Surprise Wedding – Greece to Cape Town

An incredibly fun wedding that makes you feel like you where there just looking at their photographs.

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Jadee Fernandes & Gary McGowan

16 December 2016

The Roundhouse Restaurant, Camps Bay, Cape Town

Mediterranean Chic

150 Guests

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Jadee’s dream was to get engaged in Greece, they were on a Mediterranean cruise and Gary planned everything on on the picturesque island of Santorini. As life goes, plans changed a little. Due to the thousands of tourists and intense heat, Gary decided to head back to the calmness and coolness of the cruise ship.

“Barefoot and content in the vastness of the Santorini crater, overlooking the majestic Oia, he got down on one knee and asked that very important question. It was a magical moment that dreams could not even conceive. The rest of the holiday was eternal bliss.”

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“Engaged on a cruise ship on the shores of Santorini, our initial plan was to elope in Greece, but considering our family and friends wouldn’t be able to travel there, we decided instead to bring Greece to them.

Guests were invited to our engagement party and requested to dress in white, symbolising a new chapter for my husband and I.

“White is the colour of new beginnings, symbolising a clean slate. It is the blank canvas waiting to be written upon, allowing us to put the past behind us and preparing us to move on. The meaning of white is purity and innocence, wholeness and completion. It protects and encourages. It offers a sense of peace and tranquility, calm and comfort. The colour white is the beginning and the end.”

On arrival we were there to greet and welcome guests, pre-drinks of Pims and canapes were setup on the lawn accompanied by the accoustic sounds of Stone Jets.

Once all guests had arrived, we decided to make the announcement that in actual fact this was to be our wedding day, waiters filtered out into the crowd with sachets of confetti and almonds from Italy, so guests would know we really were getting married. From here on out the day was a blur as with any wedding day it can be very overwhelming.

Guests were directed to our secret ceremony area which was hidden from view under the ancient Olive Tree, while we had fifteen minutes to do hair, makeup and of course an outfit change for all of us including our two dogs who formed part of the retinue.

While getting ready we watched guests filter into the ceremony area, I could hear the sounds of our bouzouki band all the way from Greece, the nerves and excitement was immense. Guests were screaming and crying as the realization sunk in they were about to witness our special union.

By the time I made my way down the aisle the guests were cheering, I was so immensely happy I was smiling from the heart.” Jadee describes.

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“I once read a bit of advise that said during your ceremony, take a look around and absorb every emotion and every person present, it made me even happier to know that we had everyone important with us.

However, its not often you get to experience such extreme emotions all in one hour, so it was rather hard to to focus as we were so overjoyed. Lucky for us the venue was all inclusive and so that night under the guidance of the moon we went back under the altar to go say our vows again, it was so special in every way and one of the highlights of my day.”


After their ceremony, they went straight into the reception under a beautiful custom built draped structure with never ending views of the Twelve Apostles and Camps Bay.

Guests were served with Mediterranean styled food that kept on coming, pizzas, baby chickens and salads were served casually to guests as they moved where they please. Dessert was a sweet lovers delight with a custom evil eye cake from Charly’s Bakery and Greek delicacies from Mykonos Taverna.

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“Dancing as the light started softening and the sunset over the sea was my dream. From Greek plate breaking to Israeli dancing to Afrikaans and Portuguese music, we had it all. Guests danced the night away under a fiery red sky, while we snuck away to do our couples shoot on the beach, where our love affair first began. “


“My something Blue was my evil eye sewn into my dress by my dress designer.

My something old was a little charm that we got from the House of Mary in Ephesus, we washed it in the holy water and I attached it to my bouquet.

My something new, I decided to buy something special, finding a matching pair of earrings to my ring was hard work but the South African store sourced them in Europe and it took a few weeks but they arrived just in time.”

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“As mentioned, we got engaged in Santorini and the next day we docked in Athens, where I was fortunate enough to meet with one of the worlds top dress designers who has a showroom in New York and Athens. While there she explained that every garment has a evil eye charm sewn in. The detail was so small but meant so much that we decided this would be our monogram and symbol for our wedding day.

We worked with Gera De Wet who beautifully hand painted what I envisioned and it was perfect, it resembled everything we could have dreamt of.

The Evil Eye or Mati is a lucky charm, it helps to keep your life in balance, protects you from bad karma and shields you against misfortune that is willed onto you or an object by others.

This also set the tone and inspiration for our day, every element had an important story and reason for why we incorporated it such as the Plate Smashing, we are not Greek but it symbolises new beginnings, throwing away your old life and embarking on a new one. The ritual also symbolises abundance, proving that friendship is everything and keeping the evil spirits at bay.”


“Love is not just looking at each other, it’s looking in the same direction.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“Our best piece of advice would be to seek relationship guidance or coaching, whether from your pastor, celebrant or therapist. As your life begins to change you need to address the old and accept the new. Invaluable moments were shared and new insights into our lives were established, even after seven years being together. We met an incredible women called Wendy Lawson who facilitates in Imago Therapy, its not your day to day therapy and we fell in love with the concept.” Says Jadee.

If your budget doesn’t allow for a facilitator, reading material is readily available and I personally love the following:

Emotionally Engaged by Allison Moir-Smith – This should be the first piece of reading material for any bride. I reread it three times during the different stages of our wedding planning.  Once when we got engaged then the week of the wedding and then the weeks after the wedding, it totally explains the bridezilla moments!

“The 5 love languages” is available in paperback and they also have a weekly tips and videos.

The most beautiful things in the world, can not be seen or touched. They are felt with the heart.“ Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“Wake up on your wedding day with an accepting and happy heart. Take time out every hour as husband and wife to step back and embrace your feelings and look at the magical day you have worked so hard to achieve.” Says Jadee.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Jadee says, “As a bride and groom try not to have any expectations, I was lucky enough that my planning only lasted a few short weeks and only two weeks before did we finally start making decisions and commitments. But once my heart was in the right place everything fell into place perfectly.

Although as a planner, I am governed by perfection in life but I had to let go and trust that everything on the day happens for a reason. It’s a path that every bride must walk and if you are lucky enough to have amazing service providers by your side, trust them and know that they will do everything in their power to make it perfect.

The downside to weddings is unfortunately that your guests views / opinions might differ from your own and some of them might have expectations that weren’t fulfilled, so believe in your choices and know in your heart that as a couple it was your perfect day.”

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Service Providers

Photographer: Gavin Casey

Videographer: White Lines

Wedding Co-ordinator: Watermelon

Décor Company Furniture: Okasie

Décor Company Structure: Something Different

Wedding Gown: Victoria Kyriakides

Bridesmaids Dresses / Mother of the Bride: Hip Hop

Make-up & Hair: Langaro

Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss

Wedding Cake: Charly’s Bakery

Dessert: Mykonos Taverna

Flowers:  M Floral

Venue and Food: The Roundhouse Restaurant

Bride’s Jewelry: Chopard

Wedding Rings – Bride: Chopard

Wedding Rings – Groom: Olga Jewellers

Wedding Stationary Design: Gera de Wet

Wedding Stationers (invites, menus, etc): City Print

DJ and Technical: Event Music Solutions

Band: Stone Jets

Minister: Des Krull Esteemed Weddings



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