An Alluring Aruba WeddingWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Timeless-Pixx
Nicole and Jacob always knew they wanted to host a destination wedding – it was just a matter of when and where. “We wanted an event away from the everyday hustle and bustle to create lasting memories with our family and friends,” says the bride. “We have been to so many beautiful weddings, but we kept hearing the same thing from many couples…five hours goes by in the blink of an eye and then the wedding is over. We wanted more. We wanted quality time with friends and family, but also quality time with one another. So, while we are both from New York and the city has so many beautiful venues, we knew something more intimate and in a tropical environment would be our ideal wedding.”
While the couple was on the same page when it came to getting married outside NYC, they still had to decide on the location of their dreams. “In discussing it with one another, we decided that if we chose somewhere that people had to fly, there must be direct flights from New York and Florida (the two places most of our guests traveled from),” says Nicole. “We then realized that the time of year we wanted to get married in meant it was going to be a winter wedding, so we knew we wanted to create a vacation feel and get married in a warmer climate.”
Those two requirements – warm weather and convenience – led the couple to the Caribbean. As for narrowing down their choices to just one island, the couple had another approach. “We made a checklist for each island which included (1) weather, (2) food, (3) cost of the hotels, (4) transportation and (5) ease of communication with people on the island,” explains the bride. “Aruba was the only island that had everything we wanted and truly was the ideal location.”
Once the couple decided on Aruba as the host of their destination wedding, they chose Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino as their venue. When asked about the planning process, Nicole admits there are pros and cons to planning an event from afar and on a small island. “In New York we are accustomed to receiving instant responses and constantly being on email – it was hard to understand that Aruba works very differently. The people in Aruba are not attached to their phones or computers, they do not always have access to Wi-Fi and responses are not instantaneous…that was not easy to adapt to.”
Thankfully, the positives ultimately outweighed the negatives. “Each vendor made him or herself available to us when we needed and they all knew each other, which was great to know that they had all worked together for years. Everyone was so warm and friendly. We felt that the vendors were just as invested in the wedding as we were.” Hosting their nuptials in the Caribbean vs. stateside also came with some other surprises for the couple.
“When you look at a New York wedding, it’s generally going to be an expensive proposition due to location,” explains the couple. “New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world. However, Aruba is a desert and an island, which means that nearly everything is imported. We had a budget and we planned to stick to that budget regardless of geographic location. We do believe that, in Aruba, the hotels and vendors are more willing to adapt and find ways to work within your budget. Most importantly, we found that everyone working with us in Aruba wanted to make us happy and help us achieve the wedding we had hoped for.”
In the end, the couple got the quality time with their guests and the vacation-like atmosphere they were after. “We truly had time to take in and savor one of the biggest moments of our lives. We also definitely would not have had an outdoor ceremony in January in New York!” Nicole and Jacob can look back on their destination wedding without regrets, but do have some helpful advice for other couples.
“When we look back on our wedding now, we have several days of memories that we reflect on, laugh about and smile about. The best feeling by far was waking up the day of the wedding to the most crystal blue sky, aqua-colored water and white sand beach – we felt like we were in paradise for the most special of days. Always remember it is about the two of you. Be open and communicate with one another regardless of circumstance.”
Vendors: Photographer: Timeless-Pixx, Ceremony/Reception Site & Wedding Planning: Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, Florist: Shar’s Flowers, Stationery: Bella Figura, Cake: W Cakes, Hair & Makeup: Georgie Reyes with The Stars Hair Studio, Gown Designer: Matthew Christopher, Groom’s Clothing: J.Crew (jacket), Theory (pants), Hugo Boss (shirt) and Victor Talbots (bowtie), Bridesmaids’ Clothing Designer: TwoBirds, Videographer: Realpix Media, Ceremony Set-Up/Reception Dance Floor: Letz Aruba, DJ: Cyclone Promotions, Personalized Welcome Bags: DL Events + Promotions
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