The Proposal: C.J. proposed to me in the beautiful grounds of a hotel in Sherborne, England, after a brisk walk before dinner. This was witnessed by a cat sleeping in the flower bed which was very apt, as I had cooed over it as we set off for the walk. The most alarming part of the proposal was when he got down on one knee, undid his belt and put his hand down his trousers to retrieve the ring that was in a red ring box which had been cutting into his leg during the whole walk. At first I thought he was messing around, but as soon as I realized he was serious I said yes and grabbed the ring from him.
The Planning: Bermuda is C.J.’s home country where all his family live. After visiting the beautiful island for the first time in July 2016 there was no doubt in my mind that when we did get married, it had to be there. Planning was pretty stressful, especially trying to choose our ideal venue while being in the U.K. with a time difference of four hours. Gathering information proved more difficult than expected, but eventually we settled on the Unfinished Church and Tempest Bistro, and we couldn’t have chosen better locations. Gavin Howarth went above and beyond his role as our wedding photographer by offering advice on potential venues and vendors.
The Lead-up: Having stayed at the wonderful Grotto Bay during my first trip to Bermuda, I was adamant that I wanted my U.K. wedding guests to stay there during the lead-up to the wedding. C.J. and I arrived a few days before everyone else, allowing us to spend time together and tie up a few loose ends before the hosting began. Once our guests arrived, we enjoyed the Friday night together at the weekly Grotto Bay poolside BBQ along with live music, which was just the best way to start the celebrations. The next night, C.J.’s parents hosted a fantastic family dinner at North Rock, which saw both our families merge for the first time.
Getting Ready: I started my day with a brisk walk along the old railway trail not far from Grotto Bay with my mum and two bridesmaids, which was just perfect. We then enjoyed the delicious buffet breakfast at Grotto Bay before getting ready. Jen from Studio Wedding Hair came to the hotel to do my hair and she was fantastic. She put myself and my bridesmaids at ease straight away. A slightly nervous C.J. and his groomsmen spent the lead up to the wedding having lunch at the poolside bar before getting ready in the well-equipped rooms that Grotto Bay provides.
The Wedding: It was literally the best day of our lives. The Unfinished Church was the perfect setting for the ceremony, having wanted something a little different to the cliché beach wedding. It met and exceeded our expectations. It’s just such a beautiful venue. Its natural state is all that is needed in my eyes. We didn’t have any flowers or decorations, just white chairs that we hired via Nandi and it looked beautiful. The Bermudian sky was the backdrop and it couldn’t have been more perfect.
The Party: Tempest completely out shone themselves. The food was sublime, the service was exceptional, nothing was too much for them. Craig “Bubbles” Darrell was our DJ and was absolutely fantastic. It was like having someone from the family DJ-ing. Not only is the food at Tempest breathtaking, but so is the décor. The stone pillars and walls gave our photos the vintage feel we were looking for. The highlight of the wedding party has to be the surprise performance by the Gombeys that my incredible husband arranged for me. It was just out of this world and everyone was blown away, in particular our UK guest who had never witnessed the Bermudian Gombeys.
The Honeymoon: After nine days of utter luxury in Bermuda we felt a little greedy jetting off on honeymoon to the Dominican Republic a month later, but were so glad we did. It was so important that we spent that quality time together, just the two of us.
The Future: Five months later, we are settled in our beautiful new home in Cardiff, Wales, and are excited to start a family together.
CEREMONY: The Unfinished Church
RECEPTION: Tempest Bistro
PHOTOGRAPHY: Howarth Photography Ltd.
CATERING: Tempest Bistro
MUSIC: Craig “Bubbles” Darrell
HAIR: Studio Wedding Hair
FURNITURE: The Bridal Suite Bermuda