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Under the Veil

An Island Chic Wedding in Eleuthera, Bahamas | Zemi & Ian

Bride’s Name: Zemi Holland
Groom’s Name: Ian Stewart
Wedding Date: April 28, 2018
Destination: Gregory Town, Eleuthera
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Private Estate, Gregory Town, Eleuthera

“Immediately, I felt the connection. He was so smart, so easy to talk to, so down to earth and I felt so much peace. In fact, I remember saying to God, “Lord, if I don’t marry Ian, I will marry someone just like him.”

When Zemi returned home after studying abroad, she had no idea that the ever so handsome, polished, well-mannered and well-spoken Ian Stewart would eventually become her husband. She and Ian hardly spoke during their tenure and eventually went their separate ways. As the good Lord had it, they ended up working together again. They still didn’t speak much, though Zemi blushed the day she found out Ian knew her name.
Things changed suddenly the day they found out something peculiar that they both had in common: they were both twins. (Ian has a twin sister and Zemi has a twin brother.) Zemi reached out to Ian, expecting casual and brief conversation but immediately felt a connection. He was smart, easy to talk to, down to earth and he brought her so much peace. They started dating shortly thereafter, and as they say….the rest is history! Zemi & Ian’s magical wedding in Eleuthera, photographed to perfection by Stanley Babb of Stanlo Photography, is destination wedding envy and the perfect culmination to their touching love story.
Why did you choose this location as your wedding destination?
Eleuthera is home for me. It is where I grew up, it is where my brother drowned and where my mother took her last breath. Though it seems saddening to some, it felt right to return home for my wedding to create happy memories there. So many of my family members had not been to Eleuthera since she passed in 2002 and I wanted them to enjoy the island I loved so much, to fall in love again, to have happy memories there. Ian’s paternal grandmother is also from Eleuthera so it gave his relatives a chance to tour the island and visit family and friends. It all felt so right and so perfect for us.
How did you find and choose your wedding and reception venues?
We chose the actual venue because the owner named the beach on the property “Deanna’s Beach” in honor of my mother, Deanna Holland. The property had such beautiful landscaping and lush greenery. It fit absolutely perfect with our island chic theme.
Tell us about your wedding day.
We wanted to create a beautiful experience for our guests that showcased our love for each other and God and our true thankfulness and appreciation to them, our guests, for being a part of our story and journey. Focusing on the little details that would truly display that we thought of them was important to us: our wedding program was a magazine that gave them stories and poetry to read just in case I was a little late. Our menu included a choice of lobster, fish, steak and chicken and even had vegan options for the variety of taste buds in attendance. Ian inserted a worship segment led by our bridesmaids and Bahamian rising star, Kamilah Gibson (my godsister), who sang an original song based on our love. It brought our guests to tears. From the tributes to the moment I gave my uncle (who was our legal guardian after my mother died) a surprise hug, there were no dry eyes in the place. We had a pampering station with all of the bug spray you could ever need, personalized goodies, a well stocked bar with quality wines, sky juice, beers and an assortment of non-alcoholic drinks. Our entertainment was the one and only Spank Band. We couldn’t help that it rained but we certainly wanted to make the trip worth it for our guests, and we are so happy that they all had such a wonderful time.
Did you have a wedding theme?
Our theme was island chic. We didn’t want to go too beachy or cliché with shells, so we focused on the natural beauty of the space. Though it was outdoors, we opted for the elegance of ceramic plates and metal forks. We had a green wall with our names and large arrangements of flowers framing the altar of the ceremony, with wooden chivari chairs and lanterns and candles strategically placed down the aisles. Beautiful palms and bush framed our seating, and the sky was a perfect shade of blue. For the reception, we had large elephant ear leaves as the centerpieces mixed in with the white flowers of each of the bridesmaids. Bistro lighting was streamed between the coconut trees, which was natural, subtle, romantic and beautiful. Prior to our reception, we held a cocktail hour on the beach, so our guests mixed and mingled as the sun set.
Did you work with a wedding planner? If so, how did you find them and what was your experience like?
I am a very detail-oriented and somewhat controlling person by nature, but I also know to raise my hand when I need help. Five Seasons Bridal provided just the help we needed. There is no way our wedding could have been executed without help as literally everything had to be considered. Our caterer cancelled on us just two days before the wedding, which required a calm head and creativity to resolve. Tennille Darville of Five Seasons, and her staff, provided just that. The guests were totally unaware of the crisis we faced and thoroughly enjoyed the food. Brides, a wedding planner or, at the very least, a day-of coordinator, is a must!
What did you love most about your wedding destination?
The photo opportunities. Eleuthera has so much to offer and is so inspiring from the Glass Window bridge to Queen’s Bath to Preachers Cave and the amazing beaches all throughout the island. Our photographer and videographer blew us away with the material they were able to capture.
What was your favorite moment on your wedding day?
My favorite moment on the wedding day was looking up from under my umbrella to see a beautiful rainbow in the sky. The rainbow has been symbolic of our love from the very beginning. On Skype at work, before I could mutter “I love you”, I would send Ian a rainbow emoticon and he would send me the sunshine emoticon. When I learned that it was forecasted to rain on our wedding day, I called Ian and said, “I know what God is going to do. He’s going to let it rain so I can see the rainbow.” God did just that. It was confirmation of what I knew all along: that ours was covenant love. Ian agrees this was his favorite moment as well.
What advice would you give to couples planning a destination wedding?
From Zemi:
Be prepared, but be wise. Learn to trust and delegate. Tell people exactly what you want and confirm that you’ve been heard and understood. Prepare for the unexpected, but learn to release. Plan, communicate your plan, and trust that everything will be okay. Always remember that your marriage matters more.
From Ian:
Determine your budget as early as possible and execute your wedding within the confines of that budget. Do not borrow. Be patient with your future wife and be willing to compromise. Consider the wedding planning process as a dress rehearsal for marriage.
Dress Designer: Theodore Elyett (Wedding) & Phylicia Ellis (Reception)
Grooms Suit: Hong Kong Tailor
Hair: Virshe Sturrup of Tresses Beauty Bar (Wedding Day) & Lucy Lu of LucyLu Brides (Day After Photoshoot)
Makeup: Cody Rolle of Glow and Glamour (Wedding Day) & Lucy Lu of LucyLu Brides (Day After Photoshoot)
Photography: Stanley Babb of Stanlo Photography
Wedding Planner: Five Seasons Bridal
Cake: The Boutique Cake
Decor: Bahamas Fantasies
Videography: Play Back Media

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