Irish whiskey in the welcome bags? Check. Shamrock cookie cutter wedding favors? Check. Green beer? Check. Intern dressed in a leprechaun costume prancing around the cocktail hour with a pot of chocolate gold coins? Priceless.
Everything is ready to go for Dana Nelson and Bret Eikenhorst's fabulous St. Patrick's Day wedding on March 17th. The veterinarian bride and pastry chef groom from Plano, Texas have brought 40 of their closest friends and family all the way to Vieques Island, Puerto Rico, for an authentic Irish fiesta, and we're going to give it to them. Neither the bride nor groom are Irish, but the couple thought St. Paddy's was an awesome day to get married (and they both love their Irish whiskey!)
The Big Day comes complete with green beer (dye hand carried back from the States by me). The guests were welcomed with green beach bags sporting a map of Vieques Island on them, filled with our locally made Coqui Fire hot sauce and Irish whiskey to warm them up (if the humidity in the Caribbean isn't enough).
Now I'm not normally a big fan of holiday-themed weddings -- and it's not just because I'm sick of spending every holiday at somebody else's wedding -- I just believe that matrimony itself is a pretty good theme for a wedding day. You don't really need Halloween costumes or a Mrs. Claus-esque wedding gown to make your point. But when a client tells me that she wants to have a St. Patrick's Day wedding, and she really wants to do it up, well then I say "bring on the leprechauns."
If the St. Patrick's Day theme and its accoutrement aren't enough to pique your interest, things have gotten more bizarre since the guests began arriving on the island. I didn't know til I met them at the welcome party at Lazy Jack's that we have THREE sets of identical twins at the wedding -- and one of the twins is the bride!
The bride and groom will be married in a romantic sunset ceremony on the beach at Sun Bay, free of the blarney stone and all associated redheads and lucky charms. If you don't count her flowers. In keeping with the color scheme, the bride will carry a gorgeous bouquet of green hydrangea, green Dendrobium orchids, green roses and ivory calla lilies, hand-tied with an ivory satin ribbon. And they will be married under a white arch decorated with a lush garland of green and white orchids and palm fronds.
Once the vows and rings have been exchanged, all bets are off. The guests will be welcomed to the reception by a perky leprechaun and offered frosty green beers by service staff adorned in St. Patrick's Day finery. Everybody on the staff of Weddings in Vieques is Irish this Saturday for Dana and Bret's wedding, whether they like it or not. Including Alissa the intern who brought her own leprechaun outfit all the way from the University of Nebraska for the occasion.
We're taking over the entire Hacienda Tamarindo for the weekend, a gorgeous boutique hotel featured in the book "1,000 Places to Visit Before You Die," and we're turning the hotel into a Caribbean Irish pub for the wedding reception. While shamrock mylar balloons and a green shamrock groom's cake may not say "authentic" to the Celtic crew, on Vieques Island that's not half bad. Combine it with excellent music, unbelievable food, and a Guinness wedding cake with Bailey's Irish Crème frosting, and I believe we have all the makings of the perfect Puerto Rican St. Patrick's Day (p.s. that does not mean we're serving corned beef and beans and rice for the wedding dinner). I think we're doing up the theme as well as we can without crossing the line of taste. Perhaps we're blurring it a little with the leprechaun, but I just couldn't resist. And neither could the bride.
Now this is not the first "themed" event Weddings in Vieques has planned. We've had Valentine's Day weddings and Christmas Eve weddings and even an Independence Day celebration complete with sparklers. Keep in mind that not every theme has to be a holiday. My all-time favorite was an Ohio State tailgate party we threw (in lieu of a formal rehearsal dinner) on the afternoon of the first home football game of a new season for the Buckeyes. We decorated with pennants, served sausages and peppers on rolls, ate melting homemade Buckeye candies for dessert, and jammed to my CD of The Ohio State University Marching Band (TBDBITL to those of you in the know). The bride and groom, both doctoral candidates at OSU, hammed it up by dressing their entire wedding party in scarlet and grey attire for the day.
It's okay to have some fun with a theme at your wedding as long as you don't lose sight of the actual reason you're gathered together -- the auspicious occasion in which you and your one true love will exchange vows and rings intended to bind you together for the rest of your lives. Green bouquets at the ceremony are fine; naughty limericks in place of the traditional readings, not so much. Especially if your grandmother is in attendance.
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra! Nobody's getting married on Easter this year -- hurry up and book now so we have time to rent the bunny suit!