Thursday, December 16, 2010
Shannon & Nicholas - Elbow Beach, Bermuda Wedding
Shannon and Nicholas had the fairytale wedding they had been dreaming of forever. The weather was glorious, they were surrounded by Bermuda's fabulous pink sanded beaches, its spectacular views, and sharing all their joy with family and friends as they said their "I dos". With over 80 guests joining them at their destination wedding in paradise, the newlyweds were overwhelmed with love for each other and all they had to be thankful for. Their 56 guests left New York City on a seven day cruise on the Norwegian Dawn, and couldn't have asked for a better trip. It was a dream come true and the perfect way to start their life journey together.
Shannon chose to wear very little jewelry on her wedding day. However, Nicholas surprised her with beautiful princess cut diamond earrings as his wedding gift which she wore with pride, and they accented the sparkle in her dress. The gown was found at David's Bridal and her talented seamstress did an amazing job of altering the dress to fit Shannon so beautifully.
Shannon's vibrant bouquet of gerberas, roses and calla lilies was arranged by Designer Flowers. The bride's hair was styled by Laura from the Norwegian Dawn, upon which was the ship the family and friends sailed to Bermuda, and her makeup was done by her cousins Melanie and Jill, and her close friend, Lisa.
For something old, Shannon was loaded up on luck. Her garter was hand made from her grandmother D'Allesandro's wedding dress - love the history steeped in that. And then to add to the charm, an old penny was sewn into the garter for Shannon's beloved deceased brother, Murph. Also stuffed into her dress was a family heirloom handkerchief from her dear godmother. The bride's something borrowed was her cousin, Melanie's floating diamond, which Shannon wrapped around her bouquet and her something new were here gorgeous princess cut diamond earrings. For something blue, she wore pretty black panties with 'BRIDE' embroidered in blue.
The rings were found at Charles Stechler Jewelers in Marmora, New Jersey. Shannon's engagement ring is a solitaire princess cut diamond set in white gold and her wedding band is a half moon, pave style setting with round diamonds. She was lucky enough to also receive an eternity band from Nicholas to symbolise his eternal love to the one person in his life who is his anchor. That too was a round diamond pave set ring. Her wedding band was engraved with their wedding date, and the eternity band had the words 'MY ANCHOR' unscripted on the inside. Nicholas' wedding band is made from palladium and was also engraved with their wedding date and the same 'MY ANCHOR'.
Nicholas is a policeman and works crazy hours but loves his job. My sister, Amanda Temple, took the below photo for me as my foot for some odd reason had been hurting the day of the wedding and out of fear that I would not be able to walk, I asked her to be there, just in case the worst happened. She was amazing and stuck around until I was sure I would be ok, and lucky Nicholas and Shannon got some great shots and moments captured that would not have been possible without her so thank you, thank you Amanda! For instance, they were all running very behind schedule so while I photographed the bride up at the hotel, Amanda went down to shoot the groom near the ceremony site. Without her, these shots would not have happened so have to say, very thankful for a sister in the same business as me.
It was 4:15 am when Nicholas arrived home one Saturday night after working over time. He was wide awake from the adrenalin rushing through his body and it was not from what had gone on at work. He had a very important question in mind for his beautiful girlfriend as he lay awake in bed staring at the ceiling, all the while knowing that 20 feet away, the perfect ring was waiting to be slipped on her finger. He had looked up what time the sun would rise and was grateful that he had less than an hour and a half to wait. The two had always said they wanted to watch a sunrise together and finally it was time. He sat up and said, "Let's go. Get up - we are going to watch the sunrise." He quickly ran to unlock the safe, first cluttering around with laundry to mask the sounds, and by the time he returned to the bedroom, Shannon was already and unexpectedly ready to go. He had waited months for this time in their relationship to come and the butterflies started fluttering knowing it was finally happening. The sweethearts drove down to an old fishing pier where a small jetty parts the beach. The sun was rising and when the moment felt right, Nicholas dropped to one knee and asked Shannon is she would marry him. There was no answer to be heard - just tears and a kiss. But that was all the answer he needed - they were finally engaged.
The guitarist for the service comes from the Bermuda School for Music.
At first glance, the wedding colours look like they are orange and pink, but then you realise there is no other colour anywhere as all the guests were asked to wear only black and white. It was so dramatic and made the vibrant colours punch out all the more.
I adored that both Shannon's parents walked her down the aisle.
The couple was keen to have a destination wedding on a beach. They chose Bermuda because Shannon had visited the island several years ago and fell in love with it here and even then, hoped that someday she would be able to have her wedding here. They chose Elbow Beach after many many internet searches. After viewing several locations, they decided that Elbow Beach had the perfect combination of beautiful beach, great gardens, fantastic seaside restaurants and friendly staff, all on one property.
The ceremony was put together by the couple and so their first dream was to be married on the beach facing the ocean. They also wrote most of the ceremony themselves, and Rev. Charly Franks was the amazing officiant.
The entire wedding was filmed and linked up to a laptop to be viewed live by those loved ones who were unable to make it to the island for the wedding.
The Unity Sand Ceremony is traditional in the US, especially at beach weddings. The pouring of the two colours of sand from two different vessels into one represents the two separate lives joining to become one through marriage. After the vase is filled, the couple takes it to display in their home. The pink was one of the wedding colours and a favourite of Shannon's and the orange was Shannon's brother, Murph's favourite colour.
Next was a release of a pair of pure white doves. Traditionally, when doves are released at a wedding ceremony, they represent peace, purity, faithfulness and prosperity. Shannon and Nicholas wanted the doves to further represent their love and commitment to each other - when the birds were allowed to fly free, they always returned not only home, but indeed to each other.
There were so many special details. Dark "n" Stormies are Bermuda's signature cocktail made from ginger beer and Goslings Black Seal rum. Their water bottles also were personalised and so fun.
I adored this sand sculpture. Shannon's father, John, commissioned Bermuda's own "Teamsandtastic" to build it as a surprise for the lovebirds. John designed it, keeping in mind Shannon's love for the words Live, Laugh and Love. It was perfectly placed at the entrance to the aisle of the ceremony and was such fun to photograph.
The black and white and beach side theme was continued up on the Ocean Terrace.
This was the kids table - so thoughtful to add the bubble blowers.
The couple had their own table that was raised so they could see all their guests enjoying the celebrations. On the table were dozens of coins. "Pennies from Heaven" were for Shannon's deceased brother, Murph, who is well remembered for always misplacing his money as he was growing up. He would lose money all over the house, and mostly pennies. Even from Heaven, he lets the family know he is watching by leaving pennies for them all to find. Shannon wanted to keep thoughts of her brother with her on her wedding day and so their dinner table was covered - beautiful.
The live coverage of the day's events continued on all night for those who were not able to join in person.
Here you can really see how dramatic the black and white dress code was when all the guests were gathered at the reception.
Love fun introductions of wedding parties into receptions - this group had all the moves.
Shannon's favourite flower is teh sunflower. Nicholas always brings his love a fresh bouquet of sunflowers whenever the previous bunch begins to wilt. During the planning of the wedding, the family convinced Shannon to go with a tropical theme in terms of the flowers and so she conceded, even though what she had really wanted was sunflowers to be a part of her bridal bouquet. Nicholas was full of romantic thoughtfulness and made the day even more perfect than before when he surprised his bride with a big bunch of fresh sunflowers waiting for Shannon at the reception.
Shannon and Nicholas chose a song that was very special to them for it speaks of how the groom feels for his bride. It is an Italian love song by Eros Ramazzotti and Anastacia called, "I Belong to You" and Nicholas has even has the song's title in Italian on a tattoo.
Aren't these fairy lights and paper lanterns so beautiful? I purposely blurred the focus in order to emphasise the dreaminess of the setting - just so picture perfect.
Shanon chose a song called "I Loved Her First" to dance with her father. I have to say, John was the first father of the bride I have ever dealt with in the wedding planning stages. He was amazing. From start to finish, he tended to every detail and was a huge part of the success of the day, particularly where I was involved. So impressing and touching.
Nicholas' mum, Patty, chose "A Song For My Son" by Mikki Viereck. She was full of energy and the emotion of the day.
Shannon and Nicholas - your day was magical from start to finish. Thank you so much for asking me to share in your incredible festivities and to document your union. It was a beautiful event and you are both so full of love for each other - may you have a rich and blessed journey together. Love to you and your family. xxx