This Mountain Springs Lodge Wedding is Inspired by the African Safari Where the Couple Met

August 1, 2017 | gabby

Marissa and Wessel first met each other while working on a game reserve together in Africa, so it’s no wonder that Africa holds a very special place in both of their hearts. To honor the beginning of their relationship and the groom’s South African roots, Marissa and Wessel channeled all of their favorite African details in their Mountain Springs Lodge wedding with an African Safari theme! The couple beautifully incorporated the theme with table decor inspired by African animals, traditional African accessories for their bridal party, and a natural color palette of peacock feather hues. We think the windy couple portraits Hinterland Stills captured of Marissa and Wessel perfectly documents the couple’s adventurous love.

The Couple:

Marissa and Wessel

The Wedding:

Mountain Springs Lodge, Leavenworth, Washington

What what most important to us in planning was making sure that the wedding was fun, love-filled and that Wessel and I’s personal story could be seen/felt throughout the wedding. Having the moments captured by photographers you can trust and know are doing an amazing job really set us at ease.



Coming down that aisle was the most memorable moment… it was a long windy aisle through a field, but once I was close enough to see him and hear the music, it was so real, so many emotion

Our ceremony was personalized by our family friend being our officiant, our tree planting instead of unity candle, my dog was a groomsman, bridesmaid who is VERY short acted as my flower girl, we spoke a few lines of our vows in an african language only we could understand, incorporated african music, we had huge giraffe statues at the altar with us.

There are photos of us in a field after the ceremony and it’s dusk out, Wess and I are facing each other having a moment and it was caught. It is so real and it just looks beautiful.

I wanted to look natural, I didn’t want to look back and not recognize myself on the day. My husband doesn’t like a lot of makeup either, so we agreed on a more natural look. I didn’t have an inspiration. I loved the floral crown my friend made me, she sells them on Etsy. I loved that I wore my bush boots that i wear when working in Africa. I added cap sleeves that hung off my arms to my dress and I think that was a great addition.

Our advice: Have fun! There were moments when I thought I’d just give up, they can eat off paper plates for all I care! haha! But I had great friends that helped push me through it, and now, I miss it -go figure! Enjoy the process, don’t get lost in the unimportant things and don’t spend money on silly things you and most of your guests won’t even notice the day of.

We wanted it to be relaxed, natural chic, fun. Outdoor, lots of lights, fun foods, great beers and wine, open spaces, chilled. Our theme was African Safari because that is where my husband is from and that is how we met, while working in Africa on a game reserve, it’s the most important part of our lives. Each table was a different animal and we brought tons of decorations from Africa to fill all the spaces. We did a peacock/dark turquoise color palette with gold and blush. Our wedding was African Safari themed, but we didn’t want harsh oranges and reds. It was another natural palette that was more romantic and soft.

Processional: Book of Love – Peter Gabriel 
Recessional: Afrika Sonsak – Robbie Wessels
First Dance: Kan ek met jou dans – Bouwer Bosch feat. Almarie du Preez
Bridal Party Entrance: Circle of Life (Lion King)

Kyle and Stephen of Hinterland Stills are THE best! They made us feel right at ease and as if we were doing so good, when we know if was them making us look good… My husband is pretty shy and he really felt good having them there and really liked them a lot. I wish we would have had more time, but lighting/wind wasn’t on our side. I am so glad that we had met up and shot our engagement photos with them, bc already knowing how it was going to go made it so much more fun and easy. I’d recommend them to anyone for any photo occasion. I know so many people that regret their photographer choice and I can honestly say I don’t for a second.

The Wedding Team:

Photography – Hinterland Stills
Venue & Catering – Mountain Springs Lodge
Floral Design – Full Bloom Flowers and Plants
Bridal Accessories – Emerald Dove Designs
Bridesmaids’ Apparel – Azazie


A huge congratulations to Marissa and Wessel, and a special thanks to Junebug member Hinterland Stills for sharing the newlyweds’ gorgeous day with us. Love this wedding’s adventurous vibes? Take a look at this free-spirited Cape Kiwanda elopement inspiration, also shot by Hinterland Stills!

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