A Lush Destination Wedding in the Bahamian Sand

Real Weddings

After friends tried, with no success, to get Mary Kitchen and Jon Orszag to meet up for a date, they took extreme measures and arranged one themselves, joining the now-newlyweds for dinner in June of 2013. "They were our chaperones," laughs Mary. The work paid off when, less than a year later, Jon asked Mary to marry him on a beach in the Bahamas.

A mere four months after getting engaged (and only a year after they met), Jon and Mary invited 125 guests to join them back in the Bahamas for a weekend-long getaway capped off by their colorful oceanfront nuptials on June 14th, 2014. Splitting their time between New York and L.A. and planning a wedding in the Bahamas meant they'd need a fantastic planner, which they found in Martina Stritesky of White Bow Events. And these gorgeous photos? Captured by Rayan Ayash and Barbara Kinney Photography.

Though the ceremony was in the sand, Jon went the formal rout with a Tom Ford tuxedo with a white dinner jacket. "He'd rather wear jeans every day. Thankfully the Tom Ford store in Manhattan serves drinks, even at 11 a.m.!" says Mary.

The bride's shopping experience was much more drawn out. After ordering options from Net-a-Porter and Shopbop and finding nothing (but establishing that Jon wanted to be part of the shopping process), she passed what would become her gown in the window of the Lanvin store. "It was the exact opposite of the slip dress I'd envisioned," says the bride.

A chalkboard artist, Sparrow + Grain, created custom signage for the weekend's festivities.

Mary and Jon exchanged vows beneath a wooden altar, with the Sea of Abaco in the background. Lush white bougainvillea covered the natural wood, and a wooden aisle meant everyone could keep their heels on, even in the sandy setting.

Sitting close in the second row? President Clinton!

The reception took place beneath a white tent strung with café lights and overhead arrangements of peonies and roses. "We wanted to create a wow-factor that would surprise our guests when they walked in," Mary says.

For dinner, everyone dined on local stone crabs, conch salad, and fried snapper. "The whole island buffet was locally sourced. We wanted people to eat when they were hungry, but also wanted them to be dancing all night long."

To keep guests dancing, they were treated to both a towering wedding cake (in dairy and gluten-free vanilla) and a spread of cookies, macarons, and miniature cupcakes.

Dancing took place barefoot on the beach, beneath a trellis strung with lights. Dairy-free pina coladas and Bahamian rum punch had guests grooving all night — and even inspired a few to take a late-night dip after the fireworks display.

"We planned our wedding in less than four months," says Mary, "and I don't regret it at all. It will be stressful either way, so you may as well minimize it!"

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Baker's Bay Club || Wedding Planner: White Bow Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Lanvin || Shoes: Rene Caovilla || Jewelry: Lorraine Schwartz || Hair: Kelsey Morgan of Starworks Artists || Makeup: Min Min Ma of Starworks Artists || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Badgley Mischka || Groom's Attire: Tom Ford || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Lorraine Schwartz || Florist: Floral Arts || Invitations & Paper Goods: Paperless Post, Megan Wappel Designs || Chalkboards: Sparrow + Grain || Music: ceremony - Maestro Bahama Entertainment, reception - Alex Merrell || Catering: Baker's Bay Club || Cake: Earth and Sugar || Rentals: White Bow Events, Floral Arts || Fireworks: Abaco Pyro || Videography: Images Weddings || Photography: Rayan Ayash, Barbara Kinney Photography

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