Harbour Island, Bahamas Real WeddingWords by Jessie Allen
Photos courtesy of Jessie Barksdale
After three postponements and two venues across two countries Atlanta couple, Maria and Levi, ended up hosting a dreamy destination wedding–despite facing all the struggles of planning a wedding during COVID-19 times.
"Originally, we were supposed to get married in April of 2020 in Alys Beach, Florida (which still would have been a destination wedding). We had to change that date three times, and then ultimately had to give up that venue," Maria says.
Learning they could not have the celebration they'd initially envisioned, Maria and Levi went back to the drawing board. That's when they decided to exchange vows in the first place they ever vacationed together, Harbour Island in the Bahamas.
"It was our first international trip together when we were dating and the place we discovered there could be a serious future between us," the couple says.
The couple began to envision a week-long celebration with low stress and lots of quality time with friends and family. To make this possible, the couple hired a team of majority local vendors, including wedding planner, Charlotte Simmons of Little Island Design.
"Like many other brides," Maria says, "I spent a lot of time on Pinterest and vision boards, but, Little Island Design, I trusted completely with the vision and they brought it to life."
After checking in with guests, the couple learned that non all of their immediate family would be able to attend, which Maria tells us was the hardest part. But, at that point in the planning process, the couple had rescheduled so many times that they were simply itching to finally become Mr. and Mrs. Brown. Thus, they stuck to the new plan. Going forward, the couple placed most of their focus on making sure guests who could make it were constantly updated on COVID testing protocols and health questionnaires to get into the Bahamas.
"Our incredible planner had constant communication with us from the island and made everything unbelievably seamless when we got there," the couple says.
When the wedding week finally arrived, Maria and Levi touched down a day before their guests for a pre-wedding portrait session and to get a chance to relax, explore the island and refocus on their love. The next day, Maria and Levi welcomed their guests to a rehearsal dinner, where Maria surprised Levi with videos of well wishes and toasts from some of his friends who could not attend the wedding in person.
"We had welcome bags for the guests, unique to the Bahamas with several practical things inside as well," the couple says. "We used a ‘Harbour Island’ coffee table book as our welcome book for guests to sign."
On the wedding day, Maria and Levi exchanged vows on the terrace of a charming family-run hotel, the Ocean View Club, overlooking the infamous Pink Sands Beach. All florals and greenery were foraged around the island, nodding to the beauty of this tropical location. While the couple's dog Dexter could not travel to the Bahamas, Maria and Levi made sure to incorporate him into the reception.
"We ended up having an artist do a virtual watercolor sketch of him for our Signature Cocktails and called it 'The Dex'."
Maria and Levi look back on the day and say it was beyond everything they ever wanted.
“So many times throughout that weekend I just kept thinking, 'Wow, this is a dream. It was all worth it.' Whatever is on the horizon for your wedding plans, know there is a plan for your day and in the end, all of it will be worth it. Having someone to persevere through tough times with and marrying this man are also THE MOST important things. I can absolutely guarantee your day will be what it should be. Love, Mrs. Brown.”
Vendors: Photographer: Jessie Barksdale; Wedding Planner: Little Island Design; Venue/Florist/Cake: Ocean View Club; Stationery: Minted; Hair: Chloe Hobgood & Leigha Lane; Makeup: Swanique Sawyer; Gown Designer: Reem Acra; Groom & Groomsmen Clothing Designer: Jos. A. Bank; Bridesmaids Dresses: Watters; Veil: RL Couture Bridal Design; Earrings: Untamed Petals; Videography: Amalfi Outpost
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