Maxine and Devon’s devine outdoor wedding | Yas Links Golf Club

Bride and groom full names: Maxine Mary Youlten & Devon Swart

Length of engagement:  6 months

Wedding Date: 23 March 2018

Wedding location: Yas Links Golf Club, Abu Dhabi

 Photographer: Jenny Photo Dubai



We met… on Tinder! One of those Tinder success stories, you could say.

Our proposal… Was private, intimate and perfect.  We woke up early in the morning to go SUP Paddle Boarding near the Burj Al Arab.  The sun wasn’t up, and there was no one on the beach, the water was completely still.  At a certain point, I turned around and he was on his knee on the board, the ring tied to fishing wire attached to his pocket.  As a couple who love adventure, and as my husband loves fishing, it was the perfect way to do it.  I said yes, and luckily neither of us fell in.

Our wedding theme/colours… We dreamed of outdoors, and my one wedding hope was fairy lights.  White and navy blue, with touches of rustic wood pieces scattered around.  Festoon lights in warm white lighting up the venue. We are both a very relaxed, ‘chilled out’ couple, and I wanted the day to be as simple as possible so that if it were to be that something had to go wrong (as everyone says with weddings), the margin of error was small.  I made a lot of our decorations, clay love hearts with ‘love’ imprinted, attached to blue napkins, with miniature chalk boards from Daiso with bunting with each guests name for their place setting.  We had a table with photo-op moments, a frame made by a close friend with flowers, and our entry way was marked by a surfboard covered in chalk contact with the guests seating plan.  Our flowers were in boxes, baby’s breath, eucalyptus, roses and more flowing over.

With 60 guests, we arranged two long tables for our guests and a head table in a square horseshoe arrangement, with a frame overhead carrying fairy lights.  We had hessian table runners with white table clothes, adorned with our wooden, white and navy blue décor.

My dress… Was from The Dress Boutique here in Abu Dhabi.  Layers and layers of tulle, sleeves of lace with embroidered in the arms, and a sweetheart neck line.

My hair and make up… My hair was done at the Abu Dhabi Country Club.  As a make up artist, I always knew I would do it myself.  I chose a very simple look, natural with mauve undertones.  My hair was curled, in a low bun with a beautiful broch.

His suit… Navy blue suit, white shirt with brown leather belt and shoes.  His socks were blue, as well as his groomsmen with banana’s on them, to add a touch of fun!

What our bridal party wore… The groomsmen wore the same suits as my husband, with the same socks too!  My bridemaids (my sisters) wore navy blue evening dresses, light layers with gorgeous short sleeves, with beautiful, natural hair and soft make up.

Our ceremony and/or celebrant… We were given a blessing by Reverend Pius from Saint Andrew Church.  They had handled our official wedding documents and the marriage, and having the same reverent at our venue was great because we knew him, had our pre-marriage counselling session with him, and he has a great, bright character that made our guests laugh.

We chose our photographer because… Jenna (from Jenny Photo Dubai) was fantastic and all she wanted was to capture the day exactly how we wanted.  Her rates were fantastic and reasonable, and she was keen to spend as much time as needed, regardless of the confirmed rate.  She had a talent for natural, soft light and capturing intimate moments, while doing extensive research into the venue and getting to know both my husband and I.

We chose our wedding coordinator because… Thomas (from Yas Links Golf Club) was amazing.  Hands on and always coming up with suggestions on how to make the day exactly as we wanted.  From go, he knew how to personalise what we needed for our wedding, deviating from the ‘set menu’ concept, and allowing us to build the menu we wanted within our budget.  He even helped us keep tightly within what we could afford, while offering the best possible options.  Nothing was off limits with Thomas, if we dreamt something, he made it happen.  We felt welcome to come and chat with him in the days and weeks leading up to the wedding, and he was always available to ask questions to.  On the day of, we felt so comfortable putting all of our trust into him, and he went above and beyond.  I really couldn’t have done it without him!

We chose our venue because… We scouted many wedding venues to find the perfect outdoor wedding.  As an Australian-South African couple, we are bred for the outdoors, so the sun and sky had to be a part of our day.  Yas Links Golf Club was amazing, the rooms to get ready in, the building itself, the lawn where we were married in were so unique and I couldn’t believe we were in Abu Dhabi.  We were married down by the water, and my husband arrived to the altar with his groomsmen on a boat!  It was so affordable, and flexible to meet all our needs.

The venue was also amazing because of the photo opportunities.  We took a golf buggy with Mr and Mrs hung on the back around the green and found corners close to the water during the sunset – which sets perfectly over the lawn. There was an amazing balcony that was private and had the best lighting.  There is a small building further in from the main venue called the Academy, with a courtyard and European style pillars to take unique photos.

Our menu… Was barbeque focused – again, the touch of outdoors and relaxed we were hoping for. My mother’s restaurant provided the wedding cake – The Living Room Café specialty.  We had a naked cake, three layers of vanilla dirty-iced with buttercream, and dressed with flowers.  As we both come from big families with young children, we made sure they had a buffet designed just for them, with an exciting dessert table.  We kept the food simple, but delicious with different types of meat or vegetarian options.

Our honeymoon… was 10 amazing, adventurous days in Bali.  We stayed in Nusa Lembongan for the most part, enjoying the nature, exploring every day.  It was the perfect honeymoon for us both, as lovers of the ocean and travel, and exploring less travelled roads.

My favourite part of the wedding day… there are too many to pick from!  All the planning, stress, expectations washed away the morning of, and it was just about being in the moment.  Getting ready with my family was such a beautiful time, and the moments of privacy my husband and I had after our photos, before we joined our wedding guests was amazing.  If I had to pick, our first dance to Your Song by Elton John, sung by Ellie Goulding was a moment I love to remember or watch in videos.  Neither of us dance, and we just swayed together, but it was peaceful and full of love.

My piece of advice for other brides… Trust your mum.  I wouldn’t have had a day as amazing as it was if it wasn’t for her.  You need someone on your day to help you make the tough decisions, or to give you the tough love when you feel overwhelmed.  Also, make sure that every aspect of your day is personal.  Don’t follow what you think you should do because you see other weddings have it.  We took out a lot of ‘traditional’ parts of the day, because they didn’t mean anything to us. All up, we had a day built for us to celebrate our love.  If you keep that in mind, your wedding will always be the best day of you and your husband’s life, because ultimately it’s about the promise you’re going to make and the life you’re going to build – that’s what’s important.

Venue: Yas Links Golf Club

Lighting: Dubai UAE Events 0556452077

Dress, hair comb and veil: The Dress Boutique 02 626 3332

Flowers: Lotus Flowers

Groom and groomsmen suits: Pierre Cardin

Cake: The Living Room Café Abu Dhabi 02 639 6654

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