judith belle wedding portrait family documentary lifestyle candid photography johannesburg sandton rosebank parkhurst
Judith
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December 3, 2015
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Mandy & Devin // Adventure Elopement // Drakensberg

Mandy and Devin planned their wedding with a very specific adventure in mind. They wanted something that was completely adventurous and telling of their relationship. They love hiking, fishing, climbing mountains and being together in the most gorgeous nature settings. I’m fairly certain that between the two of them they’ve seen the most spectacular views, sunrises and sunsets. They are kind hearted, gentle and their love for each other is tangible.

Their day was a very very special one, I’ve never photographed anything like it. Mandy & Devin planned their elopement to make sure they get married on a mountain top, one of the most beautiful mountain tops in South Africa. In order to get to this place, we had to take a helicopter trip. It was absolutely incredible! With a breathtaking view like this, I can’t actually imagine a better place to declare your love and promise your life to someone. This intimate celebration was something so special and unique, because it was just us. I was not only photographer, but also the only witness to this incredible occasion.

What makes this story all the more heartwarming was that Mandy & Devin decided to go through with this, despite having all odds against them. They were all set to drive to the mountains, get in a small helicopter and elope, as they’ve been dreaming of for months. Unfortunately Mandy fell ill, and not with a mild flu or a sore throat. The doctors could not diagnose the array of symptoms she had. But these two were determined to go through with their beautifully planned day. Mandy’s wedding dress didn’t arrive on time and she ended up wearing something completely different to what she planned to wear. She was in a lot of pain, very weak, lost a bunch of weight in a week and if I think about it, I don’t think she was feeling 100%. But she had Devin, her pillar of strength, her adventure partner, the love of her life.

And let’s be completely honest. All we need in life is a partner that will be there no matter what. A wedding day is not really about the dress, or the flowers, or even the 100 odd people that get drunk at your ceremony. It’s about love. Unconditional, always there, always supportive, right beside you, no matter what. It’s about the partner you choose to spend your life with. It’s about having that person with you on that actual wedding day and also for the rest of your life. Sometimes all you really want is one person’s undivided attention. Mandy and Devin showed me something more beautiful than what I have ever had the privilege to photograph.

We didn’t have a lot of time to photograph, purely because it was hot during the middle of the day, but also windy, which complicated things with the helicopter. Mandy was a trooper, she never complained, she smiled, she laughed and she was there, getting married to her best friend. Despite all of this, she looked gorgeous and radiant!

It turned out Mandy had severe appendicitis and that evening she was rushed to the hospital and had an emergency operation the following morning. It took her a while in hospital to recover, but she is back to her old self and happy and healthy.

To these two beautiful souls I hope that there will be many more adventures.
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