A Caribbean-themed wedding in Antigua
10 Sep 2019
Lured by the beauty and serenity of Antigua, Laura Marshall and Richard Hill agreed there was no better place to hold their wedding
How did you meet?
Through friends; we met in a bar.
Tell us about the proposal.
We spent three weeks travelling around Australia for Christmas and New Year. Richard booked for us to spend three days on a boat to celebrate the New Year coming in, and got down on one knee on Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands with “Will You Marry Me?” written in the sand.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
The colour scheme was cream and navy, with all the male guests in matching cream Cavani suits with navy cravats, to stand out against the beach and ocean.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We chose Antigua because it is a truly beautiful Caribbean island with a relaxed atmosphere and one of the most picturesque beaches in the world. The Sandals brand and resorts are also fantastic and made our wedding and stay perfect.
When did you know when you’d found ‘the’ dress?
I tried around six dresses and honestly liked them all. However when I tried the dress on, and my mum, auntie and bridesmaid Olivia were all crying I knew I had found what I was looking for.
What did the bridesmaids wear?
My one bridesmaid, Olivia, wore a floor-length, navy bardot dress, which worked really well with the suits and wasn’t too hot for the setting.
What did the mother of the bride wear?
My mother, Colleen, wore a long fishtail gown with a floral design and an off-the shoulder neckline, which worked with our Caribbean theme.
Did you hire a wedding planner? How did they help?
Sandals allocated us a wedding planner – Maudlyn – who was fantastic throughout the whole process – particularly with organising the most important day of your life while being halfway across the world. She listened to all our requests and allowed the day to run smoothly, organised all aspects and all parties on the day.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
I flew my own ivory silk flowers to Antigua, including my bouquet, bridesmaid bouquet and boutonnieres. The wedding planner and her team provided us with fuscia centrepieces and matching flowers for the wedding cake over there.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
- Sticking to the Caribbean theme, our favours included bottle openers in a flip-flop design which I think worked well. We had silver money clips engraved personally for the men, plus jewellery for the ladies.
- Our best man flew some beautiful rosé champagne over from the UK for our toast, which was a really special touch, and all our guests signed the hand-painted bottle and we brought this home with us.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
Nervous, of course! I could feel my dad trembling as we walked down which brought tears to my eyes – but when we came around the gardens and I could see Richard and the beautiful view of the ocean I couldn’t wait to reach the gazebo.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
Throughout our relationship we have spent a lot of quality time in Ireland, so we included plenty of beautiful Irish songs in the ceremony and our two ushers both said a few very special words which made it perfect for us.
What was your most memorable moment?
For me, we had the introduction to our entrance song playing before we started the walk down the aisle. Waiting the 30 seconds or so seemed like a lifetime – and this sticks with me the most – listening to the sea and being surrounded by the tropical gardens.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
Naturally, the logistics of planning a wedding in another country – flying and accommodating 20 guests, 11 suits, floral arrangements, favours, the dress and accessories, plus planning on the other side was challenging – but well worth it.
What was the most important investment for you? Food, drink, honeymoon?
The two weeks we had with family and friends on a beautiful island was the most important investment – we created wonderful memories.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
Because I am a huge fan of blues music, we chose The Rose by Joe Bonamassa – which I think is both an unusual choice, and the lyrics are perfectly fitting.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
Sticking with the Caribbean theme, we had a traditional steel band while we had champagne and canapés – it worked really well with the setting.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
Our cake was a fairly simple two tier white cake with fuscia tropical flowers. Richard’s sister had made a stunning knife set for us with our names on which we used to cut the cake.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
We got married at 4pm because of the heat – however I may have reconsidered this because the day went so quickly.
Did anything go wrong on the day?
We had a beautiful outdoor reception in the stunning gardens and during my father’s speech, a huge white snow crab joined the party and ran under the table over the guests’ feet. There were a few screams to say the least!
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Definitely try not to get too stressed about small things – there will always be something you wished you done differently or that doesn’t go to plan, but regardless it will still be perfect and the best day you’ll ever have.
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