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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Destination Wedding Mustique

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Vanessa Hall Photography

Erin and Christopher knew from the beginning they were going to take their own path down the aisle. Thankfully for all of us, they did just that with a stunning destination wedding on the island of Mustique. “We don’t consider ourselves to be traditional and were looking to do something different,” says the couple. “The more we attended traditional weddings, the more we realized that route just wasn’t for us. We wanted our wedding to be an adventure, something fun our guests would remember for the rest of their lives. Not just an event or moment in time.”

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Not surprisingly, after the guests received their beautiful and vibrant invitations, created by Momental Designs, they were all anxious to attend Erin and Christopher’s exotic destination wedding in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Despite not being able to find very much information about weddings on the island of Mustique, the couple moved forward with their ambitious and calculated decision. “We chose the island because it’s lavish and doesn’t have a mechanical ‘resort’ feel,” say the newlyweds. “It is elegant, comfortable and most of all – private.

“We had a household staff who freshly prepared all of our meals and we had World-famous beaches to ourselves. We rented five villas on the island and grouped our guests into large homes, thus fostering a ‘house party’ atmosphere.”

While the couple clearly thought of everything when it came to their guests’ experience, having a wedding on such a remote island did come with its own set of complications. “The remoteness and exclusivity of the island meant it was critical to plan ahead and have realistic expectations about what could or could not be done on the island,” says savvy bride Erin. “Our advice is to trust the locals who are pulling your wedding together and ask for their advice and help with ideas from the beginning.”

The couple was clear in their instructions to their guests on how to get to the island. Inter-island travel can be tricky and the couple recommended their guests stay a night in Barbados en route to make the experience as full-proof as possible. Thankfully, everyone arrived happy, healthy and ready to enjoy each others’ company. “If at any time we felt stressed, we reminded ourselves that we were taking our guests to a fabulous, exotic location,” says Erin. “Translation: No one was going to balk over something slightly amiss. I wanted a hassle-free wedding, so I readjusted my mindset. We wanted casual and fun and that is where we focused our energy vs. the tiny details. The day we stepped on the island, we knew we had made the right decision.”

While the couple admits their destination wedding cost more than a hometown wedding would have, they don’t regret the decision for a second. “We spent more money on what mattered to us – a memorable experience for us and our guests at a lavish location. In a traditional wedding, the tiny details add up – exhausting the wedding budget and adding layers of stress for the couple. When you go with a destination wedding in the right location, the scenery and the company make the day, allowing you to forego the things expected at traditional weddings. This ultimately allows you to save money or reallocate it to other, more important things.”

This brave and savvy destination wedding couple have some last words of valuable advice for other couples planning their dream wedding away. “Focus on making [your wedding] an experience instead of just an event. Think about how many weddings you’ve gone to. Long after the day passes, people won’t remember your flowers, your place settings, your cake or party favors. Give your guests an experience they may have otherwise never gotten. Our guests still rave about the wedding, the island and claim they are going through ‘Mustique withdrawls.’ They are even planning to return to the island for a five-year wedding reunion.”

Vendors: Photographer: Vanessa Hall Photography, Wedding Planner: Mustique Social Director Jan O’Neil, Ceremony/Reception Site: Villa Sleeping Dragon, Florist: Margaret Leacock, Stationery: Branchville Studios & Momental Designs, Music: Jomoro Francis & Friends Steel Pan Band, Gown Designer: Monique Lhuillier, Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Hermes & To Boot New York, Bridesmaids’ Clothing Designer: Amsale

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