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Gita Sjahrir, the founder of R Fitness, was trying to get a free beer when a man approached her. “There was this guy, who turned out to be Simon, and he came up to me and asked, ‘Are you doing what I think you’re doing?’ To which I replied, ‘Hell yeah, I’m getting a free beer. Are you judging me?’,” Gita told Tatler Indonesia, smiling.

The story of how Gita first met Simon Wright happened during a Monocle event at Pacific Place Jakarta mall. Since then, they became friends and started dating along the way. Later on, they found out that they were perfect for each other right down to their shared values and philosophies.

Gita and Simon then got married at the end of last year in Simon’s home country of South Africa. Their wedding was beautiful, with only their closest family and friends attending the holy matrimony, which was held at the MolenVliet Wine Estate—a gorgeous winery in Stellenbosch. “We wanted our special day to be warm and relaxed,” Gita said. “It was summer in South Africa, when all the flowers are in bloom, so we decided on a garden theme,” she added.

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Moreover, they incorporated elements that celebrated their Indonesian and South African cultures as well as their shared interests, which happened to be animals. The couple found a mutual passion in a conservation society working with trafficked birds that can’t be re-released into the wild, and, during the ceremony, they had a falcon fly down the aisle to deliver to them their wedding rings.

“We’ve incorporated so many elements to make the wedding feel more like ‘us’,” said Gita. “In his vows, for example, Simon used a series of analogies of Winnie the Pooh characters to describe and appreciate all the different sides of me, and my vows were about how perfectly imperfect we are as individuals and as a couple,” she told us. “I think what I like most about our vows is that they were not idealistic and Hallmark card-like. They were real, even if Simon did have to rely on Winnie the Pooh to make his point!”

For the wedding, Gita’s best friend and fellow Generation T honouree Vanessa Budihardja was involved in planning and making sure everything went well; Vanessa was also one of Gita’s bridesmaids and also an officiant at the wedding. Another friend of 25 years, Mary Ziegler, wrote the wedding ceremony programme, while maid of honour Farina Situmorang gave a speech, and Roderick Purwana being the bridesman.

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Adding up to the already- enthralling ambience, Gita’s friend Adinda Bakrie gave a piano performance on her wedding, which was her first time playing to an audience. “She’s been playing piano for 25 years and never played to an audience before! She did it only because she knew it would make me happy. I really appreciated that from her,” she shared.

“In total, I had three bridespeople: two women and one man; and Simon had three groomspeople: two men and one woman,” Gita said. Moreover, at the end of the wedding, Princess Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, Nelson Mandela’s daughter, gave a beautiful closing prayer to conclude Gita and Simon’s matrimony.

The newly wedded couple had been together for years before they decided to tie the knot, which is why they didn’t really have to go through any drastic adaptations in their new life together. “We now say, ‘Hello, husband’ and ‘Hello, wife’ literally every single morning though, which is annoying yet cute,” she said with a laugh.

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“We believe that empathy, vulnerability and kindness are the basis for any healthy relationship. Also, we all need to listen more, and not react so quickly to different situations,” she said as we closed our chat. “No matter what, we are still our own people; now that we are married, we can’t stop being ourselves and must give each other space for our own hobbies, alone time, and friendships with the people we love, while still being there for each other.”

Tags: Wedding, South Africa, Gita Sjahrir, Simon Wright