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Real Weddings

We are so lucky to be able to bring wonderful inspiration to brides all year round through features showcasing beautiful real weddings and stunning styled shoots. Today we are excited to share an engagement shoot from a couple that holds a special place in our hearts. Back in 2011, Niara and Allan were the models for the very first workshop Once Wed hosted, and the images taken at that workshop by Jose Villa were featured on our blog. We love that they were a real couple Emily met while grocery shopping late one night, and asked if they would be the models for the workshop. So  it is exciting for us to now be sharing their real engagement shoot with Jose, and to be wishing them much happiness in the future. Let’s hope they share their wedding with us also!

Photography Jose Villa | Film Development Richard Photo Lab


From the photographer:

I love the look achieved by mixing neutral tones and earthy details with modernism. Such a juxtaposition is quite striking and understated. For this shoot, we layered vintage-inspired modern, with earthy, neutral, and muddy tones in the florals. This allowed us to highlight the simple beauty that can be achieved with pale understatement. Soft hair and easy makeup enhanced the look and the natural beauty of the bride. Surrounding her with fluttering butterflies was a delicate, lovely finish to the shoot!

Photography Sally Pinera | Floral Design Amy Nicole | Dress Shop Gossamer | Makeup & Hair Sharon Y Park | Ring Trumpet and Horn | Calligraphy Victoria Krav


If you have been following the blog the last couple of months, you have seen the beautiful posts exploring the Sandals Resorts in St. Lucia. As promised, today we are showing you how beautiful your wedding ceremony can be in this island paradise. Although there are many wonderful spots for your ceremony at the three resorts, we fell in love with this over the water wedding chapel (complete with beautiful ocean breezes) at the Grande St. Lucian. Who wouldn’t want to start their life as husband and wife in this beautiful location!

Sandals Resorts knows what is important for brides and grooms, and has created their exclusive Aisle to Isle destination wedding experience. It was designed in response to a study by the Sandals that revealed that millennial brides and grooms seek inspiration above all else when planning their wedding celebration. Aisle to Isle gives you that inspiration with endless choices for making your wedding a true reflection of the things that make you the unique couple you are. 

Aisle to Isle has created eight inspirations influenced by the tropics, gardens, romance, passion, the islands, sophistication, nature, and sand/sea. Each offers creative suggestions for brides and grooms to plan their dream wedding – from tabletop, floral accompaniment, and setting to runners, chair selection, altar and more.  Complementing the design inspirations are enhanced food and beverage options including themed bar design, custom cocktails and expanded menu selections. These inspirations create an amazing creative spark for you to envision your own perfect celebration – from simple and elegant to playful and extravagant. Sandals feels that weddings should be ‘inspired by love, created by you.’” With the natural beauty of each resort, your dream details can match your dream setting. Along with the ever-popular beach, garden and gazebo locations, other exciting ceremony and reception venues are available as part of Aisle to Isle. 

All weddings at Sandals Resorts, whether five guests or fifty, include a one-hour cocktail reception, bride and groom signature cocktail, a pre-travel surprise gift, expert planners, white Chivari chairs, manicure for her, 30-minute foot massage for him, personalized wedding website, personalized gift registry, honeymoon dinner, breakfast in bed and a wedding photograph. As an incentive to indulge in every aspect of the Luxury Included offerings, wedding couples are also given additional incentives for extending their time in paradise. Couples who stay six nights or longer, receive gift credits valued at $1,500, and any couple staying three or more nights may opt for a Mokara orchid-inspired free wedding design that includes Mokara bouquet, boutonniere and two-tiered cake with Mokara orchid topper. There truly are endless options.

Be sure to check back for the next Sandals feature to see how beautiful your reception can be!

Photography MK Sadler | Styling Liz Damrich for Once Wed