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Intimate Belize Wedding

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.

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Winter
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Beach Resort
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Romantic

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.

Photography: Alea Lovely | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Accommodations : La Perla Del Caribe | Ceremony/ Reception Venue: Portofino Beach Resort | Earrings: Swarovski | Head Piece: Twigs And Honey

Monique Lhuillier and Twigs & Honey are members of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here.

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Old World Charm in Havana

It’s always beautiful to see couples embrace diverse backgrounds so wholeheartedly. Getting an insider tour of Havana doesn’t hurt, either. We also have to give props because on top of wedding planning this couple also coordinated a group effort to bring supplies for the ceremony.Yay teamwork! We’re glad they did because now we get to enjoy a whole gallery of Matt Kennedy‘s lovely photos.

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Winter
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Romantic

From The Bride…We struggled to find the perfect destination for our wedding, given our different backgrounds and our international guests, but we eventually decided on Havana, which incorporated a bit of family history and undisputed old classic charm.

Choosing a destination like Cuba with its scarcity of supplies, meant having to bring a lot of our own food & personalized decorations: from signage, napkins, candy bowls, candy, votive holders to desserts and even cigar cutters. We had friends and family help us bring them over making this wedding a truly collective effort!

The wedding day was planned around giving our small group of guests a great Havana experience: some guests were visiting Havana only for a few days and we wanted to show them sites that took them to different districts in the city: from the cocktail reception in an old restored peanut factory to the two venues for the wedding: The ceremony took place in the garden of one of the oldest hotels in Havana, guests then enjoyed a classic Cuban car ride taking them into the heart of Old Havana for a rooftop reception overlooking the city as the sun set.

To add to giving our guests a great experience, one thing we wanted to do was to ensure every guest was thanked. We took great care to ensure that each guest’s name card on the table had a personal message of gratitude written for them inside

The favorite moment of the day was definitely the reception, where we both got to relax, kick up our feet, forget about all the worries and being able to just enjoy the evening with our amazing guests.

Instead of a traditional wedding cake, we had wedding cheese cake (which was difficult to source in Havana anyways); 16 different types of artisanal cheeses weighing around 6 kilos, made in a small cheese shop in Philip’s hometown in the North of Sweden and carried all the way over to Havana for us all to enjoy.

The one thing that will remain most special to us is to see all our family and friends closest to us gathered from around the world in one place together. It was truly overwhelming to see everyone representing a part of our lives in Havana for the wedding. It was spectacular.

From Matt Kennedy Photography…It was such an honor to travel to Cuba to photograph Christine and Philip’s beautiful wedding. They both have so much connection with Cuba from their travels, and their desire to share that with their friends and family was so apparent. They worked tirelessly to arrange everyone’s travel and accommodations in a very difficult country to communicate with from a distance. It was a pleasure to see such warm and inviting people from all over the world, come together to support such a great couple.

Their wedding was impeccable, and perfectly planned from beginning to end of the entire week. The details that they had worked on, and the special things they did to treat their guests like royalty were incredible. One of my favorites was the specially made cocktails by one of their groomsmen who is a cocktail genius in the food and beverage industry in Dubai, it was a great personal touch. Christine was glowing in her Monique LHuillier dress, and Philip didn’t look too bad himself! Everything was just such a joy to photograph and really be a part of.

Photography: Matt Kennedy | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Ceremony Venue: Hotel Nacional | Reception Venue: Hotel Saratoga | Decor: Mariam Glez From “Aire De Fiesta”

Monique Lhuillier is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here.
Surprise Beach Elopement in Costa Rica

Much of the pretty we share on this little ‘ole blog are soirees with a whole lot of planning behind them. Fetes packed with detail upon detail that we find ourselves swooning over on the daily. But this surf-loving surprise elopement from A Brit & A Blonde? It’s raw and beautiful and we couldn’t love it more if we tried. With a bit of help from Malpais Green Weddings, this sweet Groom surprised his beachy Bride with a proposal AND an elopement on their Malpais getaway. Intrigued yet? See the rest right here!

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Summer
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BeachOutdoor
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Romantic

From A Brit & A Blonde… We are super lucky to be a part of so many couples big day. But I think nothing could have prepared me for perhaps the most romantic and sweet surprise elopement ever. Jens & Cece are from Germany – they both adore snowboarding when home but their heart really lies with surfing. So there is no surprise that they love, love, love Malpais in Costa Rica – a total mecca for surfers. Jens & Cece have been together for quite a few years and are quite non-traditional – they knew that a big blowout wedding with a ton of people was just not for them. They were down here in Costa Rica for a fun surf vacay. But Jens had other plans! He was planning on proposing to Cece here and then to elope. Literally a few days before the elopement date that he had in mind – he asked her. She said YES! Since Cece only had a couple of days notice – there was no time to go get a dress and the whole thing – which isn’t even her style – so for her I do’s she wore a bikini top and a fun white skirt she found in one of the stores in Malpais. And then she changed into another simple beachy dress she found here for sunset cocktails and dinner. Jens had got in touch with Malpais Green Weddings a few weeks before he popped the question – to have some wedding experts help him create the perfect day. Myriam and Lisa are amazing at what they do – and created a truly magical ceremony and dinner for two beachside of course. The planners knew the perfect spot that was right on the beach and private. The couple went surfing in the morning and then got married in the afternoon. A most perfect day for these two! And it just goes to show that you don’t need to have a ton of bells and whistles to have a gorgeous and magical day. Their day was simple, sweet and unbelievably romantic.

Photography: A Brit & A Blonde | Wedding Planner: Malpais Green Weddings | Ceremony Venue: Private Residence In Malpais

A Brit & A Blonde is a member of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
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