Christie Graham and Ben Jacobs had known each other for nearly ten years before they started dating. The two were both 22 years-old when they first met in NYC and, coincidentally, both moved to London for their respective jobs a few years later.
“That is when we became closer friends,” explains Christie. “Living abroad, we had a pretty tight-knit expat community. “We all made some amazing memories together, hanging out in pubs, traveling, and generally embracing our late-twenties. Ben moved back to NYC in 2008 and I eventually moved back in 2012. When I moved back, things just fell into place and we started dating.”
A WEEKLONG DESTINATION WEDDING IN SOUTH AFRICA FOR 100 GUESTS"
“Christie always had something deeper going on,” adds Ben. “Her beautiful visage drew you in, but her passion beneath the surface drew a desire to be even closer. I knew she was truly special the first time I met her. I also thought she was drop-dead gorgeous.”
Although the couple was fully committed to each other, they always talked about starting a family while going the “non-marriage” route – that is, until Christie became pregnant with their daughter, Gwen, and Ben changed his mind. During the last night of their baby moon trip to Turks and Caicos, Ben handed Christie a letter he had written to their unborn daughter. The letter also contained a surprise marriage proposal, leading to the perfect engagement moment.
With a wedding in the works, the couple knew they wanted their special day to take place somewhere abroad. “I think we had Colin and his team search the world over for the perfect venue,” says Christie. “But that’s part of the reason we wanted to work with Colin – he had some amazing international wedding planning experience. Ben and I had both loved being on Safari and thought it would be such an incredible trip with friends and family. You are so isolated, and it’s a place in the world where you put your phone down and really spend time connecting with the people around you and the amazing wildlife you get to witness.
We knew our wedding would be one of the few life experiences where we could get our closest friends and family on Safari with us, so we decided to pull the trigger on South Africa as the destination.”
A weeklong destination wedding in South Africa for 100 guests included exploring three different locations, including Cape Town and the wine lands. It was like the ultimate summer camp for adults.
During the wedding ceremony, everyone gathered at a beautiful vineyard surrounded by the Outeniqua Mountains. “We were overcome by love and emotion,” describes Christie. “One of our good friends was marrying us. I think he put it so well when he quoted Proust at the wedding – ‘Let us be grateful for the people who make us happy… they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.’ We felt so fortunate to be there, in such a beautiful place, with everyone we loved.”
Photography: Gavin Casey Photography, Cape Town, SA; Planner and Event Design: Colin Cowie Celebrations, New York, NY