Katlyn and Gavin met on a Safari and wanted to share their Safari experience with family and friends. So they decided to have Safari Wedding! We were lucky enough to get to talk to Katlyn about everything leading up to the wedding, including the romantic private beach proposal and how their wedding day was everything they both had hoped for.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am from Chicago, IL and was living and working in the city in Fashion. In July 2011, I went on a safari to Tanzania where I met my safari guide and now husband Gavin! I moved to South Africa in 2013 and we now live in Johannesburg with our Golden Retriever puppy Zulu! Gavin owns a safari travel company called Mammoth Safaris ,which we both work for and it also allows us to have some amazing travel adventures together!
Tell us a little about the proposal and the lead up to the Wedding?
My family came to visit me after I had moved to South Africa and we were all going on safari then to a place called Azura on Benguerra Island in Mozambique. Gavin had planned a beach picnic in a remote part of the Island and while we were there he asked me to go for a swim and when we got down to the water’s edge he proposed! We knew we wanted to have a safari wedding since that is how we met, so we set a date for almost two years after the engagement to make sure all of our family and friends from across the globe would be able to come! Along with the Wedding Planning we were also planning everyone’s trips to South Africa, but it was worth it for all of our guests to have an amazing experience with us!
What was the inspiration behind your wedding theme / vibe?
Once we decided on having the wedding at Phinda Private Game Reserve, we knew that we wanted to keep it fairly simple and let the setting speak for itself. I wanted the flowers to be all King Proteas which was the only color in very light pink and everything else was cream with touches of gold!
The gold really compliments with the safari wedding theme.
Favourite detail and/or moment of the day (besides becoming husband and wife of course! or Wife and Wife, or Husband and Husband!).
My favorite part of the day was having all the people you both love in one place there to celebrate you! I think that is the only time in our lives that will happen!
Did you undertake any DIY projects, if so what?
Not really, we were lucky that Phinda took care of everything that we wanted! Also planning the wedding and everyone’s trips was enough work already!
What does marriage mean to you?
To me marriage means partnership, you have chosen this person to be your partner in every aspect of your life forever and while sometimes marriage can be hard work, if you are with the right person I think the laughter and fun times in between the testing times is what you remember.
Talk to us about your dress, where is it from? How long did it take to find?
I got my Reem Acra Juliet dress from Belle Vie Bridal Couture in Chicago. The reason I went to that particular store was because they had Reem Acra and I showed up with a picture of that specific dress. It was the first one I tried on and was so in love with it, but I of course needed to try on other dresses to make sure! So I tried on a lot of others at that store and another store and at the end of the day I was positive that was it, so I went back and bought it!
Any funny stories in the lead up to or on the day?
On the morning of the Wedding, Gavin told me he was going to be nervous waiting at the end of the aisle for me, so try and not be too late. All the girls were getting ready at a beautiful house at Phinda Private Game Reserve called the Homestead, and just as I was about to go put my dress on with plenty of time to spare, a huge herd of elephants came and started drinking out of the swimming pool directly in front of us. So needless to say, we were very late because of the amazing experience and photo opportunity!
Advice for other couples planning a wedding?
Make sure you decide on and book the big things first! The small details will come into place as you go. Also, during the wedding day take a moment out just for the two of you to be alone even if it is only for a few minutes. The day goes by so quickly you need to make sure you step away for a minute to enjoy the moment with your new spouse!
Photos Abri Kruger Photography
Veil / hair piece Samantha Wills Bridal
Shoes: Adrianna Pappel
Jewellery/Accessories Samantha Wills Bridal
Bridesmaids dresses Twobirds Bridesmaid
Grooms suit Hart Schaffner Marx from Nordstrom
Groomsmen suits Woolworths
Bow ties / ties Brackish Bowties
Ceremony Phinda Private Game Reserve
Reception Phinda Private Game Reserve Mountain Lodge
Catering Phinda Private Game Reserve
Stationery designer Classic Wedding Invitations
Hair and Make up Angela at Makeup Your Mind
Their safari wedding is one of the most unique weddings that we have featured. Congratulations to you both! We wish you a lifetime of happiness!