Real SA wedding: Carla & Kyle

Tuhi Photography

Carla and Kyle McIlroy got married this April at the Central Mission Methodist Church at Greenmarket Square in Cape Town's city centre. This was a soul-stirring intimate ceremony followed by a very cheerful reception at the Blue Bird Garage in Muizenberg.

But there's so much more to the couple's love story than exploring the beautiful Mother City in which they met.

Here's their story:

How we met

We aren’t actually sure, which sounds super unromantic. This obviously wasn’t love at first sight, but we know we met at some stage in early 2011.

We were both studying at UCT and attending the same church and had a few mutual friends, so we could have met on campus at church or through friends. Who knows? 

Images: Britt Tuhi of Tuhi Photography 

And then half way through that year we went on a church trip to Namibia and became real friends. We came back and realised that we both had a break at the same time on a Friday between lectures in the second semester, so we started spending those breaks together.

After a couple of weeks Kyle started calling these little hangouts ‘Fridays with Joy’. Joy is my second name.

And a few friends started suspecting that something more than a friendship may have been happening and many questions were asked.

Image: Britt Tuhi of Tuhi Photography 

But we really were just friends. For 5 years.

For 5 years we would hang out every week as far as possible. When our schedules changed and I started spending more time on med campus than main campus, Fridays with Joy sometimes became Saturday breakfast or early morning coffees.

Image: Britt Tuhi of Tuhi Photography

But we always made an effort to spend time together. We spoke about everything, from our dreams to our families to faith and everything in between. Nearing the end of my degree I started realising that I would have to leave Cape Town the following year for my community service.

This made me sad for so many reasons but I became increasingly scared of not having weekly time with Kyle. So I somehow managed to spend more and more time with him.

Image: Britt Tuhi of Tuhi Photography

And I’m not sure how, but more time led to more feelings and before either of us really knew what was happening we were dating. 

In short, it wasn’t love at first sight. But I fell in love slowly, but surely with my best friend.

Images: Britt Tuhi of Tuhi Photography

How Kyle proposed

Because I was in Joburg and he was in Cape Town, which is the most beautiful city in the world and the place where we fell in love, I had obviously assumed that he would propose in Cape Town.

But he knew me better than that and obviously wanted it to be a surprise. I had also assumed that it would be much later or closer to the end of my year in Joburg. 

But on a weekend in August he came to visit me in Joburg. It was really like any other weekend visit.

Image: Britt Tuhi of Tuhi Photography

I fetched him from the airport and we went for breakfast in Linden. He had told me before he came that he wanted to have coffee with one of his school friends after we had breakfast.

So I stayed at the restaurant after breakfast with a book and he ‘went to have coffee’. He came to pick me up a couple of hours later and told me that while he was away he found a really cool place that we should go to for lunch.

Image: Britt Tuhi of Tuhi Photography 

While we were driving he told me to blindfold myself. I promise this didn’t give anything away.

Firstly, we weren’t in Cape Town. Secondly this was the most romantic man in the world, who always arrived at the airport with flowers, sent me photos of himself with a different flower every single day we were apart.

The month before he had turned his driveway into a drive-in (I was blindfolded then too).

So no suspicions were raised yet.

We drove around for a while and then he guided me down some path and I started hearing “I Need My Girl” by The National (which was also the song I walked down the aisle to).

Then I knew. 

Rings by Dear Rae

Images: Britt Tuhi of Tuhi Photography

We got married on the 8 April 2017. It was quite a big wedding and we wanted to include as many people from different parts of our lives as possible.

My wedding dress was one of the most special parts of the day for me. It was my late grandmother’s wedding dress, which was handmade 52 years ago by my great-grandmother.

Images: Britt Tuhi of Tuhi Photography

It was way more extravagant a dress than I ever would have imagined wearing on my wedding day, but it was the greatest privilege being able to wear my grandmother’s beautifully elegant and sentimental dress.

It had an almost three-meter long train, which I removed from the dress and added some hooks and eyes so that I could wear it for the ceremony and remove it for the party. That material was way too heavy to wear all day!

Image: Britt Tuhi of Tuhi Photography

It made it feel like even though she wasn’t there, she was part of the day. And I know it was so special for my dad to see me in his mom’s dress. 

One of the highlights of the day for me was walking out onto Greenmarket Square after the ceremony and feeling like the whole city was celebrating with us. 

Images: Britt Tuhi of Tuhi Photography

Because we had so many guests, we wanted to find a big open space for our reception that was basically a blank canvas that we could turn into exactly what we wanted.

We had our reception at the Bluebird Garage in Muizenberg. Everything had to be brought in and again setup by our wonderful friends. Tables, chairs, table cloths, cutlery, crockery, everything!

Images: Britt Tuhi of Tuhi Photography

Kyle made lights to hang from the rafters in the venue, our families collected hundreds of candle holders and bottles and spray painted them gold.

Image: Britt Tuhi of Tuhi Photography

A friend baked four amazing wedding cakes! My dad made bread boards with our names and the wedding date engraved on them for each guest.

There were so many things done by so many people that we aren’t sure we will ever be able to sufficiently thank everyone. 

Wedding vendor details:

Wedding reception venue: The Blue Bird Garage

Cakes: Caitlin Maclons of Bravery Bakes 

Food trucks:  Jack Rabbit Mobile Kitchen (Email:

Ice cream truck: The Soft Machine (Email:

Photography: Britt Tuhi of Tuhi Photography (Email:

Watch Carla & Kyle's amazing 3-part wedding video:

Video by Tessa Brown of Asah Films

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