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Coral Bahamas Destination Wedding

As those winter blues start to sneak in, this island affair couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s a wedding from the lens of KT Merry, and at the center of it all happens to be top model, Amy Lemons and her love, Taylor. It’s a boho-style, toes-in-the-sand kind of day, and thanks to the help of Little Island Design the whole shebang was planned to perfection. See more for yourself right this way.

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Over the last 15 years, Amy Lemons has established herself as a top model gracing the covers of various Vogue’s, Haper’s Bazaar, Elle, and Marie Claire to name a few and shot with some of the most prestigious photographers of all time, such as Steven Meisel, Mario Testino, and Bruce Weber. It wasn’t long before she was shooting campaigns for Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Abercrombie, Ralph Lauren and more. It became evident that Amy was the new “it girl” and well on her way to becoming a household name. As a self- confessed tomboy and small town girl from Richmond, Virginia her life had truly been quite the fairytale.

In 2007 Amy knew there was more for her to achieve. Deciding to take a brief hiatus from modeling Amy went back to pursue her education, graduating with a B.A. degree in History from UCLA. It was during this time she began to place an emphasis on her future and how she could utilize her success of the past decade to give back and advocate for other girls coming into the spotlight after her. Returning to the modeling world in 2010, she started to work with the Model Alliance, a non- profit organization working for Models’ rights in the workplace. This sense of balance ultimately drew her out of the fast paced lifestyle of New York and Los Angeles and back to her simplistic way of life back in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was here her life would change forever as she met her fiancé, Taylor Suttoon.

The couple was introduced by Amy’s best childhood friend at a Christmas party in 2010. Their mutual love of the outdoors, sports and dogs contributed to a relationship that developed quickly. Taylor proposed in 2012 and Amy said “yes” as their two dogs approvingly looked on. It was this moment that the fairytale came full circle and her life was complete.

Taylor an outdoorsman and advocate for environmental issues grew up in Charlottesville and attended The University of Virginia. Now working for his family’s oil business, he truly is the perfect balance to her picture perfect life.

Amy and Taylor were married on May 25, 2013 on Harbour Island, a tiny island off the North East Coast of North Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. Amy first fell in love Harbour Island on a fashion shoot for Victoria Secrets with the acclaimed Mario Testino and dreamed of a future wedding on its pink sand beaches. The small island navigated only by golf cart, is the picturesque scene for the couple. The theme of the upscale beach escape is one of relaxing romance. Inspired by the pink and gold colored sand and blue/green colors of the ocean the wedding colors were
coral, turquoise, and gold.

The weekend began on Wednesday night when approximately 40 guests arrived for the long Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday, the men took off on chartered boats fishing for bonefish in the surrounding waters of Harbour Island, while the ladies enjoyed a luncheon/pool party at the Lemons’ private house, The Fig Tree.

After a day on the beach, the rehearsal dinner on Friday night for all attending guests took place at the Rock House Hotel and Restaurant. The resort was previously owned by Versace’s builder Jay Wallace Tut and is a perfect example of the island’s laid back shabby chic style. The event took up the entire lower terrace of the restaurant overlooking the harbor.

On the big day Amy wore an elegant yet ethereal gown by Claire Pettibone to pull the entire mood together.

Amy and Taylor were married on the beach in front of the Ocean View Club at sunset. Amy’s father, Justice Donald Lemons of the Virginia Supreme Court, married the couple in association with a Bahamian Anglican priest. The wedding was orchestrated by Ben Simmons of Little Island Designs. Ben is a native of Harbour Island and known for producing beautiful beach weddings. His mother, a Cordon Blue trained chef, works with him in their upscale menu and food preparation and owns the trendiest store on the island, Miss May’s. Ben specializes in pop-up wedding receptions on the beach incorporating the natural inspiration of the setting and using driftwood, conch shells, weathered furniture, tents with chandeliers and local flowers such as tuberous, lilies and birds of paradise to create a warm and comfortable outdoor atmosphere. The reception and dinner offered family style servings of local seafood such as Conch Beignets, local snapper with papaya salsa, and lobster. The open bar featured signature cocktails, the Dark and Stormy (dark rum and ginger beer) picked by the groom and Patron Mojitos, selected by the bride. Barefoot guests danced to live music and ended the evening around a bonfire.

The fashion forward guests, including close friends and top models Sara Ziff and Maggie Riser, partook in what will be one of the endearing and romantic experiences two people can share. For Amy what once was a magical fairytale is now a dream come true.

From Ben Simmons of Little Island Design… Destination weddings are challenging at the best of times..we do twenty a year or so and there is always that little challenge that bites at your comfort zone…So when Amy began throwing around terms like gypset, haute hippie, boho chic I was a little nervous. Harbour Island is three miles long by half a mile wide and not exactly a bustling metropolis with rental options. None the less we began to piece together a story and when I finally got to met Taylor and Amy, I wasn’t the slightest bit worried. Such a lovely couple – beautiful and down to earth.

Amy was set on sophisticated yet laid back affair that was deep in romance and soul yet unrestrained in convention. The design components were broken down into details that communicated a sophisticated vintage style, bohemian or hippy-ish feel and rugged textural carefree experience. Of course we opted for beach event, with the always impractical but enduring hope for tent less reception.

For a vintage sophistication we hunted for gold or brass – I recently smuggled a bunch vintage brass taper holders back from Ireland so I excited to have an opportunity to use them. I also happened to have collection of vintage gold Thai Cutlery with rose wood handles which were a perfect for the tables. I generally hate anything plastic, but we had gold acrylic chargers and so they completed our place setting.

For a hippy, bohemian feel we decided that musical instruments might a interesting and unique detail to incorporate. My family has a small hotel that neighbors the local school. Earlier on they and inspired by a limited budget they purchased all the broken instruments they could on the island to decorate the Hotel. 30 years of salt spray had weathered them wonderfully and so we placed them in the center of each table with pops of peonies and other small decorative elements.

We were of course worried about the weather and in the end threw up one of our sail cloth tents but in fact the weather was perfect on the day. Tailor and Amy used our old boat for pictures and it turn out wonderfully. The biggest scare was two days before the wedding when a loose frisby chipped one of Tailors front teeth…Dentists can be as be hard to come by as vintage props on a small island. Luck was with us though and one was around when we needed him.

It was a wonderful celebration, an incredible couple, captured beautifully by an amazing photographer.

Photography: KT Merry | Invitations: Sea Fan Design | Wedding Bands: Andrew Minton | Groom's Attire: Perry Ellis | Ceremony Music: Rocky + Ersly | Bride's Gown: Claire Pettibone | Bride's Reception Dress: Alexander Wang | Bride's Sandals: Monolo Blahnik | Ceremony And Reception Location: Near The Ocean View Club | Flower Girl Dress: Jcrew Kids | Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Rock House | Wedding Designer And Planner: Ben Simmons Of Little Island Design

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Romantic Harbour Island Wedding

This destination dream isn’t just another gorgeous wedding captured by Caroline Fontenot Photographer, it’s much more than that. Surrounded by Little Island Design lush blooms and Daddy D beats, these Ocean View Club sweeties wed in true island style. From Bahamian inspired local BBQ, to the lovely libations on the lower terrace followed by a bonfire on the beach, every moment is magical and you can see it all here.

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Summer
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Beach Club

From the Bride… We fell in love with Harbour Island immediately. It is secluded and luxurious and somehow feels instantly familiar. The island is rich with vibrant architecture and friendly locals. The pink sand beaches are breathtaking and we couldn’t get enough of the perfectly clear and turquoise waters. Everyone is very friendly, and is quick to point you towards their favorite place for Conch Salad by the bay, or share their secrets for making (or simply enjoying) a good Goombay Smash. Fresh seafood is a favorite of ours, and it is a staple on every menu. We met so many charming people on our fist visit: Ben and Charlie and Andy of course, but also Claudine, who spoiled Jay with fresh English muffins each morning, and a couple from Europe that has been holidaying on the island since they were both children, as well as an elderly couple that come for their anniversary each year. The love that people have for this place is infectious. We felt like old regulars after our first visit, and knew this place would play host so wonderfully to our family and friends. We wanted our wedding celebration to also be an unforgettable vacation for our guests. The experience we had on our first visit as a couple was wholly enjoyable and we were thrilled to share our special island with the people we love.

The Ocean View Club is a slice of bohemian heaven. We instantly felt at home at Ben and Charlie’s labor of love. We invited our guests to come down to the island on the Wednesday before our wedding so that they could make a vacation of the trip. We wanted this trip to be special for everyone and thought how wonderful it would be for us all to stay together. We decided to rent the entire hotel, which made for easy planning for our guests. The Ocean View Club is the perfect size for our party, with quiet rooms in the main house for both of our parents, smaller guest suites adjacent to a beach view terrace for our young friends and siblings, and private cottage retreats for a few couples and also for ourselves. The main house feels like a home itself, with a large living area with plenty of comfortable seating and tables large enough for jigsaw puzzles and dominos. The kitchen is always open to everyone, and became a kind of gathering place each morning, the way our own kitchen does at home. The honor bar by the patio was a huge hit with our guests, allowing us the luxury of having a fully stocked bar where self-service is encouraged. The staff at The Ocean View is accommodating and friendly, and atmosphere of the place encourages enjoyment of both the beautiful island and the wonderful company we shared. We are so grateful that Ben and Charlie opened their arms and their hearts to those we love. Our favorite memories will always be at The Ocean View Club.

We hosted a welcoming supper on Wednesday evening on the terrace, kicking off the beginning of our memorable trip. Our DJ, Devon aka Daddy D, actually caught the Tuna we were served the morning of our arrival. Our days after were spent playing bocce on the beach and floating lazily for hours in the ocean, Kaliks always in hand. We invited everyone to The Landing for supper on Thursday, served on the romantic patio for sunset on Harbour Island’s harbor. Dancing and shenanigans followed at many of the island’s disco techs, with a bit of night swimming to end the night.

Our parents hosted a Bahamian inspired BBQ of local flavors and libations on the lower terrace after our rehearsal, followed by a bonfire on the beach. Jay’s father gave a toast that everyone will always remember, and Lindsey successfully sabered a bottle of champagne to the excitement of everyone. We ate until we couldn’t, and enjoyed the company of the group with a seriously hilarious game of charades. No one wanted the night to end.

Saturday morning we all enjoyed a bit of beach before the girls retired for an afternoon of pretty pampering and primping. We decided to take our photographs as a couple before our ceremony, jaunting around the island on our golf cart, drinking champagne and sharing many wonderful moments with our photographer, Caroline, and her husband Mark. Our ceremony was held on the main terrace of the Ocean View Club, presided by a dear friend of ours. We wrote our ceremony together, maintaining many of the traditional rites, but also adding our own anecdotes and flair. We hosted a cocktail party directly after, entertained by each other and a duo of local musicians. Afterwards, our beach reception took place under a gorgeous white tent. Ben and Charlie created an elegantly simple tablescape adjacent to a custom dance floor. And boy did we dance! As the evening slipped into night, we migrated between the dance floor and the whimsical living room created around a bonfire. The scene was truly breathtaking. We would not have changed a single detail. As a special surprise for Jay, we spoiled our guests with an English muffin bar at the end of the night, as a late night snack for everyone before we departed. We exited along a lantern lit path from the scene, turning for one last long look to soak in the event that was a celebration in every way we had envisioned.

Photography: Caroline Fontenot Photographer | Floral Design: Little Island Design | Wedding Dress: Elizabeth Dye | Food: Little Island Design | Makeup Artist: Suzanna Harati, Monarch Beauty Atlanta | Hair Stylist: Suzanna Harati, Monarch Beauty Atlanta | DJ: Daddy D | Groom's Attire: J.Crew | Groom's Jacket: Brooks Brothers | Bow Tie: Social Primer | Groom's Custom Needlepoint Loafers: ByPaige | Groom's Shirt: Ledbury | Veil: Twigs & Honey | Wedding Venue: The Ocean View Club | Welcome Dinner: The Landing

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Chic Harbour Island Destination Wedding at Three Bees Villa

Navy stripes are my neutral, so when they are stylish scattered throughout a soiree as chic as this one – my heart does cartwheels. And rightfully so, because this ridiculously gorgeous Three Bees Villa wedding captured by Sabrina Lightbourn and planned by Little Island Designs is honestly my definition of perfection, and you can see why here.

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Spring
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Villa

From The Bride…Harbour Island has been a second home to me for as long as I can remember. The friendly people, unique aesthetic, world-class pink sand beach and beautiful water conjure so many happy memories. Three months after Rob and I started dating I took him to Harbour Island. When I saw that he immediately loved it as much as I do I knew that if we got married one day, it had to be there.

Once we decided on Harbour Island for our wedding I knew that I HAD to work with Ben Simmons from Little Island Designs. I knew as much what I DID NOT want as what I DID for the wedding weekend. For example, we both felt strongly about having a church ceremony, rich with tradition, and I had my heart set on the reception at Three Bees Vila, Arki Busson’s home. Furthermore, while I wasn’t looking for the traditional “beach wedding”, I also wasn’t looking to recreate a Manhattan wedding in Harbour Island. I envisioned the style to be sophisticated and chic, yet understated. I wanted to make a statement, while still complimenting the natural beauty of the location.

We hosted a Welcome Party the night before the wedding for all 150 guests, whom had travelled far and wide to be with us. My parents, Rob, Ben and I agreed that we wanted our guests experiences on Friday and Saturday nights to be as different as possible. As Saturday night would be a more formal sit down dinner on the bay side of the island, we planned the Welcome Party to be a casual Bahamian Beach Dinner on the ocean. Ben built out an area with sail clothes, long white farm tables decorated with local grasses and sea urchins and LOT’S of candles and lanterns. We served a buffet of popular local dishes – fresh conch salad prepared right before guests, grilled fish and chicken, coleslaw and peas and rice, etc. Guests drank specialty drinks put of coconut shells, the local Harbour Island band “The Brilandrs” created a very Bahamian Calypso feel, a fire dancer entertained and guests lounged by a big beach bonfire after it got dark.

For the actual wedding reception, I wanted to use a color palette different than the soft pastels people normally use down there. The classic look of navy and white has always been a personal favorite. Put it against the chic West Indies, safari-like aesthetic of Three Bees, and pepper in variations of aqua/green/turquoise – the colors of the water down there – and I quickly had a color scheme. Years ago, I came across a picture of a black and white dance floor in Beverly Hills that I fell in love with. I showed Ben the picture and asked if he could recreate it in navy and white… before I knew it we had a custom dance floor right on the waters edge! It was certainly one of my favorite style elements of the night. Another favorite style detail is the way Ben so elegantly lights an outdoor area… several shabby chic white chandeliers hanging from trees is an image that will forever be in my mind. Having worked in PR for the past 15 years, I have learned that the difference is in the details. So…. we personalized the space with other details like monogrammed pillows for all the white couches; personalized cups, napkins and matches. We tied beige and blue pashminas to the back of all the women’s bamboo dinner chairs and also provided either blue or turquoise leather “dancing shoes” for all the women, which were separated by size in four different blue and white striped canvas containers. The flowers were green or white only and the centerpieces were tall vases of palm fronds with tea lights h and small white bouquets in mirrored vases around the base. We accented the table with navy and white striped runners on top of white table clothes. The combination of the blue and white with bamboo chairs and chargers and the natural looking palm centerpieces with punches of white flowers was beautiful yet understated.

It was really important to both me and Rob to utilize as many local vendors, and to include as many Bahamian traditions as possible. Examples of some of the traditions that we included were the “Sister Act-like” church choir, wedding procession through town after the ceremony and Junkanoo, which paraded guests from dinner to dancing and desert. A few other entertainment and style elements that made our wedding so special include:

• Transportation for all guests to and from Three Bees by boat, including our arrival
• Spectacular fireworks
• The gift bags – personalized straw bags that contained a custom belt with our coral motif, personalized sunscreen and Frisbee (again with coral motif and the wedding date), a stamped pre-addressed Harbour Island postcard to me and Rob (we are still receiving them, which is really fun!), bottled water with custom labels, a bag of Sea Salt potato chips as well as goldfish and Swedish fish gummy candies, welcome book and a GREAT map of the island by my sister
• DIY turquoise burgees with everyone’s name and our coral motif, laminated and stuck to each person’s golf cart
• Our wedding cake melted before anyone could see it, but we didn’t even care!
• The smile on both my and Rob’s face all weekend long… it was the BEST weekend of our lives!

Photography: Sabrina Lightbourn | Event Coordinator: Little Island Designs | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang From Mark Ingram Atelier | Wedding Cake: Swiss Pastry Shop | Invitations: The Printery | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Donna Morgan From The Wedding Library | Band: The Sultans Of Swing | Custom Belts For All Guests: Elizabeth McKay | Groom And Groomsmen Flip Flops: The Leatherman | Groom And Groomsmen's Custom Ties: Vineyard Vines | Printed Materials: DFM Stationery | Wedding Reception: Three Bees Villa | Welcome Party: On The Beach At The Ocean View Club