With just $6500 to spend, Monica & Jason knew they wanted a small wedding. So instead of the going down the traditional route, they flew themselves and their daughter to Maui for an intimate beach wedding. “We didn’t have an actual budget in mind”, Monica began. “My parents gifted us $5000 to put towards our wedding and we spent a bit ourselves too. In total the wedding was around $6500, which doesn’t include our rings. What it did include was everything needed for the wedding plus return airfare from Vancouver BC for three of us, lodging in Maui and car rental. Our thoughts behind what we were going to spend was this: we wanted to have what made us happy within reason.”
They were married right on the beach by a local celebrant and they didn’t have an official reception. “We did however have a wonderful dinner at Humuhumunukunukuapua’a restaurant”, Monica explained. “This was a recommendation from our make up artist the morning of the wedding. It was a lovely dinner.”
“Our wedding was a secret! An elopement of sorts. Jason and I had been together for 13 years when we got married, and our daughter is 10. We knew we wanted to make things official but it just never happened. We started to consider making it happen sooner rather then later after my dad beat cancer. My parents had booked a trip to Maui and I asked Jason if he wanted to go with them and get married on the beach while we were there, to which he agreed.”
Philip & Katie-Jane had a handmade wedding in the bride’s parent’s back garden. They hired a tipi and decorated the whole garden with the things they love – creating a really magical looking space. They even converted the shed into ‘The Poppy Red Shed’ (Poppy Red is a bar in Birmingham which the bride and groom first met) which they stocked with local ales, spirits and liquours.
“With the bride being in fashion (Senior footwear designer for KG for Kurt Geiger) it was always going to be different kind of wedding,” the couple told me. “We wanted to make sure there was less formality and more personality. Using personal inspiration and the bride’s vision we focused on what the guests would experience and how that would make us feel. The sun came out as soon as the wedding couple stepped into the garden and the day just got better and better.”
There were so many DIY elements of this wedding, as the couple continued to explain, “All the invites were handmade, handkerchiefs stamped with the details wrapped in a doilie posted with a portrait stamp of the bride and groom. We also made the teacup chandelier hovering over the top table. The cake table was brought together by several guests bringing their own cakes to share although the main wedding cake nearly got eaten before it had even been cut!”
“The bride made all the ‘winecup’ favours herself, a wineglass stem with a teacup on top. The women guests (and some men) were in awe and the race was on to ensure they all got to take one home. The pewter tankards were a massive success, again collected from car boots, family and friends. It took the men about 10 minutes to get them and that was it for the rest of the night. We had a flipcam passed round the tables and it was one of the happiest hours ever after the wedding watching all the guests enjoying the food, drink and each other.”
Katie-Jane wore two dresses – the first by Vera Wang and the second, a vintage gown from Hope & Harlequin in Brighton. She also wore Miu Miu shoes and vintage jewellery.
“The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is not your usual destination wedding location… Then again, we’re not your typical bride and groom,” wrote Erin & John. “First of all, we wanted to base our wedding and honeymoon around Carnival that happens every year in Trinidad. It’s one of the world’s largest Carnival celebrations – and we wanted to be dressed in sequins, feathers, and not much else for our honeymoon celebration. We invited our friends to come to Tobago the week before Carnival for our wedding. We rented out all the villas at The Palms Villa Resort – and partied for a solid week leading up to our big day. The following week, our friends followed us on our honeymoon…and danced with us in the streets of Trinidad! How nice of Trinidad to throw us such a lovely wedding reception!”
The wedding day started with portraits on the beach, “Our photographer Angela Hubbard spent the morning following us around the small island of Tobago taking our photos on the beach, next to the colorful and whimsical architecture of Tobago, with goats, carrying chickens – you name it! She captured such whimsical, beautiful, and silly moments… The photos are priceless.”
Erin wore an amazing Vera Wang gown and John designed his outfit himself. “He wanted something just as unique and special,” continued Erin. “He succeeded, with custom made boots, hat, suit, and a vintage Louis Vuitton silk shirt. John’s best friend and best man, his chocolate lab, Loki, couldn’t be there – but his life-sized cut-out was! As for the rest of the bridal party, we gave loose guidelines – but really, it was all about us. With a few accessories like parasols for the bridesmaids and matching hats for the groomsmen – everything came together beautifully.”
“To end our special day, we lit Chinese wishing lanterns and sent them off into the night sky. It was so beautiful (despite our worry that our wedding might forever be known as “the night we burned down Tobago”) and magical – that thinking back on it now, it hardly seems real…”