When you think ‘rustic wedding,’ you probably don’t envision a beach ceremony and reception, but rather country, barns, and vineyards; something whimsical… right? When you think ‘beach wedding,’ you probably think tropical, nautical… sea shells, starfish and flower crowns.
Well, I live on an island but have always dreamed of a rustic wedding. And living on a beach, we knew we wanted to have the wedding in the sand. When we explained what we envisioned for decor to our planner, she got excited for the chance to do something different because it’s pretty typical for an island destination wedding to be tropical-themed. She took our notes and put together a decor inspiration look-book and I seriously DIED. One page in and I was sold and I hadn’t even seen the bulk of her ideas. It’s like she entered my brain, took pictures of my dreams and created the most perfectly unique feel for our big day. IN LOVE.
I should preface by saying that we also got our dream venue. We were engaged at a private villa on Cayman Kai a year ago this month. It has a huge peninsula of untouched private beach, lots of palm trees, and a dock; the perfect layout to have the ceremony, cocktail hour AND the reception with plenty of room for more. When we stayed there last year, we both knew it was where we wanted to get married. Not only did the location have a lot of meaning for our relationship, but it was away from the touristy area of the island, and was so insanely perfect and beautiful. We just couldn’t imagine ourselves getting married in a place where passersby could just stop, watch and photograph our wedding (and even photobomb, as we have seen!).
Now, take the dream location and the amazing design inspo and you have to imagine that we were through the roof with excitement. Not only to have what was sure to be a beautiful wedding but one that would be so unique to any wedding we will ever go to in our lives. It fit us perfectly.
Now, picture this. The plot of land has a large, sandy peninsula with a bay on one side and the ocean on the other, so the ceremony was at the very end. Water on both sides for the ceremony? Yes, please! We had a little over 100 guests seated in bamboo chairs, the aisle lined with shepherd hooks and mason jar flowers, a simple 4-post wooden altar with a spray of flowers in one corner, and hand-made rustic signs to welcome and guide our guests. It was exactly what we discussed and then some.
Every element was executed in a way that I kept saying to myself “wow, that was a good idea” or “ooh! I love how they did that!” – even when it came down to how our DIY contributions were set up. Cause, you know, you get a certain vision in your head, you spend time creating and then you just have to hope that it’s all good. The welcome sign, for example, was a product of many hours and hands (more on that later!) but I wasn’t able to tell the planners exactly where I wanted it to be placed, because well, I was busy getting my hair done of course. But the sign was made in such a way that it could be placed anywhere on the peninsula so long as the directional arrows pointed the right way, obviously. Everything was where I wanted it to be, which was a sigh of relief as I am sure any DIY bride can understand!
By the way, “Karibuni” means “Welcome All” in Swahili, which was a fun idea that my husband offered because he is Tanzanian and we had many guests that spoke the language.
The cocktail hour was just a few steps away in the middle of the peninsula, among the palm trees as the sun went down. Rum barrels filled with beer, lanterns stuffed with flowers, rum barrels used as tabletops, and hints of burlap and lace to come.
The one big thing that I did not want was a lot of pink. The bridal party color palette was champagne-blush, but I didn’t want all of the decor and flowers to be in-your-face-pink. The flower arrangements were PERFECT. Blush, lavender, peach (which I was obsessed with!), whites and greens, wrapped in burlap and lace for the bouquets, and set in a variety of vases, mason jars and wooden boxes on all of the tables.
String lights lit the entire reception area, highlighting a rustic-themed bar, a combination of circle and rectangle dinner tables which horse-shoed around the dance floor, and our sweetheart table which had a simple arch, teardrop lights and of course, more of our beautiful flowers. Each place setting had a glass mason jar with each guest’s name in chalk, and cute paper straws that matched the color theme that I ordered off of etsy.
The circular tables had burlap table cloths with a lace accent while the rectangles had a burlap and lace runner. I just loved the mismatched look and was so happy that we didn’t make the seating 100% uniform because it truly helped create the rustic feel that I was hoping for.
SO many people told us that it was the most beautiful wedding that they had ever been to and I have to agree. I may be biased but I honestly could not imagine a wedding day being any more amazing than it was. Thank goodness for an amazing photographer because it was a sight I never want to forget!
Shout to our planners Dora, Andrea, Mary Ann and Angela at Celebrations LTD for designing our best day!