From the Bride: We chose to have our wedding on Elbow Cay because we are both beach babies & feel a very strong connection to the ocean! The beach is place that brings us so much happiness & peace. We wanted the sand & the sea to be an integral part of our wedding, & were so excited to make our commitment to each other with all of our loved ones there, & with the waves rolling in beside us. We wanted a laid-back, beach vibe for our wedding, & looked into many places, both in the U.S. & abroad. As we focused in on what we really wanted, Elbow Cay became the clear choice. Our first trip to the Abaco Islands was for our friends’ wedding on Guana Cay in 2010. Elbow Cay was one of the islands we explored while on that trip, & we fell in love with it. The only mode of transportation is by golf cart, bicycle or foot. It’s a small island (only 6 miles long & ½ mile wide at the widest point), but there’s SO much to do – world-class snorkeling & scuba diving, fishing, surfing at Garbanzo Beach (one of the only surf breaks in the Bahamas), walking around the settlement of Hopetown, climbing to the top of the Elbow Reef Lighthouse, sunbathing on the spectacular pink sand beaches, & of course, just relaxing or reading in the shade.
Our ceremony took place on the (east) Atlantic side of the island, behind a private residence that my (the bride’s) family rented. The ocean color is absolutely breathtaking – many different shades of vibrant turquoise – & so clear, you can see the ocean floor at 30 feet! We had a dear friend, Udi, officiate our ceremony, which we wanted to be very personal, meaningful, & spiritual (rather than religious). He first led an arrival meditation to get everyone centered & present. And later read a quote by Rumi (the Sufi poet), & a passage from one of my favorite books, “Gift from the Sea.” Nature is where Pauly & I find spirituality, & it was essential to acknowledge that. Pauly & I walked down to the ocean by ourselves in the middle of the ceremony, & had a quiet moment together, standing in the water. That allowed us to really be in the present moment, & take in the powerful experience that was happening, all while the salt water lapped at our feet. The ocean was physically a part of our ceremony – it was perfect! We also love to laugh & play, so we “rock-paper-scissored” to see who would say their vows first. Pauly won! We asked the band’s lead singer & guitarist to play Bob Marley’s “Stir It Up” towards the end of our ceremony. Everyone danced & sang along. It was really sweet – such a fun memory!
Pauly & I arrived to the reception via boat (our friend graciously captained us in on his). The reception was held at Firefly Sunset Resort, on the (west) Sea of Abaco side of the island. We had fresh conch salad, baked spiny lobster, Caribbean seafood stew, cornmeal conch fritters, Bahamian mac & cheese, pecan-crusted hog fish, jerk chicken & grilled veggies. Willis & the Illest Reggae Band played at our reception. They are the best reggae band in the Bahamas, & we flew them over from their hometown of Nassau. They put on a fantastic performance & had people dancing well into the night!
From the bride: We met in Colorado through a mutual friend. We had seen each other at many Boulder reggae shows, but never really knew each other. We were chatting one night & realized we would both be in Florida over the upcoming holidays, because both of our parents live there (this was in 2006). A few days after Christmas, I drove over to Pauly’s mom’s house to meet up. We went to the beach in Jupiter, to a bar to meet up with some of his friends, & then to another friend’s apartment in West Palm. As the night went on, we both felt something more than “just friends” was beginning. I remember thinking to myself, “Huh! This guy is really interesting – & pretty cute!” That night of hand-holding & a little kissing had us anticipating the time when we would both be back in Colorado a few weeks later. Once we were together again, our connection grew very quickly. It was clear that we were a great match for each other. I really feel that our relationship works so well because not only do we love each other, but we genuinely like each other too! Each day feels like a fun adventure together. We have a print up on the wall (it appropriately has nautical-feeling font & an anchor) that reads “The Adventure Begins”, & we thought this would be a fitting theme for our wedding.
Pauly proposed on that same beach in Jupiter where we had first spent time 7 years (to the day!) later. We went out to dinner at our favorite seafood spot, & then he grabbed a bottle of (what I thought was) wine & headed to the beach. He started saying all of these sweet things that he loves about me & said “and that’s why I want you to be my wife. Will you marry me?” “What? What? Oh my gosh! Really?” was my response, while jumping up & down. “Does that mean yes?” he asked. “Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!” And that’s when he pulled out the bottle & said, “By the way, this isn’t wine, it’s champagne!” We sat on the beach, looking up at the stars, toasting to a new adventure.Pauly has a crazy-good sense of humor, & he makes me laugh every day! He is such a compassionate, loving, & giving person. And did I mention that he’s funny?!?!
Photographer: David Lynn Photography//Dress Store: Boca Raton Bridal & Consultants//Floral Designer: Buds N Blooms//Bakery: Cakes for the Occasion//Reception Venue: Firefly Sunset Resort//Band:Willis & the Illest //Submitted via Two Bright Lights