Turks and Caicos has definitely been on the top of our list of dreamy destinations for quite some time, and it seems like beautiful brides-to-be just like you are definitely paying attention to the epic experience that this country can provide for both you and your guests.
It’s certainly a must for those seeking ultimate luxury, privacy and exclusivity, and we are so excited to be sharing more of this breathtaking country with you all today!
Hear more about Clare and Martin’s special day from their amazing wedding photography, Paradise Photography:
A location like Turks and Caicos is all the inspiration need for a destination wedding! It’s a beautiful backdrop where the dazzling sea, golden sunsets, and swaying tropical plants abound. Clare and Martin’s beach wedding was inspired by this beauty. The palm trees themed decor was inspired by the couple’s Palms Resort venue. Sand dollars with hand calligraphed writing marked each guest’s place at the reception table, and coconuts trees swayed under the full moon light of the lower deck of 72° West reception site.
Their beautiful wedding deserved the island’s best professional wedding photographers. We started in the ladies’ suite, documenting all of the special details we knew the bride would want. We captured candid moments too; like the first time Dad saw his daughter all dressed up, and the moment the groom’s dad received some collectors cuff links from his son. The grounds at The Palms were also ideal for Clare and Martin’s private first look. And we took extra time before the walk down the isle to create intimate portraits. Sunset photos followed the short and sweet ceremony, and before anyone realized, it was time for an exciting and memorable evening.
The day was a phenomenal one made possible by many hands. The ladies’ hair and makeup was beach-elegant-perfection created by Kiss n Makeup. The coordinators that brought Clare’s vision to life included the ladies of Rocknevents and the Palm’s own Lofton Morley. The orchids, roses, hydrangeas of varying shades, and all of the other florals were the magic of Flowers by Environmental Arts. And of course, the priceless ceremony backdrop was provided by Mother Nature’s world famous Grace Bay Beach. We thoroughly enjoyed capturing the Millette’s big day and we know they are thoroughly enjoying their images.
FROM THE COUPLE:
HOW THEY MET & THE PROPOSAL
Martin and I met through many mutual friends. Both of our families are avid supporters of the University of Mississippi and its athletics program. Our parents met through mutual friends many years ago, and Martin met my brothers through this passion well before he ever met me. We constantly laugh about how many times we were in the same place at the same time, but yet, never met. It just wasn’t time yet.
In the fall of 2017, close family friends suggested that we meet in none other than Oxford, Mississippi, home to our beloved Rebels. We met up on a football game weekend and immediately hit it off. Over the next months, we continued to get to know each other and take our time until it was abundantly clear we were interested in spending our time together all the time. We never ran out of things to do or say, having much in common with hobbies, friends and family.
Martin proposed over a year later on New Year’s Day in New Orleans, Louisiana – a city that we both love and spend a considerable amount of time in given our proximity to it and the dear friends that live there. Martin had intended to propose during Christmas but the engagement ring arrived the day after Christmas so he was left without a plan. We were traveling to New Orleans to cheer for the Saints and attend a concert with friends for New Years Eve. Notably, Martin’s parents had their first date, got engaged, and got married on New Year’s Eve.
I had my fingers crossed he may honour them with the same symmetry but having drinks that day he let me know, this day was and always will be for them. We had talked about marriage prior to this and so Martin had to be quite sneaky in order to surprise me with a proposal. Any seemingly big event may tip me off. Yet, he still managed to keep the surprise, proposing on New Year’s Day while we watched football in our pajamas and drank red wine – doing exactly what we love to do while we spend time together.
He jokingly asked if I wanted my ring, to which I jokingly said, well of course – then he dropped to his knee and pulled it out of his pocket and asked me, Clare Elizabeth Smith, to spend the rest of my life with him. He then told me to get ready because we were going out on the town where we celebrated with champagne at the Ace Hotel and a late dinner at Seaworthy, a charming oyster bar and seafood spot next door. We collect menus from special evenings and frame them, so naturally, we snagged one from this spot. It was a perfect evening.
THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE DAY
The island of Turks and Caicos was inspiration enough. We stayed at The Palms Resort so we incorporated “The Palms” in our napkins, cups, and other items. Rather than try to take away from the beauty all around us, the ocean, the sky, sunset etc, we stayed with a neutral palette of creams, beiges and whites. During our ceremony, my sister-in-law read several scriptures that held special meaning to our family.
After Martin and I said our vows, our parents came forward together and placed their hands on each of us for a parental blessing. Martin’s father read several verses and spoke love and family. My Dad closed with a benediction from my pastor in the church I grew up in. As he began to read it, I could feel the tears in my eyes, so I began saying it with him. Around my bouquet, were Martin’s great grandmothers’s light blue rosary beads. I also carried a handkerchief embroidered in light blue with my new initials and our wedding date that was given to me by my close friends before leaving for Turks and Caicos. The ribbon around my bouquet had my initials and date also.
THE WEDDING DECOR
Our ceremony took place on the beach. The walkway leading to the beach had greenery and ribbons on the railings. The aisle was marked with tall varying height glass cylinders with white pillar candles. The chairs on the aisle were draped in greenery swags with ribbon. We took our vows under a bamboo arch wrapped loosely with white fabric. The corner and opposite pole were adorned with a gorgeous arrangement of greenery, orchids, hydrangeas and roses. Underneath the arbor we stood on a bed of rose petals. Each chair had a filigree bamboo fan and a lace cone, made by my Mom, filled with rose petals to toss. The only back drop needed was the ocean and the sunset in the horizon.
The reception and dinner were on the lower deck with the infinity pool as a backdrop. Strands of overhead lights covered the dance floor. Our table was decorated with Palm leaves covered with orchids and glass cylinders of all sizes illuminating the area in candlelight. Each place setting was adorned with a white linen napkin monogrammed with a gold “M”. These were done by a dear friend of ours in a Destin, Florida, Roxanne Alley. Our place cards were white sand dollars with our names in gold calligraphy done by a friend of my Mom’s, Kandy Sims. She also did the calligraphy on our wedding invitation that was displayed on the cake table. Our menu cards were done by my mom on card stock with a gold ‘M” at the top.
Our two tiered wedding cake was topped with a large gold “M” with orchids running down the side. Displayed on the table was a menu from the Palms that was given to us by Lofton Morley, wedding planner at The Palms. Everyone signed our menu that evening and it will be framed and hung in a place of honor with our collection of menus from all of our travels. The night of our rehearsal dinner at the Magnolia Grill, Martins parents gave everyone a Christmas tree ornament to always remember this time together celebrating us.
Bridal bouquet-rounded bouquet with orchids, roses and hydrangeas all in varying shades of cream, beige and white. Mother carried bouquets of white rosesGroom, Best Man and Father of Bride each wore an orchid for their boutonnière. The arbor was adorned with a corner swag of loose greenery, orchids and roses. Another smaller arrangement was on the opposite pole midway down. The whole arbor was wrapped and draped with white sheer fabric. The centerpieces at rehearsal dinner were orchids and hydration coming out of a conch shell. We used these again on the tall cocktail tables for the cocktail hour following the wedding. The wedding dinner table had long Palm leaves down the centre covered with orchids and candles in different sized glass cylinders
We celebrated Father’s Day together on Sunday before our wedding. We all went as a group to The Conch Shack. Lots of fun, good food, entertainment and a little dancing! The girls did spa day on the day of the wedding. We gathered and put on our robes and toasted with champagne before heading in for massages, mani-pedis or facials. The guys all took a walk down the beach to Hemingway’s for lunch, drinks and lots of “tall tales” Time together with all the family was so very special. My niece, who was my maid of honour, sang our first dance song and blew everyone away with her soulful rendition of ‘At Last”.
We walked down the beach to Bay Bistro one night and had a great meal and lots of fun! Other times, we were hanging out at the beach together, the pool, or one of our parents suites dancing and acting just like family should act. We had a welcome party and Martin’s parents gave everyone a white insulted wine cup with “The Palms” on them. Our friend, Roxanne, did these too.
My parents gave welcome bags to everyone filled with “This just got real” koozies with our names and wedding date, white sunglasses, sunglass neck holders, beer openers in the shape of a palm tree, cups and napkins with “the Palms” engraved on them, key/purse tassels for all the girls and 2 bottles of the local beer to enjoy. Attached to the front was a “thank you letter” to all of our family thanking them for being there and for the role each of them had held in our lives. Also an itinerary of the events each day.
THE BRIDAL FASHION
I had the pleasure of working with an amazing team at the Bridal Path in Jackson, Mississippi. Audrey and her team were undoubtedly the most lovely guides in helping me perfect my bridal look. On the day that we selected my gown, about ten of my best friends showed up to help choose the perfect look! This was incredibly special to me given that our island wedding guest list was only family members. It seemed fitting that my best girls would have a place on my special day, even from afar.
When we showed up, bottles of champagne, chocolate strawberries, and the sweetest note awaited us from Martin. He wanted us to have a special day when selecting my special look. In deciding on a dress, we wanted something that would suit the island setting – nothing too full, nothing too busy, nothing too formal, but yet, still stunning.
The Tara Keely gown we selected fit like a glove and when light hit the fabric, it sparkled. When the girls teared up, we knew it was the one! As one dear friend said, it was a perfect mermaid dress for our wedding by the sea. The Bridal Path staff also helped me select my veil, my comb in my hair, and the lovely shoes I wore that day designed by a formal ballroom dancer for elegance, and importantly, comfort.
In selecting his attire, Martin wanted something casual and selected a chambray suit from Bonobos paired with a white linen shirt. The light colors of his look paired perfectly with our floral vision and clean, summer look of the affair. His father (the best man) and my father wore matching suits and the trio topped off their look with white Seavees sneakers to stay comfortable and casual on the sand. Those men looked mighty handsome that day!
Also of special note with respect to my bridal look, I wanted to honour the old saying, “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.” For something old, I carried Martin’s great grandmother’s blue rosary beads in my bouquet and wore a diamond bracelet of my mothers; for something new, I had my bridal gown and accessories; for something borrowed, I wore a ring on my right hand that displayed the first diamond Martin’s father ever gave his mother, and for something blue, my mother had my new initials and the date of my wedding sewn inside my dress in blue, I carried a handkerchief with my new monogram in blue from all my best friends back home, and of course, the heirloom rosary beads of his great-grandmother.
THE MOST ANTICIPATED MOMENT
The most special moment of my wedding day was our “first look.” We had gone back and forth on whether we wanted to see each other before the ceremony or not, but in order to capture the lovely grounds of The Palms in our photographs, we had to take our photos before the ceremony. We selected the spa area to do the first look due to its privacy and beauty. I tried not to think about how Martin might react so that there would be no expectation if it was not what I had hoped. However, his face and words as he turned around will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Many wonderful thanks to the incredibly talented Renise Peters of Paradise Photography for capturing the emotion in this moment. Martin turned around and lit up from the inside, and moved toward me as a perfect smile broke out on his face and with tears in his eyes he told me I looked beautiful.
We hugged for what seemed like eternity and I asked him if he was okay. He responded, “I am just so happy.” I will never forget the love and joy we experienced in that moment realizing we were about to start our lives together and this was only the beginning of what life had in store for us.
Also, earlier in the day, before I began the readying process, my mother handed me a stack of letters from all of my family and friends back home who were not there that day since the wedding was so small. They all offered their blessings, memories, and love and shared in that special moment with from miles away. Finally, our parents offered a blessing during the ceremony in which our fathers offered prayers for our new life together. The words were so beautiful. However, when my father started speaking he offered the very benediction from the church that I grew up in that now hangs on my wall at home. We certainly managed to bring many things from home with us to that island to make that day feel both magical, and familiar.
ANY WEDDING ADVICE FOR NEWLY – ENGAGED COUPLES?
My best advice would be to remain present and remember that it is not only a wedding, but a marriage. Find ways to incorporate the special things in your life and his in any way that you can as these details with stay with you. Share that day with those people that you love and those that have celebrated your journey to that very moment as they will be your support when you need it most. Also, from a technical standpoint, make sure you have a point person or assistance, whether it be a friend, family member, or planner, to make the “trains run on time” and sort out the details on and before your special day as you do not want to be experiencing stress over the production of the event, and as a result, lose focus on the sacredness of your union with your spouse, and the memories you will take away from that joyous day.
Special thank you to the lovely couple and Paradise Photography for sharing this stunning beach wedding with us!
Photography: Paradise Photography | Event Venue: The Palms Turks and Caicos | Floral Design: EA Flowers | Wedding Dress Store: The Bridal Path | Beauty: Kiss N Makeup Beauty Parlour | Wedding Dress: Tara Keely | DJ: DJ Dayoh | Guitarist: Gordon Lightbourne | Thank you letter and itinerary: Amie Tetrault on Etsy | Koozies, napkins and cups: Total Promotional | Officiant: Shaun Malcolm | Submitted via Two Bright Lights |