We really love beach weddings here at SW, but I think what I like best about Caroline + Cirian’s Florida nuptials from Belathee Photography is how the couple effortlessly turned a seaside ceremony into an effortlessly glamorous, glitzy affair. The juxtaposition of the sand and sun at Islamorada, FL and luxe, pink details at their intimate reception at Pierre’s Restaurant is a refreshingly original spin on the ever-popular destination wedding. While the bridesmaids inky-grey frocks from BCBG are deliciously sophisticated, I must confess the bride’s structured Romona Keveza gown has officially topped my all-time favorite dress list. Sigh. The hot pink bouquets and centerpieces courtesy of Floral Fantasy Weddings offer a sleek and modern touch but the fun, lounge-chair topped Key Lime cake from the Islamorda Restaurant and Bakery reminds us the couple is still celebrating with a laidback beachy wedding. I’m definitely looking forward to the upcoming holiday season but these kind of weddings sure do make me miss summer!
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Ciaran and I met in August of 2003 while traveling in Peru. We had both signed up to hike the Inca Trail with a local tour group. Since I was traveling alone, the tour operator told me that they would place me in a tent with another single woman. They must have been confused by the Gaelic spelling of Ciaran’s name, because they assigned us to the same tent. By the time we realized the sleeping arrangements, I had already spent the entire day getting to know him and his friends. His group of friends was very gracious; one friend even offered to have his girlfriend exchange tents with Ciaran so that I would feel more comfortable, but I could tell that I was going to be comfortable with Ciaran. We made a joke out of it and proceeded to be tent mates for three nights before arriving at Maccu Picchu.
Describe the proposal: Ciaran proposed last December 21st, the night after his surprise 30th birthday party. His sneaky sister knew about both the surprise party AND the proposal, and never let on to either of us what the other was planning! Under the guise of an early Christmas gift, Ciaran took me to a little B&B we had always admired. After settling in the room we went to our balcony to look at some horses and the coast line. I didn’t know it at the time, but, right as he was about to propose, I scampered back into the room because, as is usually the case for me in his home country, I was chilly. Ciaran followed me in and, again, right at the moment he was about to propose, I hugged him spontaneously to thank him for the great surprise. Little did I know he was just about to ask me to marry him!
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? I wanted our wedding to be stylish and understated. Ultimately, we chose to have a beach wedding, but I still wanted it to feel coordinated, contemporary and timeless. In terms of colors, I drew inspiration from the landscaping and general environment at Pierre’s Restaurant in Islamorda, where the ceremony and reception were held.
Favorite design element of your big day: I really liked how we were all dressed. I tried to focus on choosing clothes that were modern and stylish, but suitable for a beach wedding. My gown was ivory silk shantung, an incredible fabric for a structured beach wedding dress. Ciaran wore a gorgeous gray Armani suit we found on sale. His tie was grey and white paisley, a clear but contemporary marker that he was the groom. The three bridesmaids wore strapless blue-brown BCBG dresses and even went barefoot for the waterfront ceremony. The guys wore blue button downs with a subtle embossed design, gray slacks, black belts and black leather beach sandals. I felt the colors really brought in the colors of our outdoor environment and set the tone for a beach glam.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: My sisters and mother accompanied me for an insane three-day weekend of wedding dress shopping. I knew I wanted them there when I found The Dress, so I made appointments everywhere, staggered about twenty minutes apart. We were dashing into cabs, barely making it into subway doors… it was a little ridiculous. We had a few really good contenders through the weekend but still hadn’t found the perfect dress. In the end, I chose the dress my mother was convinced was the perfect dress for me. In the end of course, I am so glad she pushed me towards that one. It definitely had that “wow” factor brides look for!
Describe your wedding flowers: I was pretty set on anemones because they have a dark brown-black center, and I wanted that extra bit of dark color in the bouquets. My florist really came through because anemones are not seasonal in December and can be fragile in the heat. The bridesmaids carried bouquets with hot purple anemones and calypso orchids, while my bouquet was made up of medium pink peonies (another December impossibility—Thanks Deb!) scattered with orangey-red anemones.
Describe your wedding cake: Our cake was a Key Lime and chocolate cake with chocolate fudge filling and Key Lime butter cream frosting. It was topped with two mini Adirondack chairs and scattered with orchids and a few mini peony heads. We served it with Rum Raisin ice cream… Yum!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I think the music really meant a lot to us. We had a local girls’ choir perform a few songs. They were so spectacular that I was peeking out during the processional as they performed the Ave Maria accompanied by acoustic guitar. Music also allowed us to incorporate both of our heritages in a very memorable way. (Ciaran is Irish and I am first-generation Colombian.) We decided on contemporary Irish folk songs for the ceremony and Latin party for the reception. I walked down the aisle to “The First Time” by Christy Moore, performed by a local Irish singer/guitarist, and the recessional was “Love You Till The End,” by The Pogues.
Congratulations, Caroline + Ciaran! We wish you all the best as you start your new life together!
Were there any special family traditions you included in the wedding? The night before the wedding, Ciaran’s family presented us with a St. Brigid’s cross. St. Brigid is the patron saint of Ireland and her cross is typically displayed in the home as a symbol of blessing and good fortune for the family who lives there. Ciaran’s mother also gave me Ciaran’s baby bracelet as a special gift on the wedding morning. That bracelet means a lot to me, and I know it must have been difficult to part with. If we have a son, I would like to do that for my future daughter-in-law one day.