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Wednesday 18 June 2014

Alexandra & Darren: Bermuda Wedding

"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." Last year when I posted Alexandra and Darren's engagement photos, I referenced this quote by Dr Seuss as I felt then that is how they must feel. And now I know it must be true as I can't imagine that they ever dreamed there would be a unicorn at their wedding. Yet there was.
This winter, Alexandra had stopped by with a beautiful pair of earrings and asked me to be her maid of honour. We hugged, I shed a wee tear or two and said I'd love to. Then the planning began. We have collaborated on so many projects together and loved it, so it was wonderful to help create their dream wedding. So thank you both, it was an honour to stand by your side.
"We've heard over and over that "It was absolutely magical!"Our recollection of a day we'd planned for so long is fuzzy. It went by ever so fast, but we think it was.  We can recall flashes of light and warmth and joy, but we were love-drunk that day. It is with palpitating anticipation that we have been awaiting the first glimpse of Amanda's photos; her magical way of capturing what really happened, but through the lens of that love-infused dream-haze."

I had planned to photograph Alexandra's fabulous Valentino wedges on a mosaic that is near the swimming pool, but as I was heading there, Jojo (Alexandra's gallery manager and all round wedding fairy) called and was not sure on the placement of the table runner that she, Alexandra and I had created. So I headed to the reception garden instead with shoes in hand. And then I decided that the quotes and swirls, hearts and stars we had spent hours lovingly drawing were the perfect spot to shoot her shoes. 

To compliment her gown, Alexandra designed an intricate necklace with rose gold and pink sand flowers offset with freshwater pearls.  She wore a matching rose gold and pearl bracelet and tiny floral earrings. 

How fabulous is this Vera Wang gown? We went dress hunting in New York and after trying several others, this was this one that took Alexandra's breath away. They give you a celebratory glass of Champagne once you've chosen a dress. We stood there sipping and Alexandra beamed as she imagined Darren's face seeing her for the first time.

Darren proposed with this stunning 4 carat old-stock natural Burma blue sapphire. Alexandra then set the stone in an organic 14K pale yellow gold setting with tiny flowers, little leaf prongs and a matching twiggy band that she originally carved in wax then cast. 

Petals did a beautiful job with the flowers. We had created a Pinterest board to guide them and Alexandra and I had popped into the shop a few days before to see all the blooms. I love the mix of textures and colours in these boutonnieres. And all of our bouquets were just heavenly with the combination of plump peonies, David Austin roses, lisianthus and sweet pea.

Alexandra carved Darren's white gold and black rhodium ring from wax then hammered in the dappled surface texture. He wore acid-etched monogram copper cufflinks which she had given him on their first Christmas together. 

The groomsmen wore cufflinks that Alexandra carved and cast in silver. Each set signified meaningful icons from their friendship with Darren. Mike wore Panda cufflinks - his nickname. Stuart wore "Port & Stogies" - as many a night they had indulged. Chris, Allen & Shawn wore 3BH cufflinks - the name of their "rock band" as highschoolers back in Edmonton. 

We started off under the Mulberry tree, but I decided I did not love the light so we meandered a little further and found a little path that was perfect.

Yes, there two photos are the same. I struggle to decide sometimes which processing I like, but for some reason with this one, I really could not decide, so when in doubt do both, right?

It was a little chaotic as I had to flip between being the maid of honour, assistant wedding planner and photographer. Tiffany helped me change into my dress and undo my curls. I then hopped in to be photographed by Alex Masters without ever looking in a mirror. 

Alexandra made unique jewellery and hair pieces for each of us. She sculpted four sizes of delicate flowers from soft wax, then she had them cast in sterling silver with Bermuda's famous pink sand set into each centre. They were assembled into a collection of floral arrangements to compliment our blush and bellini Amsale gowns. We all went to Willowstream in the morning to have our curls coiffed and our nails neatened. Then, to save time we had our make up done at the same time. Paloma Lauren from Mac was with Alexandra, Kylah Tear with me and Katie and Elizabeth from A.S. Cooper & Son with Laura and Marissa.

They decided to see each other before the ceremony to share a few moments alone before all the excitement that would follow. I love being there when couples first see each other; there is this wonderful elation, but also almost a sense of relief. Alexandra and Darren worked so hard to make this day happen and finally it was here.

We met Alexandra's father as we came along the path... he seems pretty happy to see his baby girl in her gown...

I have known Alexandra's family for twenty years! Wow. Her father's office was shared by the magazine I worked for and Alexandra would come by after school. I can't believe it was that long ago. Of course then it would never have occurred to me that we would become such close friends. But I am extremely grateful that we have.
Darren's family made the trek from various Canadian provinces. It was lovely to meet them all and my, my Elecia makes a mean pierogi, which is a rather yummy Ukranian dumpling.

Clarence Hofheins has been a longtime family friend so they were honoured to have him officiate their ceremony.
Darren's sister Tracey read "I Love You" by R Croft and I read a beautiful and quirky poem by Tyler Knott Gregson.

Laughter erupted as at first Alexandra placed Darren's ring on the wrong finger. And she is a jewellery designer! A little overcome by everything I guess...

"Like an impromptu song, it was a world we created together, alive with the smiles and light of our dear family and friends. In this beautiful secret garden, where few had tread before, we said our vows and feasted on love. "

The Gardner family were so generous. I had photographed their family before Christmas and John asked if he thought anyone might like to have a wedding in the gardens. I did not give it too much thought until Alexandra and Darren's plan A had fallen through. Et voila, the most beautiful plan B ever. Vivienne opened her home to us and Susan arranged for a unicorn...

Spirit was a wee bit feisty, but not surprising with all that fabric on his back. But Susan and Calista were there to calm him and give him apples.

Jojo is a wizard with a Sharpie and made so many beautiful signs that guided guests through the gardens.

Rather than ordinary vases, I suggested we use antique Bermuda bottles. I only had 30, Alexandra had about 6, we needed thrice that. We found out that Stuart had a collection and luckily he was happy to loan them. Rather than tables 1-6, Alexandra and Darren chose numbers that are meaningful to them. The leaves came from my garden but were plants that Alexandra had given me for my birthday last year and my mother painted the numbers. 

Darren's wedding gift to Alexandra was an antique white model sidecar which adorned their sidecar bar.  "The Sidecar is a drink we shared on our first date and have on many occasions since. Whenever we travel we order one, and although they are generally different each time we have them, it is a drink that is special to us and that we call our own.  Now all our friends drink them too!"

As a wedding favor, Alexandra carved and cast silver Bermudiana flower wine charms for the ladies and Canadian maple leaf charms for the gentlemen. Each one was hand stamped with the guest's nickname and hung from their eclectic mix of vintage glasses which they found at the Bermuda National Trust Jumble Sale. Darren is always wonderfully organised and had created a spreadsheet with whick nick name corresponded to the guests real names. Unfortunately that important document went astray so Nikki from Bermuda Bride had an interesting time trying to reconcile who was to go where. But that is the role of wedding planner. Every wedding has at least one thing that does not go exactly as planned and Nikki is there, behind the scenes to make sure that it is all ok in the end. And it was all ok in the end. Everyone had an absolutely amazing night.

Treats is across from Alexandra's shop so she has become quite the candy connoisseur. And to add to this table of yumminess, Darren's mother also brought pounds of maple nut fudge from Canada as a surprise.

Marissa also had double duty as bridesmaid and wedding cake baker extraordinaire. It was the tastiest wedding cake I've ever had. The top layer was white cake with chocolate ganache and fresh Bermuda strawberry filling, the middle tier was key lime cake with key lime curd and fresh Bermuda strawberry filling, and the bottom layer was white cake with salted caramel and chocolate ganache fillings.
I love these little flower bunches that Petals made. And the cake tray came from my mother. It was a bright turquoise so I asked her to paint it a sparkly pink. It was only just dry when she delivered it to Marissa.

In keeping with the pink theme, they had Montaudon rosé Champagne provided by my father, Robin Blackburne. And with so many friends in the industry, they also had libations from Discovery Wines, Burrows & Lightbourne and Goslings.

And here Darren and Alexandra's beautiful mothers look up at the newlyweds coming to the fountain garden. Roberta lovingly planted, weeded and watered for over a month to make the garden just that bit more beautiful.

Tim is amazing! The food was fabulous and Tim and his team at MEF made it all happen. Probably did not hurt that he is one of Alexandra's best friends! And you may recognise his beautiful wife Claire - we did a Lumiere session several months ago.
This is Jorge, Laura's beau. He was a trooper and leapt to any task that was asked of him, from moving pink vanity tables to bringing us sustenance. And he makes a mean introductory speech...

"That day, the sunset twinkled just a little brighter, the Spring air felt just a little softer, and there was magic in the air."

"The following day, after the chandeliers and twinkly lights were unstrung, the wistfully drawn table runner strewn with love poems and flourishes was bundled and lost, the sidecar bar pushed to the side, the antique white lanterns collected from the paths.... after the candy jars were strewn with ants, after the delicately-sculpted fairies flew away, the hand-torn silk chiffon ribbons freed from their wind-swept branches.... after the goomsmen-made ceremony pews dismantled, after we discovered the guest book had been signed by the police.  After the elements and underpinnings of this dream were gathered... The next day Woodhaven was again, just a beautiful crumbling Bermuda garden. All that we have left of our brief wedding song is a collection of hazy memories that will live on in our minds, and these photos." 

1 comment:

  1. Sooo Lovely, So Beautiful!! Amanda Your Photos Wow!! and Alex and Darren Simply Gorgeous!!


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