Wedding date: December 21st 2012
Where: Bay Gardens Beach Resort, Rodney Bay, St.Lucia
The Bride’s Story: December 21st 2012 marked a historical date. It was supposed to be “the end of the world” according to the Mayan calendar; however, it was also believed to be the rebirth of a new era – a new beginning. December 21st 2012, also marked the day that the winter solstice was to take place – at exactly 11:11 am (for the superstitious, that’s wish making time!). The combination of these two events on the same day was referred to as “the pregnant combination”. The irony was twofold: For one, our wedding ceremony began at 11:00 am and we ended up exchanging vows by 11:11am when the sun was at its peak for the day, on the longest night of the year. And two, I was 7.5 months pregnant. But here’s the real kicker… we didn’t know about any of this! The date and time was completely coincidental.
Though my husband is St. Lucian (and still living there!), we decided to have our wedding in Canada – where I’m from (and living). However, everything changed quickly when a) we learned of my pregnancy and b) Canadian Immigration changed their laws regarding St. Lucian nationals. Suddenly, they required a visitor visa to travel to Canada.
All of a sudden, our year’s worth of wedding plans changed drastically, and we had to re-plan everything to occur in a matter of 6 weeks. This was not only because we wanted Lance’s family to attend the wedding – if we had it in Canada, they’d all need visas – but also because if we waited any longer, my pregnancy wouldn’t permit me to fly anymore. While arranging the last minute changes was rushed, the day went perfect. I have to give special credit to Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa’s Wedding Coordinator Lavelle Du Boulay; she pulled out all the stops to make our day memorable and treated us as if we were the only guests at the resort!
The day ran smoothly. All I did was pick the colour arrangement and the date. A few more specific questions were asked once I landed in St Lucia and met Lavelle for the first time – just 2 days before the wedding! I picked what kind of flower arrangement I wanted, what food menu sounded delicious, which kind of cake I craved and where I wanted the location of the ceremony and reception to be. When I walked in the day of the Wedding, the resort was transformed into what would’ve cost thousands of dollars here in Canada – I saved so much money!
Lance and I first met while I was vacationing in St. Lucia for the first time – he asked me to dance. We began our marriage the same way, with our first dance, after exchanging our vows in the gazebo that separated a garden from the beach. Our wedding ceremony was complete with Lance singing a song he wrote for me. Our wedding photographer Miss Scarlet O’Neill was incredible. She coached me on what was happening the day of and kept my nerves calm. She even did my hair for me while I did my make-up to save time! She found her comfort spot working with my wedding planner to ensure that I knew what was going on and helped me make decisions on the spot, I honestly don’t know what I would’ve without her.
After the ceremony, we immediately had our lunch reception, and the food was AH-MAZE-ZING! Once again the decor was lovely and everything was perfect. Once our reception was over, it was time to relax and enjoy our photo shoot, capturing the essence of love and Little Lucia. After the shoot, we changed and everyone met at the Friday Night Gros Islet Street Party which is a local gathering in the middle of the streets of a neighborhood. Walls of speakers are brought out, a DJ plays local and international music and a blend of locals and travelers come to jam it out all night long. A night filled with jerk chicken, local rum and a whole lot of dancing to reggae, soca, dancehall, top 40 and classics. I may have been 7.5 months pregnant, but that I didn’t stop me from dancing in the streets celebrating with my closest friends and family!
My most memorable moment in our wedding was during the ceremony. Our Officiant (who used an ipad for his readings- AWESOME) said, and I quote, “A marriage is never earned, it is created.” These words resonated deeply for me. To me, it means you must always work at your marriage; you must always respect your partner, to communicate and trust in one another. This is a quote I take very seriously and a quote I will live our marriage by. It’s a beautiful gift to find your true love, but it’s even better to spend the rest of your life with them. Now every day, I live in magic.
While I was planning for our Canadian ceremony, I spotted Henkaa at the bridal show in Toronto. The mere idea of having a dress that fits any size with tons of different styles for an affordable price seemed to be a dream come true! But wait- there’s more! It doesn’t wrinkle and it’s easy to maintain! Thankfully, with the change of wedding plans to St. Lucia, I was literally able to ‘stuff it’ in my luggage and it still looked perfect! I failed to mention that my sister (Maid of Honor) lives in St. Lucia, along with Lance’s brother (Best Man), and because of Henkaa, I was able to purchase my bridal gown, the overlay, the sash, the Maid of Honour dress and the groom/ best man tie and handkerchief without even needing anyone present! I didn’t even need their measurements. Plus, it was easy to pack.
Also, let’s not forget that I was 7.5 months pregnant with my body growing in every direction. And guess what? This bride didn’t need a fitting! Thank goodness for that!
Once Lance is permitted to immigrate to Canada, we will be hosting a Canadian wedding for those who were unable to attend our last minute one in St. Lucia. When we have that ceremony, I will be returning to Henkaa for more dresses.
I’d also like to add that the following day, after my wedding, I did a maternity shoot with my wedding dress in the ocean with my husband. I washed the dress and the sand fell out once dried and I can wear it again to my second ceremony in Canada! Of course, this time, in my skinny body! How many women can say that?! Best. Purchase. Ever. Thank you Henkaa!
Tamara is wearing the Sakura Pure Ivory Maxi Convertible Dres and Hana Pure Ivory Chiffon Overlay
Her sister is wearing the Sakura Royal Blue Midi Convertible Dress
Lance & his best man are accessorized in Tie and Pocket Squares in Royal Blue
Did you have Henkaa as a part of your big day? Send us your pictures and tell us your story by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org