Real Wedding - Paul & Kodie - Van Deventer - Mountainview Game Ranch - Couple (9)

When the bride arrives on a jet-black Friesian stallion (with wild giraffe looking on!) how could we resist this tale of cross-country love?

Australian-born Kodie first met Paul at South Africa’s Mawana Game Reserve in 2019, never guessing how their lives would entwine. “I had accepted an eight-month field research position studying the behaviour of wild vervet monkeys and Paul was the manager of that same reserve,” she explains. “Once I really got to know him, it was impossible not to fall in love.” Despite living on opposite sides of the world, the meant-to-be couple was committed to making it work.Real Wedding - Paul & Kodie - Van Deventer - Mountainview Game Ranch - Couple (2)

They returned to Australia to meet Kodie’s family, navigated Paul’s return to South Africa, then took a fortuitous leap of faith before covid restrictions would have separated them for years. “We were able to secure Paul the very last seat on the final flight from South Africa, arriving mere hours before the Australian borders closed!” says Kodie. The animal-lovers continued their conservation efforts in Australia (helping rehabilitate orphaned wildlife) before Paul pulled off a surprise proposal during a glamping getaway.

“As we met in South Africa, we wanted to return there to get married,” says Kodie of their ‘romantic safari’ themed wedding. The couple embarked on an exhaustive search, often with Paul’s parents in tow, before chancing upon Mountainview Game Ranch. “It was brimming with wildlife, had luxury guest accommodation, a separate dining area we could keep under wraps, and two pools with unspoiled views of the surrounding reserve,” says Kodie. It was also ideal for their gorgeous styling palette: “ivory and olive green, complemented with golden accents, and the inclusion of soft peach throughout the florals for a sense of warmth.”Real Wedding - Paul & Kodie - Van Deventer - Mountainview Game Ranch - Venue

While Kodie anticipated a lengthy gown search, she found The One at the second shop she visited with her mother and grandmother. “I was definitely one of those little girls who dreamed about their wedding day,” she admits. “And I wanted to find something that would sweep Paul off his feet.” The form-fitting lace ‘Carolina’ was perfection, especially with the addition of a beautiful overskirt to wear for the bride’s dramatic entrance: on horseback!

“I cantered in on a majestic Friesian stallion named Mariko,” she says. “It was even better than I had imagined as giraffes ran freely in the background.” Consider Paul well and truly swept away! “My dad then walked me down the aisle to a recording of Ellie Goulding’s How Long Will I Love You’ sung by my 10-year-old cousin Amelie.” With Paul’s staffy Jess as their adorable ring bearer, the couple was wed — and the festivities and feasting with their 80 cherished guests commenced!

Beneath a canopy of greenery and fairylights, the homestead’s warm timbers and natural stone delivered the perfect backdrop for the couple’s rustic-luxe styling and romantic tablescapes. In a personal touch, Australia and South Africa were both celebrated throughout, right down to the custom cake topper.Real Wedding - Paul & Kodie - Van Deventer - Mountainview Game Ranch - Reception (3)

“We enjoyed our wedding so much we didn’t want it to end,” says Kodie. “Once the venue closed, we all gathered outside and continued to celebrate around the fire until the early hours of the morning.” Endlessly grateful to all their “incredible vendors”, the bride saves special mention for her husband’s family for bringing their event to life with their on-the-ground support and DIY expertise.

The couple gave an extra nod to loved ones with a “familymoon” that saw both families travelling through South Africa together, including a stop at the reserve where Kodie and Paul first met. Priceless! Two days were reserved for the newlyweds who made tracks to the Pezulu Treehouse Lodge. “Our bed was on wheels, so we rolled it out onto the deck where we slept under the stars,” says Kodie. “It was so romantic: we could even see giraffes and warthogs below.”Real Wedding - Paul & Kodie - Van Deventer - Mountainview Game Ranch - Couple (10)

Upon returning to Australia, the couple also hosted a second wedding reception, playing the ceremony video on arrival so everyone could share in their extraordinary romantic adventure. Here’s cheers to many more to come!



Photography: Just Jordan Photography // 2nd (Horse) photographer: Marlize Van Der Merwe // Ceremony & reception venue: Mountainview Game Ranch // Wedding Planner: Van Dev Weddings // Florist: Anrule Plant and Décor Hire // Cake: Kim’s Creation’s // Videographer: Vlak Vark Productions // Wedding Dress: The Bridal Company // Suits: Bruno’s Suits // Bridesmaids Dresses: Bridesmaids Only // HMUA: FDK Styling // Engagement rings: Michael Hill // Wedding rings: Michael Hill, Temple & Grace // Celebrant: Ds. Willem Sauer // Transport: Mountainview Game Ranch (safari-vehicle) // Wedding dress alterations: Souzy’s Clothing Alteration Services // DJ & Live Entertainment: Throwback Thursday

Real Wedding - Paul & Kodie - Van Deventer - Mountainview Game Ranch - Couple (6)


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