Matt and I actually grew up only 11 miles apart from each other, but it wasn’t until we were at the University of Maryland that we met. This isn’t your typical college love story, though. Thinking back on it now, there were quite a few connections that had to happen to bring me together with Matt’s group of friends. Nevertheless, I found myself hanging out at the house that Matt and his buddies lived in quite a bit. Had you told me then that I would fall in love and marry Matt, I probably would have laughed; I was too busy loving the single life and Matt had some maturing to do, as many college boys do.
It wasn’t until about 5 years later that our paths crossed again. I was recently single again, rekindling social connections, and found myself at a happy hour with that same group of boys that I spent so many sunny days with, hanging out in their yard. Matt and I started chatting and realized that we had a lot in common, specifically, our interest in health and fitness. He was doing Crossfit, which at the time was a very new thing, and something that I had been wanting to try out. After several weeks of doing Crossfit workouts together, our friendship (and bodies) were stronger than ever. Matt wanted to make things exclusive before I was ready, but it wasn’t until a friend asked me, “what would you do if he walked out of your life tomorrow?” that is when I knew that I had found someone special worth committing to. My answer to that question was, “I would be devastated.”
I was on the couch in my sweats after a long week of teaching, completely in couch mode, not about to go anywhere. Matt called me on his commute home, which he normally does, and we started talking about dinner plans. After about 10 minutes of back and forth and me reminding him that “I was in couch mode,” he somehow convinced me not only to place an order at our favorite Thai restaurant, but to also walk to pick it up (Matt normally does both of these things)!
It was the warmest day we had had after a long winter, which is why I agreed to get out of the house. I vividly remember enjoying the walk, taking in and appreciating each bulb that was poking out of the ground. Little did I know that Matt had been sitting in his car, staking out the house the entire time we were debating what to do about dinner; his entire plan hinged on the fact that I left the house. When I got home, there was a path of candles and framed photos of us leading down the stairs and out to the backyard. Matt was standing in the yard, I slowly walked toward him trying to process what was about to happen. Matt reminded me that I never actually said “yes,” I did in fact said “yes,” and we popped a bottle of champagne! It was perfect; simple, thoughtful, and most of all, us.
The Best Part of the Wedding
Hands down the time with our families and each other. Our families mean the world to both of us so it was such a wonderful opportunity to get both families together for such an extended period of time. Since we only invited immediate family, the focus really was on two families becoming one. I also really appreciated the time we spent taking photos when it was just Matt and me. That quiet time with him reminded me of what the day was truly about and gave us some time to just enjoy each other.
Why the Caribbean?
I have always dreamed of a Caribbean wedding: low-keyed, surrounded by those most important, and warm! The beach has always been a very special place for my family and some of my fondest memories are from those family vacations we took to various islands. Once we visited Little Cayman for the first time a few years ago, Matt and I both knew it was the perfect place to get married. We love having coffee on the porch of our villa that overlooks the sea, wasting away evenings playing cards, and how the remoteness of the island forces us to unplug, power down, and relax.
Advice to other Caribbean Brides
First of all, nothing can go wrong when you are in a beautiful setting. Yes, things may not go exactly as you had planned or hoped, but if you remind yourself of where you are and why you are there, things get put into perspective. Your hair isn’t quite perfect? Who cares, just look at the landscape behind you! The things that don’t go quite as planned are the things you remember, they make good stories. For us, a ring was dropped into the sand, the officiant forgot to sign the marriage license, and it was a bit drizzly. Sure, I could have gone into panic mode, but now we laugh about it and are thankful these things added a little colour to our special day.
Also, don’t bother stressing about the weather; it can change at the drop of the dime. It is the Caribbean after all! The best part is, each weather condition has its perks: sun shining off water creates unbelievable colours, overcast means you won’t have shadows on your face or are washed out, umbrellas make for really cool photos… you catch my drift? It was overcast for our ceremony and then began to sprinkle for photos after and in hindsight, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Finally, everyone always says that it flies by and to really take in every moment. I had it in my head that because we were in Little Cayman for a week it wouldn’t happen to me. I have come to think that it doesn’t matter how long you extend the wedding, celebrations, or vacation because it will always feel as though it flies by. One last thing that people forget to mention is that there is a sense of sadness. But it is sad in all the best of ways though. It was an amazing week that will now become cherished memories; two families becoming one, constant laughter, beautiful sights, and the beginning of our happily ever after.
Bride’s Dress : Watters
Groom’s Outfit: Tommy Bahama & J.Crew
Photographer: Rebecca Davidson
Dinner & Venue: Paradise Villas, Little Cayman
Congratulations Julia and Matt!