We love nothing more than getting to share the story + journey of so many amazing couples every week here at GWS. Today’s wedding struck a cord with us…the sweet celebration of Gavin, a war veteran who was severely injured during his tour of duty, and the love of his life, Mica. Gavin’s story was so inspiring to photographer Shipra Panosian that she knew that she wanted to help this deserving couple bring all their wedding dreams together. Aside from Shipra waiving her wedding rate for Gavin + Mica, the flowers, video, cake, coordination, styling and many decor elements were also donated to the couple, as the vendor team wanted to gift their services in recognition of the Gavin’s military service. Stories like this one remind us just how good this industry can be! Let’s hear a little more about G + M’s inspiration for their big day, which was planned in just a few short weeks before they moved to South Korea! Talk about an adventure!!
Few couples find themselves planning a wedding in under four weeks and even fewer have to move to an entire different part of the world (South Korea, in our case) only two weeks after “The Big Day.” But this was the challenge we faced and which pushed us to use our imagination as well as our best DIY stratagems. Our priority was to fashion an intimate and dégagé beach wedding that reflected our disparate backgrounds in a subtle, harmonious, and eclectic way.
The pretty bouquet by velvet&twine was a perfect fit for the gorgeous bride!
After we said our vows, we did not end the ceremony by walking back down the aisle to any recessional music, as most brides and grooms do. Instead, we did a “stone throwing.” We asked our guests to grab a stone and take a moment to make their wishes or prayers. We then all sauntered to the beach to cast our rocks into the sea. This act enabled us to really feel the presence and intense involvement of the small group of people, who had gathered to celebrate our love. The range of emotions—the excitement, joy, and optimism—that we could read on each person’s face as he or she threw his stone into the waters struck us profoundly. We felt deeply connected to one another. This collective effervescence was also intoxicating and immediately got the party going.
A memorable feature of our wedding decoration was the lounge area, consisting of our sweetheart chairs, low coffee table, cushions, rugs, and ottomans. It allowed for the “younger generation” of guests, basically our closest friends, to gather around us in an intimate and laid back manner. We had a lot of laughs and emotional moments in that mini-salon.
And, by the way, are you loving Mica’s amaze dress by For Love and Lemons as much as we are?
Because the wedding would be in the US, far away from all my Latin family in Guadeloupe, France, and Peru, it was important to us to subtend the wedding’s decoration theme with Latin American elements that gave a nod to my cultural heritage in an understated way—free of cultural clichés and in no way alienating to Gavin’s (super) American folks. For instance, unlike most beach weddings, we deemphasized seashells, since these are bad luck in most South American countries. Instead, we incorporated sea urchins, coral, starfish, sea glass and ghost wood. With frayed strips of wild silk that we ripped ourselves, we assembled these objects into garlands that hung off chairs and torches. We wanted to cultivate an overall tattered and raw look that mimicked the aesthetic of the voodoo effigies I always found on the beach when I was a child in the Dominican Republic.
Don’t forget to take a peek at the lovely video below by Joel Kuhn!
We care so much about organizing a picture perfect wedding that, when something doesn’t go according to plan, we tend to see any little hiccup as a major problem. The reality, however, is that a problem is usually just an opportunity for you to use your imagination and to break with convention. When faced with a predicament, calm yourself, talk to those around you, and reinvent the rules. I guarantee you’ll end up creating your own (and thus far more meaningful) traditions, rituals, symbols, and exquisite aesthetic.
We were incredibly lucky to have a super talented, dynamic, and smart photographer, Shipra Panosian, who really helped us articulate and materialize our wedding’s decoration scheme and who also got a range of very creative and hardworking vendors to participate in our wedding. We are eternally grateful to all of them and cannot stress the importance of interacting with your vendors in a truly open and egalitarian way. Their counsel and dedication was invaluable.
photography: Shipra Panosian Photography // venue: Bride’s family’s beach property in Cocoa Beach, Florida // event design + rentals: Lisa Malott of Wish Vintage Rentals // coordination: Tickled Pink Brides // florals + flower crown: velvet&twine // wedding dress: For Love and Lemons // hair + makeup: Beauty by Chantel // groom suit: J.Crew // videography: Joel Kuhn // paper goods: made by the bride // catering: Green Turtle Catering // cake: Hands on Sweets // rentals: Chairs for Affairs Party Rentals // tabletop rentals: Dishie Rentals // officiant: the groom’s brother // music: DJ Dave Ochoa and spanish guitar player Felipe Carvajal // live painting: Danielle Nichol