Sophie & Jamey’s Compassionate and Socially Conscious Wedding

Here at Ethical Weddings the big chicken & egg question is do ethical wedding vendors inspire couples or do ethical couples inspire wedding vendors? The answer is yes *wink. We’ve seen it happen both ways and we need both couples and vendors learning from each other to make the Ethical Weddings movement happen which segues into a lifestyle where we are wokety-woke enough to take action to make a positive impact on society and the environment.

Today’s ethical wedding inspo is the case where the couple, Sophie & Jamey has inspired our planner, Jadee who runs Watermelon Co based in South Africa. Read on to learn more about this couple whose award-winning socially conscious wedding had heart and community (and beauty because this editor is really biased toward white and minimalism) in mind.

A landscape portrait of the wedding grounds for Sophie and Jamey's socially conscious wedding. The reception took place at the Molenvliet vineyards in Cape Town, South Africa.
The bride and groom embrace and look out at the sprawling vineyards in Cape Town, South Africa where they had their socially conscious wedding.

Tell us a little bit about Cape Town – what differentiates it from other places?

Sophie and Jamey Bashford: The destination of Cape Town is just tremendous for culture, people, food, experiences, adventure, captivating, everything. You can hardly fault the city! Molenvliet Vineyards is completely serene with captivating views and just unforgettable. It just seemed perfect without even trying.

Tell us the story of you two: 

Sophie and Jamey Bashford: We met in Zambia, in 2011 when we were both volunteering in the local communities of Lusaka. We both stayed in the same volunteer house for almost 3 weeks. When we left, I returned to Australia and Jamey returned to the UK but we kept in touch for the next 5 months and when I returned to the UK, despite living at other ends of the country we re-kindled our holiday romance. Jamey met me at the airport when I landed and we went from there.

A picture of the floral centerpieces which were soft, understated florals which represented their English heritage.
The wedding details all contributed to this socially conscious wedding, including the pictured hand crafted paper place settings made by local schoolchildren.

What’s the 411 on the wedding concept?

Jadee Fernandes McGowan (planner): There was no particular theme or colour (editor’s note: I heart UK English) palette, but both Sophie and Jamey are both very neutral, simple and understated and this showed throughout the wedding experience. The decor of the wedding included their special requests being the upliftment of the community in and around the wedding venue and then incorporating their cultures. With this in mind, we focused on using white as our base colour and gold elegant detailing, then adding additional design layers such as soft florals representing Sophie’s Australian and British roots.

We knew that the stationery designed at the local art project would be bright and bold and that each guest would be receiving a specially designed handmade paper place setting from children at the school, so we kept the table settings beautiful and simple. The wedding was truly about the guests and the breathtaking venue and the client didn’t want to detract from this, working at Molenvliet Vineyards it doesn’t need much to make it look good with its position amidst the vineyards and idyllic mountain setting.

What makes this wedding special?

Jadee Fernandes McGowan (planner): The couple had three very special requests: Firstly to incorporate their three cultures; English (Sophie & Jamey citizenship), Australian (Sophie’s dual citizenship) and South African (place of marriage) through the food, the flowers (roses, eucalyptus & proteas) and the music. Secondly to support the local community in their wedding plans:

Sophie: “It just felt right to try and make this happen. After all it was how we met, but most importantly, the people of Cape Town are so amazing and planning a lavish wedding without helping some of those that need it most in and around the location of our celebration just felt wrong to us. Jadee was instrumental in finding us local projects from local florists, to schools to local art projects.”

Thirdly Friends and family; with our loved ones all over the world it was crucial the wedding gave us every opportunity to spend precious time with those we don’t often get to see. Months and years can go by without seeing or hugging these special friends and family so we wanted to create a wedding with memorable experiences, intimate touches, and even practical things like keeping table heights low so we can communicate easily over good food and wine.

The bride and groom embrace on a shaded tree lined pathway at the vineyards where they had their wedding ceremony.

How did this wedding change your career as a wedding planner?

Jadee Fernandes McGowan: Sophie and Jamey were the first couple to ever truly show us compassion, not just towards each other but towards everyone around them. They ensured their carbon footprint was minimal and simplicity was key and most importantly that they made an impact on the underprivileged communities where they could.What they did as a couple still leaves me speechless, I will never forget the moment all the little children arrived to sing at the wedding it would be there first non-traditional African wedding they would be attending and the excitement was tangible, they were so immensely proud and together with XDC Entertainment, I look forward to continue Sophie and Jamey’s legacy with future clients.

Bride Sophie walked down the aisle with her Mom while the Nondzame school choir sang, another way the bride and groom created a socially conscious wedding was to include uplifting projects from the local community.
Sophie’s mother walked her down the aisle while the Nondzame school choir sang.

Photo credit: Dearheart Photos 

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