Jess and Nick, Emily Moon River Lodge. Whenever I get an out-of-town wedding I do a quiet double backflip, half-turn salto. Firstly, I get to escape from my family for a few days. It’s really difficult living with them – they’re cooked. Seriously cooked. At any given moment there is always some sort of rehearsal going on (from ballet and dance to some or other flipping stage performance); or Robbie is chucking a rugby ball around inside – generally missing the TV by inches. Or there are baking evenings, or the dog is being taught some or other new trick – you get my drift. It’s hard. And noisy. So a wedding out-of-town for me is like ‘yoo-hoo baby, I’m all over it like a rash.’ Enter Jess and Nick, flying in from Australia mate. So I’m into the car like a shot 2 days before the wedding and ‘see you Sunday gang.’ Let’s not make it a long goodbye, dad has quite a way to travel – have fun, love you, bye! Music on. Zoom! Gone! And for 2 days pre-wedding there I am, alone with my thoughts, walking beaches and exploring forests and popping into every conceivable place en-route to Plettenberg Bay. Not one second is wasted. It would probably exhaust even the most ardent adventurer. Vic Bay, Buffels Bay, Knysna, Noetzie, this curio shop, that farmstall, wherever. (You can see some of the Instagram pics I took here.) Drive, stop, drive, stop. By the time wedding day arrives I’m so inspired it’s frightening. South Africa is one beautiful place. Gillian my eldest daughter has given me strict instructions to get a takeaway pizza from Pico’s in Plett. I duly oblige. Whew, not shabby at all. The owner and myself have a huge bonding session and I get chatting to one of his customers who wants to become a wedding photographer. I give him a crash course in wedding photography – he looks pale by the end of it. Next I hook up with an old work colleague from some 20 years back and meet his wife and kids. It’s just getting better and better.

I arrive at Emily Moon. The bridesmaids are doing champers. Jess is seriously quiet. I have a small worry. I watch, closely, running scenarios through my head – planning my approach for later on. The ceremony arrives. Goes off beautifully. Congrats happen – Jess is calm, relaxed, enjoying herself. Okay, time for the family photos – they go off without a hitch. Nick is, well, Nick is Nick (as boys are). Family pics over and BOOM-shaka-laka! What IS it with these brides of mine? Jess comes out of the starting blocks like Chad le Clos (okay granted, not in a Speedo, but close enough). The light is fading really fast so we have to go like a steam engine. Jess is in the zone, I’m in the zone – and we just go man go! Satisfaction personified. We walk down to the jetty, into the long grass, back up the steps, and all around Emily Moon. It’s a pretty cool place to shoot at and we just nail it left, right and centre. Into the reception we go where Sam and Keelyn from i do box based here in Cape Town have done a sterling job all round. What an absolute pleasure to have worked with them. Speeches, cake, dancing, shooters, and party, party, party. Eventually, I call it a night and go off to my room. It’s time for bed. I turn the lock in the door and enter. Something isn’t right. This can’t be my room. It’s seriously awesome. Like REALLY awesome. I check the note on the bed. ‘Dear Mr and Mrs Williams…’ Oh! Hellie could have come as well! Surpriiiiise! I text Hel a photo of myself eating a complimentary chocolate in bed: ‘Sorry you couldn’t be here.’ I flick on the TV. It’s the build-up to the Mayweather/Pacman fight. ‘Ah, I think I’ll watch that!’ Next thing it’s 5.00am, and as I step out of the door, groggy from a good night’s sleep, Mayweather and Pacman are about to get it on. I get into the car and head down the driveway. There’s a massive full moon straight ahead of me and it’s nothing less than glorious. That’s how I’ll remember Jess and Nick’s wonderful wedding at Emily Moon…

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