Our first wedding blog post of 2014 – and it’s a very special one. We came halfway around the world to document Vanessa & Erik’s wedding on the beautiful island of Koh Samui, Thailand!
As many of you know, Rob & just got back to Dominican Republic from almost 6 months of journeying through India, Thailand, Laos, and Bali. (It’s been a remarkable trip and we have so much to share with you!) I received Vanessa’s inquiry just as we were mapping out our trip, so adding their Koh Samui destination wedding to our itinerary was perfect.
Thailand was quite a change for us, after 3 months in India! Before arriving to the wedding villa, we had a chance to ‘play’ in Bangkok and around Koh Samui…
Vanessa & Erik, along with most of their closest family & friends, traveled from British Columbia, Canada. Hanging out with this lovely, laid back bunch was a great pleasure! Our home base for the 3 days of wedding festivities were the Dhevatara Cove villas… I need a minute to explain how magical this place is. (It’s a good thing there was no one around when we first arrived to the property, because our jaws dropped and we were giddy with excitement, silly happy dance and all.)
The beachfront Dhevatara Cove villas are impeccably designed in great taste, combining modern comfort and luxury with traditional thai decor. An ‘open concept’ allows you to stay cozy in the space while enjoying the pool, outdoor dining room, magnificent sunsets, star-gazing, and of course, hearing the soft murmur of the waves pretty much wherever you are. We photograph destination weddings in a lot of beautiful places – but this one definitely stands out!
‘We met at a very sketchy bar in our hometown,’ Vanessa recalls. ‘Really, the seediest bar possible! I was out celebrating a friend’s birthday, and I saw him across the bar playing pool. I couldn’t believe how hot he was and how I had never met him before. I had to go say hi (and I never approach boys!)’ Erik says he fell in love with Vanessa right away. ‘I said ‘I love you’ by accident the first time, I was trying to wait a while but it just slipped out,’ he confesses.
‘I love Vanessa for so many reasons but I really love how she communicates with me and makes me want to be better. Her OCD organization and responsibility is the perfect balance for my overly relaxed attitude that evens out to be an incredible carefree lifestyle while still achieving goals. I love her taste and style, all of the things we have in common from music to food and especially our love of travel.’
‘I love that Erik is so laid back, calm and patient, sexy and adventurous.’
Ideal day together, according to Erik: ‘bit of a day drunk on a hot day, floating down a cool river with with some fun snacks and tasty drinks and a great playlist on our private island. Followed by partying with friends and ending up back for alone time on our private mosquito free island.’
Ideal day together, according to Vanessa: ‘spending time in the sun, swimming, venturing, playing pool and making dinner together.’
The proposal was completely perfect and unexpected. ‘We were in our pyjamas, cuddling on the couch. Erik had always told me how much he wanted to marry me, and I was so shocked when I saw the ring!’
All the while, Erik had big plans to get a room in the city, have a great dinner and find the right time to ask… but ‘upon arriving I found the ring that I had put aside had been sold less than an hour before. I ended up getting the ring in the mail and waited a few days until I was really feeling the love. We were just cuddling watching a movie and I asked casually, she said yes thinking I was kidding until I knelt down and pulled out the ring.’
When they were little: Vanessa wanted to be a ballerina, a nurse, or a teacher; and Erik – a pilot. Now Erik is a carpenter and Vanessa is a registered nurse in psychiatry. They love what they do, love life, and adore each other to pieces. It shows!!
After an amazing First Look, we kidnapped Vanessa & Erik and took them to a stunning waterfall on the way to their ceremony at Le Meridien.
We arrive at Le Meridien before all the guests, to savour a few quiet moments and take it all in!
‘With Erik by my side, I’m still living my life and following my passions, but now everything is SO much better. The big things and the little things. Everyday with him around is the best day.’
‘I love laying my head on Erik’s chest while he rubs my hair. It makes everything better.’
Finally, it’s time for a walk down the aisle. One of the most unique ones we’ve seen: it’s a long beautiful pier down to their intimate sunset ceremony.
Magnificent sunset. And SO. MUCH. LOVE.
Next, we make our way to The Patio restaurant for the perfect beach reception dinner. BEST Thai food we had all week!
Taking it up a notch with party time at Beach Republic – Vanessa & Erik had so many surprises for their loved ones!!
First dance song: ‘At Home’ by The Crystal Figthers. ‘Kinda funky and so romantic,’ Vanessa says. ‘We saw them in Vancouver last summer and it was one of our favourite concerts.’
Incredible fireworks – caught us by surprise!
We’re no strangers to wedding fireshows – but this guy was OFF THE HOOK! I’ve never seen anything like this! He, quite literally, made stars.
I so wanted to get THE shot… I really thought I was in the perfect (and safe) position to capture this… But then came the smell of burnt hair and clothes – it was coming from me 🙂 So worth it, right?!
Back at the villa, the glorious stillness at sunrise. You know how much I love those! For me, it’s the time of integration, introspection, recharging, and inspiration. Thank You, Universe.
The next day, Vanessa is back in her wedding gown for more magic.
Rob & I are up to our chest in water for this shot, praying not to drop the camera. I’m so happy to capture this, I cry.
PHEW! So happy.
Vanessa & Erik – lots and LOTS of love to you guys! We just missed you in Bali… please have a blast for us!