Yelan and Matthew have a shared love of travel, so she didn't think anything of it when they planned a trip to Thailand and Cambodia in November of 2012. But little did Yelan know, Matt had paid a visit to her dad before they left, hid a ring in his luggage, and proposed in Cambodia. The globetrotting pair continued the trend when it came time to plan their wedding in December of 2013. "We take a big trip every year, and knew we wanted to get married abroad," says Yelan. "We talked to other friends who've had destination weddings, and St. Lucia came so highly recommended." They chose Sugar Beach as the venue for their 40-person celebration, and brought Shane Carpenter of Readyluck along to capture every moment.
Yelan is an art director, so she and Matt created the save-the-dates and invitations themselves. "It was so fun to design and put them together," she says.
The bride headed to non-profit salon The Bridal Garden in New York City to find her perfect wedding gown. "I found a Vera Wang gown, which was a huge score," she says. The dress was a few sizes too big, but an expert seamstress was able to take it in and make it fit like a glove. Coral Seychelles sandals added a hint of tropical color, and beautifully matched the bride's brightly-hued bouquet.
Yelan's three bridesmaids wore coral dresses from J.Crew, each choosing a different neckline. Matt and his groomsmen wore a combination of blue and white shirts, gray vests, and gray pants, with the groom wearing a coral tie.
The flower girl wore a white dress for her trip down the aisle. "When we first asked her and her brother to be our flower girl and ring bearer, they fought over who would get to carry the rings!" laughs Yelan.
Matt and Yelan had planned to have the ceremony outside, but an afternoon shower changed their plans. Their coordinator moved couches and chairs into an indoor space, creating an intimate space for the couple's vows.
Yelan and Matt exchanged traditional vows, but included a playful reading in the ceremony. "We had our guests RSVP with their best marriage tips, then we picked our favorites, like having two sinks in the bathroom, for our bridesmaids and groomsmen to read," says Yelan.
After the newlyweds' first kiss, guests tossed confetti in celebration.
The waterfront reception featured a seafood buffet, followed by a lemon wedding cake. Matt and Yelan moved from New York to Los Angeles while they were planning their wedding — "Not something I would recommend!" says Yelan — so their first dance was to "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, a song with special meaning because this move was actually the fifth the couple has gone through together!
Five months later, Yelan and Matt honeymooned in Belize, adding another country to their passports. Advises the destination bride, "It's not important to plan every single detail down to a T. Guests won't remember it all, but they will remember if they had a great time."
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Sugar Beach || Wedding Planner: Shantal Soloman of Sugar Beach || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang, from The Bridal Garden || Shoes: Seychelles || Hair & Makeup: Rainforest Spa at Sugar Beach || Bridesmaids' Dresses & Groom's Attire: J.Crew || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Jabel || Catering & Cake: Sugar Beach || Photography: Shane Carpenter of Readyluck
Want more destination wedding inspiration? Then check out another island celebration in the video below.