Lolita and Tshepo
Grahamstown is quiet on Sunday mornings. There are no cars lining the road or stopped at the traffic lights and few people mill around the streets, especially at this kind of time. But there is one house, on this particular day, that is filled with hustle and bustle, noise and excitement. It's an environment fitting for a wedding day - the energy is contagious and though I'm not used to being up quite this early, I am wide awake and ready to capture those moments that Lolita and Tshepo will remember for a lifetime.
I have always considered Lolita to be beautiful, and myself lucky to be her photographer, but this morning she is glowing as the bright morning light shines through the windows and falls on her, wide-eyed and nervous, but filled with excitement and expectation for the day ahead.
Just a few houses away, Tshepo is quiet and calm as his friends celebrate around him. Already dressed and anxious for the big day to begin, I can see that he has no doubts.
In both houses, cellphones ring and voices echo from room to room as the friends and family members run around putting together the finishing touches, until finally it is time. Ribbons and jewels, gloves and shoes are slid into place, and Lolita emerges in a gown that would be fitting for any modern-day Disney princess while the men pile into cars and make their way towards the Monument.
People slowly trickle in, starting with Tshepo and his groomsmen, followed by family and friends and finally concluding with the bride and her bridal party who are greeted once more with exuberant singing and dancing, smiles and well wishes. It is a day for celebration, and the celebrating rings through the hollowed venue and fills it with joy, laughter and song. As Lolita arrives, it starts and it continues throughout the ceremony, throughout the reception, throughout the day - a truly jubilant occasion, filled with happiness and laughter making for a wedding unlike any other that I have had the privilege to capture with my camera.
Nerves which have been written across the bride and groom's faces throughout the morning are forgotten as they stand before each other, knowing that this is where they are meant to be, and that they are meant to be here together with the backdrop of Grahamstown to one side and their friends and family behind them. From the moment they are joined, they are inseparable - they are truly one - and it comes naturally to them.
It is a beautiful day for a wedding in Grahamstown, and the quiet of the morning has been broken with sounds of celebration and love. Things are the way they should be. Lolita and Tshepo are married, and have a lifetime of happiness ahead of them.