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A Mara Elopement

Casper and Lil, a couple from Amsterdam, were planning a big wedding in Italy — and then threw it all out the window
Above: Who can blame them?

We had finally gotten engaged, after a few Covid lockdown delays, last summer in Mexico. And we decided to get married in Italy — a weekend wedding celebration, surrounded by friends and family. As we began the planning process, we found it draining. It was no longer about us and romance but about the number of guests, courses, what kind of drinks and crazily enough, decisions about how many minutes of fireworks.

In the meantime, we had booked a holiday to Kenya — already lovers of Africa, its nature and its difference from our home life. One Sunday evening, while having to make yet another choice for the wedding, we started asking ourselves: Is this how we want to spend our time on something that is supposed to be fun? And then it came to us — why don’t we elope in Kenya? With beautiful surroundings, where we could keep it simple, focusing on why we want to get married — stating our vows to each other and saying 'I do', instead of worrying about administrative decisions. 

Lil, adorned by her honorary bridal party

After some research on eloping, I contacted several lodges. Angama Mara was already our favourite from the beginning — besides the fact that the pictures of the lodge are amazing, the website’s information on the possibility of getting married there was really clear. After a brief call with Helle and the comforting feeling that we did not have to think of anything besides our wedding outfits, we were convinced Angama Mara was the place for us. 

Our wedding day was the best we could have wished for. It started with a hot-air balloon ride and the magnificent sunrise over the Mara Triangle, we even spotted a rhino from the air (the last of the Big Five we needed to see), followed by a champagne breakfast and a beautiful moment at the oldest fig tree in the Mara (special thanks to our guide Johnny who really knows all the best spots). 

Encircling the couple with a Maasai celebration

The Maasai community was lovingly involved in our wedding. Casper went off with the Maasai warriors, while I had the maidens taking care of me and helping me get ready — we even had a maid of honour and a best man. And suddenly it was wedding time. Casper was standing on the beautiful saddle, surrounded by the Maasai and I walked towards him through an honour guard formed by the warriors. The moment Casper and I saw each other we both shed tears. 

George — normally a camp manager, but today our wedding official — did a fantastic job, making the ceremony loving and fun. Casper and I said our vows in Dutch, making it truly intimate and afterwards, we were blessed by the Maasai elder, a special touch. After the rings and the blessing, there was singing, dancing, wedding cake and of course, champagne. We toasted at the Out of Africa kopje, with the most amazing view anyone could ever wish for on their wedding day. 

When the light is just right
The dress was unharmed in the taking of this photo

We then enjoyed the sunset over the Mara, sipping whisky on the terrace, listening to elephants in the background. At that moment we looked at each other and realised how special it was, to have such a peaceful moment just the two of us — exactly what we wanted — in the most beautiful location.  

Luckily, we have the best pictures of our wedding day (thanks to Robert and Andrew), which made us, and of course our friends and family, very happy. This way we can relive the day and they can feel like they were a part of it. We are so glad we decided to elope and would recommend getting married this way to everyone. And we are already looking forward to returning to Angama Mara for one of our anniversaries.

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Filed under: Safari Style

Tagged with:

Angama Mara , Maasai Culture

About: Guest Author

Members of the broader Angama family — be it guests, agents, suppliers, friends — contribute to the blog from time to time. We love to share their stories, too.

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