This Bride Wore Custom Brandon Maxwell for Her Picturesque South African Wedding
This Bride Wore Custom Brandon Maxwell for Her Picturesque South African Wedding

This Bride Wore Custom Brandon Maxwell for Her Picturesque South African Wedding

Welcome to Who What Wear Weddings, the destination for style-minded weddings. Expect insightful tips straight from the newlyweds, shoppable elements, and plenty of must-save imagery as we share the nuptials of our favorite fashion people getting married. For upcoming features, share your submissions here.

"We kept locking eyes from across the party," explains Lauren Burke as she thinks back on the summer afternoon in June 2019 when she met her now husband Barry Dry on the rooftop of his newly opened New York City speakeasy, The Sentry. Burke, the founder of Cafe Society—an NYC-based brand specializing in handcrafted hats—recalls that Dry was wearing a brown felt hat when they first met, which immediately caught her eye. "Maybe it was the hat, or maybe it was his Australian accent, but I knew he was something special," shares Burke. Shortly after, they went on their first date and quickly knew they were in it for the long run.

Six months into their relationship, COVID hit. "Barry was forced to shut down all of his restaurants, which led him to moving in with my family in California for the foreseeable future. As our relationship was new and he had only met my family once or twice, living together under one roof with my parents, two sisters, and five animals was hilarious, to say the least," says Burke. "The silver lining was that we all got to know each other, and Barry fit in with my family so seamlessly—I think everyone loved his 4 p.m. cocktails and cooking."

It was nearly a year later in December of 2021 when the couple celebrated New Year's in Napa, California, at a house on a vineyard that Dry proposed. Though Burke wasn't expecting it at the time, once she spotted bouquets of roses and flower petals sprinkled across the backyard, she knew what was about to happen. "Barry leaned over to tell me 'a secret' (a little thing he does when he says I love you) and said, 'I want to marry you,'" shares Burke. "A few moments later, our friends popped out, and we celebrated for the next few days. It was the most special week of my life!"

Once engaged, Burke and Dry immediately knew they wanted to plan their wedding in South Africa. "My family is from South Africa, specifically Durban and Johannesburg, so I have always dreamed of getting married in South Africa," Burke shares. Dry, too, has a connection with the country, as he lived in South Africa and played rugby there when he was younger. After a trip to Cape Town to meet their wedding planner, they began planning for their March 2023 festivities. The picturesque wedding, bringing together the fashion designer and hospitality entrepreneur, was nothing short of showstopping down to every detail. Scroll on to see how the wedding weekend unfolded, including words from the bride on planning a destination wedding, navigating last-minute weather changes, and all of the details behind designing two custom bridal looks.  

"We decided to host an array of events to allow everyone to experience the best of Cape Town and Stellenbosch. To welcome all of our guests to Stellenbosch, we hosted a welcome garden party at the most surreal Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden."

"I wore the Monique Lhuillier Petal dress from their F/W 22 bridal collection and paired it with transparent Amina Muaddi mules. From the moment I saw their campaign, I knew I had to have the dress! I typically lean more toward neutral dressing, but I loved the shade of pink and how the pattern was hydrangeas—perfect for a garden party. I also loved how the campaign styled the model with a bow in her hair, so during alterations, we took a piece off of the train and made it into a ribbon."

"Barry, myself, and my parents are such fans of Dylan Lewis, so having his garden as one of our locations was a dream."

"My grandma is 95 years old, so it was really special for her to be able to make our wedding.”

"Dylan Lewis spent years forming this garden—from every hill and every curvature to the exact locations his sculptures were placed. He did it for a reason, and it shows. The sculpture garden is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, and it was so special to host everyone there."

The food served at the welcome party.

"I brought about 100 hats from my brand, Cafe Society—some custom for the wedding and others from my current line—as a gift for the guests upon arrival at the garden. The hats were a hit, and every single one was taken. I eventually managed to snag one for myself at the end!"

"We hosted our rehearsal dinner in a different part of the garden and ended the night with dinner in an old water reservoir."

"Our rehearsal dinner began with Barry and I surprising our families with a traditional wedding blessing."

"Due to the weather, we decided at the last minute to change our rehearsal dinner from being outside in the garden [to] inside the water reservoir, and I am so glad we did. It set the mood of the evening, and the yellow flowers and candles lit up the inside and made for a very intimate and warm setting. The evening was filled with delicious Peruvian food, speeches, and my favorite dessert, a pavlova, which Barry and I were able to put the finishing touches on."

"For the wedding blessing and rehearsal dinner, I wore my dream Bernadette gown with ivory patent BY FAR sandals and Agmes earrings. I love to match my looks to the settings, and this yellow gown was the perfect pairing for the yellow flowers I chose for the dinner."

"My wedding dress was custom-made by Brandon Maxwell. It was a true 'pinch me,' full-circle moment having Brandon Maxwell and his team design my dress. When I worked at KCD, I fell in love with Brandon and his brand and said to myself, 'One day when I get married, I would love for Brandon to design my dress.' A few years later, I was standing in his atelier working with his team to create my gown."

"[I] wore a Lunya robe during hair and makeup. I also wore slippers by Leset and a pearl B necklace by Timeless Pearly for Barry. For my makeup, I worked with Renee De Wit to create a natural glam. I wanted to keep my makeup very neutral to compliment my dress. For my hair, I worked with Marios who is a local hairstylist in Cape Town. Without doing a hair trial, Marios understood my vision for a classic low bun for the ceremony and vintage waves for the after-party."

"The morning of the wedding, I got ready with my mom; my two sisters, who were my maids of honor; my sister-in-law, who was my bridesmaid; and my oldest girlfriend. Having a small group on the day made it so special and stress-free."

"The first step of designing my gown was coming up with the inspiration behind my look. I knew I wanted something classic, a fitted drop waist, and a long train. When I was in the atelier trying on some of their current and past pieces to see different silhouettes on my body, I immediately fell in love with a ballgown from their current collection. From the fabric to the silhouette, the gown was perfect and became our main inspiration and starting point."

"From the original gown, we made changes to the neckline [and] added thick modern straps, a low back, and an even longer train. At one of the last fittings, Brandon had the idea of adding the delicate ribbon to help cinch in the waist and give the dress a more delicate feel—this became my favorite detail of the dress. When it came down to shoes, I needed something with height, as Barry is a foot taller than me. Brandon said that he believes all brides should wear a closed-toe shoe, so I found the perfect Aquazurra satin platform pumps.

"When it came down to my jewelry, I wanted to keep it very simple and clean to allow the dress to really be the main focal point. My mom's diamond earrings became my 'something borrowed' for the day."

"After Barry and I were engaged, my parents and I traveled to Cape Town to meet our wedding planner, Anne Mann, and scout locations. Barry and I did a lot of research for locations in the Winelands, Stellenbosch, and Franschhoek (about an hour from Cape Town), so we made sure to see the ones Anne thought were fitting for us and our wedding size as well as a few she was familiar with. 

"For our wedding venue, we wanted the surroundings to speak for itself. Stellenbosch is so beautiful, and we wanted to show it off to our guests. It was all about the location for us, so when we came across the Manor House at Quoin Rock winery, we knew it was our venue. The gardens and grounds were impeccable, the view allowed you to see all the way to Table Mountain and we were surrounded by the beautiful mountains, and the Cape Dutch–style Manor House was exactly what we were looking for."

The groom and bride arriving for the ceremony.

"Barry and I had a friend as our celebrant, and he made the ceremony so lighthearted and fun. At one point during the ceremony, Barry mixed up a few words, and when it came to my turn to repeat after our celebrant, I was laughing so incredibly hard that I could barely speak. Everyone was laughing, and it truly made for an unforgettable experience."

WWW Weddings tip: "Let your officiant know beforehand to step out of the way during your kiss."

WWW Weddings tip: "Take 15 minutes out of your wedding day (and each event you may have before/after) and go somewhere with your partner. A few people told Barry and I this tip, and it was so worth it! Weddings can be overwhelming, so those 10 to 15 minutes away from the crowd allowed us to have a moment without any distractions and look over at everyone having a great time at an event you spent so much time organizing. I now tell this tip to every couple getting married!"

The bride wearing a custom Brandon Maxwell wedding dress.

"Our wedding invitations were designed and created by Pale Press London. I was adamant on finding a designer that created unique yet simplistic invitations, and Pale Press London creates beautiful bespoke stationery. Ash, the owner, was so helpful and made sure our vision was seen and created. As we wanted our invitations to match our neutral wedding aesthetic, we moved forward with a letterpress design for the invite and a vellum, slightly transparent, details card."

WWW Weddings tip: "No cell phones during the ceremony! It's always so sad to see everyone's cell phones in your photos, and we really wanted our guests to be present for the entire ceremony. Our officiant kindly asked everyone to put away their cell phones before the ceremony, and everyone understood. Moments later, a choir came singing down the aisle and set the tone for the ceremony."

A choir performing at the wedding ceremony.

"Barry wore a black Gucci tuxedo for our wedding. We were in Paris in December three months before our wedding and decided to pop into Gucci, as Barry had found a suit online that he liked. We arrived, and the suits they had in stock were either not his style or his size. Just our luck, our retail associate found one suit in his size that was said to be completely out of stock! We bought it on the spot and had it tailored in New York. It was a beautiful black tuxedo with blue silk inside, and he paired it with a matching Gucci bow tie that had the gold logo on the corner (my dad wore one to match) and some Gucci cuff links that my dad gifted Barry on the day of the wedding."

"For our reception, we wanted a party. It was the first and probably only time that we would be having our friends and family from around the world in one place, and we just wanted to have fun!"

"Barry and I really wanted the location to speak for itself. We didn't want to cover it in florals."

"Our vision for the dinner definitely had my creative team and I up for the challenge. Due to the unpredictable weather that Cape Town was experiencing, we opted for a marquee setup. I was originally planning for the dinner to be placed in the open garden with the mountains behind, but the safest option was to go with a marquee, which was fit perfectly for the garden and allowed guests to still see the scenery from every angle. For the inside of the marquee, I wanted to do something different rather than a floral structure or lights hanging from the ceiling. I brought up the idea of having fabric hanging everywhere to my wedding planner, Anne Mann, interior stylist Jana Gouws, and florist Heike Hayward, and they were up for the challenge. Heike is one of the most creative florists I have ever met, so I knew she was going to create something amazing, which she did! I was in love with the hanging fabric element."

"Barry concluded the dinner portion of the evening and introduce our special guest, Bongeziwe Mabandla, an incredible South African soul singer.”

"Once the band was completing their set, I quickly changed into my second look and came out to cut the cake and throw my bouquet. Once those two moments were complete, it was time to dance.

"My second look was custom One/Of by Patricia Voto. I was first introduced to Patricia when I was looking for a designer for my wedding dress. I was so drawn to Patricia, her brand, and her responsible approach to fashion that I knew she was perfect to create my second look. My vision for my second look was something fun and semi-sheer, as my wedding dress was on the traditional side.

"My dress originally included a sheer slip underneath, but as it took away from the cute lace bloomers Patricia had created for me to wear underneath, we decided to cut out the slip and go full sheer. It was a bold move for both of us, but we knew it was right. I had so much fun in my second look and couldn't have dreamed of wearing something else!"

"We started the dancing (after the father-daughter dance and first dance) with a band followed by two different DJs. We were on the dance floor until 3 a.m., and everyone had the best time. We also had two different tequila fountains on deck, and they were the stars of the bar!" 

WWW Weddings tip: "Be open with your photographers/videographers about what you expect and create a shot list so you make sure you get all the photos you are looking for."

"On the Sunday after the wedding, we hosted a recovery party, which was held at a beautiful private estate in Stellenbosch. It was the perfect setting for everyone to wind down from the celebrations."

"I wore a swimsuit by Belle The Label, Dress by SIR, and a custom Cafe Society bucket hat."

"We couldn't let our guests go home without a proper South Africa braai so we had lamb on a spit, braai broodjies, boerewors—you name it. We swam, we ate, we relaxed."

Photographer: Danilo and Sharon

Videographer: Les Vaques

Wedding Planner: Anne Mann

Interior Stylist: Jana Gouws

Florist: Heike Hayward

Caterer: John Joseph, The Anatomy of Food

If you're interested in having your wedding featured on our site, please fill out our Who What Wear Weddings submission form here.