The non wedding Cape Town wedding – Nicole + Peter

I met Peter Russell when I was just 15 years old whilst on a family holiday down in Cape St Francis in the Eastern Cape. He was 21 at the time and he and his crew from Cape Town were the ultimate teenage heroes. They had long hair, surfed, ate bully beef out of a can, wore skull rings and slept under the hobie cats on the beach!

Who would have thought that an invitation to the Bruniquel abode for a braai would land up in a collection of lifelong friends. After nearly eating us out of house and holiday home, our visit came to an end and we packed up for Durban.  I left Cape St Francis with a heavy heart and a few new addresses in my diary. I so clearly remember my Father telling me they would never write back, so I would like to take this opportunity to say “I told you so Dad!” This was long before the days of cellphones and e-mail, and for a good couple of years we all wrote to each other. We wrote actual letters on actual paper and posted them with actual stamps – twenty one years of friendship thanks to snail mail!

Our lives have danced together and apart over the last two decades. We all lived in Cape Town for a period during my university days, then I was based in London for a while whilst travelling all over the world.  In between the silences there have been visits, phone calls and more recently Facebook! We have seen each other through the good the bad and the ugly. There have been fashion disasters, Saturn returns, break ups, break downs, babies and careers. In amongst all of that there has been deep understanding and love. To have remained friends for so many years is a blessing and privilege and I feel so lucky to have walked through life this far with Peter and the gang.

I digress though, as Peter and the gang changed some time back. Whilst I was still living overseas I heard rumors that Peter had hooked up with a wild child. Her name was Nicole Daniels! I cannot remember the exact day that Nicole and I decided to be friends but we have never looked back. She has more facial expressions than a Bollywood actress, she laughs louder than opera singer and is as excitable as an over-stimulated child but her soul runs deep and she sees the world with a wisdom that inspires me to be gentler. I just adore her!

Peter and Nicole have had two little girls, Ajua Luna and Zara, and I knew that my life would be intertwined with theirs the minute that I heard they were born.

To the Russell Daniels ……I love you more than words could ever say. You are my people!!! You are my heart!!!

Ok … onto the Non-Wedding Wedding! Nicole and Peter are anything but conventional and so it follows that their wedding would be anything but conventional too! They stripped the idea of a wedding down to basics and only incorporated the elements that were important to them. What was important to them was that their closest friends and family were there to bear witness to their commitment. This was a wedding that was about people and about love. It wasn’t about flashy shoes, pinterest, or styled décor.

They invited about 20 of their absolute nearest and dearest to their actual marriage ceremony which was held in the late afternoon on a Friday at ZenSA Lodge in Scarborough in Cape Town. This was followed by a delicious meal and lots of wine which erupted into a spot of spontaneous dancing. The following day hazy heads were dusted off with a trip to the beach and then there was an afternoon tea party in the garden for around 80 guests. The tea party was perfectly Peter and Nicole. The sun blinked at us while soft jazzy tunes drifted over the mountain, guests sipped tea and coffee from the Barrista Bar, there was a ping pong table, delicious homemade cakes and nibbles. But most of all there was love, tears, hugs, laughter and more love.

This wedding was very personal experience for me and one which I will never forget.

PS Peter is a very talented photographer and videographer check out his work here

And now for the credits in the brides own words ….

But none of it would have been possible without the help of willing friends and family!! Firstly, it must be known that Peter and I were together for 11 years before both of us realised we could get married. But, it was such a foreign concept that even though our hearts said yes, our minds struggled to catch on to what that entailed – and whilst being married was not what concerned us, the getting married part really did.

To give you a sense of the ways in which circles of support grew around us to facilitate us having the wedding, its worth noting that because much of our immediate family lives overseas, the date had been set so they could book and pay for flights ahead of time. This meant that our procrastinations were anxiety provoking not just for us, but for those across the oceans as well. So that when my friend Nikki Froneman stepped in, she literally become my bridal doula whose love and conviction helped bring our ideas to life, actualising their essence.

Our ideas were born of the notion that, it’s so rare having our families all together, that we wanted the occasion to last for as long as possible, hence the idea of a wedding weekend! We also happen to think that home is where the heart is, and derive the most meaning from celebrating occasions which lie at the heart of relationship, in our home. With an expansive sense of our home address, we began searching for a venue location somewhere across the far South Cape Town peninsular that felt right. Zensa Lodge in Scarborough was just the place. They could accommodate our close family and friends, was a stones throw away from the beach, had an ethos and attitude very similar to ours, and most importantly was fully geared towards children. But they needed some encouragement and we needed to make some serious adjustments for the fit to be just right.

Much of our wedding planning – because it was so hands on required constant encouragement and adjustment for the pieces to come together. So much so, that it felt like we were working on a rubix cube which at times was very, very frustrating, but extremely gratifying. We had friends scouring neighbourhoods and mountains for fynbos and succulents, ceremonial tables prepared for us, offers of talent exchanges, cupcakes, Mexican feasts, we had hands that carried and held and attached and hung up and moved and fetched and made pretty. The combined efforts of our community who came to shower us with love and devotion reflected not only the love we have in our hearts for each other, but our connection to a web of life that sustains and nourishes as it is sustained and nourished by those who acknowledge their connection to it.

Thanks to everyone involved for the most exquisite celebration of love.

Venue: Zensa Lodge, 021 780 1166,

Hanging garden & Bride’s bouquet: Opus 072 785 6002

Brides Dress: Macy’s

Groom’s Suit: (he wore a suit? hahaha)

Wedding Rings: Fire petals

Marriage celebrant: Patrick Boucher: 082 641 8700

Cake: Louise, Ariel

Coffee Station: Ilana

Wedding Décor: Theme Creations 021 788 6385

Music: Lisa Bauer & Max Starke &

Crockery: Jenna, 076 670 7724<

Masseuse: Linde Wilson: 074 122 7991


  1. Berit on July 1, 2013 at 9:19 am

    You’re a composition master! 🙂 Love the photos 🙂

  2. Rachel Daniels on July 1, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Dear Jacki, you have captured the inner most beauty of this wedding. Your words bought tears to my eyes and your photos transported me back to this heavenly weekend that I will never forget. Thank you.
    And Thank you to Nicole and Peter for letting us be part of their magical moment.
    Rachel xxx

  3. Nicole on July 1, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    I am speechless (and that is indeed a very rare thing) !!!

  4. Kirsti on July 1, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Jacki, these pictures are so perfectly, well
    Russell Daniels

    Thank you so much! 🙂

  5. Reza Daniels on July 2, 2013 at 4:30 am

    Wow, fantastic Jacki! What a beautiful wedding this was 🙂

  6. Tricia on July 2, 2013 at 4:55 am

    I looked through these with such a big smile on my face! Such love and joy exudes from each and every photo that I almost felt I was there. Peter and Nicole I wish you just a little of that love and joy every day from now on!

  7. Roshan on July 2, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Jacqui, what a beautiful story you’ve told through this collection of images. It was a wedding to remember and these pictures are testament to that. Beautiful, joyous and wacky! Just like our beauties, Nicole and Peter.

  8. Rachel Movitz on July 2, 2013 at 7:26 am

    Wow, what a great wedding. Every photo is stunning and they look so happy, wonderful!

  9. Sheugnet Christie on July 2, 2013 at 7:44 am

    As always, darling, a masterpiece!!! I don’t know any of these people, but completely felt the vibe/love through the images you captured. What a talent!

  10. Peter Russell on July 2, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Ok so Nicole stole my comment ! Really Jacki wow wow wow !!! to think that i was against the idea of getting married for so long , just looking at the magic you captured makes me want to do it all over again . Your ability to make still images come alive is testament to the incredible talent you have .
    p.s i think i still have the skull ring somewhere !

  11. Florentien on July 2, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    How can you make such price winning pictures in just so little days. Very inspiring. But the wedding was sparkling, loving, colorful and above all gezellig.

    X F

  12. louise | b.loved on July 3, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Jax, these literally jump off the page with colour & love. Love love love!!! What a special day xo

  13. Ronel on July 3, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Breath taking pictures of a day that was soo filled with magic. What a brilliant idea, Peter! Why don’t you do it again!?

  14. Bruno Bruniquel on July 3, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Lovely photos. Had I known about the skull ring you would have starved!! Just as well I didn’t . Congratulations and all our best wishes. Ballie

  15. Shane Smith on July 3, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    Awesome shots Jax! Congrats Peter and Nichole!!! What a fantastic and happy day!

  16. Nikki Froneman on July 4, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Absolutely exquisite! You are booked for my wedding even if it’s only in 30 years! xx

  17. Ernestine Deane on July 4, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    ah, bless you,my far south family, sad I couldnt be there, but seeing this page, I feel such a part of it! Love you each and everyone! xxxx

  18. Nu Woman on July 5, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    WOW! WOW! WOW! I don’t even know you – stumbled upon this blog on Facebook. This wedding was sooooooo amazing. The pictures captured the event PERFECTLY. I was so moved – I even cried.
    Stay in love and be blessed,
    Nu from Munich, Germany

  19. Nicole on July 5, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Okay, so just a few details that I’m only seeing now: My Dad was wearing my youngest brothers shirt (40 yrs his junior), I don’t even know who’s shawl I was wearing during the evening (but i’m glad I borrowed it cause it really went nicely with my paisley skirt), Deborah had pink highlights in her hair, and there were prawns????
    Tricia, thank you for your wish – it speaks volumes about the wisdom you have accumulate in your own married life. Im so glad both you and Ernestine could feel that the love from your hearts was present there too – because we certainly felt it. In fact this was the case for so many friends who couldnt make it, but were so there in spirit (im sure you know who you are).
    I keep coming back to look these pics, I just cant get enough!!!
    Thanks everyone for the wellwishes, oh and hahahaha Ronel!

  20. nicole on July 5, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Oh, and the waistcoat we just sent to America thinking it was my Dad’s, looks like it belongs to my brother instead!
    The thing with these photo’s that fascinates me is how it shows up the crazy, comical, oddly off centeredness of the whole event. The raucous laughter, the tears, the wild abandon, the beauty, the sincerity, the heartfelt tenderness.
    In all these years I have never seen Peter look as happy as he does in these photo’s – not because he’s marrying me (we all think he is either mad or a saint for doing that) but because you seem to capture what’s behind the eyes…. its as though you capture thinking and speaking and feeling and being – a visceral corporeality. Its truly unbelievable.
    If I was to thank you for these pictures as you deserve to be thanked I would sit graciously next to our friendship and offer it Bellflowers for gratitude, Freesia for lasting friendship, Sage for good health, Sweet pea for delicate pleasures, White Hyacinth for beauty, Lisianthus for appreciation, Cosmos for joy in love and life, Olive for peace and Bluebells for constancy (From Diffenbaugh’s “the Language of Flowers”).
    Love-you-long-time-sunshine, Mwah xoxoxoxo

  21. Hein Van de Geyn on March 5, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    Whew what incredibly nice photos. A great souvenir of a golden day 😉 Go well sweet people.


  22. Alison on April 29, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Your wedding was a beautiful celebration of your relationship… how precious!

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