Thursday, September 19, 2013

Antigua and Barbuda Wedding #1 - Antigua (Sailboat) Wedding

Being surrounded by water, sailing has been one of the most popular sports in Antigua. Two of the regions most reputable sailing competitions are Antigua Sailing Week and Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta (Antigua). To play off that, a beach wedding centering around a sailboat theme would be a perfect choice for Antigua! 

(English Harbour Antigua Sailing Week - Photo by Ted Martin)

For any water wedding blue or light green is a great colour theme to go by. In this case, I chose blue because it is more closely associated with sailing. I chose a light blue even though sailing is usually a navy but either way a nice rose bouquet would be beautiful for this and most other weddings.

The Dress:
Weddings on the beach are always done because of the beautiful scenery and because of the weather. When it is hot outside a bride doesn't usually want to be in a big, long, heavy dress. She usually wants to be in something more comfortable, shorter and something she can move easily in. Alfred Angelo's Style 2100 is very and the dress looks like it has waves, which would match well with the theme of the whole wedding.

The Shoes:
The best option for beach weddings is always sandals or flip-flops. With an open shoe, the bride doesn't have to worry about getting sand stuck in her shoe and carrying around half the beach all night. Also in the warm weather, sandals would be much more comfortable and a lot easier to kick off.

Make up, hair, nails and accessories: 
It is always best to keep make up simple, but for beach weddings (hot, outdoor weddings) it is really key. Make up can always cause problems when it comes in contact with water (sweat, tears) and it will mess up the bride's make up sticking to just a lipstick or lip gloss would be ideal. For this wedding, I chose a short and strapless dress, because of this, having the bride's hair down would look best with a short veil or no veil at all. And to complete her look a beautiful Aquamarine Necklace with Diamond Accents would be perfect for the bride.

The Groom:
A beach wedding is more of a laid back type of wedding and it is common to see the groom (and his men) not wearing suits but more of just a shirt and pants type thing, formal but not too much. Great options for this would be the Cavala Custom Italian Linen Shirt and the Ventura Custom Linen Capri Pants. Both look great and are available in different colours. 

The Invitations:
Any out of town/state/country guests would really appreciated a Save the Date card, especially if the couple really wants certain people there, it gives the guests time to make arrangements like flight plans, house sitters, booking days of work, etc so that they can make it to the wedding. After the Save the Date cards, a formal invitation should be sent to all the guests (even the ones that already got the Save the Date card). A great option for invitations would be the Destination Modern. (It has the double sided invitation and reply card in the set). 

Photographer and Videographer:
A great photographer that comes very highly recommended is Vanessa Hall. She take beautiful pictures and stages perfect scenes and moments with what she has to work with. She also has a beautiful portfolio and a lot of information available at her website. As for a videographer that can be tricky to find in a country that isn't home to the bride or groom or any guest. As stated before asking a friend or family member to do that favour may be best. 

More than 74% of the population in Antigua and Barbuda are Christian so it would not be hard to find a church or a priest to perform a ceremony, any other religions may be harder to find someone to perform the ceremony and the couple should look into it ahead of time. Of course, any friend or family member that has been ordained can do it also. The couple may choose to have a ring-bearer and a flower girl, in which case a dress for the flower girl to match the bride is need and a tuxedo to match the groom for the ring-bearer will be needed as well (along with a flower basket and ring pillow.) Beautiful rings for a blue wedding like this one would be the Aquamarine CZ Round Channel Set Band and the Men's Sterling Silver Ring with Aquamarine.

With the theme of the wedding being the beach, what greater place to have the reception than on the beach (consulting a wedding planner may be needed for this part). Having a wedding on the beach makes it easier to incorporate some traditions that the bride and groom shares, like throwing the bouquet and garter, cutting the cake and stuff like that. Also having a small table set up would be perfect to accommodate a guest book, money box and a basket of small guest favours should anyone just walking along want to join (this may happen in any wedding but especially when having a ceremony on a public beach).

In Antigua and Barbuda, the national dish is fungie and pepper pot. Fungie is a dish similar to that of Italian Polenta, made mostly with cornmeal. Other local dishes include ducana, seasoned rice, saltfish, fish in a tomato and onion sauce, and lobster. Fruits when in season are every where and at there best so making use of the local varieties would be a very smart and good idea for a wedding dinner. Some other dishes that may be served for dinner could include pork, chicken, lamb or turkey usually with some sort of rice, macaroni pie, and or salads (Antigua and Barbuda Cuisine).  Naturally, the choices would differ depending on who is making the food and what time of year the wedding takes place in. 

The Cake:
For a tropical beach wedding, the cake has to be something that is not too rich but also fruity and sweet. Though there is a lot of bad thoughts associated with fruit cake, a tropical Antigua fruit cake may just be perfect for this wedding. For the cake: combine 19 counces of Cream Cheese (at room temperature makes it easier to work with) 3 Eggs, 1/4 cup of Sugar, 1 TSP of Vanilla, 1/2 - 3/4 a cup of crushed or pureed Mangos, Black Pineapple, and Sweetsop (depending on which flavours are in enjoyed more and if one flavour is preferred to stand out over the others. These fruits are all native to Antigua however regular apples, microwaved with sugar and cinnamon could replace the sweetsop and regular pineapples can replace the black pineapples.) The buttercream or fondant has a few options, it can either also be cream cheese to match the bases of the cake, it can be coconut flavoured to add to the tropical theme or it can just be plain vanilla to compliment the slight notes in the cake. To top this cake off a cute little lighthouse figure would be a unique topper or a standard couple on the beach would be beautiful as well. 

Guest Favours:
Sticking with the sailing theme a good idea for the favours is to go with something simple and useful. For the regular guests, a nice anchor book mark for the women and an anchor bottle opener (or vice versa) would be a nice gift that they can use on a regular bases. For the people in the wedding party, the parents, and close friends or family, a nice gift would be personalized coolers or multi-tool Swiss-army knives


A miniature sailboat centerpiece would be a great match for this wedding and the theme. However, they are not always easy to find, they can get expensive and boats aren't always the most glamorous things either. A beautiful alternative would be light house candle holders. They are beautiful, they match the theme and the can help illuminate the table. Nice additions to the table would be blue and white sailboat tealight holders, and sailboat place card holders

Thank You Cards:
Thank You cards don't always have to match the invitations. In this case any water themed themed or blue Thank You card would work well. Some couples choose to send a picture from their wedding with a personalized note or a post card showing where they honeymooned.

Things To Do:
Antigua and Barbuda are known for their beaches so naturally most things to do are water and beach related but there are some amazing options and sights to see and be apart of. Take a short boat ride to private Prickly Pear Island from St. John's for a half day of fun in the sun - snorkeling, strolling or just lying under a beach umbrella. Enjoy complimentary rum punch and other refreshments from the open bar, as well as tasty snacks and a home-cooked Caribbean lunch, while you take in the tranquil surroundings. Take a helicopter tour, it offers a variety of truly amazing panoramic delights, priceless memories and photographic opportunities for both around the island tour and the Montserrat Volcano tour. Visit Nelson's Dockyard, set aside as 30sq km of national park, the historical dockyard dates from 1745, and is Antigua's most popular attraction. Abandoned in 1899, it languished until the 1950s when its resurrection and restoration began.Today the handsome buildings have been converted into inns, shops, a market, restaurants an art center and a nautical museum. A number of tours visit Nelson's Dockyard, like the Round Island Tour, and the Antigua Shore Excursion (Things to do in Antigua and Barbuda).

Take a city sightseeing tour shore excursion in Antigua. The tour visits a local vegetable market and spends time in the capital city of St. John's, where tourists can shop until they drop for souvenirs at Heritage Quay, home to designer and locally made wares all duty-free. Visit Betty's Hope, it is one of Antigua's first sugar plantations, built by Christopher Codrington in 1674, it was named in honour od his daughter Betty. Ruins of two stone windmills and a distillery remain on the site, along with a small visitors center. One windmill has been restored, and the caretaker offers informative tours peppered with historical insights. Or why not take the Island Safari 4x4 Discovery Tour. It visits some of the most beautiful landmarks in Antigua including Devil's Bridge and Betty's Hope Sugar Plantation.Spend a night at Shirley Heights Lookout. Celebrate the most dramatic sunset in Antigua with a night of music and relaxation. Enjoy a night under the moonlight while dancing to the sounds of steel band music and taking in the beautiful views from atop the lookout. Shirley Heights, named after the former governor Sir Thomas Shirley, overlooks the English Harbor and Galleon Beach and is the best spot to get a bird's-eye view of the island. Go snorkeling, many cruises are available for snorkeling like the Cades Reef Snorkel Cruise that highlights the Cades Reef, or the Snorkeling Island Adventure that includes kayaking and sightseeing in the Caribbean Sea, or snorkel in the protected bay on Bird Island (Things to do in Antigua and Barbuda).