Destination I Do
Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A U.K. Couple's Dream Beach Wedding

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Kristen Weaver Photography

British couple Kuksy and Tolu have a love for travel which they feel definitely defines them as a couple. So it only made since for them to have a destination wedding in which they could share their love of travel with both of their extended families. The bride came across their ultimate destination somewhat by accident: “During the time I was investigating the idea of a destination wedding I came across a photo on a Preston Bailey blog which had a picture of the most beautiful beach and sunset. When I looked to see where it was, it was at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples. I went onto their website, requested more information about the venue and the rest, as they say, was history!”

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While the couple were confident in their choice to have a beautiful beach wedding in Florida, their extended families weren’t so sure. “We both come from large extended families and, like the Greek and Asian cultures, African weddings tend to be big,” says the bride. “So the decision to have a destination wedding meant that not everyone could come and that wasn’t received postivitely. How we overcame it was by sticking to our guns and not being swayed by what [other] people wanted.

“We encouraged people to look at it as a holiday, with a wedding to attend, as most hadn’t been to Florida before. In the end, people did exactly that and had the time of their lives. It was a ‘small’ wedding by African standards, but in the most beautiful location. The icing on the cake was when people came up to us afterwards to thank us for bringing the family together on holiday (something which had never been done before with our families) and to tell us that they understood why we made the decision we did.”

Aside from having some family who weren’t thrilled with the idea of the couple hosting their wedding in another country, the planning process went very smoothly for Kuksy and Tolu. “We never had any issues with the venue,” says the bride. “Right from the moment we filled in that enquiry, to the day of the wedding was a smooth process – the venue helped us with everything. They were proactive and creative in their suggestions, they went the extra mile by going out of their way to go and source items I wasn’t able to source in person in order to ensure I had exactly what I wanted.

“[Planning] was so much fun! Unlike some brides, I enjoyed planning all aspects of our wedding. Even though I didn’t actually get to see any of the items we purchased until we arrived in the U.S., I was amazed how well everything came together.” The couple also made things easier on themselves by giving guests flight and accommodation options and then leaving it up to them to make the decisions. That way it was like their guests really were planning their own vacations.

In the end, the couple got the destination wedding of their dreams and wouldn’t change a single thing. This brave and easy-going couple has some words of advice for other couples planning their dream wedding away: “…have a great photographer and videographer who will capture the day, because you probably won’t remember much of it and it’s only when you see the photos and videos that you’ll remember particular moments of the day. There are photos I took that I don’t remember taking – it was only when I looked at the proofs that I realized those photos even existed! Picking the right venue with a competent team on-hand, having a good photographer and videographer are all things you should not compromise on – they are surely worth the investment. Having your dream wedding is worth every pound and pence!”

Vendors: Photographer: Kristen Weaver Photography, Ceremony/Reception Location: Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida, Florist, Cake and Hair & Makeup: Ritz-Carlton, Stationery: Fossil Letter Press & Mavora Art & Design, Gown Designer: La Sposa, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Slaters Menswear, Bridesmaids/Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: Private Label by G/Slaters Menswear, Favors: Prayer Notes

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