Love is in the Air
Evolution of Love: The Now
The time is now. The last wedding decor proposal signed, bridal party gifts have been bought and first song has been picked. The time is now. I am intermittently relieved, excited and exhausted as I have been up every single night too excited to sleep and too anxious to relax. How do you put all your dreams of love and hope into one week, one weekend and one day? What if I forget something? Have I invited everyone I wanted to? I have waited for years to have my best friends and family all together in one place and have waited a lifetime to meet and marry my soulmate, best friend and better half. This has been a dream that will finally become a reality.
Today we had our last meeting with our vendors and wedding planner at Atlantis. First up we discussed every minute by minute detail with the officiant, Reverend Sweeting. He has a way with words and stands in the space of calm possibility. From the first second we met him, we knew that he would translate our day in the way we wanted it to be portrayed. He understood how we felt about each other, our families and how incredibly important this ceremony would be for us both. He understood the physical challenges with Zak’s mom using a wheelchair with limited mobility and appreciated our emphasis on symbolism. He even accepted our request for pronouncing each others last names as we were both joining a new family. Kirk (aka DJ FURZE )was our wedding DJ and Master of Ceremonies and he led us through how we would go about doing our first dance. We discussed the age demographic of our guests in order to play appropriate music and even created a song remix for us for our first dance! Ronnie from Bahamas Wedding Productions spearheaded our photography and videography for the wedding. He heard our requests and we discussed the style of photography: simple, personal and artistic. Natalie from Wildflowers was a beacon of decor inspiration and has a knack for finer details. She came to the rescue with last minute table numbers and confirmed that the arbor would have a ‘tie the knot” theme. To pay homage to my South African roots, I wanted to incorporate the Protea flowers into my bouquet. Natalie came to the rescue and imported the flowers from the US. When it came to discussing the order of the evening, the vendors and our wedding planner quickly sorted out that we would start the night off with our first dance before dinner and speeches. This would set the tone and allow our guests to dance and move before the formality of words. Lastly, we sat with Alphanique our phenomenal wedding planner and finalized the banquet forms and menus. We discussed the dreaded weather backup and walked the conference space just in case. I was left with a feeling of relief and peace as it was evident that regardless of the weather we would have a beautiful event space (inside or outside), stunning decor and memorable evening. One can never determine the weather, but it was clear that the Atlantis wedding planners were committed and determined to execute our special day. We were in the most capable hands. Alphanique shared stories of wedding events that were veered off projected course by the weather, but had none the less turned out perfectly with the wedding couple satisfied and happy. What more can one ask for!
I still have last minute tasks but I know in my heart that it will be a fantastic wedding week. Our focus has been on providing our friends and family with the best wedding experience and I truly believe it will be a magical day for all! Now is the time to breathe, relax and believe it will turn out “imperfectly perfect!”
Evolution of Love: The How
One of the things I’ve learned through this exciting, stressful and emotional time is that wedding planning is a process. Vernon Ash once said and I paraphrase; “God gives you a glimpse of your future glories so you can deal with the pain of the process.” Truer words have never been spoken about the trials and tribulations of tying the knot.
Once the initial engagement excitement has subsided the real work begins. Having executed several million dollar events in the past, I couldn’t fathom that throwing a wedding party could be too complicated. Wow, was I in for a surprise!
Luckily, I had a great wedding planner that mades sure I was on task, focused and committed to the painstaking task. The very best decision we made was to commit to an arrangement visit. This is fancy bridal terminology for deciding to visit the property to meet with our vendors and see our location in person. While Skype calls and emails can be effective, nothing compares to meeting your wedding magicians face to face. Our wedding planner planned out our whole itinerary. Highlights included seeing our venue first hand, meeting with the Bahamas Visual Services videographer and discussing decor details with Wildflowers Event company. We viewed the save the date & invitation line as well as looked at gift options for our guests. Love Atlantis created a planning experience that was seamless, simple and systematic.
If you have been married you will understand and if you haven’t then one day you will. It is a rite of passage. The planning process will inspire, frustrate, annoy and overwhelm and perhaps even challenge the very reason you decided to get married in the first place. Stay strong, stay true and stay the course. For when the rehearsal is done, the ceremony is over and the last song has been played, the only thing that remains is the person standing by your side.
Remember that you have chosen each other through every trial, every tear and every triumph.
Evolution of Love: The Who?
We are two nomadic souls who are always wandering the globe, catching up with friends, family and loved ones in each city. We have very unconventional relationships with our loved ones, where we don’t always speak, see, hug on a regular basis but to us our interactions are as meaningful and special as if we saw them every Sunday. We exist in a bizarre world where the intensity and meaning of a relationship isn’t defined by how many times we speak or by how often we have catch up dinners. Therefore during the wedding planning process our biggest challenge has been the guest list. Who do you invite to your wedding? Why do you invite them to your wedding? What are the rules? Are there any rules?
Having been engaged for a solid year and a half before sending out invites our dear ones have been teased with floating dates and locations. We are travelers, explorers and live for the next adventure, passionate about the journey. It was important to plan a celebration that reflected our excitement for the journey, our love for the place but was still within everyone’s grasp. After weighing several destinations such as Cape Town and Miami, the Bahamas ultimately took the cake. Nothing could beat the joy, energy and pure bliss of tying the knot on the same island where we fell in love. As a good friend of mine stated, “a wedding is not about the bride & groom but rather a celebration of their past as individuals, their friends, and their families.” My advice to future couples, pick people that add value & have meaning in your life. Close your eyes and picture your loved ones faces. Only invite the people that you see smiling, celebrating in this magical milestone. The loved ones, who have pure intentions, have gratitude & respect for the unity of marriage and an everlasting hope that this newly minted family will dance in the sun and weather every storm.
Our primary goal was to create a wedding that in every sense was a celebration for all the people we love. Zak & I will have the rest of our lives to celebrate each other. We wanted this moment to be for our loved ones to enjoy, celebrate, feast and indulge their every dream at our fairy tale wedding. It would be a gesture that pays homage to the individuals who have brought us this far. Our mates that have set us on a course so our ships could meet and our boat lines could intertwine. Atlantis Resort made perfect sense because we could allow everyone to enjoy a well-deserved vacation. Of course our wedding was the catalyst for the trip but we wanted our guests to enjoy and celebrate our families, their families, their friends and glorious sunshine days. Filled with water adventures, exploring the beautiful island, immersing in the culture and utilizing the fact that simply put, it is always better in the Bahamas!
Prologue: Evolution of Love ~ The story of us
This is a tale. At moments it might be tall, memories slightly blurry, minutes emphasized, reconstructed in language but the sentiment, message and meaning will remain the same. Written in the sand, waiting to be enveloped by the sea, this is our story, our tale, and our chapters.
We met on a normal workday downstairs at Starbucks in Coral Towers lobby. I was heading downstairs to grab my caffeine fix; Zak was walking around property with our mutual friend and colleague Donna. I walked past them and smiled, and they nodded in return. Zak turned to Donna and asked her about who I was, she responded that I was already in a committed relationship and that he should look elsewhere to enjoy the perks of being “fresh meat on the island.” In a manner that only one, who has lived on a tiny island with a microscopic gene pool, would fully comprehend. A few days later I needed a group of models for an upcoming event and Donna recommended that I reach out to Zak for this work. We caught up in Coral Towers lobby and ended up chatting for what seemed like days. I asked Zak where he lived and he explained his nomadic existence. Having been raised the child of a diplomat that frequently moved, this lifestyle and ideology immediately resonated within my soul.
The following year we reconnected on social media, as he was interested in securing an apartment and knew I had lived in different types of accommodations. I sent Zak some recommendations and we reconnected over dinner on the island. We became friends, really good friends. Zak would join me on walks with my dog Athena, would bring a tennis ball and libations. We would spend hours watching the sunset, frolicking in the oceans, talking about the universe, future dreams and memories from our past. He took on the role of TRX trainer for morning workouts on the beach and stepped up as an advisor on how to start my own business. After a few months of spending time together, my apartment became his apartment, we spent hours talking, working out on the beach, cooking dinner. Our time together was simple, honest and meaningful.
On September 10, 2012 we spent a lovely sunset together. Zak was departing the island and we decided to celebrate our time together with a bottle of bubbly, two plastic tumblers and a vast beautiful beach at The Reef, Atlantis. We honored our relationship by writing our names and year in the sand, not knowing what the future apart would hold. Our focus was on the present and being grateful for the moments that we shared. That day will be one I will never forget. We were in love with life, each other and excited for whatever the future may hold. The sentiment was so strong we wrote the words “ Live your life” in the sand at sunset. The one defining moment in our relationship when we both knew that the most important thing was to LIVE YOUR LIFE!
In a serendipitous chain of events, 3 years later we would be standing on that very spot, choosing the “Love your Life” wedding package. Little did we know, we would use this scene as the backdrop for Atlantis venue called Ocean’s Edge. It will become the spring board for future couples to embark on their life journey together.
The realization is that when you write magical moments down, your dreams can become true in ways much larger and more powerful than you have ever imagined.
I will be the happiest girl in the world when I marry my sidekick, teammate, best friend, mentor and partner in the greatest adventure called LIFE!