Fuelled by Johnnie Walker Special Select and some very good red wine, the dancefloor has broken out into a frenzy. About 100 or so friends and family surrounding Kidest and Jared – hands in the air, heads bobbing away and bodies moving to some trippy Ethiopian music blasting through the speakers. There was so much energy on the dancefloor – we were standing about 5 metres away but could literally feel it through our skin and bones. And this was only 5 minutes after the first dance. In Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Under what I can only describe as a ceiling of fresh flowers expertly laid out – leaving some gaps where you could see straight into the night sky and stars. This party was going to be crazy. We knew it! We could feel it. And judging by the state of some of the guests the next morning, we were not wrong. One of the guests who was supposed to ride back to Nairobi with us the next morning couldn’t be found when we were leaving. The hotel receptionist at Sweetwaters Camp politely told us that we should continue as the said guest only returned back to the lodge from the party not that long ago and he may be in need of some good rest!
I clearly remember the first time I met Kidest & Jared at Tamarind in Mombasa. They were both so approachable, so respectful, and really in love with each other. I have to admit that my attention peaked after a couple of minutes into the meeting when they mentioned Ol Pejeta Conservancy! Kidest with her Ethiopian flair, and Jared with his cheeky/ witty perma-smile really wowed me that day. When we meet couples like that, we often wonder how one likeable soul always manages to find another. God works in mysterious ways. We only learnt the full story about Kidest and Jared during one of the speeches at the Reception – Jared was the first African Headboy in many decades at his school in the UK, trained to be a pilot, then a lawyer. But all those challenges were not enough. He went searching for his princess and found her in the form of the ever-charming Kidest!
The wedding ceremony took place at Ol Pejeta House with the backdrop of Mount Kenya just peeking out from behind the clouds. A really meaningful ceremony was made even more beautiful by the live band. If a prize was to be given for a wedding with the most smiles, this one would be it. It was hard to look somewhere and not see someone smile.
We then disappeared off for a couple of hours with the bridal party for a shoot. The golden light (actually make that the goldenest light I have seen on safari) together with elephants and the dust rising from the ground made one hell of a backdrop for us. Kudos to Kidest for dragging her beautiful Ethiopian dress through shrubs and thorns just so we could get the best angles. At this point, I also must credit the bridesmaids and groomsmen for being such a good laugh. As we got back for the evening Reception, I am not kidding when I say that when we first saw the decor our jaws dropped. So tastefully done – candles, fresh flowers, white pressed linen, glimmering silverware – ever so classy. All the guests were dressed to impress, speeches were on point and extremely witty. Infact Jared’s speech ended with a spectacular mic-drop! Fresh Ethiopian food (I didn’t know raw beef was an Ethiopian delicacy) ensured that everyone was fuelled up ready for a boogie on the dancefloor. What a day, what a night, what a wedding!
As we drove off the next morning, Mount Kenya stood infront of us in all it’s glory. No cloud cover, no fog – just a big imposing mountain infront of us as if it had come out to say goodbye. A perfect end to a perfect wedding. Legs sore and bodies aching, we thought to ourselves it is not often that we shoot non stop for 18 hours but when it’s a wedding like this, it’s so rewarding, so much fun and above all participating in a wedding as if we were friends, not vendors – that feeling was quite special.
Thank you Kidest, thank you Jared, thank you to all your beautiful friends and family. You guys were super awesome. Thank you for all your trust in allowing us to create memories for you and your future generations!