Inspiration

Real Weddings {South Africa}: Kimya & Gregory! – Blackbride.com

Kimya and Gregory were introduced by a mutual friend who thought they had a lot in common and would be a great match. "She gave Greg my number, and I was so nervous when he called me the first time. I had actually seen him around in social settings, and had been rendered speechless when we crossed paths previously," recalled Kimya.  After their first conversation, Kimya became more comfortable and was so intrigued by how slowly Gregory wanted to take things because he really wanted to get to know her before dating.  "He was such a gentleman and was quick to introduce me to his awesome group of friends on our first few dates," said Kimya.  The two began talking daily and making plans to see each other on weekends, then more often. During their courtship, they introduced each other to new things: Greg shared his love of serving others through mentorship and random acts of kindness, and Kimya was able to share her love of travel and adventure – They have explored amazing places and cultures from Paris to Morocco to Barcelona to London and Amsterdam. Their most recent adventure was a gorgeous wedding in Cape Town, South Africa, where they became husband and wife. Check out their special day, captured by Greg Lumley.

Bride: Kimya Coker, 34, Marketing Executive

Groom: Gregory Singleton, 39, commercial insurance sales

Place of residence: Atlanta, GA

Wedding date: 10/23/15

Wedding location: 12 Apostles Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa

Wedding theme: Marriage in the Motherland – The Ultimate Destination Wedding Experience

Honeymoon Destination: Safari at Ulusaba Rock Lodge, Sir Richard Branson’s private lodge in Sabi Sands Reserve in South Africa + Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe

Engagement story:

We had a ski trip planned in Utah, and at the last minute, I had to change my return flight to go to LA for business, meaning I wouldn’t be coming back with Greg to Atlanta. It also meant I would miss his birthday and he was really disappointed. He even muttered something about it ruining his plans. I told him that I would arrange a special birthday dinner when I got back in town for his family, and he insisted that I invite my parents and sister. We all arrived at our private room in the restaurant and his family (sister, brother-in-law, mother) and my family (sister, her now fiancée, my father and mother) and then our good friends who had recently gotten married. Before we could even order drinks, he stood up to address the group, and said that his birthday wasn’t the only reason we were all there. He then turned to me with tears in his eyes, told me how much he loved me, got down on one knee and asked me to do him the honor of being his wife. I was completely shocked! Not only was I not expecting it to happen during his birthday celebration, but I was so touched that he decided to propose in front of the people we love the most, making it a magical moment and bringing our families closer together.

From the Groom:

With my future wife away at the wedding venue, I woke up to the rest of the guests in our villa (14 of our closest friends who were staying at the private property with us for the week of the wedding), and we enjoyed an awesome breakfast in Camps Bay at a café that had become everyone’s favorite after being in Cape Town a few days. I was definitely nervous, but my best man was literally my rock. He made sure I didn’t have to think about anything at all – after having gotten married a few months earlier, he had learned a thing or two about the small things, the things most people don’t think about that make your wedding day smooth, stress-free and happy. The photographers and video crew arrived to capture us getting ready and having the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean from the villa was unique and calming. When I got to the hotel, the garden settting was beautiful – my wife had told me that she and the decorator envisioned Versailles gardens in Paris for their inspiration, where she and I had visited a year earlier. As I waited for the final moments before the ceremony, I stepped off into a corner of the garden and prayed. When she appeared on her dad’s arm, I was moved to tears. It felt like it was just us – not the 30 people who had traveled across the world to visit. I will never forget the moment of looking into her eyes during the vow exchange.

 

From the Bride:

I was so calm on my wedding day! I kept expecting to get stressed out and nervous, especially after the 20-hour trip to get to South Africa, but I have never been more prepared and at ease. And that was just more validation that I had picked the man of my dreams. We had a huge villa for our guests and I went to stay at the wedding venue the night before the wedding. When I woke up, my sister and best friend came to the hotel, brought breakfast and then the amazing vendors started showing up. My wedding planner, Stephanie, who organizes all of the weddings at the 12 Apostles, was so on top of every detail, every moment, that I had nothing to worry about. You can imagine how trusting you have to be to choose all of your vendors from continents away and not have the luxury of meeting them in person before the big day, but every single person involved in the day – from the photographers and videographers to the stylists to the entertainment were an absolute joy to work with and made me feel like a queen. The garden we got married in was breathtaking – it was situated at the base of the famous 12 Apostles mountain range and on a cliff overlooking the ocean. When I walked into the garden to hear the small orchestra playing (along with children from the local township), it was absolutely magical. The weather was perfect – a breeze from the sea and enough wind to blow rose petals around in the air. Having the children play was the most spectacular moment for me – when I hired the string quartet to play the wedding, the leader mentioned that she taught underprivileged kids from the township to play and that they had recently won at local events. She offered to have some of the best students play alongside the quartet at the wedding, and we agreed to pay for new instruments for the kids for their “compensation”. What I didn’t know at the time of the wedding was that their township had recently experienced a bout of violence and the government had closed the entrance to the area – no one in, no one out, no exceptions. The kids were devastated that they wouldn’t be able to play their first professional gig after practicing for months! Some of the parents of the wealthy children who were students petitioned their political friends and were able to get police escorts to go into the township to get the kids and bring them out so they could play. Truly an amazing story and such a blessing for us because these children were so incredibly talented and so gracious, and it feels so good to know that we could provide them with new instruments that they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford. As my dad walked me down the aisle and I saw Greg for the first time, I was completely full. Full of joy, life, love and gratitude. It’s like all of the guests disappeared and it was just me and him in this stunning setting halfway across the world looking into each others eyes and communicating without saying a word.

What makes your love special?

It’s so cliché to say we’re best friends, but we seriously have so much fun together – it doesn’t matter if we’re surrounded by others or by ourselves, we’re always filled with joy and light when we’re in each others’ presence. We also are each other’s inspiration – Greg always says we are a team, and that has been a huge theme in our relationship. We recognize the power of us together and how we make each other so much better – even our families have noted that we both changed in amazing ways after meeting.

Most memorable moment:

When we got to leave the venue and go down to the beach alone with our photographer and video crew. The sun was setting – it could not have been a more perfect backdrop for what had been such an amazing journey. We got to frolick around on the rocks, get playful and natural with our poses and take in the setting of the Atlantic Ocean from the motherland.

Wedding Details:

Having a destination wedding can bring a unique set of challenges and requirements and we wanted to dazzle our guests to show our appreciation for them making the journey to South Africa for our big day. We hosted a big welcome dinner the night before our wedding, and then brought in a renowned local chef from Cape Town to do a braai (South African version of a BBQ) at our private villa, where everyone got more time to spend time with each other as one big family. We made sure that they were treated to traditional, authentic South African cuisine like kudu, elant, warthog and more – most of which had been hunted from our chef’s farm nearby. Everyone who came said it was the experience of a lifetime and the most stunning, awe-inspiring destination they had ever visited.

Wedding song:   

Coldplay Sky Full of Stars – not only did the orchestra play this but it will also be the soundtrack for our wedding video…he introduced me to Coldplay when we were dating and the song is so full of energy and fun, so it reflected our relationship. It was also reflective of the fact that our wedding was outside and by the time the reception was starting, we were all looking out over the terrace into a literal sky full of stars in South Africa while the sun set.

What are you most looking forward to as a married couple?

More travel, more adventure and really enjoying life’s blessings – big and small.

Advice for a Bride/Groom on their wedding day:

Make sure to take a few moments, no matter how small, to connect with each other during all of the activity around you…tell each other how this is only one of a million loving memories you’ll experience together for a lifetime.

Congrats to the newlyweds Kimya and Gregory! We wish you many more years of wedded bliss.

Vendors:

Photographer: Greg Lumley

Ceremony & reception location:

The Twelve Apostles Hotel, Cape Town, SA

Bridal gown: Winnie Couture

Groom’s tux: Suitsupply

Cake: Cakes by Wade

Caterer: 12 Apostles Hotel

Wedding planners: Stephanie Hall at Red Carnation Events

Music: Palm Strings Quartet

Hair and makeup:

Hair stylist: Danielle Jacobs

Makeup artist: Qaanita Abrams at OnQ Makeup

Flowers: Gerrit van Niekerk at The Duke & Duchess

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