Weddings: Letsema and Kagiso

Image: Kabelo Monno
"I wanted a theme that would be timeless. I wanted to be able to see the stars, so we used an open-framed tent."
Letsema Mbayi-Kwelagobe

Letsema Mbayi-Kwelagobe was good friends with her new husband, entrepreneur Kagiso Kwelagobe, for more than a decade before anything romantic arose between them. According to the newly-wed, she laughingly spurned his advances whenever he suggested that there might be something more going on. Her platonic attitude endured until a tipsy wine-tasting — “more like a wine drinking,” notes Letsema wryly — forced her to acknowledge that her future husband might not be wrong about their amorous potential.

Kagiso proposed to Letsema — a key account manager with a PhD in international development — on a (meticulously planned) surprise getaway to the Mount Grace Hotel in Magaliesburg. The couple celebrated their union twice: once in traditional form, at Letsema’s parents’ home in Selebi-Phikwe, and again a year later in Gabarone, in a church ceremony. 

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The bride sourced fabrics for the entire wedding party from India, to which she travels frequently for work. The groomsmen all wore matching, three-piece beige suits, while Letsema made her way down the isle in a satin ivory mermaid gown, with vintage embellished lace on the bodice.

According to Letsema, the couple’s families were involved with every aspect of the planning, which was essential to the success of the day. “We had several combined family meeting during the preparations, and tasked different families members with specific areas to oversee,” she says. “They worked closely with our wedding planners (De Peluche Creations), who managed the execution on the day.”

More than 900 guests attended the couple’s  white wedding, so it was important for Kagiso and Letsema to create pockets of intimacy at their vintage romance-themed reception — they used a combination of square and round tables, and paid careful attention to lighting.

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