Smaller, intimate weddings are always some of my favorites. And when that intimate shindig happens to take place in the lovely little locale known as Belize, well… even better. Because what could possibly be more romantic than tying the knot, toes in the sand style, with only your closest friends and family? See every heartwarming moment captured by Alea Lovely in the full gallery.
From the Bride… After knowing each other for over half of our lives, we decided it was the perfect time to make our relationship and commitment to one another official. With having our family on the West Coast, friends on the East Coast and others abroad, we knew that most of our guests would have to travel across the country one way or the other, so we wanted to make it worth their while to travel. I have a very large family and Kyle has a very small family, so we didn’t want to overshadow the day being about the two of us. We decided on an intimate destination wedding and a reception at home later to celebrate.
After flipping through the book “501 Must See Destinations” our eyes landed on the Blue Hole in Belize. We read that Belize hosted the largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere (second in the world to Great Barrier Reef), it was English speaking, accepted US currency and was an easy flight. We decided to escape the snowy weather in February and head south to the warmer climate.
For our twenty-two guests, we rented a cluster of villas “family style” on the beach of Ambergris Caye and planned adventures of snorkeling, fishing, and sailing mixed with sipping on cocktails and relaxing on the beach. Once the morning of the wedding arrived, we were in full “vacay mode.” We started with breakfast and delicious smoothies poolside while guests took in massages, manis and pedis. After taking a swim in the pool and sipping on the local Belikin Beer, the guys and gals parted ways to get ready for the main event.
Before getting my make-up done, Kyle smartly sent over a wedding gift to me knowing tears were inevitable. It was a gorgeous gold locket laser etched with a photo of me and my recently departed grandma with a lovely message inside (“She may be gone, but this special day, she walks down the aisle with you”) and the wedding date. It hung off of a vintage bow pin so that I was able to wear it on her dress. In addition, our friend, Vonnett, loaned her own grandmother’s diamond and sapphire wedding ring for my something borrowed, something old and something blue.
In return, I sent Kyle a gift of “something old, new, borrowed and blue” in a small leather chest. The something old was represented by notes scratched on binder paper that were saved from high school and attached to a bottle of Kyle’s favorite Balvenie scotch, aged 17 years, the same amount of time we had known each other. The something new was a tie clip stamped with the coordinates of the wedding venue in Belize, which was also secretly engraved on the inside of his wedding band. The something borrowed was probably the most special to Kyle. Being that both of our grandfathers and fathers served in the military, I “borrowed” each of their dog tags. The something blue was a blue silk-screened tie with Kyle’s favorite B-17 bomber printed on it.
Since we weren’t having an official wedding party, Kyle gave the guys Beers Not Bombs “Wingman” bottle openers which were made from reclaimed copper from nuclear wiring. This was symbolic to us since we met in high school and our mascot was the “Bombers”, named for the nearby Hanford nuclear plant that helped create the WW2 atomic bombs and where Kyle’s dad is was an engineer. Also, the proceeds went to Doctors Without Borders and nuclear cleanup. For the ladies, I thanked them for coming to help me “tie the knot” with sterling silver love knot earrings from Cate & Chloe.
Once I slipped into my Candy blush Monique Lhuillier gown and Vonnett placed on my veil, we were ready to roll. The ladies walked on the beach together a quarter mile to the wedding venue where Kyle and the guys were waiting. Before walking down the aisle, I was escorted by my mom and sister to have a “first look” with my dad and brother. After many tears and hugs, my brother walked my sister and mom to their seats before I walked hand in hand with my dad to meet Kyle. We were married by our good friend, Denis, who hosted a perfect ceremony of love, symbolism and full-heartedness.
After the ceremony, we enjoyed a cocktail hour with delicious appetizers, a bar stocked with rum drinks and Belikin Beer while listening to the Cuban guitarist jam on. Sitting on the beach we dined on snapper, rib-eye and seafood stew for dinner followed by bananas foster and key lime pie for dessert. Both of our dads and brothers gave “unscripted” toasts that we followed up with music and some dancing. As everyone has told us, the day went by too quickly, but we took every moment in as much as we could, we thankfully have wonderful photos and video to help us remember and reflect.