The story of: Kelli Maddock and Sergey Kokarev
Date of wedding: 16 December 2015
Location: Stellenbosch, South Africa

real life wedding kelli maddock

Their story: Kelli and Sergey met by complete coincidence. Kelli’s aunt and uncle had just built a beautiful home in the Stellenbosch countryside and were having a house-warming party with family and friends to celebrate.

Sergey (based in Johannesburg at the time) was  in Cape Town for the weekend and was staying with a family friend, who brought him along to the party. After meeting and having a wonderful evening together, Sergey had to get back on a plane to Johannesburg. Daily phone calls ensued, as did regular commutes to Cape Town and Johannesburg.

A few months later Sergey was offered a job opportunity in Dubai and was adamant that he was taking Kelli with him. A short time later, Sergey popped the question on a romantic getaway to Fujairah.

While diving, on a nearby island, Sergey stopped to show Kelli something sparkly under the water, which just happened to be a beautiful diamond ring. Sergey placed the ring on Kelli’s finger and, petrified the ring was going to drop to the ocean floor, she said ‘yes’ immediately.


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The Wedding

real life wedding kelli maddock

Venue/location: From a young age, Kelli always knew the type of wedding she wanted: a perfect white, summer wedding, set amongst the beautiful vineyards of Cape Town. “We decided that there wasn’t a more perfect setting than the initial ‘crime scene’ of where it all started – my aunt and uncle’s home in Stellenbosch,” Kelli says. The ceremony was held in the beautiful rose garden with the olive groves as a backdrop. After the ceremony guests enjoyed drinks and canapés on the patio overlooking the lake and vineyards, followed by a sit down dinner and dancing under the stars.


Number of guests: 80 guests. The couple always wanted a (fairly) small and intimate wedding, where they got to spend time with each of the guests and enjoy everyone’s company.

Theme: The colour scheme was all white with a few touches of light grey.

Dress: Kelli’s dress was made by a local wedding designer in South Africa, Robyn Roberts. Living in Dubai and having her dress made back home was quite a challenge, but Kelli knew what she wanted and Robyn assured her it could be done. The initial fitting was nine months before the wedding. The next fitting was five days before the big day followed by a few more appointments leading up to the day to ensure everything was perfect.

Veil: Kelli went for a simple long veil with a touch of lace to match the dress. This was also made by Robyn Roberts.

Shoes: Badgley Mischka.

real life wedding kelli maddock

Wedding rings: House of Windsor, Gold & Diamond Park, Dubai.

Bridesmaids: Kelli chose her two cousins and sister-in-law together with her high school friend to walk with her down the aisle. Their dresses were made by family friend and designer, Lynette Botha.

Hair & Make-Up: Hair by Tammy at Top Knotts. Make-up by Caryn Gillman.

real life wedding kelli maddock

Flowers: The bouquet was made of white roses and tulips with a touch of greenery. The tables were also set with different size vases of white roses and tulips.

Music: The DJ was a family friend, Tom Kenmuir. He definitely knows how to get guests on the dance floor and having a good time.

First dance: Kodaline – The One.

real life wedding kelli maddock

Food: Guests were served a selection of canapés and refreshments after the ceremony. Once seated starters were served – Black Forest aam and rocket salad with roast pear and gorgonzola dill crisp bread. For the main course guests could help themselves to a buffet of deboned free range chicken with cranberry, spinach, ginger and apple stuffing or rare chargrilled fillet with Oriental Sauce. The main course was accompanied by a selection of warm salads. For dessert the couple chose Belgian chocolate mousse gateaux with wild berries together with almond wedding cake.

real life wedding kelli maddock

Favours: Each guest received a bottle of grape juice with the couple’s wedding label and message printed on it.

Cake: In keeping with the ‘all white’ theme the couple decided to go for three tier white chocolate and almond cake with cream cheese icing. The cake was decorated with fresh white roses on top and had the words of the E. E. Cummings poem I Carry Your Heart written on it.

real life wedding kelli maddock

Honeymoon: Kelli and Sergey spent three weeks at their family beach house along the coast. Having travelled from Dubai and having Sergey’s family travel from Russia to join them, they chose to spend Christmas with their family and friends back home and save their getaway to the Maldives for later on.

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Top Tips

real life wedding kelli maddock

1. Don’t sweat the small stuff – if something does go wrong no one is going to notice it except for you.

2. Enjoy your special day – don’t worry about everyone else, the day is really about you and your husband and it goes by so quickly!

3. Let others help with the planning – planning a wedding from abroad can be challenging, the more help the better.

Little Black Bridal Book

real life wedding kelli maddock

Food: Norma at
Make-up: @CarynGillmanMakeupArtist

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Images: Supplied