I realised that this wedding was going to be something special right from the moment I received the first email from Ken. Special not only because it was set in gorgeous Botswana, I’m talking real sentiment and true love kind of special. Special because Ken and Ruxie have spent the better part of their relationship living in different countries – if that’s not a testament to their love I don’t know what is!
While Ken is a doctor in New Zealand, Ruxie just attained her Law degree in Botswana. I was absolutely over the moon happy when I received that email asking if I would be willing to travel to Gaborone, Botswana to photograph their wedding. This trip marked a lot of firsts for me. It was the first time photographing a wedding in a different country. It was the first time traveling with a friend instead of my husband. It was my first time visiting this absolutely beautiful country. It was also my first time being invited to attend a traditional wedding ceremony.
So let me tell you about the heat in Botswana. When someone says it is hot, and you look up the weather forecast to see that everyday is 37°C, there is nothing that can prepare you for it. My friend, photographer and travel companion for this trip was Alexandra. We were very lucky to be invited to attend the traditional wedding ceremony the day before their civil ceremony and reception. To get to the traditional ceremony we had to travel an hour out of the city to a small village called Otse. Little could we know that it was even hotter there and with our luck the aircon of the car broke 15 minutes into the drive! We survived and the village was buzzing with excitement. We were each given the traditional cape the women are required to wear to events which was made out of wool and so hot it could’ve been made for Antarctic winters! We wore the capes with pride to be a part of something so special but had to go back to our hotel after starting to feel a bit faint from the heat.
The next morning started with so much excitement as the bride was getting ready. Her hair and makeup looked phenomenal. With almost 400 people attending the church ceremony, the buzz and chatter was contagious. The look on Ken’s face upon seeing Ruxie for the first time that day was pure bliss, in fact he smiled all through the ceremony. Their coy and sweet first kiss is on my list of most romantic first kisses!
As we got back to the hotel, we started with the couple photos right away. The light in Botswana is every photographer’s dream. It was exactly what you would expect from an African sunset with the last of the rays of sunshine filtering through the thorn trees.
The reception hosted 300 guests and the gold and Salmon decor suited the venue perfectly. Just like at the church, they had a big live band providing the music and ambiance for the evening. Their first dance signaled the end of the formalities for the evening. Alexandra and I retired to our room with happy hearts that night. What an experience! I am so blessed to have been a part of this incredible wedding and will treasure it forever.
A massive and wholehearted thank to to the bride and groom for hosting us in their country, for all the warm smiles from every single guest and especially a big thank you to Alexandra for accompanying me on this adventure! ♥