Friday, April 20, 2012

Lexie & Dave

Lexie and Dave wanted their wedding to be as fun and informal as possible. They day was low key and all about love and sharing it with the people that are most important to them. A few loved ones couldn't make the journey to Bermuda, but most of their nearest and dearest were there and made it . From the rain lifting just in time for the ceremony to be on the beach, to reciting their own personal vows to a sweet ride in a traditional horse and buggy, and the sun coming out at last at the end of the day, it was everything they dreamed it would be and then some.

How delightful are these bridal flip flops - so feminine and practical all in one sweet little shoe! Lexie was lucky enough to have her father's wife, Tiffani, who is a hairdresser, on the trip with them. The bride was pleased as punch that one of the few people she trusts with her hair was there to work her magic for this special occasion. The dear drop shaped charm tucked under her tendrils held the ashes of Lexie's Nana, her father's mother, who passed away just a year and a half earlier. The bride did her own make up but splurged on a set of new make up before the trip as a gift to herself!

Lexie had not even planned to have a bouquet for the idea of even trying to decide what she would like was stress she wanted to avoid. But unbeknownst to the bride, her mother gave a gift of of some sweet daisies that matched the simplistic tone the couple were trying to achieve. Lexie was thrilled with the choice and the thought and they really complete her lovely beach bride look. Her glam pearl necklace was something her mother had dug out of her jewelry box that needed to be restrung. Her mum did so happily for her daughter and it matched the dress perfectly.

The story behind the bride's dress is fabulous. She found her dream dress online and against everyone's advice and pleas not to get something so important online, she went ahead and took the chance. It turned out she should have listened to their warnings, for the dress which arrived was about six foot by six foot! It had come straight from China with no return address, of course, and looked as though it had been made by a three year old. Lexie was crushed, but was grateful for a lesson to live and learn from. She ended up going by herself to David's Bridal and fell in love with a few choices. She took her mum back with her later that night to approve, realising she was incapable of making the decision on her own, and her mother agreed on one and they couldn't have been happier. It turned out to be the dream dress after all, for it refused to wrinkle, despite sitting the horse and carriage, and then getting wet with rain and covered in sand for the shoot after the wedding ceremony. As they left the beach later that evening, Lexie simply shook out the sand and one would never known it had been through so much.

Lexie had always dreamed of having a destination wedding since the idea of spending the equivalent of a down payment on a house for one day is madness. The stress of planning seemed even sillier to her. Once she told Dave about her vision, he was on board - literally! They ended up taking a cruise to the Island with their loved ones and having their wedding on a beach while in port. When choosing the ideal destination, the couple knew they wanted something close and tropical and somewhere neither of them had even visited before. They thought of Bermuda as one of the honeymoon capitals of the world and had only heard wonderful things and luckily, most of their family agreed without hesitation. 16 of them took the Norwegian Dawn down to the island, while Lexie's maid of honour and her family flew directly to the island for a few days to stay at the Fairmont Southampton. This made the hunt for a location for the ceremony simple and the couple chose the hotel beach and it gave them connections to a wedding coordinator and a room to get ready in.

The wedding coordinator at the hotel had tried to get the couple to do the wedding indoors since it had been raining all afternoon. For the couple, this was not an option and I am flattered to say that they were so happy that I was willing to photograph outdoors rain or shine, as long as it wasn't sideways driving rain!! It had actually started out as a gorgeous day and the couple had spent the morning on the beach jumping the waves and rolling in the sand with Madeleine's family. But by the time the couple climbed into their horse and buggy, it started to rain. The ride was covered so it didn't affect them but it was enough to make them wonder what it would do by the time they arrived on the beach. Miraculously, by the time the ceremony was supposed to begin, the sky appeared to sanction the marriage and an opening in the heavy cloud cover ceased the rain.

For months, Dave and Lexie had spoken of writing their own vows. A few times, they even sat down together to try to write a bit. Ultimately, they wrote most of their vows the night before the wedding in an internet cafe on the cruise ship! Their Uncle Steve officiated the ceremony. He is more of a wetland scientist than a JP, but the couple figured he was the man for the job. He stuck to their script for the most part, but eased into the event by adding his own tale of a dowry owed by the bride's family. He involved madeleine by having her state just how many chickens and goats were owed. It was a typical Uncle Steve-like thing to do and the bride and groom were appreciative for the unwritten ice breaker that put everyone in a very comfortable and relaxed state.

The bride's Maid of Honour was one of the first little girls Lexie had nannied for. By the time she was old enough to say "bride", Madeleine was insisting she be her nanny's flower girl. Lexie agreed, not knowing it would be ten years before she would actually find her Prince Charming! Lexie knew she still wanted to keep her word for it was the only promise she had ever made to anyone. They day Lexie asked Madeleine, she told the now 14 year old young woman that she had promised to have her as her flower girl one day, but feared that perhaps Madeleine had outgrown that job. "How would you like an upgrade to Maid of Honour?" Lexie had asked and Madeleine was more than pleased.  Madeleine was their only attendant in the wedding and took her job very seriously and did an amazing job helping the family plan an Engagement Party for the couple and juggled both the rings and flowers with such grace during the service.

The group photos at a wedding are sometimes the least fun part of the day as there is a lot of organisation and planning involved. But for Lexie and Dave, the group portraits hold some of their favourite memories from the day. From trying to drag Dave's nephews out of the water and photographing them in their swim shorts soaking wet to the behind the scenes photo shoot moment when Auntie Frannie tried to get the couple to smile by pretending she was going to lift up her shirt, all these moments added to the wonderful laid back feel the couple had hoped for and the fun of the day.

Dave and Lexie shopped together for a ring for over a month before they found the perfect one. In the meantime, Lexie's mother gave her the engagement ring that her father had given her mum 34 years earlier. The ring they finally chose was platinum with two rounds and two baguettes on either side of the centre stone, which they decided to use from Lexie's mum's ring. Lexie's wedding band matched the engagement ring beautifully and they had them welded together before heading out to Bermuda. The ring is the ideal combination of who Lexie is - it merges her past with her present with her future.

Dave's ring was also very much a personalised item. He loves Maple Sugaring, loves the woods, and the land they now share together, but since his career prevents him from wearing jewelry, and his way of life makes it difficult to consider a metal ring safe, the groom had to think outside the box and take matters into his own hands. For weeks prior to the wedding, Dave researched how to turn down wood with a lathe, and made countless attempts at a wedding band. He tried many different woods, many different methods, shapes and sizes. As with all of his projects, he found things that worked and others that didn't. Finally, with only a day to spare at most, he turned a piece of maple down that matched his critical expectations and his rooted love of the land. The ring was a simple piece and as safe and practical as he is and looked utterly beautiful when worn. As Dave puts it, "The ring, for what it's made of, and for what it represents, ties together all that I hold dear."

Since Lexie's engagement ring had to be custom made, it took over a month to be completed. Purchasing a ring without a proposal had Lexie on pins and needles for weeks. Every minute of the day, she was waiting for Dave to drop to his knee. She analysed ever plan for the weekends trying to figure out when he would pop the question. She knew he wanted to surprise her, and that he would have a tough time succeeding, but he is very clever. Near the end of the third week of waiting, Dave woke Lexie in the middle of the night complaining of aches and pains and asked "maybe could you give me a back rub or neck rub... or maybe could you marry me?" He was on his knee next to the bed with the ring in his hand - Lexie thought it was a dream!

Dave and Lexie were set up by Chris and Katie. The bride has known Katie since the first grade and Chris is Dave's cousin. The couple bumped into each other once at Chris and Katie's wedding in 2007, but the fireworks didn't start shooting as the two were involved with other people and didn't properly meet. The MOMENT they were both single, Katie, also fondly known as Cupid, didn't skip a beat. Apparently she had matched the two up in her head years earlier but was waiting for the right time. The two lived far from each other and neither were ready to leap into something new at first, so just emailed back and forth for a complete month before meeting. At last, they met for a Spaghetti supper at Chris and Katie's. Dinner was a bit awkward but the next day, Dave and Lexie met for a walk to spend some more time together. Conversation flowed and hasn't stopped since. They continued their daily letters and saw each other every weekend until Lexie moved in just a few months later.

Dave and Lexie - I adored the intimacy and relaxed feel of your wedding - despite the sprinkling and not so sunny weather, the day was a dream. Thank you for including me in such a special day in your lives. Love to you both xxx

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