Emily and James had a destination wedding in Mexico surrounded by family and friends; the ceremony was held on the beach – truly a dream wedding in a tropical paradise. The location provided a gorgeous backdrop for the day with jaw-dropping views and an abundance of colourful foliage making Emily and James’ photos from the big day absolutely stunning. The day was like something out of a movie which perfectly reflects their movie-like love story which began as a holiday romance.
Where did you meet?
James and I first met in Falleraki in 2003 (see below photo!). He was 19 and on a boys holiday, I was 22 and on a girls holiday.
Was it love at first sight?
Not exactly! We met after the first day of being on the holiday. I had just been released from hospital, as I had been suffering from severe dehydration and gastroenteritis; however I decided to go out since I was on holiday.
James was out with his friend when he saw us, he tried to make a conversation with me but I was still feeling unwell and could hardly speak!
He met us at our hotel swimming pool the following day. I had fully recovered by then and we got on like a house on fire. We also found out we had the same birthday too. Of course I asked to see his passport to prove it! At the end of the holiday, we had seen each other every day and we fell in love.
Afterwards we had a long distance relationship with us both living in different counties. Eventually we both moved to Brighton where James was a student at the University, and I got a job. Eventually, however, our lives pulled us in different directions so reluctantly we decided to end the relationship, and James moved away.
We parted on good terms and every year James would wish me a happy birthday. So, 7 years later I received a message from James asking me if I would like a catch up as he was visiting Brighton at Christmas. We met up for a drink, and then at the end of the night out of the blue we kissed, and BOOM! After that there was never any doubt in either of our minds that it was a case of right person, wrong time before, and that this was it.
I had a career in the UK but I left and joined James in Zurich, Switzerland. Then, I got another job, had a baby and got married! We’ve been together since 2013 and it still feels like the first time we met.
How did James pop the question?
We were in Turin, Italy in March 2015 in the Piazza San Carlo, eating ice cream in the sun. It was lovely because that day it was very warm and we had been in the same spot all afternoon soaking it in. As the shade was moving around we were enjoying the last few moments of the warmth. I had just found out a few weeks before that I was pregnant and we hadn’t told anyone yet. We were musing about the future.
James got down on one knee and proposed with the most beautiful ring. I said yes and there was a big round of applause as the whole square had stopped and gathered around to watch.
Tell us about the ring!
It is an oval solitaire with a rope style white gold band, crossed at the front and the back. James worked with a ring designer to make it unique and unusual. I absolutely love it!
What did you do for your hen party?
I went to Brighton for the weekend. My main aim was to shop for the weekend whilst also catching up with friends and family in England. Then my family and Brighton friends joined us and I went out in Brighton to a bar one night, and then a Cabaret the second night.
Where did you get married?
Las Caletas, Puerto Vallerta, Mexico.
How did you decide on the style and look of your wedding?
Luckily James and I have the same tastes. We agreed right from the beginning we wanted it to be rustic, romantic, classy yet relaxed and fun.
Tell us about your dress?
My dress is from Mery’s Couture, Zurich. It is an ivory silk dress, with sheer sleeves, a train, deep V neck, side panels and backless with embellished Swarovski crystal on the front and back. I wore it with a 3 metre sheer veil and barefoot sandals down the aisle, and later with a fresh flower crown and flat sandals.
Did you have something old, something new, something borrowed something blue?
Old, borrowed and blue – my Mum lent me a brooch which I put on my handbag (Etsy).
Blue – my personalised ‘Mrs Austin’ garter.
New – my dress
Tell us about your bridesmaids?
Maid of Honour – Charlotte – We met around 2001 when we were both waitresses in the same restaurant. She has been my best friend ever since.
Rosanna – She’s my little sister.
Angela – We met in 2003 when I moved to Brighton to live. I moved into a house share and Angela and her husband Scott lived there. Scott was the Best Man and their daughter Izabella was our flower girl. They also live in Zurich now.
Where did you hear about Willow and Pearl?
I researched dresses on the internet and saw this website. It had great reviews and was UK based.
Did you decide upon the bridesmaid’s dresses by yourself or was it a group decision with all the bridesmaids?
I wanted all the bridesmaids to be happy and feel special in what they were wearing. James and I decided the colour scheme for the bridesmaids was sky blue and then initially left it up to them to choose an individual dress for themselves. There didn’t seem many options in the stores at that time, probably due to it being winter, so I helped to research different options. All the bridesmaids had certain styles they didn’t want to wear so I looked into a dress that could be worn multiple ways.
When I found the Willow and Pearl website and sent them all the link, it was the only dress they all agreed on! I picked Duck Egg blue which is a bright light blue, perfect to stand out from the beach.
How did the bridesmaids wear their dresses?
Charlotte – Wore hers with strap sliders at the front, with the fabric loosely draped around her waist and cascading down the back, she wore a pearl brooch at the base of her back to hold the fabric in place.
Rosanna – Wore hers twisted and crossed at the front, and then twisted into one at the back and wrapped around her waist.
Angela – Wore hers with strap sliders at the front, and then crossed and twisted at the back and wrapped around her waist.
Do you think your bridesmaids will wear their dresses again?
All three said they loved their dresses and they would wear them again.
What was it like getting ready on the morning of your wedding day? How did you feel?
The bridesmaids, my flower girl Izabella and Angela’s niece went to the Bridal Suite on Las Caletas, Mexico for 10am. We spent all morning and afternoon there eating, drinking champagne, enjoying the sun and outside Jacuzzi.
Then the hair stylist and makeup artists arrived to get us all ready. I was really excited to show the girls the suite and I had arranged for them all to have personalised hangers (Etsy), and Charlotte arranged the dresses on the hangers before we all went up to the suite. I had also bought silk kimono’s (Etsy) for each girl and had Charlotte hang them on the hangers with the dresses.
I felt elated, happy, nervous and excited all together. It was such a wonderful experience.
Were all of your bridesmaids with you getting ready?
Yes, and the flower girl was there too. I was the last one to have my hair and makeup done. It was great to watch everybody’s transformations on the day.
Did your bridesmaids have any special duties for the day?
Charlotte had to get the Bridal Suite ready once we arrived at Las Caletas so that the dresses were hanging by the time we got to the suite. As my Maid of Honour, she was also responsible for sorting my veil out at the end of the alter.
I briefed all my bridesmaids before with a very vital task – take down anyone that comes near me with red wine!
Did you get your bridesmaids a gift?
I got all 3 bridesmaids handmade silk clutch bags in a peacock print. Each bag had a personalised stitched label inside with an individual message to them (Etsy).
We also got presents for the Best Man, Groomsmen, Mother of the Bride, Mother of the Groom, Father of the Bride, Ring Bearer and Flower Girl. The majority of gifts were personalised from Etsy.
What flowers did you have?
My bouquet was bright and colourful and reflected the tropical setting.
Did you throw your bouquet?
Yes, and my brother’s girlfriend caught it!
Did you have music to walk up the aisle?
It Must Be Love, covered by The Foobars.
Where did you get all your decorations?
I got the wedding favours from Amazon UK. The decorations we selected from the wedding planner.
Did you have an additional entertainment or activities during the day?
We had a DJ, a traditional Mariachi Band, fire dancers, and sky lanterns.
What was your first dance?
Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran. We had secretly been going to lessons so that we could perform a dance on the day. However, when the day came, the dance didn’t go as smoothly as planned, and James stepped on my train and ripped a hole in my dress!
What was the best part of your day?
The Bridal Suite and walking down the aisle!
What is your favourite photo from the day?
One of these, because our daughter Ava is with us!
We love this one because all our best friends are with us.
Advice for brides to be?
If you are having a destination wedding, get a wedding planner if one is not included. Have a look at reviews so you know what to expect. Our planning and preparation for the wedding was stress free and we knew exactly what to expect when we arrived.
For the dress keep an open mind and try on lots of different styles. The dress I chose was not one that the assistant picked up and hanging on the hanger did not do it enough justice as putting it on.
Don’t leave buying presents to the last minute, and buy something that you can easily transport to the destination. We got most of our presents from Etsy as they can be personalised, are unique and great quality.
Be easy going and flexible. Things may not go to plan on the day, but take everything as it comes, as it will be over too soon.
Emily’s wedding dress – www.merys.com
Wedding Destination – Vallarta Adventures
The bridesmaids dresses – long Willow dresses in Powder Blue with Crystal & Pearl strap sliders.
Hair & Makeup – Joel Salon
Emily’s personalised ‘Mrs’ garter – www.silkgarters.co.uk
Personalised gifts – www.etsy.com/uk
Wedding favours – www.amazon.co.uk