Not every wedding is “photo blog” worthy – sometimes just because we’re so busy that we don’t get the right pictures to really show off what our clients did for their amazing weddings. By the time the professional photographer get the pictures to us, we’re five weddings down the road and just trying to keep up. Blogging is a luxury and sometimes I just don’t have time. But new account exec Kelsi Welch has been on my ass to put a photo blog together for my readers so you get a full view of a fabulous wedding weekend on Vieques Island. And this weekend, our clients — the new Mr. and Mr. Garrett and David Egland-Rock — gave us a fun event with lots of pictures that my readers will really enjoy. So here goes… no judging my first attempt!
First, I think it’s important to tell you about the grooms this weekend. Yes, I said “grooms” – it was a gay wedding. We do a lot of gay and lesbian weddings, just like we do a lot of straight couple weddings. They’re not all that different, although as I’ve expressed before, I often think gay couples take the wedding a little more seriously because they spent most of their lives wondering if they’d ever get to take this colossal step with the man or woman they love. Now it’s all possible – and every week more states and jurisdictions are realizing how stupid it is to discriminate against married couples (or couples who’d like to be married) for any reason. But I digress.
Garrett Egland and David Rock contacted me from Illinois in August of 2012. They were planning ahead. They knew what they wanted, and they wanted to make sure they had time to do it right and have the people who they love most present to witness the big moment. They had some very specific ideas – and their black and white color theme was non-negotiable from the very beginning, but some things changed.
For example, I spent a whole year getting excited that their females in the wedding party (7 bridesmaids) were going to be dressed as the Robert Palmer girls. That plan changed, but as you’re about to see (I know, a picture blog isn’t supposed to be me babbling, it’s about the pictures of the wedding) these grooms figured out a way to make a statement using black and white throughout everything!
But I’m jumping too far ahead too fast… let me back up and start at the beginning… before the boys even arrives, the staff of Weddings in Vieques was busily preparing for their arrival, including preparing a welcome bag for each and every guest. Each welcome bag contained a welcome letter, local publications, maps, coupons, bottled water and fabulous “Groom and Groom” heart-shaped sugar cookies in blue and black to match the groom’s personal color choices for their wedding garb.
You should have seen the look on Garrett and David’s faces when they saw their wedding villa for the first time. My clients choose their wedding venues through pictures and my advice, but I honestly hold my breath til I see this sort of look on the faces of the the clients!
Then they posed in front of the villa’s porch, and showed off their super amazing diamond engagement rings to me. I’ve never had gay clients (male or female) who exchanged diamond engagement rings with each other before.
Wednesday night, the guests gathered for informal cocktails at the wedding villa, and then Thursday morning we had wedding rehearsal at the villa before everybody headed to Sun Bay Beach for a fabulous beach party that included paella cooked over a fire, local flan, icy rum punches, volleyball and lots of colorful beach umbrellas.
After the beach party, most of the guests took a nap before they headed out for tours of the very famous bioluminescent bay, both on kayaks and our big pontoon boat. Everybody marveled at the sparkling water, even those who’d seen biobays in other places. Vieques is known to have the best in the world.
The wedding morning dawned early for the Weddings in Vieques crew and we started setup under a clear blue sky. It’s our job to take the yard you saw in their arrival picture and turn it into our clients’ vision of wedding wonderland.
Wedding setup entails not only clearing the yard and setting up thousands of “fairy” lights, tiki torches, and ceremony chairs, but we also clear out the inside of the villa of anything that clashes with the clients’ décor and make sure everything is clean and ready for the other vendors to arrive and setup. Then we run home, shower and change and come back to the villa so we’re there to supervise when the caterers, service staff, DJ and minister all begin to do their jobs. In this case, we all came back dressed in the grooms’ theme attire for the night — black and white. Start paying attention to color here — this is where it’s going to get interesting.
Garrett and David asked their guests to help with their color theme by wearing whatever they liked to the wedding ceremony (their wedding party would be decked in black and white). But they asked that EVERYBODY change into all white for a “white party” reception during cocktails. It actually went more smoothly than I would have guessed because they were all staying within walking distance of the wedding venue.
There’s no farewell picture to show from teardown the next day because one of the grooms was still snug as a bug upstairs in bed. But I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing Garrett and David back on Vieques for many years of anniversaries yet to come! We’ll see how you folks like seeing Weddings in Vieques photo blogs and if they’re popular, we’ll try to do every wedding — maybe even back up and do a few of the older, crazier ones!
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!
Sandy Malone is the owner of Weddings in Vieques, a full-service destination wedding planning company based on Vieques Island, seven miles off the coast of Puerto Rico. She is also the star of TLC’s new reality wedding show “Wedding Island,” premiering July 17, 2013 at 10 pm ET/PT. Sandy and her team (including her husband Bill, a retired SWAT team commander) have planned and executed almost 400 weddings in the Spanish Virgin Islands. Sandy is a veteran event planner from Washington, DC, with years of experience planning large and small weddings, press conference, and corporate and political events. She has planned countless events on Vieques Island, beginning with her own wedding back in 2004. Since that time, her professional staff has executed large and small weddings of all styles, including elopements, vow renewals and fabulously posh events at multi-million dollar waterfront villas. She has also planned family reunions, destination baby showers, corporate retreats and a variety of other events for clients from all over the United States and Canada. Sandy is also the owner of Weddings in Culebra (wedding planning on Vieques’ little sister island), Flowers in Vieques (a full service floral and décor firm), and Boutique in Vieques (a clothing and home décor shop). Sandy has a regular column on the Huffington Post and has been rated “Five Rainbows” by her happy gay clients!