Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Destination Love

Below photo by Hassan Kinley, Dress by Cassandra Bromfield, Chantilly lace halter with layers of silk organza ballgown skirt tie died with scalloped.

When Gaye and Gary decided to make it official, they opted for Paradise. Many places on earth will come under that heading but not many are actually named Paradise Island. This warm an friendly island is one of 700 in the Bahamas. Family and friends stayed at the Atlantis and they married at a the more intimate Ocean Club.
I asked Gaye some questions about her Destination Wedding. Here is her response:
1. What is the best thing about having a destination wedding?
First, Gary and I both love the islands. We had spent considerable time in the Caribbean and in the British Virgin Islands, so we knew that it would be a great backdrop for our wedding. Second, we wanted to extend the celebration of the wedding with our friends and family to something more than just the one day. Having the opportunity to enjoy them over several days was great! Finally, neither of us was living in our hometowns, so finding a neutral point for our mutually traveling friends and family seemed more feasible.

Photo by Photographer: Vincent Vaughan – Telephone 242-324-3561
Bahamas Wedding Images

2. What was the worst thing?

My worst thing was that they lost or gave to another bride our wedding cake after the wedding. We were staying at the Ocean Club after the wedding for a week, and thought that since we couldn't get the cake back home with us, we might enjoy it for dessert over the course of the week at lunch or dinner. We had it for dinner one time and then the next time they brought someone else’s cake to our table. I was not pleased, but became even more disappointed when they couldn't find it, because they had already given to another bride who had checked out of the hotel. The hotel felt terrible and offered other solutions, but none that could replace my actual cake!

My tip for other couples is to decide how you want to handle your leftover wedding cake and make necessary arrangements in advance if you desire to transport some of it with you back home.

Our other challenges were in the area of coordination. Coordinating arrivals and making sure that people were aware of all the activities etc. I would definitely suggest a check in point or point person (not the bride or groom), as the keeper of information, room changes, additions, etc. We had guests who stayed in the two main event properties (Atlantis and Ocean Club) and those who stayed in other properties. There was some information drop sometimes with guests who stayed at other properties. Primarily our experiences over the entire week were very good, not only for us, but echoed by our attendees as well.

3. How did you like the services at the Ocean Club and Atlantis?

I loved the service at both. We worked extensively with the staff of the Ocean Club including their Wedding Planner and were extremely pleased. She went the extra distance for us on the cake, flowers, shuttling us to complete marriage-licensing process, and managing last minute changes. I would say that another big help to everything was having my own wedding coordinator, my friend Patricia, who knew everything that I knew in terms of how I wanted the event to be laid out and flow. This allowed me to not fuss with the details on the day of the event and truly enjoy our wedding.

On-site Coordinator – Patricia Adamson

The Wedding Party

All dresses by Cassandra Bromfield

Bride – Gaye Hazard Groom – Gary Woods
Maid of Honor – Kim Houston Best Man – Gerald Woods

Flower Girls – Rachael Woods and Taylor Woods
Musician – Rich Calhoun
Poetry – Lisa Harris

4. How was the food, cake, main meal, etc.?

My guests are still talking about my menu and our wedding in general. I think that speaks to all of your questions. Guests had a choice of two menus (one fish and one meat); during our photo shoot, they were able to enjoy a garden cocktail party complete with a chef preparing fresh conch fritters, and a serenading violinist. The cake was a simple but scrumptious creation of yellow cake with pina colada/pineapple filling and vanilla butter cream frosting. My caution for couples is to really work your head count. Having no shows is financially very inconsiderate to the bride and groom at $100 +/per person. Confirm attendance and then confirm again!

5. Would you recommend a destination wedding to anyone else?

Absolutely! It was a grand time for everyone. A chance to make some wonderful memories with new family members and friends. There is an additional expense in having a destination wedding, but in the end I think it is very comparable to the traditional wedding costs, but with some extraordinary benefits.

6. What were the other things that made this special?

Things that made our wedding event special. All guests received an arrival gift bag with info on the island, a gift for the man and the woman (and child) if appropriate, an item specific to the island and a welcome letter and event agenda.

Our rehearsal dinner buffet was open to all guests and turned out to be one of the most outrageous nights and guests really let their hair down (following the program). The hotel was very gracious in letting us stay in the room well after our event was essentially over.

We had a sunrise church service on the morning of the wedding, just for guests. It was a very warm testimony of love and friendships.

Finally, the advice that I would most leave with any perspective bride or groom is to spend ample time on getting to know each other in as many aspects as possible. After all, no destination wedding is memorable if the couple is divorced soon after. We are happy to report that 2006 will be mark our fifth anniversary. It’s work, but we’re loving the journey!

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