The Cederberg Elopement of Lee-Roy & Monika

We are doing the happy dance at Vivacious Weddings! With great excitement, we share The Cederberg Cave Elopement of Lee-Roy & Monika with you.  Elopement weddings were always trendy, but during the global pandemic period, they became a highlight and will be for the foreseeing future.  The talented wedding photographer, Vinylrae Photography captured every moment of this couple’s pretty elopement.

It is the scenery like something from an art book.  Surrounded by beautiful caves, rock formations and picturesque views.   This couple wanted a desert-like wedding day and were inspired by elopements that took place in Joshua Tree in California as well as Arizona.  We are also huge fans of the Joshua Tree area.  Monika and Lee-Roy eloped at the scenic Stadsaal Caves in the Cederberg Wilderness region.

Everything about this couple’s elopement is just perfect!  From the couple all white outfits to the most beautiful floral designs.  A small table set up inside the caves with Moroccan-themed wedding decor elements is just breathtaking.  All the different colours blend in so well with the feeling and neutral shades of colour from the caves as the backdrop.  This is a great example of how pretty an elopement wedding can be.

This couple opted in for a local South-African honeymoon and stayed at some spectacular places, one of which is Tsala Treetop Lodge.  We also visited this lodge and wrote about our experience at this gorgeous lodge on Vivacious Weddings.  Click here to read our article. Scroll down to read more about Lee-Roy & Monika’s elopement and engagement story.

Engagement and Wedding ring story:

The engagement and wedding rings as well as all Monika’s jewellery worn on the day were from their favourite jeweller, Dear Rae.  Dear Rae is a small female-owned business based in their hometown, Cape Town.  The bride has a very dainty style when it comes to jewellery and Dear Rae’s pieces suited her personal and elopement style so perfectly. When Lee-Roy proposed to Monika she was happier about the fact that she saw a Dear Rae box than being concerned with the actual ring inside of the box!

Engagement Story:

We met at university in the small town of Stellenbosch at a small student church congregation. At first, we were only friends but about a year later we started dating. After almost 8 years of dating Lee-Roy finally proposed to Monika just after midnight at a new years eve party that Monika had organized for a large group of our friends. All our friends from that same student congregation where met were at the party at the time Lee-Roy proposed which made it even more special as they were there when we first met and when we got engaged. Monika didn’t suspect anything at the time and the new years eve/engagement celebrations continued into the early hours of the morning!

Why the couple decided to elope:

After getting engaged we jumped onto the wedding planning bandwagon like most couples do and originally wanted a more traditional yet intimate wedding. We had our hearts set on a specific wedding venue however the venue could no longer trade and we were left very disappointed. After this, we decided to just take some time to enjoy our engagement phase and started travelling as a couple and soon became addicted to exploring beautiful places together.

On our one-year engagement anniversary, we were travelling at the time and whilst celebrating our anniversary date we decided that we want to ditch the traditional wedding idea and just elope somewhere beautiful and in nature. Then the elopement location scouting started but I think we just loved the fact that we could use it as an excuse for travelling. We eventually set an elopement date for June 2020 but due to the pandemic and the uncertainty, we decided to postpone it by exactly one year. Three and a half years and a pandemic later we finally took the big step and eloped in 2021.

Favourite Memory:

Our favourite memory is definitely when Lee-Roy surprised Monika on their elopement day by playing “Hey Jude” from the Beatles on his Bass Trombone. Lee-Roy is a professional musician and bass trombone player and Monika wanted his trombone to feature in their elopement. She asked him to just pretend to serenade her on the day for the photos but instead, he surprised her by playing one of her favourite songs by the Beatles on his trombone.

Elopement Location:

Our elopement took place at the Stadsaal Caves in the beautiful Cederberg Wilderness region. We love travelling together to beautiful locations and once we decided on eloping we started location scouting for almost a year. It was very important for us to find a very unique, jaw-dropping, secluded desert location for our elopement photos and the Cederberg ended up being the perfect location. We wanted our elopement photos to feature the spectacular orange rock formations of the Stadsaal caves to give our elopement that wow factor.


We spent our honeymoon travelling along the Garden Route in South Africa. We started our honeymoon at Gorah Elephant Camp in Addo Elephant National Park and then a few nights at Tsala Treetop Lodge in Plettenberg Bay, Cliffhanger Cottages in Knysna and lastly Nima Lodge in Wilderness.

Wedding Dress:

The wedding dress Monika wore was the Verdelle 2.0 from Grace Loves Lace. Monika wanted a timeless yet captivating dress that would suit her style as well as the bohemian desert elopement theme they had in mind. The Verdelle was incredibly comfortable and effortless and made rock climbing in a wedding dress a walk in the park. Not many brides can say that they put on their wedding dress all by themselves in a cave!

The inspiration behind the wedding decor:

We got a lot of inspiration from Pinterest.  Both of us absolutely loved the desert elopements we saw that were done in areas such as Joshua Tree and Arizona.  And we wanted an elopement décor setup very similar to that. We wanted the small table set for two, the mini elopement cake, the Morrocan style pouffe, scatter cushions and Persian rugs. We got so many comments that our elopement looks as if it could be from Pinterest which is exactly what we were going for.

Wedding Colours and Inspiration behind them:

Our elopement theme was a bit of desert, bohemian and Moroccan all mixed together and it was important that we chose a colour scheme that would suit the natural environment of the elopement location. We focused on using a mix of earthy, neutral and warm colours such as browns, beiges and dusty pinks whilst incorporating gold and bronze.

Advice to couples planning their elopement:

Do whatever makes you happy and don’t worry about what people would say. There will be friends and family who will be disappointed that you didn’t have a big traditional wedding but at the end of the day it is your marriage, your money and your special day so do what will make you both happy. As with big traditional weddings, finding the right photographer to capture your special day is very important even if it is just an elopement as the pictures will be the only thing you have to show your friends and families. Make it an epic adventure while you are at it and have lots of fun. We have so many fun and memorable moments about our elopement day and can’t wait to tell our kids all about it one day.

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