A Magical Madikwe Wedding

We recently partnered with New York based Shawn Rabideau Events & Design to organise a magical Madikwe wedding for Nikita Finger and Jake Sayles. The wedding went off wonderfully and when the team had got back to the US, we chatted to them to find out how they enjoyed planning a wedding in Africa.


Did the couple always want to get married in Africa?

“The Bride is originally from South Africa and lived for a period of time in the US. She and the Groom met in Florida while in college. The Groom is originally from Texas but moved to South Africa to be with the Bride. It was always her dream to have a wedding in the African Bush Country.”

What made you decide on Madikwe?

“With the help of John at Iconic Africa we researched numerous game lodges. The Bride and Groom visited Jaci as one of the options and loved it. As a result we chose this lodge and reserve.”


What was the theme/style of the wedding?

“The ceremony was a combination of Jewish, American Indian and Yogi traditions. It was very spiritual and embraced the feel of the bush. The reception also incorporated traditional South African elements with vibrant colors and the use of shweshwe fabric and designs.”

What were the challenges of organising a wedding in Africa?

“The biggest challenge was logistics and transportation. We had guests traveling from all parts of the world so transportation had to be arranged from Johannesburg accommodating different flight schedules. Even within the reserve we had to move guests between lodges and wedding sites. There was certainly the communication challenge of our being in the states and planning the wedding in South Africa. Given technology we were able to overcome this quite easily.”



What about the venue made the wedding particularly unique?

“Certainly, just that face of being in a game reserve was unique. Most of the guests had never been to South Africa so it was a completely new experience for them.”

What was the food like?

“Jaci’s lodge coordinated all of the food and did an amazing job. We had some suggestions from our original site visited and it is clear they paid attention to our recommendations and made the extra effort to insure all food was perfect.”


What music did the couple have?

“The music was a combination of traditional African singers and performances for ceremony and cocktails followed by a DJ for the reception. “

What was your favourite thing about the wedding?

“This was a very personal wedding for us to plan as we have a history with the family beginning with the planning of their older daughter’s wedding in New York City. As a result, we were able to incorporate many personal touches throughout the wedding weekend that made it a truly special experience for guests.”


What do you think the guests enjoyed most about the wedding?

“I think this was such a unique experience for guests that they were really wowed. It really was a once in a lifetime wedding experience that all guests will carry with them.”

Do you think that a lot of couples are now choosing destination weddings? And why?

“We are seeing a huge surge in destination weddings. Rather than a traditional wedding, couples are looking for an experience. As a result, they look to destinations wedding to create a unique experience for their guests.”

What do you think makes a wedding in Africa so special and unique?

“Until people travel to Africa they do not realize what a unique and special place it is. No other place offers the spirit and feel of the African bush and its people. Guests at this wedding got to experience that and I hope they will relay this experience.”

For over sixteen years Shawn Rabideau has worked in all aspects of the wedding planning and design industry and is the founder and President of Shawn Rabideau Events & Design; a full-service wedding planning and destination wedding planning company that produces and designs intimate to large-scale weddings. Shawn caters to clients looking to get married in New York City and the Tri-State area, Charleston, South Carolina, the Finger Lakes region of New York State, across the United States and Worldwide. For more on Shawn Rabideau click here.


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