Real Wedding Inspiration – Duane Smith Photography


Little Pink Book just loves this Real Wedding Inspiration of Grant and Cait by the talented wedding photographer, Duane Smith Photography, from Kwa-Zulu Natal. Shooting with a journalistic style helps Duane get right into the moment with his couples on their wedding day. He has always believed that weddings, like life, must be enjoyed with those you love and that which inspires you. He loves working with couples who are just as excited as he is about their wedding day and making great memories through great photographs. Duane’s connection to each wedding and the need to find a common ground with his couples ensures that he captures heartfelt images. And that’s exactly what Duane achieved with Grant and Cait’s wedding images!

Duane Smith Photography (26) Duane Smith Photography (25) Duane Smith Photography (24) Duane Smith Photography (23) Duane Smith Photography (22) You had a beautiful Sposabella dress!! Tell us more about your favourite aspects! I love my dress, definitely the perfect choice! I had initially decided to get my dress made and the dressmaker suggested that I try different styles on to get a better idea. I fell in love with the dress and had to have it! I ordered it from Sposabella, a bridal boutique in Durban. My favourite part was the little, light pink ribbon and bow that the seamstress added on between the bodice and skirt of the dress and the touches of lace at the edge of each layer (but honestly…I loved every part of it)!

What made you choose your wedding venue?  We both love the midlands and wanted something local but with a similar country-type feel. One of my friends who recently got married told me that when you walk into a venue, you would know if it’s the right place for you. And that’s exactly what happened. I walked into Intaba View and made my mind up there and then, I just had to run it past Grant. I don’t think I had expectations of the venue other than the view overlooking valley of 1000 Hills. I got more than I bargained for! They were also extremely accommodating in fitting our budget into their wedding packages and made lots of changes to help us.

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What was the “theme” of your wedding, and why? Grant described it as quirky! I don’t think we really had one as such, things just developed! Our intention was for everyone to be relaxed, comfortable and have fun.

What song did you choose for your opening dance and why? We chose “Won’t you be my darling tonight”. A  couple of years before I was engaged I heard the song and loved the lyrics, and Grant agreed! Chorus: Won’t you be my darling tonight and go dancing under the pale moonlight? I am crazy for you. And we’ll keep this moment alive ‘till the end of our given time because I am crazy for you.” Who wouldn’t love that?!

Duane Smith Photography (17) Duane Smith Photography (16) Duane Smith Photography (15) Duane Smith Photography (14) Choosing your photographer is always a tricky part in the wedding planning process. How did you decide on Duane Smith PhotographyI had met Duane through mutual friends a few years ago and had kept track of his pictures. I always enjoyed his style! We looked at a few local photographers and met with one to look over her work. We thought we had settled on her and decided to take a look at Duane’s blog. We browsed through his wedding albums and both decided (within minutes) that we wanted him to capture our special day! We knew that his pics would be the ones we would love to have hanging on the walls of our house!

What were the highlights of your Wedding Day? I enjoyed everything so much, more than I ever expected!! I loved getting ready with my Mom and Bridesmaids! We used Mulberry Guest house about 10 minutes away from the Wedding Venue. We were treated to a relaxed day with delicious food and drinks throughout the day; it just set the tone for the rest of the day! And I LOVED seeing Grant at the end of the aisle!!

Duane Smith Photography (13) Duane Smith Photography (12) Duane Smith Photography (11) Duane Smith Photography (10) Where did you get most of your ideas and inspiration? I used some bridal magazines, looked on the Internet and incorporated ideas that I liked from other weddings I had been to or ideas that friends mentioned to me. I tried to stay away from sites initially, like Pinterest, although I love the site! It was a little too overwhelming to make decisions, so when I knew what I wanted, I looked on their site.

Did anything unexpected happen? The week before our wedding there was a national flower shortage and the colours we wanted weren’t available. Fortunately we had an amazing friend doing our flowers and she did her best, which was nothing short of AMAZING!

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What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome while organising your dream wedding? I’m not sure if this is the kind of obstacle you mean, but my Dad passed away about 7 months before our wedding. We were extremely close and one of his biggest “dreams” he had, was to walk me down the aisle. So it was difficult to be excited and deal with grief. I saw a beautiful idea on Pinterest where a similar situation had happened to another bride and she cut out a heart from one of her Dad’s blue shirts and sewed it into her wedding dress. I used this idea and sewed it onto a little lace handkerchief for the ceremony, and made one for my mom too.

Any time saving or organising tips? DELEGATE!! My Bridesmaids and Mom were amazing and I was able to give them things to do independently of me. That’s the key! Don’t do it with them, that’s just a waste of time. I am definitely a “list girl” and it really helped, especially in the last week. Each day was broken down so I knew what I needed to do (I also took the week before off work. The Monday was a public holiday but those 4 days were a lifesaver!) And my list was on my phone so that I had it with me constantly in case I needed to add or take anything away.

Duane Smith Photography (5) Duane Smith Photography (4) Any hints for other brides on how to keep your wedding budget friendly? Take time to look around, don’t just settle on the first quote or price that you see. Use friends who are willing to help out. Our florist was a friend with an amazing ability who didn’t charge us for her services. Decide before hand what you are willing to spend more money on and then plan around that. For us, our photographer, my wedding dress and the venue were our big 3. Keep a record of what you spend so that you know where you are in your budget. Before you start spending, have a rough estimate and break down of your budget so that you know how much money you have to work with for each section. We were fortunate that our parents did not make us invite people because that was the expectation. I know that this isn’t always possible with some families, we were very fortunate and it helped cut down costs.

Did your wedding preparations include any DIY projects? LOTS! Grant made frames and easels for our seating chart and “Guest Book” (on the frames backing we had lots of hooks with keys which each had a tag. The heading on the frame was, “Please share your key to success with us”). He also made a crochet set and a little wagon for our Godson to push down the aisle and metal Shepard’s hooks for the flowers in the chapel. We had to add string to our invites (as it opened it “tied the knot”), put tissues into little bags and wrote tags: “Only for happy tears”. We tied tags onto keys, put stickers onto fortune cookies (thank you gifts for guests with personalised message inside), cut and fold the table numbers and name tags for guests, cut and fold menus, put lace/ribbon onto glass jars, made some of the signs i.e.: Crochet Rules.

Were any of your family members or friends involved in the wedding and what were their contributions?  Absolutely! I couldn’t have done it without them!!! My Gran made the wedding cupcakes (we had a tea for everyone and then reception for only some of the guests) and she also organised the chair ties for the chapel. My in-laws and Grant’s Aunt made our Wedding Cake – we had taste testers and everything! My bridesmaids were amazing and wiling to do lots of DIY tasks. We were very blessed that my parents gave us the budget!!! Our florist, as I mentioned, didn’t charge us for her services and her sister did all of our invites, menus, order of services etc. at a very reasonable rate.

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Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently? I went to a wedding recently were the couple did a choreographed dance for their first dance and I thought that it was quite sweet! We accidentally left off some table pictures, including the main table so I would maybe be more particular about this!

What every Bride should know: Your wedding day is the start of your adventure with your husband, make sure it’s a memorable and fun start!!

What every Groom should know: Things might seem overwhelming or rushed, just chill and slow down. It’s your day, take your time and enjoy everything. Oh, and red bull helps as the evening wears on!

Photographer: Duane Smith Photography
Other Suppliers:
Venue, Catering, Coordinating & Chapel: Intaba View;  Bride’s Dress: Sposobella Bridal Gowns; Bridesmaids Dresses: Local Dressmaker & Truworths; DJ: Jonathan Archer; Engagement Ring: Cherry Design; Make-up: Beauty be Design; Groom’s Suit: Suit Up Suit Hire; Cake: Groom’s Parents; Stationery, Hair, Flowers & Décor: Friends; Shoes: Something borrowed

For more information:

+27(0)71 858 9653