When they returned to Coco Reef, Anna and her mom began the long process of getting into the intricate Maggie Sotterro dress theyd purchased at Crystal Bride in Illinois. She had been to all of the fittings, Anna says of her mothers support.
She had it down pat, how to do the lacing, thread it through and tighten it. It took nearly a half hour to get in to the dress. It was in those moments Anna could feel it all coming together.
On the scenic, private beach that Coco Reef utilizes for weddings, Anna and Jason had requested a quaint, but glistening set up. We wanted it to be outside, and they have a separate beach that they use for ceremonies; its like an upper beach, unchanged by the tide, on a slightly higher cliff, that overlooks the ocean and the rocks, and they also have these round rock formations within the water that you can see, Anna says as she recalls the magnificent scene. The staff set up chairs for 10 guests on each side of the aisle. Every other chair was decorated with a deep orange pashmina, which later served as gifts for the female guests. At the altar, there was a table with white cloth for signing documents, decorated with a circular orange sundial, made out of shimmery ribbon.
There were orange rose petals along the aisle, and for a festive touch, an orange container of bubbles for guests to celebrate the wedding proclamation. Anna carried the orange theme through the bouquet she proudly bore as she walked down the aisle. She worked with Designer Flowers to create a bouquet that featured tropical plants in a contrasting lime green, and interesting flowers like deep orangey red calla lilies, all bound with white satin. Jason wore a similar boutonniere.
One of Annas favorite moments was her father walking her down the aisle. It is just something you always picture doing with your dad; it was just a really special moment for us, she says. In fact, it was one of the moments she was most nervous about. My dad just kept up this rambling talk, I was too beyond nervous, says Anna. I dont even remember what he talked about. I just remember that he went on and on. And it just got me down the aisle; it was such a familiar thing. She recalls the moments now highlighted and captured by Dee Storeys brilliant photography.
After the ceremony, Anna and Jason, their immediate family, and their bridal party went to do group pictures on different parts of the Coco Reefs resort. The other guests went to start the cocktail hour, which was held in a semicircular reception area by the pool overlooking the ocean and featured tray passed appetizers, and of course, rum swizzle, ideal for its orange tint. Anna had gotten advice to write down all of the shots with family and friends that she wanted, and thus was able to execute in an efficient and organized matter when it came time to move through group shots, and those with significant people in the couples life. They took photos on the upper beach and lower beach, and made use to the cliffs and grassy scenery.
The reception was on the terrace of Coco Reef, which is one level up from the pool deck, a covered, outdoor space. Anna and Jason sat in the middle of a long kings table surrounded by family and then friends. Orange paper lanterns that Anna and Jason set up and mounted along the balcony illuminated the whole terrace. Once the sun set, the orange lights popped against the backdrop of the darkening navy sky. Guests had a choice of three entrees and the entire dinner was catered by Coco Reef, who even prepared one round of desserts before the Triple Js cake, a 3-layer cake, that included Jasons favorite, carrot cake, was served.
During dinner, the entire party listened to heartwarming speeches. The first was a touching speech by Annas father. The maid of honor, who put a more comical twist on the tradition, presented the top five things Jason should know about Anna before starting their life together. And finally, there was the traditional best mans toast. The dinner was special, but certainly laid back. After dinner, the party danced on the terrace, to the music selected by Jasons sisters (now) fiancée. Theyd brought along a wireless Bluetooth speaker.
It was no big production, but they had all of the essentials: a beautiful outdoor setting, romantic orangey lighting, navy skies, good company, and above all, family. The morning after, Annas parents hosted a brunch for all of the guests who had been at the wedding. Everyone came when they wanted to and got brunch, and said goodbye to us, Anna says. A lot of us were on the same flight. Luckily, Annas parents helpfulness extended to finishing up all cleaning, for the couple departed that day for their honeymoon trip to Northern England and Scotland. After being apart for so many years of their relationship, Anna thinks one of the nicest parts of being married is the togetherness. Its really nice to be living together again, she says. We were apart for so long while I was doing my residency. Getting married and then moving back in together felt like a turning point, like we are starting our life together. Now were one family.
CEREMONY & RECEPTION: Coco Reef
PHOTOGRAPHY: Ace Studios
HAIR & MAKEUP: Inner Sanctum Salon
FLOWERS: Designer Flowers
CAKE: Triple J’s