Friday, June 3, 2011
This Couple Had a Dream Destination Wedding on Paradise IslandWords by Courtney Kellar Words by Courtney Cox
Photos courtesy of Dreamtime Images
Brian and Emily first met over 10 years ago. By the end of their first meeting, Brian told his friend that Emily was the woman he would one day marry. Naturally, his friend told him he was crazy, but Brian was adamant. In true manly style, the two turned it into a bet. Years later, Brian was Emily’s new husband and $1,000 richer.
The couple knew that a destination wedding was the way to go for them, but the idea wasn’t initially met with glee by their families. “Our Catholic families were hesitant at first because it wasn’t going to be a traditional church wedding and they would have preferred we got married in our home town so that it would be easier for guests.”
Despite their families’ reservations, the couple went with their gut and hosted a gorgeous wedding on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Emily and Brian traveled to a couple of destinations before deciding on the Bahamas. It was only a hour long flight for most of their guests and the couple immediately fell in love with the laid-back vibe of the islands. The One & Only Ocean Club was the venue of choice and for Emily, it was love at first sight.
“I remember turning into the Ocean Club and seeing the spectacular cloisters and the Versailles garden,” Emily says. “I knew it had to be the place. It was absolutely breathtaking – a perfect mix of white-sandy-beach-casual and European garden-elegance.”
There was only one fallback to the couple’s dream wedding venue – limited space. Often with a more intimate setting comes a smaller guest list. Like everything else, the couple took this issue in stride and actually turned it into a positive thing. “We had to ask our parents to narrow down their guest lists because the location had limited space,” says the couple. “We asked them to send us an A, B and C list that prioritized their requests. That really helped us work through the situation.”
In the end, Emily walked down the aisle in a gorgeous, body-hugging Monique Lhuillier gown. Surrounded by their nearest and dearest, Brian and Emily promised themselves to each other for life and sealed the deal with a kiss overlooking the azure Caribbean Sea.
The location ended up being even more convenient for the couple’s guests than Brian and Emily had initially anticipated. While they had to cut their guests list because of limited space at their venue, they still ended up with more guests than they had expected. Kind of a pleasant problem to have! Overall, the couple feels they had about half the number of guests in attendance on Paradise Island than they would have had with a hometown wedding.
Emily and Brian’s big day went off without a hitch, but it wasn’t without effort. The bride credits her coordinator with Bahamas Bridal Affairs for really making her dreams come to fruition. Emily admits that planning a destination wedding comes with its own unique set of challenges.
“The difference when planning from afar is that you have to realize you can’t control everything in the same way you could if you were working with local vendors,” says Emily. “Invest in a wedding coordinator even if you are very organized and already know what you want. The help with coordinating with vendors from afar is well worth the investment.”
One of the bride’s favorite moments of her wedding day was when her and Brian passed around their rings during the ceremony so they could be blessed by their guests. A small pillow shaped like a flower was hand sewn by the bride’s mother and grandmother to carry the rings.
The bride has some final advice for other couples considering a destination wedding.
“Consider the culture of the location you choose, it will be part of your wedding experience. For instance, the Bahamian culture is very laid-back, so don’t expect that to change for your wedding day. I am so happy that we ended up making the choices we did. I’d recommend to any bride who has a destination wedding in her heart to go with it!”
Photographer: Nathan with Dreamtime Images
Wedding Planner: Bernadette Burrows with Bahamas Bridal AffairsVenue: One & Only Ocean Club
Gown Designer: Monique Lhuillier
Groom’s Clothing: Calvin Klein
Florist: Floral Arts
Bridesmaids/Groomsmen: Nicole Miller & Hugo Boss
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