Wedding in Paradise
Updated: Oct 13, 2018
Growing up I never fantasized about my dream dress or what my Wedding Day would be like. I always knew that I wanted to marry a nice man and have a family but it wasn’t until Lee proposed on 19.04.2014 that I even thought about being a Bride. From that moment on I found myself looking at photos online and drawing inspiration from my surroundings. Lee and I said “I do” on 10.10.2017. In celebration of our first Wedding Anniversary I have written this article to help guide you through the planning process and prepare you as best I can for your big day.
Happy reading and happy first Anniversary my Love X
Lee and I met on July 5th, 2013 through mutual friends on the Norwegian Dawn sailing out of Boston to Bermuda. We were both crewmembers, Lee was a Golf Professional and I was a Cruise Consultant Manager. It is funny because before we started dating I used to wonder why he would always sit next to me on the tour bus even though there were plenty of other empty seats. I seriously had no idea that he liked me. He played to my weakness of food by giving me lolly bags and even helped me with my cabin drops. I was dating another guy at the time but Lee waited patiently until I saw the error in my ways. We soon began dating and became inseparable.
When we got engaged Lee and I had planned to get married in Tuscany, Italy. We were going to rent out a quaint villa overlooking a vineyard. However, being that his family is from Canada and my family is from Australia we wanted to choose a location that people would not only come for our Wedding but also see as a relaxing holiday. We toyed with a few ideas but when we were on vacation in Maui, Hawaii we fell in love with the island and decided that it was going to be the perfect backdrop to our big day. We began scouting Wedding venues but the moment we stepped foot on the White Orchid Beach House estate we knew it was the perfect setting for us. Being that Lee and I were getting married in a location that neither of us lived we hired the services of an amazingly talented Wedding planner. Jackie was so incredible! We spent a year mapping out our big day, exchanging emails and even having early morning phone calls because of the time difference. The whole process would have been a lot whole different without her and her team, that’s for sure. After all was said and done we were elated with how everything turned out. I look back on our Wedding Day and can’t recall any of the staff moving the furniture or putting out the dance floor, that is how seamless they were. Having a strong team of Wedding vendors is the key to making your day even more magical.
First up, congratulations!!! This is such an exciting time for you and your future Husband / Wife. The first thing people normally say is “so when are you getting married?” Let me tell you, there is no rush. Lee and I were engaged for three years, four months and twenty-one days when we got married. Take your time and do what works for you. Also, regardless of what anyone says you have every right to be mushy and revel in showing off your ring. I remember my friend Candi made me move the ring on my middle finger to my right hand so that my engagement ring would stand-alone and not have to share the spotlight. So in the words of Candi, let it sparkle!
Choosing Your Dress
There are so many beautiful Wedding dresses out there for you to choose from. In order to narrow it down it is best to know what style of dress you are looking for. Do you like an A-line dress, a Princess dress, a Mermaid dress, a Fishtail dress or a Strapless dress? Once you have chosen your dress style you can choose your neckline. Do you like a V-neckline, a Sweetheart neckline, a Square neckline or a Halter neckline?
Unless you are opting for a mermaid cut I would 100% recommend a hoop to go under your dress. My hoop was big enough that it lifted my dress up off the floor but was not too big that it looked like I was hiding a hula-hoop. In my eyes there are three reasons to consider a hoop, the first is to give your dress more shape, the second is to be able to dance the night away without worrying about stepping on the bottom of your dress and the third (possibly the most important) is to be able to go to the ladies room on your own without having anyone there to hold up your dress. After our Wedding I saw an episode of Shark Tank where a lady set out to solve this problem with her invention Bridal Buddy. My hoop worked like a charm but if you are interested here is the link:
When it came time to choosing my Wedding dress I had a clear vision of what I wanted it to look like. I was looking for a dress with a lace top that hung off my shoulders and had a sweetheart neckline. I wanted it to gather under my bust and then flow down to the floor. For a long time I didn’t know why I wanted this style but then one day it occurred to me that I had a photo of my Nan and Pop on their Wedding day. Even though I hadn’t seen the photo in years I found myself describing her dress. As my Nan had passed away this meant a lot to me because in one small way she was still going to be apart of our Wedding. Here is the photo:
I remember the moment that my Mum and I found ‘the’ dress. I was trying on different dresses with the lovely Magda at Calla Lily in Subiaco. I liked one of them but felt that it wasn’t quite right. As I continued to look at different styles and dance in the mirror (like you do) Mum held up a magazine of the Agnes Collection and asked if I liked the dress on the back cover. I couldn’t believe it but I was staring at my dress. It was as though it had been designed for me. Needless to say I ordered the dress. I have to say that if you are after a made to measure Wedding dress without the ridiculous price tag you have to consider Calla Lily. It is a gem of a bridal boutique and has some seriously stunning dresses! Take a look for yourself:
Wedding planning is a lot of fun but knowing where to start can be a little daunting. To help you on your way I have put together a questionnaire that will surely get those creative juices flowing.
1. How would you describe your couple style?
2. What three words would you use to describe each other?
3. What interests do you share?
4. What activities do you like to do together?
5. What colour will your Wedding dress be?
(If white, specify what shade of white in order to match the linens)
6. What are your favourite colours?
7. What are your favourite flowers?
8. What are your favourite cakes flavours?
9. Place these things in order of most important to you: Bar - Cake - Décor - Food - Music
10. Describe the best Wedding or special event that you have been to together and why it was so memorable.
11. How would you best describe your ideal Wedding?
(Formal - Grand - Intimate - Islandy - Modern - Rustic - Traditional - Vintage - Whimsical)
12. How do you want to feel on your Wedding day?
13. What do you want your guests to remember most?
14. What time of year would you like to get married?
(Do you have a date in mind?)
15. Is there a particular time of day that you would like to have your ceremony?
16. Do you foresee your ceremony inside or outside?
17. Would you like to have a religious ceremony or non-denominational?
18. What is your estimated guest count?
19. What do you see people wearing to your Wedding?
20. Do you have a colour palette in mind?
21. Do you have a theme in mind?
22. Do you have any specific inspirations or family traditions that you would like to incorporate?
23. What kind of décor do you envision at your Wedding?
24. Would you prefer a live musician or pre-recorded music?
25. After the ceremony would you like a cocktail hour?
26. Do you foresee your reception indoor or outdoor?
27. Would you like a plated, family style or buffet dinner?
28. Would you like an MC to host the reception?
29. Do you want to have any events surrounding your Wedding?
(If so, what events?)
30. What is the budget for your Wedding?
Regardless of whether you are having a destination Wedding or not, I believe that keeping your guests informed along the way is a really nice touch. Once we decided what day we were getting married we sent out our Save the Dates magnets. We personalised them by including photos that were taken by Lee’s friend Darko on the same day that we made our Wedding rings (which I would highly recommend!). We created a Facebook Group and even sent out a questionnaire to find out our guests likes and dislikes. This helped us when it came time to making decisions for our bar and catering options. Last but not least we sent out our Wedding invitations, which were inspired by our many years of travel. Whatever you choose to do, make sure to put your spin on it.
When it comes to planning a Wedding there is definitely a lot to consider. Trust me when I say that checklists will become your best friend. In order to help you while you are knee deep in the planning process here’s one that I prepared earlier, or should I say our Wedding planner prepared earlier:
Here are a few other helpful tips:
- Agree on a budget and try your best to stick to it.
- Create a list of items that you need for the day.
- Create a site sketch and take photos of how you would like things to look.
- Create a seating chart for your guests (for the ceremony and reception dinner).
- Create a running order for the day so that your vendours have a clear vision of how everything is going to run.
- Provide your photographer with a list of ‘must have’ shots.
- To save on bar costs purchase the liquor yourself.
- Remember to book in your salon treatments (facial, mani/pedi, waxing and teeth whitening).
During our Wedding ceremony we held a symbolic sand pouring ceremony. We wrote the script and had my Cousin Samantha read it aloud as the waves crashed against the shore behind us.
If you are interested in having your own sand ceremony here is our script:
(Address this to our guests)
Today we are joined in paradise to celebrate the love between Lee and Natalie. As part of their Wedding ceremony they have chosen to solidify their commitment to each other through the pouring of sand.
(Address this to us)
The two jars of sand symbolize your separate lives before you found each other. Each grain represents your thoughts, feelings and experiences that have helped shaped who you are. Blending these jars of sand into one illustrates your coming together to create a life as husband and wife. Just as the grains of sand can never be separated so will your marriage be.
Lee and Natalie, I now invite you to pour your sand into the empty jar.
Love is a force more formidable than any other. It cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession ever could. As you grow in love remember the gift of your individuality. Cherish and affirm your differences. Be supportive of your strengths, and tender towards your weaknesses. Laugh together, cry together, be comforted by each other's presence, and secure in each other's absence. Hold hands through life and forever be each other’s pillar of strength. Stand proud together and embrace your journey as one.
Now that your sand is blended let this jar be reminiscent of your commitment to each other and the unconditional love that you share.
The Day Before
Today is all about making sure those final I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed. Go through your checklist and pre-set everything that you need for tomorrow. The last thing you want is to be running around like a headless chicken looking for your veil right before you’re about to leave. Make sure to set your alarm before you retire for the evening and go to bed as early as possible. You want to make sure that you get your beauty sleep to look and feel your best. So close your eyes and relax. Everything has been taken care of.
The Wedding Day
Your big day has finally arrived. I hope that it is the best day ever! Here are my final pieces of advice to help make it even more special:
1. Breathe and relax. Everything is pre-set and ready to go. Take the time to have a nice long shower and leisurely prepare yourself for the day. Lee and I didn’t stick to tradition and spent the morning together. Do what feels right for you.
2. Have a lite and healthy breaky to kick start your day. Try to avoid anything too heavy that may make you feel sluggish.
3. Drink plenty of water. It sounds simple enough but often when we are excited we forget to stay hydrated. You will thank me for this one if you are having an outdoor Wedding like we did.
4. When you have some quiet time take a moment to read over your vowels a few times so that you have them fresh in your mind.
5. Remember to eat. I would suggest having snacks available while your Bridal party is getting their hair and makeup done. Our stylist was at our villa from 9:00am until 2:00pm. While my Mum and Cousin got ready I sat there munching away and then when it was my turn to be pampered they ate. This way I knew that I wasn’t going to have a grumbly tummy walking down the aisle. Also, having food in your stomach is likely to calm down any nerves that may arise.
6. Allow enough time to get to your destination. You don’t want to have a stress free morning and then all of a sudden have to rush to arrive on time.
7. Double check and even triple check your checklist to make sure that you have put everything you need in the car before you leave.
8. When you arrive at your venue set things out where you would like them to go. I hung up my dress with my hoop and veil. I put my shoes beneath my dress and my jewelry box on the dressing table along with my essentials (tissues, hairspray, bobby pins and lippy).
9. Transfer your engagement ring to your right hand. You don’t want to forget to do this and then be switching it over during the ceremony. That may be a little awkward.
10. Make sure someone at the Wedding has tissues. If you are anything like I was you will need them. Lee and I had spent a year planning our Wedding from afar and the first glimpse I got of everything set up was when I was walking down the aisle with my Mum. I was a ball of tears and luckily my Aunty Vikki came prepared.
11. Amidst all of the celebrations dedicate a moment for yourselves to take it all in. For Lee and I this was when we were taking our Weddings photos. We took a few photos on the shoreline where the waves swept up against the volcanic rocks. We shared a few giggles as we tried to stop each other from falling into the water.
12. Last but not least, no matter how the day unfolds just go with it and have fun! If something doesn’t go according to plan simply let it roll off your shoulders. Don’t be swept up in the little things and allow it to ruin your day. It rained on our Wedding day but it still turned out to be the best day of my life and if we had the money I would do it all over again. Well, perhaps not with the big white dress but you get the idea.
If you are interested in knowing who was responsible for creating the magic at our Wedding here is the list of our talented vendors:
Save the Date Magnets
Hair and Makeup
One of a Kind Maui Villa
Ladies Morning Yoga
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