like: decide to get married and do it as soon as possible. Following An Engagement In Paris, Jono and I had to face a lot of difficult decisions in terms of where, how, and when we would be getting married.

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From day one I knew that I didn’t want a traditional white wedding, and neither of us wanted a religious ceremony. I was set to graduate with my Master’s degree in Paris in July, unsure of what the rest of the year will hold: would I have a job, will it be in South Africa, will it be long term, etc.

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In spite of a lot of insecurity, and (to be honest) the pure desire to bind ourselves together forever as soon as humanly possible, we devised a plan. We would get married at the Department of Home Affairs the moment I arrived back in South Africa, and we'd organise a ceremony when we have more clarity about our future, finances, location, and all those grown-up things.

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A date was booked, rings were made, and parents were flown in (they had no idea what was going down until the day before the wedding – a risky surprise, I’ll admit). We picked classic black as a colour scheme with flowers from Lush as the only pops of colour for a lovely wintery city wedding.

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So, on 7 July 2017 at 9 a.m., Jono, myself, our parents, and my siblings (you are only allowed 6 guests at the proceedings) were bundled into a private ceremony room at the Department of Home Affairs in Cape Town. Our friend, Ashiq Johnson, was there to capture the events of the day saving family members from to have to fumble with phones and cameras through bleary eyes. It was an incredibly intimate and sweet ceremony – Noma, the officiator in charge of our marriage, was warm and friendly. She made the day feel as special as it should! Jokes and vows were exchanged, everybody felt comfortable, and there was not a hint of nerves anywhere. After a few formalities, our marriage was recorded, and that was that!

We decided to celebrate with our families at (where else) Raptor Room where my sister and her partner organised a champagne brunch. Ashiq was so kind as to take a few photos of the newly married couple but I have to admit that neither Jono nor I can keep a straight face in front of the camera. Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun!

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A few hours later we were on the road heading to an isolated little cabin in the mountains for our honeymoon (photos to come soon), where we spent a long weekend huddled in front of the fireplace, exchanging our vows, and spending some much-needed time together after months apart. Today, about 2 months later, I feel so incredibly thankful, and happy. Not only that I got to marry my best friend, and partner for life, but that we got to do it in a way that we felt comfortable with.

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There are no rules, no prescribed itinerary and no standard procedure when it comes to a wedding. I wouldn’t have had ours any other way and will cherish the memory forever.

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Photography by Ashiq Johnson.

Words by Zanie.