To end the week on a wonderfully high note, here’s an elegant, traditional wedding from Puerto Rico courtesy of Ben Elsass Photography (we’re still swooning over the last Caribbean wedding he sent us!). The couple not only pulled together an effortlessly chic affair, they also included fun, light touches such as karoke and a photobooth complete with whimsical props. Read on for some great advice from the bride!
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From the bride: How do you put into words one of the most incredible days of your life? This is how I feel every time someone excitedly asks me… ‘How was the wedding?!’…  Well, the wedding was: magical, super fun, it was happiness in full bloom, it was smiles and pure joy, it was sacred and sublime. I woke up that morning feeling calm and giddy, ready to set into motion a day that had been planned lovingly for a year.  No wedding planner, just a hefty dose of event planning expertise (courtesy of my career as a Marketing professional), and a collection of amazing people who all stepped up to create a marvelous day.

How do you DIY your way to the most perfect and meaningful wedding for you and your hubby to be? Well, the answers could be all around you.

Involve friends and family: The cake and dessert buffet were courtesy of our local family business, the two home-brewed craft beers were prepared weeks in advance by my brothers, the incredibly fun photo booth was a highlight thanks to a talented photographer cousin and another talented artisan cousin made the gifts for our guests. My best friend and sisters-in-law rolled up their sleeves to help in multiple ways and my parents made coffee for everyone at the end of the night.

Hire the right team: This is vital as your vendors make up the structure that supports your day. The pictures, one of the most important aspects for me, were left in the amazing hands of Ben Elsass Photography, a friend and noted photographer whose work continues to impress all who see our album. A local florist brought color and classic charm to the reception. The dress had to be beautiful but not break the bank, so I chose a gorgeous Oleg Cassini design from David’s Bridal. Since my husband and I met in a karaoke bar we definitely wanted to incorporate this into the party, hiring a DJ with karaoke equipment was key, DJ Rockhand stepped up to entertain and host. A December wedding in Puerto Rico would not be complete without a yummy traditional feast, nothing too fancy for this bride and groom, just a delicious home-style buffet prepared by Juan Bonilla Catering.

Choose a venue that is both significant and flexible: Our ceremony took place in the historic San Juan Cathedral which must be booked with plenty of lead time but was totally worth it. For the reception we chose a lovely turn of the century venue called Casa Olimpica, the low rental fee and flexibility to bring in any vendors of our choosing made it the right location.

Remember that your wedding should be a reflection of who you are as a couple, with all your charms and quirks. Keep a level head, surround yourself with supportive friends and family, hire vendors that match your budget and personality, and have fun! It’s true what they say… the day goes by in what feels like a second, a magical second.

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Today’s wedding is particularly close to my heart as it was celebrated right here in Barbados! On top of that, every single detail was styled to perfection by Emma Corrie Designs. Emma is one of the island’s top event designers and I have long been a fan of her work (you can see more of it here), so it is a true privilege to be able to share some of it with you. A huge thanks to Let us go photo for these stunning images!

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From Let us go photo: Stacie and Max wed in Barbados, the beautiful Atlantic island where much of Max’s family still lives. Not only are the people of Barbados welcoming and friendly, their island is stunning with its gorgeous white sand beaches, sweeping sugar cane fields, colourful towns and expansive cave. We couldn’t have been happier to be invited along to document Stacie and Max’s wedding, time with their families and a portrait session all around the countryside. Most of Stacie and Max’s family and friends from out of town stayed at Crystal Cove, the small boutique hotel on the west side of the island where the ocean is calm. This allowed for a laid back wedding morning on the beach and in the pool. The details Stacie chose were perfect for an island wedding – her dress was traditional but whimsical, completed by the sparkles of her shoes and jewelry. After a first look on the beach at Crystal Cove, Stacie and Max were off to the Beach House, where their ceremony and reception were held. Set overlooking the ocean, framed by palms, the ceremony space was intimate, cool, and calming. With a simple white and green colour palette, Emma Corrie did an amazing job coordinating and styling the ceremony and reception. Preferring to spend more time with their families and friends on their wedding day in this gorgeous space, Stacie and Max opted to get back in their wedding gear a few days after their wedding to do their wedding portraits. It was truly a photographic adventure with highlights including stops at St. Nicolas Abbey (a 400-acre estate of undulating sugar cane fields, tropical gullies, and mahogany forests) and Animal Flower Cave (a cave on the north coast offering a spectacular window out to the sea and some moody shadows).

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Our love affair with pink continues with today’s dreamy, vintage bridal session from North Carolina, beautifully captured by Kelly Rae Stewart Photography. It’s hard to fathom that this session nearly didn’t happen- the groom has our many thanks for intervening when he did, because the result is such breath-taking inspiration!

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From Kelly Rae Stewart Photography: Monica is an obviously gorgeous bride but she almost didn’t have a bridal session. She wasn’t really interested in having photos taken of only herself. Her fiancé, Ike, had a different take on the subject and insisted that she have them done! We are really glad he did! We met up with Monica at this up and coming venue in Gastonia, NC.. The Separk Mansion.  It is BEAUTIFUL! And the setting was perfect for this fashion forward bride. Her Kate Spade bridal shoes with the gold glittered heels were to die for! And her beyond lovely Augusta Jones gown with the lace neck had us swooning.  She wore her hair down with loose curls and rocked out her straight across bangs! Monica definitely looked stunning from head to toe and having brides as glam as her is a real treat for us to photograph!

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