Today is Bill’s birthday so I have to keep this relatively brief so I can finish getting everything together for our beach picnic with friends. We’re going out to Red Beach to barbecue — amazing how we do this stuff for other people every wedding weekend but it always seems like so much more work when we do it for ourselves! But before I head out to the beach, I need to stop being delinquent and tell you guys all about our first-ever sunrise wedding last week!
Alison Riley and Robb Johnson were married at sunrise on Sun Bay on Wednesday, January 21st. Yep, I said sunrise. When she first contacted me, I sorta tried to talk her out of that (shame on me), but she was determined. I found out later it was Robb’s idea so maybe I should have been lobbying him. Anyway, it was a good thing she didn’t want to have her hair and makeup professionally done or my hairdresser probably wouldn’t be speaking to me right now!
Alison and Robb came to Vieques from their home in Iowa. It was -20 degrees when they left home so they looked very happy to arrive in the sunshine down here. This was their second trip to Vieques — they fell in love with the island on their first vacation here — so they were an easy elopement couple to work with because they already knew the island.
Alison is absolutely gorgeous — and she’s one seriously tall drink of water! So is Robb. I actually considered putting my minister on some kind of booster step but figured that would look pretty silly in pictures. When they arrived on the island, they were so happy to be here that their good energy was contagious. I was totally wiped out from the prior night’s wedding, but within minutes of meeting them, they had me laughing really hard. Alison is a vet and they have a full-on menagerie at home. Four dogs and some pigmy goats that Robb volunteers should have kicked it a few years ago. Apparently, Alison promised him they had a five-year life span when they came to live with them, and now the goats are applying for Social Security.
Alison and Robb rented a small casita for the week so they’d have privacy and a kitchen. I laughed really hard when they sent me a box ahead of their trip that contained snorkel gear and a lobster pot. Hmmm… wonder what they were planning for dinner. 🙂 I warned the crustaceans to be on the lookout!
Candy, my assistant, went up to their villa before they arrived and stocked it with supplies they’d requested and our traditional welcome basket with champagne. She was also scoping it out for the chef who was preparing their wedding breakfast on Wednesday morning so we’d know what she needed to bring for them as far as dishes, glassware and serving pieces were concerned.
I don’t think anybody on our team got any sleep the night before the wedding. River Karmen, our photographer, was up worrying about the light at sunrise. Chef Liz was worried she’d oversleep. Candy was worried that she’d oversleep and fail to wake up Liz. I was up stewing because it was pouring rain all night long. Usually that doesn’t phase me because I know it’s wet in the mornings this time of year and I know it will be dry in time for the actual wedding. But with a sunrise wedding on the horizon (pun intended), I was terrified. I had a “Plan B” ready to go, but that wasn’t what Alison and Robb wanted. They really wanted to be married on the beach at sunrise and I knew the porch of a villa overlooking the water wasn’t going to cut it.
I think Reverent Raul was the one who scared away the rain because he went down to the beach at 6 am and prayed for sunshine before we arrived. Of course, Bill and I sloshing our way down to our storage box to pull out the 10×10 tent “just in case” and getting all muddy may have clinched it for us. If we have a “Plan B” in place, everything always works out fine. If I were to try to wing it with no backup for inclement weather, I think we’d be screwed. Regardless, the rain stopped shortly before we arrived at Sun Bay at 6:30 am, and when the bride and groom arrived at sunrise a half hour later, the sky was promising us a beautiful morning.
Alison wore a gorgeous yellow sundress with a plunging neckline as her wedding gown. She carried a simple, yet elegant, bouquet of white and yellow calla lilies tied with a white satin ribbon. Her long dark hair was down and natural and she looked like she belonged on a beach getting married at sunrise. I’m still amazed that any woman can look that good before 7 am. I mean seriously — I would have looked like I’d slept on my face if it were my sunrise wedding. I just know it!
Robb is a handsome guy with really startlingly beautiful eyes. He wore light linen trousers and a blue shirt that set off his eyes. He was the perfect complement to Alison’s yellow dress.
Their ceremony was short and sweet, with only the minister, Bill and me there as witnesses. Oh wait, there was also a photographer! The little band of us looked funny on the beach that early all dressed up — got some hilarious stares from the folks down there having their morning walks.
After the ceremony, Alison and Robb went back to their villa for their breakfast. The chef prepared each of them their favorite breakfast foods and made a fantastic cheesecake for dessert. There were blueberries on the cake and in the fruit salad at the bride’s request — apparently, they have some weird joke about blueberries that I never got a chance to ask about. But Chef Liz had to move heaven and earth to get enough fresh ones on Vieques this time of year. Somehow she did it — kudos to Liz!
Candy and Liz took care of their breakfast and then slipped out the back to leave them alone for some romance. They were going to share some alone time, and then they were picking up a kayak we rented for them to spend the day scaring the lobsters! Not sure I’d have the energy for that the afternoon of my wedding, but that’s why there are people like Alison and Robb around to compensate for the lazy bums like me!
I said goodbye to Alison and Robb after their ceremony because I had a midday cargo ferry pass over to the big island to meet with some of our flower wholesalers. I would have liked to spend more time with them, but I’ll just have to hope they decide to come back and vacation in Vieques often. Not only are they nice people, they’re also freakin hilarious. I wish every bride laughed as much as Alison. She made my job a lot more fun than usual. And I like her so much I can’t even hate her for making us do a SUNRISE wedding!
I wish Alison and Robb all the luck in the world, but I don’t think they really need it. They’ve known each other for 20 years and loved each other almost as long. I’m not sure I’ve ever met another couple who seemed so in tune with each other.
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques! We’re headed into another busy week now in preparation for Stephanie Sharis and Edward Witt’s destination wedding in Vieques next weekend!