Elopement Beachside in Puerto Rico

If you haven’t already fallen in love with Puerto Rico, then today’s styled shoot in the spirit of an elopement will certainly have you head over heels! Becca from Becca and Chris Photography shared the behind the scenes of this could-be big day with us.

Our morning began at the San Juan Water & Beach Club Hotel, a chic, modern hotel with an incredible rooftop view. Yari Rey created a soft, coppery look for our model Alanis, and pinned back her dark hair into a romantic updo. While Alanis got ready, Keff (our groom model) had portraits done on the rooftop of the Water Club, with gorgeous blue water as a backdrop. The Water Club has so many tucked away corners and details that were perfect for detail shots, especially a few of the shoes! D’Royal Bride provided a gorgeous soft pink gown, with intricate beading and tiny tulle flowers.

The ceremony inspiration was held in Old San Juan at Plazuela La Rogativa, which overlooks the gorgeous turquoise water. There’s something undeniably romantic about Old San Juan. The architecture is reminiscent of Venice, and the quaint, cotton candy colored houses made a beautiful backdrop for some photos of Alanis and Keff. Although Alanis and Keff are models, they’re also a couple, which made the entire inspiration shoot much more fun. There was quite a bit of teasing for poor Keff, and many jokes made about how they’re well prepared for their possible future wedding!

One of my favorite memories of the day was traveling between the ceremony and reception space. Alanis’ dress was so huge, full of tulle and beading that we couldn’t all fit comfortably in the car. I ended up sitting on Chris’ lap and having to duck down under the seats any time we passed a cop on the winding cobbled streets of Old San Juan!

After the ceremony, we traveled back to the Water Club for their intimate rooftop reception. Intic did an incredible job with the decor, with romantic lanterns and candles and lush greenery. The pink and soft red of the flowers brought out the pink hues in Alanis’s dress, and were perfect with the pink flowers atop the cake made by Delighted by Yare.

To end the evening, we took a few photos of Alanis and Keff above the rooftop pool at the Water & Beach Club. The setting sun created soft lilacs and lavenders in the sky, a perfect end to a completely magical day.

Elopement Photo Shoot Team: Photographer: Chris and Becca PhotographyShoot Director and Planner: Ruthie Fonseca, Bodas del EncantoModels: Alanis Colina and Kef Matthew, GModels, Hair and Makeup: Yaritza Rey, Dress: D’Royal Bride, Jewelry: Eva Guadalupe, Tux: Leonardo Fifth Avenue, Ceremony Venue: Old San Juan, Minister: Pablo Aymat, Reception Venue: The San Juan Water and Beach Club Hotel, Decorator/Floral: Intic, Cake: Delighted by Yare, Invitations: Paper Pixel

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Pretty in Purple Beach Wedding in the Dominican Republic

Julie and Jake wed on the beach in the Dominica Republic as friends and families (and even boats passing by) were witness to their nuptials. The couple shared their story with us and why pair opted for a destination wedding to begin with…

We knew we wanted to do a destination wedding because, in all honesty, we both have such humongous families that we just wouldn’t be able to afford a wedding in America. That being said, we also didn’t want people who to “just come for the food and open bar.” Those who really wanted to celebrate our love would literally cross the ocean for us.

We went for a rustic beach theme, with colors Ancient Violet, Hummingbird Blue, and Elegant Charcoal.

 

Favorite moment from the day?

“We both agree it definitely was the First Look, which is funny because we weren’t even completely sold on doing one!? We didn’t want to ruin the “butterflies” of seeing each other for the first time at the aisle, but WE ARE SO HAPPY we did it.

I loved it because it was an intimate moment that Jake and I got to share with just the two of us (and our wedding party overlooking from a distance). We took our time and enjoyed just “being” in the moment. It was overwhelming, but in a good way.

  

DIY just might be my middle name. I love doing arts and crafts, and I knew if I ever got married, I would definitely be making a bunch of my own elements. I made my own Save-The-Dates, helped in every design element of our wedding invitations, designed our welcome & thank you cards. I also made the boutonnieres for the groomsmen/godfathers/fathers, corsages for the godmothers/mothers, bouquets for the bridal party, and my most favorite DIY element of all, my bouquet. I drew inspiration for it on Pinterest and couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. The combination of imagination, love and hard work is a pretty wondrous thing!

We don’t regret anything because we are firm believers that everything happens just as it’s meant to. So whatever happened, was perfect. If you’re one to sweat the little things, DON’T! If anything goes wrong, i.e. a party boat passing by on the water BLASTING obnoxious music as your saying your vows (yes, this happened to us), everyone will still remember it as being the “best wedding” they’ve ever been to, which we hear all the time!

Our favorite part of wedding week was the boat party the day after the wedding! In lieu of wedding favors and welcome gifts, we opted to pay for a private excursion on the Sanael for all of our guests. It was a large party boat with drinks, food, and music. They took us out to snorkel and swim in this natural pool, and partied/danced with us all along the way. There wasn’t one person who wasn’t smiling or having a great time, and absolutely everyone raved about it (even until this day!). The wedding stress was all gone, and we were all able to just let loose.

Love deeply and fully, and remember it isn’t about the small things; it’s about who you’re standing at the altar with and all the people there to witness the unfolding of the beginning of a fantastic journey of a love.

Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Destination Wedding Photographer: Katya Nova Photography

Wedding Vendors: Musicians: Agua Azul Fire Show, Invitation Designer: Aster Bagtas Design, Cake Designer: Cake Studio Bavaro, Groomsman Attire: Club Monaco, Cinema and Video: Cores Films, Event Venue: Jellyfish RestaurantHair Stylist: Krystie Ann Hair & Makeup Artist, Dress Designer: Maggie Sottero, Officiant: Pastor Rick York

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8 of the Best Destination Wedding Ideas from Engage!17: Cayman Islands

Today we’re recapping the recent Engage!17: Cayman Islands wedding industry event on Grand Cayman. The summit is where the best of the best of our field from all over the globe come to dish about weddings and destination weddings and improve our businesses so we can be better for you.

This “hard work” doesn’t come without a few fabulous parties and oodles of great destination wedding ideas.  And we’ve brought back those ideas to share with you today.

So take a look at our top 8 favorite destination wedding ideas from Engage!17: Cayman Islands at the brand new Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa.

Penthouse Parties:

If your hotel has a penthouse or rooftop setting that can be booked for intimate gatherings or for a hotel stay, consider an intimate meet and greet for the maids and men, close families, or even a post-wedding day sendoff. It will give your guests a chance to see the destination from a whole new angle and treat them to something a little extra special on location.

Electric Signs:

Destination wedding or not, electric signs are hot, hot, hot in reception décor. Engage used these creative signs by Name Glo to welcome guests, jazz up the bars, and even say good bye after the festivities were over.

Beer Trucks:

Yep, beer trucks.  Food trucks may still be great, but what about a beer truck for your groom and guests on the wedding day?!  Let loved ones fill up on their favorites and try a local brew or two too!

Surfboard Stands:

If you’re hosting a beach destination wedding, why not repurpose your boards to serve as tabletops, signage and other party décor. We love how the Engage team used these surfboards as a shoe valet station!

Boozy Snow Cones:

When the weather is hot, nothing delights kids and the kid in all of us like an old-fashioned snow cone. For the grown ups in the group, consider spiking them with your favorite liquors and create a fun twist on old faithful. Serve this at your kick-off welcome party and your friends will know what fun is to come!

Signature Desserts:

Infusing the local culture, cuisine and flavor into a destination wedding is a must and dessert is a great way to do it! Kimpton Seafire created a ‘torched sweets’ station and served fresh-made popsicles at one of the Engage events and it was a crowd favorite for sure!

Adventure Activities:

Traveling is all about new experiences and making memories so why not give your guests something to talk about and plan a bucket list experience for all!? In the Cayman Islands, you have the rare chance to swim in the wild with friendly stingrays after an afternoon at sea on a Red Sail Sports catamaran. Your guests will not forget this wedding weekend activity! See what your destination has to offer that’s something a little bit different than the ordinary.

Celebrity Appearances: Because, why not?

The Engage Summits are known for big surprises and this event was no different. For the finale night gala, we were treated with a surprise performance by one of my old favorites, En Vogue! I can say from personal experience as a guest, budget permitting, this is money well spent to dazzle your friends and family and take the party to an entirely new level. Loved ones will be talking about that night for years to come.  And wedding music agency, Elan Artists, can get you groups like this – just as they did for Engage.

And a big thanks to the hosts of this fantastic event, Kathryn Arce and Rebecca Grinnals from Engaging Concepts and the Engage Summits.  Without the two of these amazing women, the wedding and destination wedding industry that we get to work in wouldn’t be what it is today and frankly, weddings around the world would be a little less inventive, creative and well-done.  So thank you to Rebecca and Kath (pictured below) for always showing us what it means to be an innovator in the world of weddings!  …And thanks for a really great time in one of my favorite places, the Cayman Islands too!!

Stay tuned tomorrow for one more favorite destination wedding idea from Engage – this one was too good, it needed its own post!  Don’t miss it.

Photos by: Rebecca Davidson Photography, Laura Dee Photography, Love Life Images, John Cain Photography, Paul Morse Photographs, Carla Ten Eyck

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Beautiful Beach Destination Wedding on St. John

Felicia and Drew held their destination wedding on the beautiful island of St. John. So how did the couple come to select an island wedding for their big day? The pair shared their story with us…

Drew was born on an island (albeit Long Island!) and grew up in a Florida beach town. Since my childhood, I have spent nearly all of my vacation time on a beach or near the water. Through the years, most of our vacations together have revolved around water, in one form or another. Drew proposed at the top of a snow covered mountain in Lake Tahoe. So, when it came time to choose a wedding location there was no question that we would somehow incorporate our love of water. We ultimately decided that since we got engaged on a mountain, we should get married on a beach.

We knew that we wanted a U.S. destination. Neither of us had been to the Virgin Islands so we decided to cross two items off our bucket list at once! We researched St. John and after seeing photos of Trunk Bay, it was settled.

Working with Island Style Weddings was amazing! I have a Type A personality so planning a destination wedding at a location we had never seen could have easily pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone! However, Mary put me at ease from day one. On our first call she explained that they focus on one wedding at a time. At that point I knew that hiring them would be the best planning decision I would make. And it was! Mary and her team coordinated every detail from guest accommodations, transportation and pre-wedding activities to hair and makeup, décor and flowers, photography, food and music. They provided a vendor list which was all encompassing, yet not overwhelming. They have personal relationships with their vendors and that makes all the difference in the experience that you have with each of them. Mary even officiated the ceremony for us. The level of personal attention we received throughout the entire process was wonderful! They took every phone call, read every email, listened to our ideas and provided guidance and comfort when needed. When the big day finally arrived, we were able to relax and enjoy it. Thanks to Island Style Weddings, our wedding was everything we ever wanted … and more!

There had been the threat of rain all day but on the drive from our villa to Trunk Bay, in between short showers, we saw a fantastic rainbow. We accepted that as a good sign! Yet, we did have to postpone the ceremony for a few minutes to let a brief rain shower pass. During that time, while Mary coordinated the guests and the groom on the beach, Brenda waited patiently with me under an umbrella at the top of the ramp leading to the sand. Just before I started my walk down the aisle, she helped me arrange my dress and assured me that rain on your wedding day is a sign of blessings to come.

I had chosen to walk down the aisle to the acoustic guitar version of “A Pirate Looks at 40”, one of Drew’s favorite Jimmy Buffett songs, but I had kept it a secret from Drew. It was delightful to see his expression when he recognized the song … and when he first saw me.

While I was barefoot for our beach ceremony, Drew (initially) wore flip flops. About half-way through the ceremony, I noticed that he was shaking off his shoes. Literally. When I asked him about it later, he said the thought had suddenly occurred to him: He was standing on a sandy beach … why was he wearing shoes?

St. John is so beautiful naturally, we did not want the ceremony décor to distract from the existing landscape. Instead, we took a “less is more” approach and chose simple decorations in white and pale tones to accent the sand and the ocean as our backdrop.

What stands out vividly is the laughter. There was so much joy and love and laughter surrounding us throughout the entire day.

We can honestly say that the entire day was perfect! We got married on a beautiful island, surrounded by our closest family and friends. What’s not to love??

Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Destination Wedding Photographer + Videographer: Andrew and Elisha Wedding Photography

Wedding Vendors: Wedding Planner: Island Style Weddings, Wedding Dress: Bel Fiore Bridal, Wedding Invitations: Minted, Hair + Makeup: Cruz Salon, Flowers: Roses Too, Officiant: Mary Bartolucci, Ceremony Venue: Trunk Bay, Ceremony Music: Chris Robbert, Reception Venue: The Terrace, Reception Entertainment: DJ Adonis, Wedding Cake: Queen of Tarts, Accommodations: Villa Mistral, Welcome Party Venue: Joe’s Rum Hut, Beach Day Venue: Maho Bay, Transportation: Chris Taxi and Limo Services, Dress Steaming: Kilroy’s Dry Cleaners

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Caribbean Beach Wedding on the Sand of St. Thomas

Laysha and Timothy tied the knot in a beach wedding on St. Thomas. This bride did double duty as Laysha was the bride and a wedding planner at the same time! We asked her about the big day and the details that came to be and here’s what the pair had to share:

Lindquist Beach is our favorite beach on the island. It was also the one decision I allowed Tim to make. I asked him where he wanted the ceremony. He immediately said “Lindquist”, so I gave it to him. I wasn’t disappointed.

The first look was incredible. It was so nice having that time to be with him right before we said our vows. It was perfect. Another moment was the moment that the stress melted away. That was when my Matron of Honor presented me with a glass of champagne as I fell into my chair to get my hair and makeup done. That was the moment that I felt like I was finished and from that point, on, I could enjoy my wedding day.

My inspiration for the design and theme was to be different than other brides. I wanted to be able to show my future clients that they didn’t have to do the same thing everyone else does. That’s why I didn’t have an arch, but instead went with trees. I didn’t choose colors that are typical for beach weddings, but chose darker colors which popped really well with the bright sky and turquoise water of the Caribbean ocean.

My something borrowed was my late brother’s license, which I simply stuck in my bouquet as a little secret that only a few family members and my husband knew about. I wanted to have him there somehow, but I didn’t want to draw attention to it. I wanted it to be a happy day, and it was. Having his license in my bouquet made it as if the 3 most important men of my family were there to walk me down the aisle. My brother, who was there in our thoughts, and my father and grandfather, who were physically there.

Sapphire Beach for the reception was a last-minute change. The original location became unavailable because of a communication error when it was booked. I’m glad that we ended up at Sapphire, because the venue is much prettier than where we were originally. It really put my coordinating skills to the test, having to change 2 days before the wedding, but we made it work and it was worth it in the end.

  

Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Destination Wedding Photographer: Blue Glass Photography

Wedding Vendors: Bride + Wedding Coordinator/Designer: Irie Matrimony Weddings + Events, Florist: East End Flower Shop, Hair and Makeup: Sugar and Spice Salon Spa, Officiant: Island Wedding Services, Food and Beverage (Cocktail Hour): St. Thomas Restaurant Group, Food and Beverage (Reception): Janee Tune, Videography: DOW Studio, Transportation: Marley Taxi, Cake: Island Sweet Stuff, Desserts: VI Desserts

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