The planning and preperation started about three months before the day. A basic itinerary was cobbled together, basically just an idea of the areas we wanted to visit and the amount of time we wanted to spend at each, and a rough idea of how much it would cost. Invitations were sent out with a rather short RSVP period, and deposits were required with the RSVP (to cover the accomodation costs). A website was created to keep everybody up to date and to let them know in as much detail what they would be letting themselves in for but carrots were also dangled: I would upload photos of the places we would be visiting on a regular basis.
Once the guest list was appriximately finalised, we approached an agency to try and secure bookings in the places we wanted to stay. Despite the cost (something we would usually not be prepared to splurge on) this turned out to be one of our best moves, as they really helped us to get all the bookings done in great camps and never grumbled despite frequent changes to the guest list. We then had a number of confabs about the wedding manu. Three things that helped considerably at this stage was that we discovered that pre-cooked food was not subject to the restrictions, that one of our friends had a friend who managed a guest house in Francistown and that my mom and dad were retirees, and thus not subject to school holiday restrictions. Despite that, it turned out that the school holidays would be too short, and thus school headmasters were approached with urgent please to let kids off from school. Other than most weddings, this was one where each guest had a role to play, each contributed to the success of the day (and the whole trip).
Meanwhile the list-making continued. The number and ages of the people (as rates vary), vehicle specifics like fuel tank sizes, expected fuel consumption and fuel type requirements were logged in order to calculate fuel stops. Lists of equipment were made in order to ensure that packing space was maximised by making sure that we didn't have sixteen kettles and so on and so forth ad infinitum.
Next on the planning itinerary was the decor. Two families had almost identical crockery sets, allowing us to have consistency in that at least. We determined how many tables we would require, and measured each family's camping table. I cut out scale models of each family's table, and we stuck them on a board and moved them around until we were happy with the seating plan. i then turned that into a 3-D computer drawing and circulated it to all the guests. Further I used this information to calculate the number and size of table cloths required, and went off to the material shop. We ended up buying quite a lot of brindle-pattern fake leather from which we cut the table cloths, and some organza for trimmings. Ordinary folding camp chairs were made uniform and pretty by making simple slips which were safety-pinned into place. The table cloths then served a dual purpose: we used it as packing material for the crockery and glasses to protect them during transit.
A trip to the two chinese malls in our area turned up enough chinese lanterns of different sizes and colours to provide light and decor, and I made a simple jig and spent an afternoon in tha garage bending bailing-wire hangers to suspend ordinary white candles (several packets of which were bought) in all the lanterns. A big box of brown paper bags was added to provide floor-level lighting. I then made a frame with some mild-steel pipes, some nylon ski rope and tent pegs and a cargo net to hang some of the chinese lanterns from.
Instead of confetti we settled on freeze-dried rose petals, as they are rapidly bio-degradeable. Little cardboard cups were made to carry these in.
As the appointed date crept closer, so the preperations became more frenetic.
One of our biggest advantages was that most of our friends and family (a great bunch of people in the first place) were already experienced self-drivers with their own 4x4's. This included an ordained minister and an experienced DJ.
To accomodate those that couldn't or didn't want to come along, and to deal with the legalities, we held a simple ceremony at our house the weekend before the trip, similar to what might have been done in a lawyer's office.
Another was that two couples were coming back straight after the wedding. We would have much preferred that they toured with us, but it did give us the opportunity to get a lot of the crockery and other wedding parephenalia sent back home.
The menu consisted of peri-peri and mild chicken liver pate on buns for starters, prime steak, veggies and salad for mains and cake and cup-cakes for desert. The steak (best I ever had) and some of the veggies was sourced by the guest-house owner from Francistown. She also sourced the ingredients for and prepared the chicken livers and the salads. Some of the veggies, as well as the meal for the night before the wedding and the cakes were baked (but not decorated) at home before the time.
Edited by Peter Connan, 01 July 2015 - 12:04 PM.
Ek oefen skelm.