Monday, July 27, 2009
Vanessa & James
Vanessa and James had an intimate wedding that suited their personalities down to the ground. From the romantic story behind the ring to their choice of charitable party favours, the day was a story book come true, right down to the fairy tale ending where James and Vanessa went for a dip in the ocean under the full moon after their last guests had left.
The Bermuda - Azores high had been holding for days but a front was passing the island and just as I pulled onto the property, the edge of the front slipped over Somerset and obscured the sun. Offshore we could see squalls, which luckily never made landfall, but the dramatic cloud cover filled the western sky, while the sky in the east was bright blue.
Vanessa's dress was designed by Amy Kuschel from a lovely boutique in New York called Gabriella.
Her shoes were Jimmy Choos and she had read on a bridal blog about these nifty little things called Clean Heels. You put them on your shoe heels to stop them from sinking into the grass. They saved the day on the lawn down by Breezes.
Vanessa thought she had covered all her bases by having not one, but two successful trial run hairstyles. Despite this, she had a drama with her hair on her wedding day although you would never have known it.
Suzan Sickling was the talent behind the stunning floral arrangements. James and his family have been friends with Suzan for years and the couple were familiar with her work so they trusted her vision completely. Vanessa loved the soft and classic bouquets and the ceremony site flowers, and was thrilled with the poolside cocktails choice of vibrant orchids which were stunning against the ocean backdrop.
Cambridge Beaches has been a part of James' family for generations, and they are still involved in the ownership and operation of the hotel today. The newlyweds planted a cedar tree on the property the morning after the wedding and hope that this tradition will carry on for future generations! Both Nadja and Jan from worked tirelessly to make the event a dream come true for the pair.
Vanessa and James adored Pastor Dean Smith who officiated the service. He brought a sense of grace, dignity and lightheartedness to their ceremony, creating a warm connection with both the couple and all their guests.
The reading at the wedding was an adaptation of Walt Whitman's Song of the Open Road. James' cousin, Sophia, not only read the poem but gave them one of her water colour paintings which symbolised the poem as a wedding gift.
One of my favourite first kiss images - I adore Pastor Smith's heaven raised arms framing the couple.
There is an amazing story behind the engagement ring. James is not (apparently) a jewelry person. But a few years ago, James' father began working with a jeweler at Walker Christopher to source the ideal stone for the perfect engagement ring - to be used by James. Mr Peniston asked the jeweler to keep an eye out at for a particular kind of diamond and, just two weeks before James spoke to his father about proposing to Vanessa, the jeweler found "the one" at an overseas auction. James' father then gave it to James, who then gave it to Vanessa and - it was indeed perfect.
The pastry chef at Cambridge Beaches made the lemon pound cake with lemon cream cake and Suzan Sickling decorated it with fresh white orchids. I loved the location they chose for the cake cutting. It was up on a glass walled terrace overhanging Shutters, where their guests were having cocktails. When they cut the cake, everyone could see them, yet the ritual was intimate for the couple, and of course a glorious backdrop for photographs.
The setting for the newlyweds' first dance was similarly secluded, yet still easily viewed by their family and friends. The private glass encased terrace overhung the water's edge with quietly rustling palms gently swaying in the breeze overhead. The blues of twilight were creeping in adding depth to the romantic setting as the pair dance to a version of "You say if best when you say nothing at all" by Alison Krauss and performed by Stephen Crawford on the classical guitar, while their guests watched from the Tamarisk terrace.
I was a bit excitable with all the cool spots we found around the property for photos so by the time they joined the reception, I knew they had had their fill of photographs. But then I saw the skies in the west turning a vibrant orange and I nervously asked what they thought. We raced over the hill just in time to get the last seconds of the sunset - a magical moment.
If you would like to see more images from this wedding, click here for a slideshow. The song 'Done Drifting' is by the wonderful Heather Nova.
James and Vanessa - you are so well suited from your love for learning and travel, to your generous hearts. Thank you for letting me share in your special day and I wish you both the best of luck with your move to Barcelona, and all the happiness in the world as you start your new life together.