Photography by Charlotte Jenks Lewis.
Today’s wedding is definitely one of those times I can’t believe that my invitation must have got lost in the mail! Both born and raised in Bermuda, Reilly & Alex wanted to share their love for this unbelievable place and its many traditions with all of their family and friends, and it really does show in every detail. Their relaxed island style comes across in everything from their incredible illustrated, tropical stationery suite, to the colorful flowers Reilly’s dad grew specially for the day, to (how could you not in Bermuda?) custom made rum cocktails! My favorite detail, though, just has to be the groom’s surprise to his bride for their amazing boat exit. Read on for more!
Reilly told us, “since the ceremony and reception were out on an island, guests had to arrive by boat. We had a boat collect all the guests at 11am and bring them over to island where they were greeted with champagne and mimosas before taking their seats. Also, Alex and all of his close guy friends took a boat cruise together from the mainland before coming to the island. It was great for him to have that friend time before the event.”
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? We wanted something different, something that no one else had done before (as far as we knew, anyway!). We are both Bermudian (born and raised) and grew up on the beach or in the water, so we knew that we wanted to get married in Bermuda surrounded by our closest family and friends. We first met on a boat and love being out on the water with friends so we knew that we wanted to get married on or near the water. We found Island House on Long Island in Paradise Lakes and loved it. We were the first wedding out on the property. We had the ceremony outside, open air, on one of the lawns over looking the Great Sound and the reception on the upper lawn other side of the house. We decorated a driftwood arc with colorful flowers and got married underneath it. I got ready on the island and watched everyone arrive by boat from the porch – it was so fun to wave to the boat as it arrived! During the ceremony, some people sat in the chairs while others stood around the sides. It was laid back and perfect!
Are there any special details that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? We had a small family centered bridal party. We each had one person – his sister was my bridesmaid and one of my brothers (Nick) was his one groomsman. My other brother (Jon) did a reading during the ceremony. We also lit a candle in memory of our loved ones who could not be with us.
We included a stone ceremony at the end of the formal ceremony. I love collecting stones and shells whenever we go to the beach or when we go away, so we wanted to incorporate these stones. We encouraged each person to take one, make a wish and then throw it into the ocean at the end of the ceremony.
Your ceremony in three words. Playful, relaxed, traditional.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? I asked advice from friends, from our officiant, and from our graphic designer (to see what others had done). We wanted it to be meaningful but also quick and simple,as Bermuda in May is hot so we didn’t want our guests sitting around without shade for too long!
What was your ceremony music? For our parents walking down the aisle we played Every Day by Buddy Holly // Bridal processional: You’re So Cool by Hans Zimmer // Certificate signing: Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole // Recessional: Stir it Up by Bob Marley.
Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? The Rt. Revd. Nicholas B.B. Dill (The Bishop of Bermuda). We love his style – he is traditional but fun. He has a more contemporary and energetic approach to the ceremony than other officiants.
Did you include any other traditions in your ceremony? The Rt. Revd. Nicholas B.B. Dill has a tradition of offering a rope to the couple he is marrying. He holds the rope and tells a story about how each strand that makes up the rope is not that strong on its own, but when woven together, it is unbreakable . It is a sweet analogy for marriage that really highlights what is important and what makes couples strong, as two of the strands represent the couple and the third strand is the love of God.
What were your ceremony readings? My brother read a message from my grandmother. My grandmother was unable to travel to Bermuda for the wedding but still wanted to be a part of the day so she wrote a special message to me and Alex that my eldest brother read out loud for everyone.
What were your vows like? We said traditional vows.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? I loved everything but the highlights were being surrounded by all of our close friends and family in such an intimate setting, being out on the island with the view of the great sound, walking down the aisle with my dad – he always makes me laugh so I was laughing and smiling the whole way! Other favorite moments were seeing Alex and my brother standing up at the front, my other brother reading a special message from my grandmother, saying our “I dos”, the kiss! And then walking down the aisle holding hands surrounded by all of the people we love!
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Embrace the unexpected, and each others’ opinions, and don’t get too caught up in the details. Hire a wedding planner if you need one – especially one for on the day. Keep your focus on what matters most, forget what you think you should or shouldn’t do, and just go with your heart. Listen to each other and just have fun!
While the couple had a chance to relax and enjoy the island after the ceremony, they were also able to sample their signature cocktails, created by Somers Carr, the owner of the The Blind Pig Cocktail Co.. Alex’s was called “Wedding Rummer” (a play off of his boat’s name, “Marathon Rummer”) and featured Zacapa 23-year-old rum, toschi black cherry syrup, lime and grapefruit. Mine was called “The Mezzy Bobo” (Alex’s nickname for me is Mezzy) and was made up of Absolut Vodka, English cucumber water, lemon, basil, and seltzer.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? Something old: sixpences at the bottom of my shoes (I got one from my aunt and one from my friend), something new: my dress, pearl earrings from my mom, and an embroidered handkerchief from my mother-in-law, something borrowed: a handkerchief from my grandmother which I wrapped around my bouquet and carried with me. And something blue: Instead of having bridesmaids I had “blue girls” – I asked all of my closest girlfriends to be my something blue and asked them to wear something blue on the day!
How would you describe your reception? Casually elegant. We really wanted an elegant yet relaxed vibe, along with keeping it romantic. For the reception, we had a giant tent outside surrounded by palm trees and decorated with greenery and chandeliers on the upper lawn overlooking the Great Sound. Inside we had a mix of long farm tables and round tables. The tables were decorated with natural linens and bamboo plates. The centerpieces featured a mix of potted plants grown by my dad and Suzan Sickling, and bud vases with colorful flowers.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? We really wanted something unique and intimate and we wanted to create a casual and fun atmosphere for all of our friends and family. Back in the day, Bermudian weddings were traditionally held on Thursday afternoons and were followed by a casual lunch reception with tea sandwiches – we wanted to incorporate this tradition and decided to have a lunchtime wedding with gourmet sandwiches. Also, both of our parents had lunchtime weddings so we wanted to do the same.
We were inspired by island life and wanting it to feel like a fun, casual but elegant garden party. We love being out on the water with friends and love darties (day time parties!), so we wanted our wedding to have the same feel. We decided to have a noon ceremony and a social sit down lunch reception, and then danced all afternoon into the night.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? Alex, together with Mathew Strong from Das Fete, built from scratch all of the farm tables that guests sat at for the reception. We then got to keep the one that we sat at and engraved our names and the wedding date on the bottom. We were very hands on throughout the organizing, planning, design and execution of our wedding. It was a little stressful at times but totally worth it and so much fun to do so much ourselves.
What was your wedding menu? It was a sit down family-style lunch with gourmet sandwiches and shared sides. We started with Gazpacho soup, then had various sandwiches that guests could choose from including Turkey Club Sliders, Pressed Italian Sandwiches (my mom is part Italian so we wanted to incorporate this), Roast Beef crostinis, Fresh Tomatoes and Ricotta on Olive bread, and Grilled Shrimp Skewers. We also had family-style sides for each table including a Mixed Green Salad, Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables and Greek Salad. Then we had wedding cake for dessert.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had three cakes – we had a three tiered ”barely naked” cake which was a mix of fruit cake and pound cake and topped with fresh flowers. We also had a traditional Bermudian bride cake and a traditional Bermudian groom cake. The groom has a pound cake covered in gold leaf symbolizing wealth and prosperity. The bride has a fruit cake wrapped in silver leaf, symbolizing purity and fertility. Each cake is topped with a small cedar tree sapling. It is supposed to symbolize the couple’s growing love and flourishing relationship with time. After the wedding, we continued the Bermudian tradition and replanted the cedar tree sapling in our garden to watch it grow as we grow together as a couple.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? We loved everything! Being out on the island, the family style sit down lunch, Alex’s speech, my dads speech, the music, dancing, playing lawn games, yummy cocktails, and spending time with everyone!
What was the best advice you received as a bride? On your wedding day, soak up all the love, excitement and happiness! It is about the love that you share with each other and it’s about enjoying the time with the important people in your life who love and support you. Just have fun, celebrate and enjoy the day!
What was your first dance song? Father/daughter or mother/son dance? We danced to I Cant Help Falling in Love with You – we started with the Elvis Presley version and then it transitioned into the UB40 version and all of our friends came out and danced with us. We did not do a traditional father/daughter or mother/son dance but we did dance with our parents throughout the day.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. We ended the evening with a cocktail boat cruise and dancing from the island back to the mainland. My husband surprised me when we got to the mainland marina by having our boat at the dock with a lit up sign that said “Just Married”. He somehow got off of the boat before everyone and was standing on the edge of the boat waving with the lit up sign when we docked. He and I then cruised back to the island together on the boat and spent the night in the house. We loved that the wedding lasted all day and night! It was so special and fun to end the night on the water with our closest friends – a place where we love to be!
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? Nope, we would not change a thing!