Chic Weddings/Destination Weddings

A Breathtaking Sunrise Wedding Over The Waters Of Mozambique

Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 7

As African Wedding Week comes to a close, it is time to put aside the destination guides, fashion inspiration & decor ideas to share an inspiring real African wedding for you all.

Gabrielle & Doug’s sunrise wedding over Mozambique waters is perfectly in the spirit of what we’re trying to do here at Bridal Musings. Africa is filled with breathtaking destinations that maybe you never considered and we want to shine a light on all over these overlooked, incredible places.

Bride Gabrielle described the day as “heavenly” and we wholly agree. Ceremony vows at dawn & reception at dusk, it seems as though Gabrielle & Doug’s day was entirely in the golden hour – wedding heaven if you ask us. Having pivoted due to Covid-19 from a much larger even to this intimate, beach wedding, the two found not only a gorgeous wedding venue but an all-around incredible experience at Sussurro.

Over the water honeymoon suite? Try over the water wedding vows. I feel somewhat naive that in over 10 years of photographing weddings I’ve never considered what a perfect aisle & ceremony setting a dock over water is. Sussurro’s long curved dock over Mozambique’s clear aqua waters makes for the most dramatic entrance and needs little (really no) decoration to speak of.

Fashion included two gowns (to befit differing sunrise & sunset climates, of course!) and a bridal party wardrobe designed themselves by the couple’s own brand Liv & Light.

Never knew what a stunning place Mozambique is? We’ve shared reasons (& inspiration) why Mozambique makes the perfect beach wedding destination.

Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 15
Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 21

Our Love Story

We studied medicine together and were close friends for nearly six years before we started dating in our final year, back in 2016.

We got engaged in the Summer of 2019. I went for sundowners with a friend to a beautiful spot on the side of Table Mountain. It was a warm evening and the sun was setting and as we made our way around the mountain, Doug appeared. The next thing I knew, he was down on one knee! We popped champagne and spent some time on the mountain together as the sunset and it was perfect!

When we came back down, we were met by the most beautiful surprise sunset dinner on the old tennis court on the Table Mountain Reserve with some of our friends and family and lots and lots of candles. It was a very special day.

Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 61
Photo by Ayeh Photography via Bridal Musings
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Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 40

The Destination

We got married at Sussurro, a beautiful boutique hotel on a secluded peninsula known as Nhamabue in Southern Mozambique.

Our wedding was very laid back and spontaneous and it felt deeply rooted in togetherness and connection – with each other and with nature. When we planned our week in Mozambique, we didn’t know which day we would get married on. We just got everyone to pack in their dresses and suits and we watched the weather and the tides once we got there. When the weather looked clear and the tide was just right, we threw a wedding!

Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 49
Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 57

The Planning

Our original plan was to have a big wedding in Mozambique (not at Sussurro at this point). With the roller-coaster that is Covid, however, our plans twisted and changed many times. We eventually settled on having a smaller wedding and had locked in a venue in Barrydale for March 18th.

Six weeks before we were set to get married (and after we had already done the majority of the planning and booking, etc) we got a phone call letting us know that our venue had tragically burnt to the ground in the Barrydale fires! I was in floods of tears when my friend, Sarah Birkett (who is one of the owners of Sussurro) happened to send me a message suggesting Doug and I come stay at Sussurro for our honeymoon or with some friends as the hotel was very quiet for March. I phoned Sarah straight away and she immediately suggested we have our wedding at Sussurro.

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Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 13

“It all worked out completely serendipitously – coming full circle at the last minute, and getting married in Mozambique liked we had originally planned to. I will never be able to thank Sarah and her partner Adam enough for creating such an amazing wedding in 6 short weeks!”

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The Dress & Accessories

I have always wanted a very simple and elegant piece. I never imagined myself in lace or anything very “bridal”.

I have dreamt of wearing a Bo & Luca gown for many years after first being introduced to it by one of my bridesmaids. When it finally came time to try some dresses on, Bo & Luca was my first stop back in July 2020. The Greta gown was the very first dress I tried on and I fell in love with it immediately. I tried on many other dresses during the months that followed but, 6 months down the line, it was still the Greta gown that I dreamed of. And so that’s what I ended up wearing!

I wore the Greta gown to our evening wedding reception on the beach which was absolutely perfect for the setting and the weather. It’s such a simple and elegant dress which I love about it but the real draw to this dress for me is the fabric. It is made from the most beautiful silk which looks like liquid when it moves and is draped perfectly.

I wore bold statement earrings to the morning ceremony from Christie Nicolaides and simple, elegant baroque pearls for Coast with my Greta gown for the evening reception. Doug’s band is from Dear Rae and my band is a custom-made ring by Famke.

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Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 6

Favorite Moments

I don’t think there was a single person who was surprised that we got married at sunrise. We absolutely love getting up for sunrise so that was definitely the aspect that was the most «us ».

Probably my very favourite moment from our wedding day was the gentle, warm morning, walking down the aisle with my mom as the sky turned pink, towards my husband-to-be. I will never be able to fully explain that moment and how I felt but it felt as though the whole world was on pause, just for those few magical moments.

Two more moments that I will never forget are watching everyone dance around the fire on the beach with the moon glistening on the ocean and ending our night in the ocean surrounded by dancing phosphorescence.

Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 77
Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 79

The Sunrise Ceremony

We got married at sunrise which has always been a dream of ours. We woke up at 4:30 am and I got ready with a few lanterns and a headlamp. We had a coffee and rusk station setup with beautiful handmade clay mugs, made by my sister. Our ceremony was at the end of a wooden deck, suspended over the water with our guests sitting on beautiful Malawian chairs.

The sky was a soft pink and it was warm and peaceful. I will never forget my mom walking me down the aisle, with the gentle sound of the water beneath us and the clouds starting to turning the most beautiful shades of pink and orange. It felt heavenly.

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Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 83
Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 85

“We drank champagne at 6:30 am and then all put on our costumes and spent the day swimming and snorkeling. Later that afternoon, we got ready for our reception dinner under the stars.”

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Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 88

The Flowers

My bouquet was made by Lush in Cape town, and traveled all the way to Mozambique with me in a box between my clothes!

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The Photography

Ayeh Khalatbari was our photographer and we couldn’t have asked for anyone better. She traveled with us all the way to Mozambique and spent five days with us there. Besides her amazing photographic talent, she is truly one of the kindest and most gentle humans I have ever met. She has the most beautiful energy about her. She is a true lightworker in this world and we feel so lucky to have used her because we also made a wonderful friend.

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The Bridesmaid Dresses & Groomsmen Attire

I had the bridesmaid dresses made and had so much fun doing this. I designed each dress with each specific bridesmaid in mind – thinking about a dress that reminded me of each girl and a style that suited them individually. I spent many hours searching for beautiful fabrics around Cape Town. I used a mix of textures and tones, including heavy linen, rich velvet and pure, raw silks – all in a neutral, earth-toned colour palette.

Doug gave each of his groomsmen pure linen shirts which come from our own clothing brand and I gave my bridesmaids lovely pajama sets from LinaLina. I had linen gowns made for my mom and Doug’s mom as well as gold pendants which I had engraved for both moms.

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Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 9
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Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 70
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Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 62

The Reception & Decor

The wedding reception later that evening was a beautiful, simple table on the edge of the lagoon which Kraak and the Sussurro team set up as a surprise (I had no idea where the dinner would be or what the table would look like). Our table setting was simple and natural, with nothing but some heavy linen tablecloths, pillar candles and some locally foraged pods on each place setting as “décor”. I loved how simple the table was, drawing on elements of nature for inspiration and set in the most breathtaking setting.

It was a perfectly windless and warm evening and we ate beautiful seafood, freshly caught from the ocean along with seasonal fruits and vegetables from the local village. We danced around a beach fire and ended our night with a swim under the stars between magical phosphorescence. It felt like a day out of a fairytale.

Sarah and her chef, Bianca, made us such a wonderful cake. It was a carrot cake with local cashew nut butter icing and topped with a simple foraged pod. It was delicious!

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Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 5

Advice to Other Couples

Someone said to me, right in the beginning of our planning process, to write down two or three things that are non-negotiables for your wedding. Two or three things that are entirely authentic to you as a couple. And no matter how many twists and turns your planning takes over the months that follow, hold onto those two or three things.

My biggest wish for every bride is not to over-think it and to continue to come back to what it’s all really about – marrying your soulmate. I completely agree that a wedding is also a way of celebrating your community and the people who got you to this point, but I promise you that nobody remembers the colour of a napkin or the font on your menu. People remember how they felt and so will you. Decide from the very beginning how you want your wedding day to feel, not what you want it to look like. Because that is what is really about.

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Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 59

Special Details

Thanks to Adam and Sarah who own Sussurro, we arranged a sunset Dhow experience the night before the wedding. This was a surprise for our guests. Kraak and the Sussurro team setup a Gin & Tonic station and we all piled into Sussurro’s beautiful, big Dhow. We played Ismael Lo and drank G&Ts while the sun was setting.

We got each guest a cotton sarong and a disposable camera (which I made little linen pouches for), each wrapped up in a piece of linen and with a personalized letter to each guest. The guests used their cameras all week to capture it from their perspective and we recently got these photos developed which was such a joy!

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Stunning Mozambique Beach Wedding at Sunrise – Sussurro – Ayeh Photography – Bo and Luca – Bridal Musings 25

The Honeymoon

We haven’t gone on honeymoon yet but our original plan was to keep traveling North after our wedding, up the coast of Africa towards Lamu, Kenya. Hopefully soon!

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