I think Aruba beach wedding ceremonies are the most romantic things ever, especially at sunset.
I can't imagine anything more romantic than the beautiful fiery colors of sunset lighting up the sky, the turquoise Caribbean ocean, the warm sand between your toes, light breezes sweeping away the heat of the day, your sweetheart and loved ones swaying to the rhythm of a steel drum band.
That was our Aruba beach wedding... absolutely perfect, romantic, and beautiful.
I will always remember my wedding as stress free and magical.
I spent the first half of my day, with my maid of honor, being pampered at the Mandara spa. Nails, hair, relaxation and girl talk.
It was late afternoon... our sunset wedding was just a few hours away. Sunset in Aruba occurs between 6:15 and 7:10 pm depending on the time of year. (In August, it was 7:00 pm).
I was off to get dressed in my parent’s suite at the Aruba Marriott Surf Club with my Mom and my Maid of Honor. The Mandara Spa is in the main Marriott hotel, and it was a short 5 minute walk to the Surf Club. It was only a short walk away (two buildings down).
My youngest brother, Kenneth shared his room with my Dad while us girls made ourselves beautiful.
Growing up with three younger brothers, I never really had much “girl time” with Mom. So, I secretly cherished this wonderful hour or so, and tucked it away as one of my favorite memories. A day filled with love and hope and joy...me, my mom and my best friend...putting on make-up and dressing in frilly lace and sequins...Like sisters I never had, getting ready for the prom...or a romantic Aruba sunset wedding...Corny, I know!
mom had arranged for a car to drive us from the Surf Club to the main
Marriott Hotel. At first I protested the idea of having a car drive such a short distance (two buildings over) but, I am
very glad she insisted. It was still 90 degrees, a little humid and the tight
corset of my gown made it difficult to breathe.
Scott was not allowed to see me in my dress before the wedding, so I we waited in the lobby of the hotel, with Nicole, my Maid of Honor, as our guests were seated. I watched, keeping out of sight, as our wedding coordinator, Deseree, directed Scott to seat his mom, and then stand at the beautifully decorated wedding arch with Reverend Jacob. Then two of my brothers, Kevin and Kenneth, walked on either side of my mom, escorting her to her seat. Next, came my Maid of Honor, Nicole, and Scott’s Best Man, Jim. Then, as I slipped my arm through my Dad’s at the top of the palm lined white sandy aisle, the steel pan player began playing “Here Comes the Bride”.
It was an absolutely magical moment as I saw Scott’s face light up as I glided across the warm sand towards him.
I caught just a hint of a tear
starting to well up in my Dad’s eye as I kissed him and he turned to
take his seat next to my Mom.
For our Aruba wedding, we put together several smaller wedding ceremony traditions. I had researched all kinds of beach wedding ceremonies. The main ceremony consisted of a fairly traditional blessing ceremony with traditional vows and exchange of rings. However, instead of unity candles that might blow out, we opted for the sand ceremony. If you would like to know more about how to incorporate a sand ceremony as part of your beach wedding ceremonies, check out Vows of the Heart.
The next 30 minutes flew by in a
blur. The minister, Reverend Jacob, welcomed our guests and said a lovely prayer about love and the strength it gives to us.
The purpose of this part of the blessing ceremony is to bless the marriage of a couple who has already been married civilly outside of any church. (It doesn't have to be religious. it can simply be asking blessings from family and friends.) Reverend Jacob did a wonderful job with the blessing ceremony making it spiritual but not tied to any particular religion.
Aruba's laws state that, prior to any other ceremony, all legal weddings must take place in the town hall (or in the country/state of residence). Therefore ALL Aruba beach wedding ceremonies are considered BLESSING CEREMONIES.
Scott and I opted to have our civil marriage legally documented in Chicago before we had our beach wedding ceremonies in Aruba.
Mom read a passage from the family Bible that she had brought with her.
At the last minute, Nicole had designated the Bible as the “something old” AND “something borrowed”. Apparently, I had been so caught up in the wedding day excitement that I had forgotten about that tradition. Thank goodness my dress was new, and my tiara, garter and bouquet had some blue in them, or my slightly superstitious Maid of Honor might not have let me out of the hotel room.
I didn't dare mention the final line of that poem was "and a silver sixpence in her shoe" since I was wearing rhinestone flip-flops!
Scott and I exchanged rings, and repeated the time-honored vows. We did not want the complication of writing our own vows. We did ask that the old-fashioned "OBEY" be omitted from them.
The Sand Ceremony was a very nice touch to incorporate the tropical beach location into our sunset wedding. Instead of lighting a unity candle, we combined two containers of sand into one vase symbolically uniting the two of us in marriage.
The personalized heart shaped vases arrived intact with us on the plane in a carefully padded carry-on, then passed into the hands of our wedding coordinator, who made sure that it was arranged artistically on the table at our beach wedding. We used this set...
Our Aruba sunset wedding ceremony came to a close as the minister pronounced us “Husband and Wife”, we kissed and walked hand in hand up the beach, with our guests cheering and the waves gently caressing the sand behind us.
Scott and I and our "two witnesses", Nicole and Jim signed the marriage certificate presented to us by the Reverend Sydney Micheal Jacob, clerk in Holy Orders of the Church in the Providence of the West Indies. (Phew! That's a mouthful. So, now you know why I just called him Rev. Jacob.) Since we chose to sign the legal marriage documents back in Chicago, and not in Oranjestad, this was more symbolic and "for show" because it is not a legal document of marriage, but more of a memento of the blessing ceremony. If you want to know about having a "legal" civil ceremony in Aruba, click here.
Signing the marriage certificate, cutting the cake, and couples toast are not technically part of the beach wedding ceremonies so to speak, but these activities make such wonderful photographic memories against the amazing Aruba sunset and Caribbean ocean beach.
As the sun set over the Caribbean sea, our wedding photographer, Julia Renfro, took the most magnificent pictures of me and my husband. Wow, I still need to get used to saying that...
After signing the certificate, we popped a bottle of Champagne, and cut the cake, with a magnificent backdrop of golds, oranges, pinks and lavenders reflecting on the rippling ocean.
Our cake was a simple two tier vanilla cream with marzipan frosting. They used the palm tree topper that I had I brought on the flight with me, and given to our wedding coordinator, Deseree, at our initial meeting. I had matching Champagne flutes that wanted to use for the toast, but unfortunately, they broke on the flight.
She did an excellent job on the photographs, but I can’t give her all the credit. The backdrop was out of this world! And the subject matter was not too shabby either! (impish grin!)
Want to see more of our beach wedding ceremonies photos? Click here to go to Our Wedding photos in the Aruba Pictures section.