Real Wedding

A Giant Succulent Bouquet, Foliage Crowns & Tree Stumps for an Earthy, Rustic Wedding: Chris & Melissa

It’s another gorgeous day on the blog and today we are celebrating the wedding and marriage of Chris & Melissa!

Their pretty wedding had an earthy rustic vibe and features foliage flower crowns, rustic home-made tree stump decor and an incredible giant succulent wedding bouquet.

Melissa wore a tailor-made wedding gown inspired by all her favourite parts of wedding dresses she loved! It was created in Hoh Chi Minh City where Melissa and Chris are based, and is just beautiful…

Images by Saysha Baker Photography. Words by Mel.

My wedding dress was tailor-made in Ho Chi Minh City where my husband and I currently live and work.

I had been looking for and designing the ‘perfect’ wedding dress for quite a while. I could never find a picture of a dress that had everything I desired and so I started drawing up designs based on bits of dresses that I liked.

Once I was 100% happy with my final design, I then began the search to find the perfect tailor. After choosing the fabric and the lace, the tailor and I worked closely for about 3 months to make the dress exactly how I imagined. I couldn’t have asked for anything more!

All the men’s suits were also tailor-made in Ho Chi Minh City.

A friend of mine, Bianca Santoro, penned a song for that I walked down the aisle to with my Dad.

Chris grew up on a beautiful smallholding in Hilton called The Knoll. He moved there with his family when he was 12 and The Knoll was a wild piece of land with an old farmhouse that was yearning to be given some TLC.

That is exactly what they did and have made incredible memories there since then. We chose this to be our venue not just because it is beautiful or because of the obvious cost saver but largely because this is where Chris’s heart and soul is.

Chris and I met at Primary School in Grade 6 and we to the same youth meetings and church. We had been dating for 8 years when Chris proposed while on holiday in the Drakensberg in South Africa (one of our favourite places).

It happened behind a waterfall. Before we left to return to Vietnam shortly after our engagement I left a file with designated tasks for each parent to sort out, to do research and get quotes and then when we arrived back in South Africa 3 weeks before the wedding we tied up all the loose ends and finished the final plans.

Family members supplied flowers from their gardens. My bouquet was a giant rock rose (succulent) that had been growing in my mom’s garden. My bridesmaids and I made the flower crowns from greenery we sourced from family and friends.

When it came to our wedding style I wanted an earthy/rustic theme that fitted well with the wedding venue.

Chris and I were referred to our wedding photographer Saysha by a family friend, but we wanted to keep our options open knowing that we had a specific style of photography backdrop in mind.

Saysha was the first of what we thought would be many photographers to meet. But we liked her instantly as a person and after looking at her photos we knew she would be the one!

She has a documentary style and instinctively captures the most beautiful natural moments which was exactly what we were looking for! Her website is

We made signs, our wedding stage, vases from wine bottles. Myself and my bridesmaids got help to make our own flower crowns and the groomsmen corsages and my mom got together with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and gran to make the wedding invitations.

We also printed the seating plan and menu and stuck it up on an old notice board. A friend used his woodmanship to make the beautiful rustic doors that we walked through at the ceremony.

Our three-tiered wedding cake was made by 3 different people we knew were good at cakes; Chris’s gran made the bottom tier fruit cake as a wedding gift, one of my bridesmaids offered to make the middle tier carrot cake and a family friend volunteered her services to make the top chocolate cake tier as well as to put it all together and decorate.

If you could impart any words of wisdom to a future brides planning their wedding day, what would they be?

My tip is to let everyone know what you want and what you expect and then welcome donations, help, and advice. It is amazing how many people want to show their love and support for you through giving!

Another tip would be to have a priority list that will guide your spending. We were not too fussed about the food and settled for good, hearty meal options over fancy, gourmet food that people probably wouldn’t remember anyway.

We wanted all our friends and family to be comfortable and have a good time and focused our attention on what would give just that.

What was your most memorable moment of the day / evening?

Singing the hymn “Blessed Be Your Name” during the ceremony was incredibly special as well as dancing with my dad at the reception to the song “I Loved Her First”

Super lovely don’t you think? That giant succulent bouquet is phenomenal – love it!

Congrats Melissa & Chris, you make one seriously sweet couple.

wedding credits / photographer: saysha baker photography / wedding venue: the knoll / brides dress: tailor-made / grooms suit: tailor-made / hair: yonique hair studio / catering: chc catering

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