Rebecca Bocchetti here describes the run-up to her sister Claire James’ big day on October 20, 2011.
Helping to plan Claire’s wedding from thousands of miles away was no easy task but was helped by the sisters’ regular e-mail communication and Skype telephone calls.
Finally it was time for Rebecca and her family to travel to Bermuda for the big day.
Here she describes the excitement of the week that followed, the warmth and hospitality of Bermudians, and her emotions at finally watching her younger sister walk down the aisle.
When Claire asked me to be her Chief of Staff/Matron of Honour for her wedding to Tim I was thrilled and honoured.
It was a complete privilege to be part of such a romantic and beautiful wedding between two very special people.
However, when your sister lives thousands of miles away it is not always easy to share wedding planning duties.
Thank goodness for the Internet. I am already missing our little e-mail frenzies, sharing potential wedding dress pictures, Order of Service ideas, tiny details and big decisions.
Suddenly our worlds weren’t so far apart and we could ‘chat’ about every wedding whim which either of us had, at any time of day or night.
We had virtual fabric swatches, bridesmaid outfits, hair pieces and even virtual reception scenarios. That folder of messages will stay in my e-mail inbox for many years to come.
Soon the vision for the wedding was taking shape and I was lucky enough to have a sneak preview. We couldn’t wait to actually arrive on the island and start the festivities.
Very few people in England are lucky enough to experience a wedding in Bermuda.
It isn’t just about the warmth of the sun and the feeling that you are somewhere exotic and exciting.
No, it is the warmth of people’s smiles and their genuine welcome, the colour of the flowers, the outfits, the food, the sea and the sky. It is that unique sense of being far away and yet coming home.
Claire and Tim wanted their guests to experience as much of that Bermudian spirit as possible and so they treated us to an incredible week of wedding celebrations.
There were Dark ‘n’ Stormys, plus a candlelit buffet to welcome us. Then there was the rehearsal at the stunning Commissioner’s House, followed by a once-in-a-lifetime swim with the dolphins at Dolphin Quest. There was even a champagne post-wedding beach party, and many other moments in between.
Harvey from Little Venice Group/Fourways Catering was an absolute gem. At every event he popped up with a smile and a perfectly pressed pair of Bermuda shorts.
He and the team from Little Venice/Fourways worked so hard to make every element of this special week run smoothly and exceed all of our expectations.
My seven-year-old son thought he had gone to heaven when he tripped back for his seventh plateful from the pasta station at the Welcome Party. As Ring Bearer he had decided he needed feeding up and what better way to do it!
Many of us stayed at the picturesque Willowbank resort and we were treated to a fabulous welcome bag packed with the useful (timetables), interesting (island history) and personal (detailed itinerary), all collated by Claire and Tim.
The bride and groom also decided to eschew the usual three-tiered wedding cake in favour of a colourful collection of cupcakes. They invited the visiting children to decorate them.
The groom’s daughter and bride’s nephews and nieces spent a very happy couple of hours under the patient tutelage of Fourways Pastry Chef, Ganesh Suppiah. He helped them to dye the icing, cut out flowers and butterflies and even add a magical sprinkle of sparkly fairy dust.
Can you imagine their faces on the wedding day when they discovered the table laden with their work, looking so pretty and tasty? Amazing.
It was personal and thoughtful touches like this that made the wedding so unique, personal and special.
Claire, our mum and I shared a special pre-wedding night at Cambridge Beaches before being woken up with scrambled egg and fabulous coffee.
Tanju (Kurt) at TK Hair Ltd arrived to work his magic and then it was time for the bride and her girls to dress and wave goodbye to the wonderful staff as we all headed for Commissioner’s House.
Meanwhile, the guests had been collected by the colourful train from the Bermuda Train Company. Talk about arriving in style!
Seeing my sister looking so stunning in her gorgeous dress as she glided down the steps of Commissioner’s House on Tim’s arm was a moment I will treasure forever.
Then watching my son proudly hand over the rings and my bridesmaid daughter so in awe of her beautiful aunt, this made me shed more tears of happiness. This is what a wedding should be about.
Pastor Dean Smith’s ceremony was a beautiful affirmation of the love between Claire and Tim and their families.
We then moved up to the exquisitely decorated wedding reception on the first floor balcony.
Claire’s vision for her flowers was to create the sense that beautiful local wild flowers had just been picked a moment before we sat down for lunch.
Marguerite (Clark) from Petals interpreted this vision by creating a stunning – yet seemingly effortless — set of floral centrepieces based around Claire’s unique collection of mason jars.
Special touches on the tables included a touching welcome note to each guest, antique keys tied to our escort cards and even wedding menus appearing as the wine bottle labels, complete with a ‘Groom Wanted’ or ‘Bride Wanted’ label on the back.
After a short break, festivities resumed at Salt Rock Grill where speeches, dancing, food and a bucking bronco brought celebrations to a happy close.
The very best weddings are filled with love, laughter, families and friends. Claire and Tim’s wedding was overflowing with all of them.
What an incredible week of experiences and memories we had.
Bermuda is the perfect place for a destination wedding even if that destination just so happens to be called home.
Fairytale Weddings January 2012