Surrealist Sandton Wedding

WORDS Lezanne Viviers PHOTOS Marijke Willems VIDEO via Outside Studio AV on Vimeo

What is the point of a wedding? For Lezanne Viviers, Creative Director at Marianne Fassler, and her husband, Walter Anderson, their January wedding was not just about them but also about the people who’re integral to their lives. That was the starting point for planning their big day.

I had a surreal vision for our wedding. I wanted to invite our guests into my dream world. I imagined a playground where adults and children alike would play and discover hidden treasures as they moved through the space without any preconceived ideas. And I wanted it to be a festival of love.

On the day, no rules applied. The festivities took place at 44 French Lane in Sandton, a 5 ha property in the middle of the city that stuns one with its sense of serenity. It is where furniture designer David Krynauw currently lives and works, and on display is his complete Play collection, which is fit for adults and children alike. A modular timber chapel, also designed by David, formed the central point of our otherwise blank canvas.

When I started to envision the tables, the flowers and the food, I soon realised nothing I desired was available; I would have to make everything from scratch. Walter and I started to take pottery lessons at Anne Rimbault Pottery Studio, where I was able to mould my wildest, most surreal dreams into ceramic objects. We created two individual ranges of vases, ashtrays and candleholders, and I made cake toppers and chicken-feet brooches, all contributors to my vision of the perfect wedding celebration.

I ordered the Salvador Dalí cookbook Dalí: Les Diners de Gala, with recipes from restaurants such as Maxim’s in Paris, and it became the main inspiration for the fantastic food prepared by Sandy’s Kitchen. Food was served on ceramic platters I’d made; crockery found at auctions and antiques shops; matte-black stoneware plates made by the #Artisafire charity; and starter and dessert plates made by my mom and a friend. Like clay, these memories are unique to the hands that sculpted each element like the spontaneous ikebana installations on every table.

My wedding memories also include many excursions to the flower market, a two-hour drive to Brits to pick lotus pods, and a quick stop at a church in Norwood to tie the knot legally. Now these are the memories I like to collect!

My dream day could not have come true without the hands, the laughter and the talent of the community that helped me. Thank you to my mom, Cynette Viviers; my bridesmaids; and Francois Tielman de Villiers, Melissa Fontini and Elsa Roux for helping with the creative production and installation. Without the input and creative brilliance of each and every one of these pivotal players in my community, our day would not have been the fairy-tale festival it turned out to be. Intensely personal, yet apparently effortless.