From babymoon to honeymoon
PR guru Ntokozo Masimula and his wife Melissa Pillay started out as friends, and then became lovers and lifetime partners.
Welcome to their beautiful wedding.
Ntokozo: The first time we met was about eight or nine years ago, through mutual friends. We were friends before we started dating. My first impression of her was that she’s a cool girl. If you’d said then that we’d be together today, I wouldn’t have believed you. I can’t remember the exact day we met, but it could have been at a party.
Melissa: I met him through mutual friends. I can’t remember the exact date, but it was at a party or a get-together with friends. We did not date immediately and started off as friends. My first impression of him was that he is outgoing and carefree.
THE LIGHTBULB MOMENT
Ntokozo: I had several moments where I thought to myself, “This is the girl for me,” but I kept on holding back for some reason. One day, in our third year of dating, I got to sit with her and have a heart-to-heart. After that, I had no doubt in my mind. From that day it was my goal to marry this beauty whom I now call my wife.
Melissa: I was pregnant at the time and he had suggested we do a babymoon [a vacation for parents before they welcome their newborn]. He had booked a weekend away at Emerald Resort & Casino, in Vanderbijlpark, and had a full itinerary. The second day we were there, TK [Ntokozo] seemed nervous and didn’t have any appetite.
As the day proceeded we ate out, walked around, played miniature golf, and went bowling. In the evening we went to a restaurant and had dinner. After dinner, he suggested that we take a walk.
I refused at first, but he was adamant. He took me into an area where the gardens were as green as day in the moonlight, surrounded by beautiful flowers. As I was looking at the view I turned to say something to TK and there he was, down on one knee. At first I told him to get up and stop fooling around. He replied that he was serious and then I asked where the ring was. He was so nervous that he forgot to take out the ring. As soon as he put his hand in his pocket, that’s when my heart started to beat fast.
Ntokozo: There were no lobola negotiations. My family is more religious than cultural, but we were very happy to accommodate Melissa’s family, should they have wanted lobola. Melissa’s dad, who is Indian, didn’t want lobola. Even when we had our daughter, my family approached Melissa’s to pay damages, but they declined.
THE WEDDING DAY
Ntokozo: We got married on 25 September. We had to change our date twice. We originally planned for March 2020, but then the pandemic hit. Then we tried for March 2021, but things still weren’t too great. So, we picked 25 September and crossed our fingers. All we wanted was a long weekend — to give our guests enough time to prepare and recover.
Melissa: We got married at Oxbow Country Estate in Bronkhorstspruit. We had a few other amazing places in mind, but we loved Oxbow. It was a stunning venue, plus having a wedding in the afternoon makes for a great view for people to take pictures. What also swayed our decision to go there is that we could have everything in one location. We had our ceremony, photos, and reception there. They gave us privacy and we didn’t have to share the venue with anyone. The next day we had our traditional wedding at my mom’s place.
Melissa: I bought my dress at Veil Bridal Couture, from the Pronovias collection. I never thought of going for a big tulle dress, as I am petite, but once that dress was on me my mom, my sisters, and I were in tears. I felt beautiful in it and it was as if it had been made for me. I had gone to a few bridal boutiques before, so it wasn’t easy finding “the one”.
Ntokozo: My entire outfit came from Relevance For Men. Our dress code for the gents was black tie. I wanted to stick to the theme in a classic and stylish way, but also stand out as the groom. So I went for a double-breasted tuxedo with an off-white jacket, black pants, white Egyptian cotton shirt, and black butterfly bow-tie.
Ntokozo: We went to Cape Town for a week. We initially wanted to go to Bali, but back then we weren’t too sure, especially with the lockdowns around the world. So we decided to go local. We stayed in a refreshing one-bedroom Airbnb in Sea Point overlooking the beach. The view was the kind you’d only see in movies. We did everything that you could possibly do in Cape Town — we went wine tasting, cycled along the beach, had a spa day, got matching tattoos, went clubbing, had fish and chips, and more.
TOP TIPS FOR THE BRIDE
Melissa: Don’t be shy to ask for help, because planning a wedding is not to be taken lightly. As the bride, everything will need your approval and opinion, so try to delegate to your bridesmaids. Ensure that you and your partner have agreed on a budget and allow him to control the money, as this will prevent over-spending. Remember, this wedding is yours and your partner’s.
You are the only ones who should make the final decision, because trying to please others will only come back to hurt you. Eat a full breakfast in the morning — even during the reception you will be busy entertaining your guests and have people coming up to you to take pictures. Be prepared for anything on the day and try to be calm about it; nothing goes your way 100%.
TOP TIPS FOR THE GROOM
Ntokozo: Pick your best man and groomsmen wisely — it’s not just about the title but also about the responsibility that comes with it. Lessen the load for your future wife; she has way more things to prepare for the wedding, so, if you can, take over some tasks for her.