Three postponements. Two venues across two countries. One epic wedding weekend that finally came together.
After multiple reschedules and the tumultuous year of uncertainty, Maria and Levi finally got their dream wedding, though it looked much different than what they imagined when they originally got engaged more than two years prior. And this epic destination wedding weekend came together in only four months’ time.
Due to covid, Maria + Levi had been forced to postpone their date three times, and after the third date fell through with their original venue, the couple decided to change everything and move their wedding to the first place they ever vacationed together, Harbour Island Bahamas.
From the bride: “After 4 million changes, this was beyond everything we ever wanted. An epic weekend in paradise with our people. It was BEYOND everything I ever could have imagined. BEYOND.”
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Based in Atlanta, Maria and Levi decided to wed in the first place they ever vacationed together, Harbour Island Bahamas, in the spring of 2021. After redesigning and replanning their perfect day in under four months, they finally got to become husband and wife. A place close to her heart, the bride grew up visiting the island throughout her childhood, and she wanted to share this special place with her and Levi’s dearest friends and family. Prioritizing safety and intimacy, they downsized from their original plan of more than one hundred guests, to a secluded wedding with their most treasured family and friends.
After a really cute meet-cute through their local sports team, (read more about that here), Maria and Levi planned three different versions of their wedding last year during multiple covid reschedules, but like other couples had to pivot from their original vision. Ultimately, they decided to downsize and have a tropical island destination wedding designed by Little Island Design, on the terrace of the charming family-run hotel, the Ocean View Club, overlooking the infamous Pink Sands Beach, where the reception took place that evening. Their dog Dex couldn’t travel with them, so they paid homage with signature drinks at their reception, “Dex on the Beach”. All florals and greenery were foraged around the island, nodding to the beauty of this tropical location. The bride kept her Reem Acra gown a secret from everyone, even her bridesmaids, and couldn’t wait for the reveal.
Other than the photographer and hair stylist, all vendors were local, including the fabulous high-energy junkanoo band that kicked off their party as a surprise to guests, leading them from dinner down to a beach reception under the stars. Later that evening, the bride and groom shared their first dance to Change Your Name by Brett Young. The group celebrated and danced into the night, with pizza, their favorite food, served just before midnight. Following an epic dance party, a few guests decided to take a dip in the ocean at the end of the night. The bride and groom had joked about taking photos in the lime green outdoor clawfoot tub back at their suite–it was such a fun and memorable way to end the night!
From the bride:
“Let’s get real for a second, because if we don’t share our experiences, how do we help others? Being a covid bride wasn’t fun. At all. Every single event I was supposed to enjoy as a bride never happened for me. Immediate family wasn’t able to make our fourth and final wedding plans, men and women in our wedding party weren’t there, thousands of dollars were lost and hundreds of tears were shed.
I tell you that for my brides who have been through the same thing or are still going through that, to tell you our day was perfect. It was intimate, which I was actually obsessed with, in our absolute dream location and I truly enjoyed and cherished everyone who came and every moment of that special day. While we definitely missed so many, we felt the love times one thousand from the incredible humans that traveled a long way to celebrate us and our journey.
So many times throughout that weekend I just kept thinking, ‘Wow, this is a dream. It was all worth it.’
Whatever is on the horizon for your wedding plans, know there is a plan for your day and in the end, all of it will be worth it. Having someone to persevere through tough times with and marrying this man are also THE MOST important things. I can absolutely guarantee your day will be what it should be.” ❤️ – Mrs. Brown
While they could not have the original celebration they envisioned, Mari and Levi wanted to celebrate as much as they could over the long weekend. Upon arrival on the island, the two enjoyed a pre-wedding portrait session on the sister property The Other Side, a stunning resort nestled away on a secluded beach on the island of Eleuthera, as a chance to relax, explore the island and refocus on their love. The next day, Maria and Levi welcomed their guests to a rehearsal dinner, where Maria surprised Levi with videos of well wishes and toasts from some of his friends who could not attend the wedding in person. Their wedding celebration the following day was everything they’d dreamed of and more.
What felt like a lifetime in the making, ended up being the perfect way to tie the knot for these two in love, in paradise.
As seen featured on Destination I Do.
Are you planning your destination wedding at The Ocean View Club Harbour Island? Looking for a Harbour Island Wedding Photographer? To inquire about reserving a date on my calendar, please reach out here to start the process. I would love to chat with you!
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Photography: Jessie Barksdale Photography // Planning: Charlie Simmons with Little Island Design // Florals: Little Island Design // Venue: Ocean View Club // Bridal Shop: Gabriella NY Bridal Salon // Bridal Designer: Reem Acra // Bridal Shoes: Alexandre Birman // Earrings: Untamed Petals // Groom’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank Cole Haan, Citizen, // Catering & Cake : Ocean View Club // Hair: Chloe Hobgood at Sirene Salon in Atlanta // Makeup: Swanique // Music: 123 Band // Rentals: Little Island Design // Rings: Verragio, https://www.verragio.com/ // Engagement Photos Venue: The Other Side // Veil: handmade by Rodica Lazarian, RL Couture Bridal
Jessie Barksdale Photography is a Harbour Island Wedding Photographer, serving the Bahamas Islands, including but not limited to, Harbour Island, Dunmore Town, Paradise Island, Eleuthera, Nassau, Abaco, Exuma, and Grand Bahama. Jessie also photographs in the Caribbean islands such as St Lucia, Jamaica, Aruba, Turks and Caicos, US Virgin Islands (St Croix, St John, and St Thomas), Cayman Islands, St Kitt’s & Nevis, Barbados, Antigua, St Bart’s, Bermuda, Anguilla, Barbados, and St Martin. Jessie is a luxury wedding photographer documenting destination weddings, engagements, and portraits worldwide.
Bringing over a decade of photography experience, Jessie collaborates with clients to provide them with tangible art that they will cherish long after the wedding day. Combining medium format film and digital photography, Jessie is able to achieve the ethereal romance you see in her photographs, thus providing clients with images that have a truly beautiful, timeless aesthetic. Her photographic style has been described as elegant, candid, and editorial. Clients are often captivated by her use of light, composition, and the unique vision she brings to the wedding day.
Jessie’s work has been featured in publications across the world, including BRIDES, Martha Stewart Weddings, Destination I Do, Wedding Sparrow, The Knot, Huffpost Weddings, and more.