Minted artist Phrosné Knoetze and Warwick Barwood’s is a love that was meant to be; they met on Valentine’s Day, after all. “We met through mutual friends at a Valentine’s cabaret when I visited my parents in Port Elizabeth, where I am originally from,” Phrosné remembers. “I traveled all the way there from Cape Town—nearly 500 miles—to meet Warwick, who’s lived in Port Elizabeth his whole life.” Just a year later, he also left his hometown, joining Phrosné in Cape Town in 2018.
Two years later, the couple was deep in a reno on a penthouse condo they’d bought together. “He proposed on the patio while we were doing the renovation,” Phrosné says. “It happened sitting on paint buckets, and it was totally unexpected.” One factor made it extra special: Warwick had asked Phrosné’s father’s blessing via video call earlier than anticipated. “He had planned to ask my father over Christmas in 2020, when we planned to visit as usual. We are ever so grateful he decided to do it earlier, because we very traumatically lost my father that December due to COVID,” Phrosné shares. “Warwick wouldn’t have been able to ask him if he’d stuck to his plan, and they had a very special bond.”
That connection to her father was one of many reasons the couple decided to get married in an intimate ceremony at Phrosné’s parents’ Port Elizabeth home, with just their immediate families. “We chose this venue to honor my dad after his tragic passing, so we could feel his presence throughout the ceremony and reception. I placed his ashes close by,” the bride says. “Another reason is that my parents’ home is beautiful. My mother crafted it over 35 years, and her awesome 16-seater work bench dining room table was big enough to fit everyone comfortably.”
As for vision, “I don’t really plan these things,” admits Phrosné, who works as a surface designer. “It’s almost the same way I design! I choose or add things I like as I go along with the process—more intuitive than planning. There are no mood boards and pinning involved.” For this particular “design,” the first thing she chose was her lilac wedding dress— “I saw it in the window of the amazing designer before we even decided to have a wedding!”—and the color scheme and vision emerged from there.
Phrosné and Warwick made decisions together, planning from Cape Town and locking in the final details just days before the wedding. “The whole process reflects us as a couple, always doing everything together, helping each other, talking about everything and deciding what we are going to go with,” Phrosné says. “The fact that it was so intimate naturally made it very personal.”
Read on to see all the lovely details of their intimate wedding, planned by the bride and photographed by Sharyn Hodges Photography.
For her wedding-day glam, “I wanted the brightest matte lipstick I could find,” Phrosné says. She landed on a MAC Cosmetics shade dubbed Candy Yum-Yum. “I love wearing my hair up and I think it suits my face. The big thing for me was just that it must not be perfect. I have a friend who owns the most funky awesome hair revolution in Port Elizabeth. I knew she could do an up-style as messy as possible with my hair.” The final touch was a spritz of her favorite fragrance, Twilly D’Hermès Eau de Parfum.
“We didn’t have flower girls, but my two nieces wore simple pink tulle dresses,” shares the bride. “They had sweet floral crowns in their hair.”
When Phrosné saw the soft lilac tulle confection of a dress in the window at designer Kat van Duinen’s storefront, she went right inside to get her measurements taken; it was love at first sight. She found her shoes in a similarly “random” fashion. “My favorite shoes from the States are Jeffrey Campbell, but you couldn’t find this brand in South Africa,” she says. “So what a massive surprise when, on another random day, we were walking in a little mall and see an awesome new shoe store—and ALL the shoes are JC imports! I saw a blingy pair consisting of three colors of diamanté that made a tiger pattern. Sold!”
She opted for dried florals to lessen the hassle of crafting fresh floral arrangements the day of the wedding. “I ordered the flowers off a website and trusted they would look the way I saw online,” she says. “A few weeks later, I decided to add black flowers.” She pulled some buds from one of the arrangements the night before to make a boutonniere for her groom.
“Somewhere along the line, Warwick and I were walking and saw a suit in a shop window and immediately knew it was the one; we both loved the weird olive-avo green of the suit,” Phrosné says. “As you can gather, the color scheme was actually ‘add it as I see it.’ I don’t ponder; I usually know what I want when I see it.” Warwick paired it with a crisp white slim-fit shirt and a muted floral tie.
“The only [grooming] prep was hair,” notes the bride. “I love his hair so much, and begged him to grow it. We figured out a plan with his thick mane over the months, and tried many products to find the best result.”
They held an emotional and intimate ceremony in Phrosné’s parents’ living room. “The marriage officiant was very important to me; we wanted a secular blessing, with deeply meaningful messages and readings,” Phrosné says. Through a series of recommendations and referrals, she came across The Association of Creative Thought, a center for spiritual awareness in Port Elizabeth. “It is a meeting place for those seeking a deeper purpose to life, and promotes self-awareness in the individual.”
Before entering the ceremony, Phrosné stood totally alone as “Perfectly Imperfect” by Declan J Donovan played from start to finish throughout the house. “Every word in this song rings true to us as a couple,” she says. “Here, I especially felt my dad with me, standing there on my own. It was like the moment stood still.”
Then, the tune changed to something happy and she entered to exchange vows. “When we were finished with the formalities and everyone was outside waiting with confetti, on the loudest setting there was, we played our recent favorite: ‘Shivers’ from Ed Sheeren. It was so fun.”
Though there was no formal wedding party, all the men opted for light gray suits with floral ties, and women wore cream or white.
It created a special feeling of ‘It’s our wedding, not mine.’
They decided against any sort of formal first look, opting instead for a fun photo session after “I do.” The groom even knew what the bride would wear ahead of the big day. “Warwick went to every dress fitting with me, so he knew exactly what was coming,” Phrosné shares. “It was so nice to do and plan everything together like this. It created a special feeling of ‘It’s our wedding, not mine.’ Something that’s always a bit odd to me is that [weddings are] so often about what one partner has been dreaming of.”
“The photo session was very special and a lot of fun; we laughed so much and had special quiet moments,” the bride recalls. “The color bombs were hilarious. I was petrified to pull them—Warwick had to pull them all, and pass to me to hold. The photos tell this story well. Unfortunately, it burnt my dress! And Warwick’s suit! And my skin!”
Reception decor consisted of dried flowers and a very big cake as a centerpiece. “We actually had too many flower arrangements, but I loved that it was so over-the-top,” Phrosné says. “My mom’s awesome, massive workbench dining room table, together with her rescued crystal chandelier, was the focus. I loved the raw wood. I bought white linen napkins, and used my mom’s crockery and old bone-handle silverware.”
“The hardest part of planning was finding the absolute best caterer I could find in this small town—Cape Town very quickly turns you into a fussy foodie with everything it has to offer.” There was no time for a tasting, but luckily the results were impeccable. “As it was a daytime wedding that started at noon, we decided on small foods—sweet and savory—served all together.” There was smoked pork belly and pickled cucumber, sesame salmon, taco duck samosas with plum sauce, spicy chicken kebabs, homemade toffees, shortbread hearts, mini lemon meringues, and more.
“No one had cake,” Phrosné laughs. “We ate too much food!” She adds, “We only cut it. We had as much as we could over the next few days, but a few days later, we took it to a children’s home.”
As guests sipped signature pink drinks—“pink gin and tonic with fruit to catch the tones in the flowers; the bubbly was also pink,” the bride says—they heard a few unplanned speeches, including a surprise one from the groom. “Warwick spoke about me like I couldn’t believe. He truly knows me and things about me like no one else. And, he still loves me so deeply,” Phrosné shares. “Then, he spoke of my father and what he meant to him. [It was] incredibly emotional. Warwick’s speech was captivating to the end.”
The newlyweds shared a dance to “Lean on Me (Michael Calfan Remix)” by Cheat Codes and Tinashe, before their family joined in. It was the perfect end to a day that was perfectly them. Phrosné advises other brides, “Don’t do what you think you should or are told you should—do whatever you want! Having a small wedding, we were truly able to enjoy everything and everyone, and spend more on things that made the day amazing for us.”