Real wedding: Jessica & Layne in full bloom - Wedding Album

Real wedding: Jessica & Layne in full bloom

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Inspired by Japanese folklore, Jessica Foce and Layne Quilliam’s big day consisted of simple glamour and elegant Asian touches. 


My father is a true inspiration to me so I wanted to honour him by having our wedding at the hotel he built. Umthunzi is perfectly located in the rich greenery of the South Coast and the plan was to some day build a chapel, so when Layne and I got engaged, my dad knew he had to push those plans forward. Ours was the first to grace the newly built chapel, which was very special.


To fully realise our theme, which was Japanese, we incorporated pink cherry blossoms, bonsai trees and round lanterns. My father also hand-made the square wooden place mats for the settings and we served guests a variety of teas. The colour scheme was inspired by cherry blossom trees: Think soft pink, white and chocolate brown.


I’m a huge fan of lace and could not resist the simple glamour and elegance of my wedding dress, which was inspired by a Maggie Sottero gown. My reception dress was a shortened version of a Lillian West creation.


In Japanese folklore, it’s believed cranes bring blessings to the marriage, so we had more than 1 000 origami cranes at our venue, which Layne and I hand-folded, strung and beaded ourselves – it took months! I also designed a three-dimensional crane, which I had cast in ceramic as a party favour for our guests, and I used the model on a smaller scale to construct pendants, earrings and cufflinks in silver for the bridal party. We used hand-folded origami lotus flowers and unique ‘origami’ animals laser-cut from wood to decorate the tables, instead of having numbers.


Everything was Asian-inspired, with starters of spicy tom yum soup and Thai julienne vegetable noodle broth. This was followed by a buffet that included pepper-crusted beef fillet, red-wine-jus and gravy-roast pork loin with crackling, sweet-and-sour duck confit, butter chicken curry, stir-fried vegetables with noodles in soy sauce and coconut rice. Traditional sides were cauliflower and broccoli au gratin, roast vegetables and roast potatoes. The dessert buffet had individual milk tarts, eclairs, Eton mess, pecan pie, lemon meringue, chocolate mousse, cheesecake and peppermint tart.


Layne and I wrote our own vows. He spoke about how I was his breath but allowed him to breathe freely – it was very poetic. I really wanted to do something special for the ring so I crafted it by hand from wood then recorded myself saying ‘I love you’ and had the waveform laser-engraved into the wood.


Our first dance was an Argentine tango we choreographed and performed to Cinematic Orchestra’s ‘Arrival of the Birds’. I put on a shorter dress because the tango is all about incredible footwork.


Venue, coordination & catering: Umthunzi Hotel
Photography: Genevieve Fundaro Photography
Wedding dress: Su-El Bridals
Reception dress: Lynne Doyle
Rings: Salix Jewellers
Groom’s suit: Flux Styles Tailor
Decor, flowers & lighting: Tablescapes Weddings by Design
Stationery & photobooth: Liesl le Roux
Cake: Creative Food Catering & Cakes