Cape Town - They say most women start planning their weddings as little girls, and that most men would gladly leave that part of the nuptials to their partners. But Dewald Visser is not most men.
Television presenter and producer Dewald Visser will marry his bride Sylvia Smith on February 16. The difference is, Visser has decided to be a hands-on groom and is making all the arrangements. All Smith has to do on the big day, is show up.
He has trawled the ocean floor for the diamond, secured a designer for the wedding dress, booked the venue, seen to the invitations, worked out the menu and sourced caterers.
Visser, 43, who has never been married before, describes his life as one big adventure. He loves sky diving, quadbiking and hunting. It’s little wonder he decided to let go of his bachelordom in the most unconventional of ways.
Of course, the bride-to-be did have some input regarding her big day, but the details were left in the hands of the groom.
Visser says the wedding will be one “massive party” and their 160 guests can expect to be treated to a “boere chic” event at the Kleine Marie in Stellenbosch.
The couple were introduced by a neighbour four years ago over the telephone. In fact, Visser recalls their very first conversation ended in an argument over which was the better dog. He was convinced it was his Golden Retriever called Chelsea. She believed Bassier, the schnauzer, was the best breed.
Visser invited Smith to continue the argument face-to-face. They’ve been adventuring around the globe ever since.
Smith says that after nearly four decades as a bachelor, Visser was a bit sceptical about marriage. But that all changed once he proposed.
He popped the question aboard the MSC Melody in March last year. Visser had been filming an intro for the Kom Braai television programme – to which Smith usually accompanies him – when he got down on one knee. He produced a ring box and asked Smith if she would help relieve him of his bachelordom. Smith was so surprised and emotional, that she didn’t appear to notice that Visser had proposed with a temporary ring that cost a paltry R130. The best was yet to come.
Soon after the engagement, Visser announced that he would be organising the wedding. And he’s going to turn it into a nine-part series to be screened at the end of February on Top TV.
The fact that their experience would be televised is not what made Smith nervous. It was the fact that her fiancé wanted to arrange everything. After all, it’s usually the bride who does that, right?
Besides, Smith is a perfectionist, meticulous in her planning. Visser is more impulsive and tends to leave things to the last minute.
“I was a bit worried after he told me, because I’m a control freak. But he told me to stop worrying and just trust him,” says Smith.
Visser went to Port Nolloth to dive for the rough diamond that would later be cut and set into the engagement ring. Ravaged with sea sickness, four hours later, he found a 1.67 carat rough diamond. “It’s more than just swiping a credit card. To have dived for the diamond myself… it’s the ultimate gift. It’s beyond special,” says Visser.
Once the ring was cut, polished and the design met specifications, Visser gave his fiancé the real engagement ring before Christmas.
Meanwhile, Smith gets to choose her bridesmaids, the colours and dress designs, but it’s up to Visser to do all the legwork.
“I actually have the best role. I must be the most relaxed bride ever.”
Visser says he has everything under control. The flowers for the bouquets are being grown. The menus are in the process of being printed. There are only one or two fittings left for the dresses. The dance lessons are under way. And the Thailand honeymoon is booked.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Thailand. But that’s the type of man Dewald is. All the things I’ve accidentally wished for, he has fulfilled,” says Smith.
Visser is proud of what he has achieved so far, and is confident the big day will go off perfectly. And he’s taken everything in his stride.
“I don’t understand when they talk about stressing brides. I really don’t know what the big deal is. Everything is under control. This wedding is going to be a showpiece,” Visser promises. - Cape Argus