Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of shooting the Engagement Session for Erns & Aninke at their Wedding Venue, Mangwa Valley Game Lodge, in South Africa. I had a bit of a debate with myself whether this post was going to be in Afrikaans or in English… but it was such a beautiful story that I decided to write in English so that more of my friends could understand.
Mangwa Valley Game Lodge & Spa is situated in the heart of the Dinokeng Big 5 Game Reserve and is the perfect location for a real South African celebration. The location had such a peaceful ambiance that I was sad to leave. I cannot wait to see what the sunset will look like during their wedding this coming October as the views from the venue over the surrounding area... was truly spectacular. The venue is only a small reason why I'm so excited about shooting this wedding. Erns and Aninke has a way of making anyone feel comfortable in their presence. They are just so in love and happy to share it, that I'm honored that they chose me to document this special day.
I asked Erns & Aninke about how they met. Even though the questions were asked together, the answers were VERY different. I couldn't help but giggle at the outcome and just had to share it as it was told:
How did you meet?
Erns: "She saw the Land Rover oil marks on my shirt and immediately fell in love."
Aninke: "The fairytale started on a game farm with a friend of mine's sister's birthday. Neither Erns nor I were invited directly and we were both just accompanying other friends. When the time came for the 'Game Drive', I overheard a conversation between Erns and his friend that had something to do with Land Rover's and without really knowing what the conversation was about (or the argument), I luckily chose the right side and asked (out of the blue) 'WHAT IS WRONG WITH LAND ROVER'S? I LOVE LANDY'S!'…. and that was how I got the attention of Mr Hatting. He decided there and then that he wanted to sit next to this 'Landy Girl' during the Game Drive. With sunset, Erns took his sunglasses off for the first time. The moment I looked into those two blue pools the first words to come out of my mouth were: 'Are those your natural eyes?'. He was so embarrassed that he put his sunglasses back on and shyly said: 'Yes'. My next reaction was: 'You have exceptional eyes, they are like two blue pools of water'. Yip…. those exact word came out of my mouth…. The rest is history. He called me the following weekend and asked me out for coffee, the coffee turned into a wonderful dinner and two months later… we were 'going steady' (gekeis!)."
How did you get engaged?
Erns: "I took her to the middle of the sea. She couldn't say no, because it was too far to swim back alone and there were sharks."
Aninke: "We were engaged on 'Rottnet Island', a small island in Perth (Western Australia). We went snorkelling in the beautiful tropical waters and sat on a coral reef in the middle of the sea. This is when I said that I could do this for the rest of my life….. and when the question followed: 'So, will you marry me?'. It was fairytale perfect and I did not expect it at all. We met for the first time on 9 March 2013 and on 11 March 2014, we were engaged."
When I asked the couple how they decided on their venue, Erns again gave me a short answer whilst Aninke explained that they had booked into the venue's Spa for Valentines Day and that Erns suggested the venue when they were later engaged. Even though she loved the venue, Aninke was looking forward to visiting different venues with her new 'fiancee' prior to making a decision of where they would be married. Before even arriving back to South Africa from their holiday… Erns had already paid the deposit.
So... Erns… contrary to what you want to make us believe… we all know that you're actually a 'softie'.
You met the girl of your dreams and you wasted no time. Well done!!
Congratulations to you both! I look forward to seeing you soon in South Africa.