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Day of the Dead Barn Wedding – Raj + Parrot AKA Tash + Neil

On the 30th of May 2014 I got up from my comfy bed, slung on my butterfly caftan, packed all my gear into the car and headed to a barn in the middle of no where to photograph a wedding. It’s true that I am known by many as the wedding photographer who sometimes kicks off her shoes, but I can assure you that I don’t ordinarily wear caftans or flowers in my hair while on assignnment! But this wasn’t any ordinary wedding! This was the wedding of Raj and Parrot.

If you have followed my blog you will know that Parrot is the nickname that was given to my assistant Tash whilst we were in India because of her crazy hairstyle. You will also know that her partner Neil also got his nickname, Raj, when he flew out to meet us in Goa on a secret mission to propose to Tash!

Tash worked with me for many years and has done well over 100 weddings with me. It is not surprising then, that this little Parrot wouldn’t be having an ordinary wedding! But Tash is anything but conventional so I don’t think an ordinary wedding would have ever happened regardless of working with me! Tash lives life to her own beat, she is a creative soul with a constant giggle, a huge heart and a perfectionist streak that makes me seem slap dash! She loves DIY, her family, dress up parties, skulls, quirky goodies, lots of colour and her Raj! In the early stages of their engagement we often drove back from weddings in far flung places and would see a barn off in the distance. Tashie’s eyes would light up, and she would gush about how that would be such an awesome wedding venue!

Raj and Parrot eventually found their wedding barn and so project Day of the Dead Barn Wedding begun! I cannot even begin to explain just how much effort went into the planning and orchestration of this colourful day. There wasn’t a thing that wasn’t considered. Tash has always loved skulls, and it was therefore inevitable that these would land up being a major feature, but these weren’t dark ugly skulls, they were light happy colourful skulls with butterflies and flowers in them. Raj and Parrot tied many themes and traditions into their big day and the result was a wedding that was so very them! There were Indian saris, vodka shots, fun games, a pinata, a spectacular first dance, hand made lucky packets and so many happy tears that it was hard not to be swept up in the magic of it all!

Raj and Parrot you are two of my most favorite humans, and before I start blubbing over my keyboard I want to say a quick I love you and leave everyone to look at the photos! Thanks for picking me! I am so happy I got to photograph your special day!!!! Nothing but the best to you both for your new life in Joburg!

And now for a few thank you’s from the bride!

The humans who made it happen

When the hunt for a place of celebration began, we knew that it was going to be a difficult one. We were after a great, big, old, empty shed. A big thank you to the Mckenzie’s, who had no care in the world to allow 90 strangers to party the night away in their actual tractor shed, on their working farm in Lions River, KZN Midlands. A very massive thank you to this family for allowing us to cause havoc on their farm. To everyone who helped empty the shed, clean the area, move the crazy heavy wagon, roll the ant infested cable drums and move the countless bales of hay, a great big thank you.

The build a burger menu and bar was done by Paula Mckenzie. From a very satisfied crowd of people, thank you very much for taking on such a massive task with your crazy schedule. We appreciate the time you dedicated to us and the effort you made to bring it all together.

The vodka portion of the bar was proudly sponsored by the Polish contingent.

My sunshine, Carolyn McNeil from Adore Weddings,

You really were my sunshine, when things were crazy and the dark clouds came over, you simply smiled and all was good again. Your positivity and “get it done with a smile on your face” attitude made all the very stressful, crazy, chaotic situations seem like it was nothing but a glass of spilt milk. Thank you so much for being someone that added to the happiness of our day. We simply “Adore” you.

The little helper. Ash, assistant to sunshine, we could not have pulled this off without her. Thank you for stepping in and taking charge. Your creative eye and organizing skills made the day possible. Thanks for partying the night away with us and sharing our happiness.

The flowers, décor, lighting and overall pretty stuff was a massive collaboration between Sunshine, Ash, Woogy, our two amazing families and us (human and me).

The fabulous Drew Christie, from San Marco Hair Umhlanga, was responsible for my awesome haircut. The chances of finding another human as wonderful as Drew would be like looking for a needle in a haystack, your chances are slim. Thanks my Drew for making me feel like a million and two bucks.

My old friend Lauren Badenhorst, from Jeans Hair Salon, was the initial creator of the parrot hair colours, so it only seemed logical that she did the colour for the Raj and Parrot day. Many thanks Chippie, you really do bring colour to my life.

The lady who fixed my face and styled my hair, Lindsay Nixon You rock! Would not have chosen anyone else. You made me feel so beautiful on a day where it mattered the most to me, thank you so very much.

Many years ago Ciociu Ella became “The Chosen One” (the lady to make the D Day dress). My Ciociu Ella managed to untangle my ideas and create the perfect witches dress, in less than a month. It is something I will cherish forever, thank you my ciociu.

The sexy man of the hour was wearing a Pierre Cardin Tux, with a bit of improvising.

DJ Ross got thrown in the deep end when he got stuck with us lot, but he managed to swim very successfully. You did a great job keeping up with the Polish, Afrikaans and rock song combinations. Thanks for “Just rolling with it.”

The lady who made it official, Bernice Scott. You guided us through the complicated and overwhelming, but most exciting time of our lives, and we will cherish your pearls of wisdom. Thank you for your kind words and for making us official. We are REALLY happy about it!

The people who had to endure us for the months leading up to our big day, the people who had to work as slaves, the unsung heroes of the awesome day , our families and a few friends. You guys are our heroes! You not only helped, but were the biggest part of our day of happiness. We love you plenty.

Team Polska: Dziękuję z głębi serca za to, że tam, aby dzielić się niesamowity dzień. Twoje stroje były niesamowite.

The memory makers, Jax and Miss Swan.

Miss Swan, you are great! Thank you plenty for your hard work and being part of our day of complete happiness. You are such a trooper, with no task or challenge to outrageous. You really are like a bull in a China shop, but a pretty one.

My Jax, you rock!!!!! No one would have caught that dance shot, but you. Thank you from the bottommost, squishiest part of my heart for capturing the day where my heart almost stopped from happiness. These pics are so much more than a memory to us, they tie us to you forever and that makes them even more spectacular to us. We cannot thank you enough for capturing our happiness and sharing the day with us, crying with us, laughing with us and partying like we did in Goa. Thank you our special person, we love you plenty.

My human, thank you for a day better than the one in my imagination. I am so grateful and totally ecstatic to finally be your lady (officially). Life with you by my side is going to rock!!! Love you plenty my bug.


  1. Lex on July 7, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Been dying to see these pics!!! Absolutely adore this wedding!!! Amazing as always Jax!! Love it!!!

  2. Rachel Movitz on July 7, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    I love this wedding…how fantastic for you to photograph such a unique event! Just curious, how is it to photograph a wedding for a friend? I hope you got to enjoy it. x

  3. cc on July 7, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    these are amazing beyond measure.

  4. Raj & Parrot on July 7, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    Wow, my Jax! There are no words, just tears, laughs and smiles. Awesome is an understatement. We love it so very much. You really are a talented memory maker. Thank you, thank you, thank you, with every bone in both of our bodies combined, for capturing our happiness.

    Love you my Jax.

    You are our rock star!!!!

  5. Raj on July 7, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Too cool to be true.

  6. Delre O'Rourke on July 7, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    SO SO SO unique!!! Awesome shots.

  7. Tam on July 7, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    Tash you made the most incredibly beautiful bride! I absolutely LOVE your insanely creative wedding! =) Jax you never cease to amaze!

  8. Roxi on July 8, 2014 at 5:30 am

    Think I am going to run out of words if I keep going but it really is hard to describe this absolute EPICNESS!!!!
    LOVE LOVE LOVE the pictures Jax- you should have them published in a magazine or something! Mr and Mrs D congrats and we love you both…..From Mr and Mrs B. xoxox

  9. Shafik on July 8, 2014 at 6:21 am

    Truly amazin….

  10. Carolyn McNeil on July 8, 2014 at 6:27 am

    Sjoe!!!!! Tears streaming at the moment. I’m going to have to come back and write properly in a few minutes. I just love you guys so much!

    Jax – so glad I’m not he only one crying in this post xxx

  11. Jinen on July 8, 2014 at 6:33 am

    Cool pics Neil u guys look amazing

  12. Tricia on July 8, 2014 at 6:43 am

    Oh my word, oh my word, oh my word! Tash and Neil, what a superb collection of photos to take with you into your “happily ever after” – each one just bursting with colour, happiness, joy and love. I have looked through them over and over again and each time I find something new to make my heart sing. Just superb!

  13. Natalie on July 8, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Neil and Tash, stunning pics of a beautiful start to your life together. Wishing you all the happiness in the world!!

  14. Debby on July 8, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Absolutely awesome Jacki, Wow Tash and Neil what a wedding looked super fun and full of colour. Absolutely loved all of it .

  15. Marian on July 8, 2014 at 7:30 am

    These are fantastic photo’s – they absolutely show the love between to people who I pray and believe will spend the rest of their lives filled with the joy and love which is so clear they share xox

  16. Charlene & Jacques on July 8, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Congratulations Neil & Tash – we hope you have an amazing, happy life together! Jacques van Wyk and Charlene Cullingworth xxx

  17. Natalie on July 8, 2014 at 9:35 am

    When I tell you I cried in these pictures, I actually cried! Proper tears rolling. This is the happiest, most loving, most colourful, most spectacular, most original wedding I have ever, ever seen. Tash, if you are reading these comments – my heart feels like bursting simply from the visual experience, I can’t even imagine what it must’ve been like to be there in person. You’ve raised the bar girl – may this level of joy follow you to the end of your days. And Jacki Bruniquel, you are in another realm.

  18. Mountain Man Dale on July 8, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    What a truly magical couple! If there where ever 2 people destined for one another its these two. What a wonderfully original wedding captured by a wonderfully original photographer. The colour , the life, love all captured with such tenderness and care.. Congrats Neil & Tash and bravo Jacs!!! One of the best for sure.

  19. Bijith on July 8, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Neil,Great photos! Beautiful wedding! Congratulations you both.. Wish you a blessed life with ever green love together.

  20. Crazy polish cousin on July 8, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Wow! What an amazing emotional rollercoster these pics have just taken me…
    Before my heart hardens up again I have to say this…
    Natasha you are one incredible human with the biggest heart I am yet to see! I see that heart on every photo. When you hug people it is with such conviction – like he or she is the most important person in your life. I’m so glad Jacky captured so many of those hugs. And I’m so glad you picked my little cousin as your human to hug for eternity 🙂
    My little cousin – you are one in a million. You make me so very proud every single hour of every single day. Your wedding day was no exception. On that day I witnessed your best life choice to date – you married a girl who downs vodka shots better than you do! 😉 Just kidding. Rewind 🙂 On that day I witnessed your best life choice to date – you married your soul mate 🙂
    The way you looked at your little lady D – with such content, happiness and so so so much love!
    Your wedding and these amazing pics are a testimony of your honest commitment, two crazy kids entangling their life’s together, and you just know that it’s forever…
    You guys are my reason for believing that true love exists!
    Love you both toooooo much!
    Ps. The orange sunset kisses and the dangling off a tree feet are my ultimate favorite shots! How big can we blow them up? I’m thinking banners wallpapers road side billboards maybe?! 😉

  21. Laurie on July 9, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Wow! What a perfect and amazing day for you both 🙂
    Wishing you guys the best of happiness for many many years to come!

  22. Kylie Arthur on July 9, 2014 at 8:04 am

    Such a beautiful wedding. Tash and Neil you both looked amazing and these pics are lovely. So proud of you guys. Your wedding was so different and SO AMAZING. Love you guys lots. Dil, Kylie, and the boys

  23. Sam on July 9, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Fabulous pics Jax and such a off-beat beautiful wedding, I think these pics need some magazine coverage!

  24. Shan on July 10, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    I’ve looked at these photos over ten times already and each time is just as emotional and beautiful!It fills my heart with such utter, wonderful joy getting to see how fantastic and magical these two very special souls wedding day was, nothing short of amazing!!The love, emotion and colours are so part of their characters and their fun personalities…their love and joy is contagious!!Congratulations you two amazing, inspirational humans, so honored to call you fantasical humans my friends!! Jax, thank you for creating these wonderful memories that can be viewed across the globe, the glimpse of this crazy, fun, roller-coaster wedding day has been exceptional!!!xxx

  25. Chillies on July 12, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Oh WOW!!! This was one hell of a wedding. Bless the two souls(Raj&Parrot)that deserve all the happiness in the world. Love you guys! Amaizing pics Jacki.

  26. Jane on July 12, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    These are stunning! Tash look amazing. Jax you captured it perfectly but then I knew you would. Perfect day and theme.

  27. Ian Burrows on July 15, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Why was I not invited !! lol

  28. Seema on July 16, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Absolutely fabulous….from a different world. Keep on rocking

  29. Carol on July 23, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    I stumbled on to your website and got lured to this wedding with it’s amazing colour and vibrant photography. Excellent job to all who were involved.
    I was wondering if you would be interested in sharing this wedding with a website ? They would probably drool over this particular wedding. I am not affiliated with the site – just an enthusiastic reader.
    Once again, well done on the exceptional photos and many happy years to the couple.

  30. Natalie on September 17, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    I just looked at these photos again because I needed a pick-me-up. That’s how much I love them.

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