Bare­foot on the Beach

Tropical Traveller Magazine - - WEDDINGBELLS -

In 2011 they fell in love over Skype, Vidya from sunny Trinidad and Ralph from snowy Toronto! After meet­ing on­line, the cou­ple got to know each other for three months, and when they fi­nally met in real life on the trop­i­cal is­land of Tobago, it was sheer magic.

Fast for­ward two years, and on Septem­ber 29, 2013, Vidya and Ralph cel­e­brated their love in a bare­foot beach wed­ding in Saint Lu­cia, sur­rounded by their friends at a cer­e­mony which re­flected the cou­ple's very unique take on life. The date was set by Vidya, an ex­pert in Feng Shui and Reiki, who stud­ied their birth charts and found that par­tic­u­lar Sun­day to be an aus­pi­cious one for both of them, although it wouldn't be easy for all the guests to make it to the wed­ding. Vidya's sis­ter and her fam­ily ini­tially had to de­cline be­cause of school, but in a sign from the uni­verse in­volv­ing ex­pired pass­ports, they had to reschedule their va­ca­tion to - you guessed it - the end of Septem­ber.

Although the plan­ning time was short, the cou­ple had a clear vi­sion for the wed­ding of their dreams. "We live close to the beach, so we knew we wanted to have the cer­e­mony on the sand, and Sun­day af­ter­noon is a busy time on our favourite stretch," says Vidya. "But I just felt that folks would see the wed­ding tak­ing place and be re­spect­ful, which is ex­actly what hap­pened."

By 4.30pm the beach was set with white chairs, a bam­boo arch was con­structed by the cou­ple's friends, dec­o­rated with flow­ers by the ladies of the wed­ding party - the dress code for which was white – and it was time to get mar­ried. Vidya the artist cre­ated her sim­ple gown from a tra­di­tional In­dian sari, adding sparkling blue crys­tals in her hair and on her fore­head. With an un­fussed ap­proach but in­fi­nite eye for de­tail, flow­ers were gath­ered from the gar­den, a sim­ple menu in­cluded Caribbean-in­spired canapes and Trinida­dian pep­per­pot and a cel­e­bra­tory daiquiri re­quir­ing the col­lec­tion of very spe­cial mango 'pol' pulp was served to guests on ar­rival at the re­cep­tion by a bar­tender friend who of­fered his ser­vices for the party.

Ralph is an avid sailor, and his big wish was to ar­rive at the cer­e­mony by boat. Friends and Car­ri­a­cou sloop own­ers James and Pepsi from Jus' Sail pro­vided the 'Good Ex­pec­ta­tion', and the groom and his party set sail from Rod­ney Bay Ma­rina, ar­riv­ing at the south­ern end of Re­duit Beach in true nau­ti­cal style.

With Ralph wait­ing ner­vously for his bride, the sounds of Rob Zi Tay­lor's sax­o­phone rang through the trees as he ser­e­naded Vidya's en­trance on the arm of her brother-in-law with 'Un­for­get­table', and the cer­e­mony was un­der­way, con­ducted by one of the is­land's new­est JPs and another friend to the happy cou­ple, Danielle Ber­gasse. Ev­ery joy­ful mo­ment was pho­tographed by Dani De­vaux, who even dinghied the ex­tra mile out to sea in or­der to cap­ture mem­o­rable close-ups of the groom's party on its nup­tial voy­age.

As the pho­tos re­veal and they them­selves rhap­sodise, Vidya and Ralph's bare­foot beach wed­ding was per­fect in ev­ery way, from the clear blue weather down to the beer coozies read­ing "To Have, To Hold, To Keep The Beer Cold" gifted by a girl­friend with a nau­ti­cal sense of fun.

On the last Sun­day in Septem­ber, a day charted out by their own birth dates and times, forty three friends and fam­ily cel­e­brated with the brand new Birkhoffs, forg­ing new friend­ships and mak­ing lifetime mem­o­ries. And as Ralph rather proudly points out, the re­cep­tion at their Re­duit villa rocked un­til 4am the next morn­ing!

Vidya & Ralph

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