Wes Anderson Wedding – Lauren + Craig

Lauren and Craig are not your average Joes or Janes. Nope, they are just not those people that would to get married under a flower arch and have a bunch of pics of themselves staring into each other’s eyes in a backlit field. Lauren and Craig walk through life to their own beat. They live for art, music, good food, and wine, and love good design and mid-century furniture.

“Extroverted”, “intelligent” and “delightfully flamboyant” are words that could definitely be used to describe these social butterflies. They’re both writers who thrive off travel, adventure and interesting conversations. I wish I could adopt them and keep them close but, alas, they have flitted off to New York City and are embarking on a new life in the Big Apple.

They chose me to photograph their wedding because they simply didn’t want run-of-the-mill wedding photography… and I’m so glad that they did!

Their wedding was as wonderfully wacky as they are! It was held at L. Ron Hubbard’s old house, which is now a museum in Johannesburg (for those that don’t know, he was a science fiction author, and the founder of Scientology). This is not, traditionally, a wedding venue! To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure how they managed to twist the arms of the museum curators’ to host their nuptials in this timewarp, but somehow they did!

It was the perfect location for them – even though they’re not Scientologists – as I’m sure you’ll agree, that this venue feels like it is straight out of a Wes Anderson film set (a director they both love!). This, coupled with their wonderful attire, awesome friends, and lovable personalities, made me a very happy photographer!

I would tell you more about the wedding, but my writing skills are not as good as their’s, so scroll to the bottom of this collection of images to hear more from the bride and groom themselves.

Lauren and Craig, I so loved working with you both. Thanks for reminding me just how much I love my job, but mostly, thanks for picking me! I wish you all the luck in the world for your new life in NYC. I hope to visit you there soon!

There were so many people that helped make our wedding possible, and unforgettable. We are still overwhelmed by the outpouring of love we felt in the days leading up to the wedding, and on the magical day itself. In many ways, our wedding wasn’t a traditional one, but especially because it had to be organised on a short timeline as we were simultaneously trying to plan a move across the world. This meant we couldn’t fixate on small details – there simply wasn’t enough time to – we had to outsource things wherever possible, which is where our family and friends proved indispensable.

We wanted our ‘proper’ wedding – we had already had a much smaller, intimate ceremony in our apartment earlier in the year – to be like the first one, but larger. We wanted it to feel like it was happening at home rather than in a wedding venue, which was a tough feat with a guestlist of 120 people. The wedding was also intended to serve as a farewell as, two weeks later, we were moving from Johannesburg to New York. We didn’t want a religious ceremony, a conventional venue, an officiant who didn’t really know us, or the traditional retinue of bridesmaids and groomsmen, and as we were already married (under the civil unions act) we weren’t obliged to. Instead, we got a friend to oversee proceedings, our nearest and dearest to be part of a ‘wedding crew’, and found a decidely unusual venue.

The L Ron Hubbard House on Linksfield Ridge proved to be the perfect venue. It’s a beautiful, mid-century house with fittings and furniture to match. It’s been painstakingly restored to look just like it did when the founder of Scientology lived in it in the ’60s and now functions as a museum and occasional function venue. Because it’s perched on the side of Linksfield Ridge above Cyrildene, it offers incredible, panoramic views of the eastern edge of downtown Johannesburg, Kensington, Bedfordview and the southern reaches of the city in the distance. We met and fell in love in Johannesburg, so we were really thrilled at the prospect of a venue that isn’t just an unusual part of the city’s history, but also a place that would be new to most of our guests.

We both love dress-up parties and themed events, but fearing themed outfits would be too big an ask of our guests we settled on a ‘masked’ wedding instead. Guests were encouraged to make animal masks – on their own, or at a mask-making party we hosted the week before the event – which they could then wear during the festivities. We bought a dozen or so patterns for animal masks from UK-based company Wintercroft and made a few extras of some of our favourites ourselves. We loved the geometric, polygon-based designs of the masks, the DIY ethos behind them, and the creativity guests showed in how they decorated their creations.

The masks gave the wedding a distinct, quirky and playful aesthetic which we absolutely loved… and which our guests seemed to enjoy as much as we did. It was such fun to look out into the crowd when we were saying our vows and see a purple rabbit staring back at us, or to meet a silver elephant on the dancefloor later that night. They also made for amazing photographs.

We can’t thank Jacki and Charne enough, they were so easy to work with and the couple’s photoshoot turned out to be one of our highlights of the day, as it was the one time we were able to really relaxe and be in the moment.

Our set-up and take-down crew was a mix of family and friends and was, in a word, incredible. They basically took over from us at one point, thinking of all the things we hadn’t and ensuring things ran smoothly. Anthea, Bianca, Dean, Brad, Damien, Caitlin, Nico, Gareth, Gemma, Alex, Simone, Amber and Cameron, we genuienely couldn’t have done it without you!

Massive thanks also go to the caretakers of the L Ron Hubbard House museum, Sandra and Puneet, who were incredibly accommodating before, during and after the wedding.

Venue: L Ron Hubbard House

Decor: The venue didn’t need any decorating inside. So we kept it to a party light for the dancefloor and nothing else. We used the lawn outside for the ceremony, laid down runners we bought secondhand for the aisle, and created an arch of sorts by hanging decorations from the trees. We hired tables and chairs from allthingswedding for the reception dinner, and we collected glass hurricanes, vases and tumblers from charity stores in the preceding months to fill with candles and use to illuminate the dinner tables.

Flowers: We wanted the flowers to look like the flowers in a garden, all mismatched and in season. The day before the wedding, Lauren, her mom, and her oldest friend Bianca went to Multiflora Flower Market and filled two cars with orange pin cushions, purple irises, pink and white sprays, and heaps of greenery. Lauren’s mom, Anthea, lovingly put together the bride’s bouquet.

Hair colour and styling: Bernadette Kruger – Bern at The Mix

Make up: Angelique Grobler – Composure

Bride’s Dress: White Lilly Bridal

Bride’s shoes: Red mirror court heels – Superbalist

Groom’s Suit: Khaliques

Masks: Wintercroft

Music: We hired sound gear from JVL Sound (Johan 083 270 6680) and made a few short Spotify playlists for different parts of the day. Once we’d opened the dancefloor with our chosen tunes we let our friends have free rein queueing up songs for the rest of the night. We walked down the aisle to The Magnetic Fields song ‘The Book of Love’, and our first dance was to Françoise Hardy’s ‘Le Temps de L’amour’ (which plays a prominent role in our favourite Wes Anderson movie, ‘Moonrise Kingdom’), followed by Beyoncé’s ‘Crazy in Love’.


  1. Lauren and Craig on October 26, 2019 at 2:36 am

    Jacki, we took your advice and enjoyed these pictures at leisure with a glass of bubbly in hand. We’re absolutely thrilled with how they came out. These images are everything we hoped they’d be… and so much more! We know they’re only going to get more magical as the years fly by. Thank you SO much for capturing our wedding in your inimitable style, and for documenting a day we’ll never forget with such panache.

  2. Tricia on April 22, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    A beautiful set of images that really capture the fun of the celebration!

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