These days, there are all sorts of celebrity weddings attended by hundreds, or even thousands. Perhaps held in the heart of a metropolitan like New York City, or some hidden treasure of a castle in the Pyrenees. Weddings meant to outshine other weddings. Weddings clamouring to be “Wedding of the Year”, the talk of the town, the Affair of the Century.
Then there are intimate weddings – an occasion designed only for the bride and groom. Guests may include wedding planners and photographers, no more.
And that’s exactly how Dr. and Mrs. Gary Fishman from New York City, realised their vision of a “romantic dreamy, fairytale” wedding on June 8, 2012.
No, not in the hustle and bustle of exciting, boisterous New York City. But on the cosy, private shores of Elbow Beach in Bermuda.
Gary, 60, who is an ear, nose and throat surgeon, and Wendy, 44, an NYC model, met in the summer of 2009 at a charity fundraiser held at a mutual friend’s home. Like in the movies, both had reached for the last glass of champagne, and “we both laughed at the obvious humour of the moment and that broke the ice”, Wendy shared with Wedding&Travel, adding that “there was an instant physical attraction for both of us but also a definite feeling of ease and comfort we felt immediately for one another”.
That probably marked the beginning of their relationship, especially since they spoke for hours that first day, and practically spent everyday together after that.
On top of the many common interests the couple shared was also a shared experience – both were “in the midst of complicated divorces” which really meant they found the comfort and support they needed in each other.
Fast forward to 2011. It was Christmas Eve in NYC. It was a romantic time of the year.
Gary prompted Wendy to open a gift from under their tree – one which she thought was a camera. Well, the gift turned out to be a series of large boxes leading, yes, to a small one. One that held a “magnificent emerald cut diamond ring”. Wendy broke down in tears and easily said “yes” to Gary’s proposal.
The first thing the couple desired for their wedding was that it should be intimate – just the two of them, and entirely organised their way. The goal: A wedding for two in a setting without any distractions where they could focus entirely on one another.
It really wasn’t difficult for them to decide to be “purely self-indulgent”. After all, both lead busy lives and Gary’s profession requires long hours, which means time alone together is highly limited on an everyday basis.
Besides, both Gary and Wendy had had a difficult few years in their previous marriages, which also meant family and friends understood and respected their wishes to do things their way.
The wedding of their desires was put together within six months – no small feat, considering they were planning for a destination wedding, something they both always wanted and never had in the past.
So while many couples would swoon with delight with a wedding in NYC, Gary and Wendy (who happen to be madly in love with their city!) was deeply attracted to the idea of being married on a beach.
A little research soon revealed that Bermuda was really the destination they had in mind. According to the couple, Bermuda was “not only beautiful but also elegant for a wedding. The Bermudian style and British charm is very appealing to us … it is a bit more formal and proper than perhaps another beach destination [like the] Caribbean, for example”.
Couples interested in a beach “destination” wedding should look at many wedding photographs already captured on the destination of their dreams. Gary and Wendy did, and the effort was paid off because they realised just how much they loved to have Bermuda in their wedding photographs.
And so that led them to settle on gorgeous Elbow Beach at Bermuda, with its magnificent pink beaches and the gentle, turquoise lapping waves of the Atlantic Ocean, the perfect stunning backdrop for the intimate, romantic fairytale themed wedding of their vision.
Wendy’s wedding gown, designed by Ines De Santo, was a flowing Gazar gown with romantic Chantilly Lace and a silk organza flower at the shoulder, that set the tone for the wedding. Gary wore a Zegna suit in a light sandy color that brought elegance to a relaxed mood.
Add to that, a simple chuppah oceanfront adorned with sheer flowy fabric and rose petals in the sand – the very image of the sort of beach wedding the couple had envisioned – and the wedding was almost complete.
Almost, because a little bit of drama never hurts anyone. For Gary and Wendy, that came in the weather hiccup – it rained just as the photographer arrived. Like any bride, Wendy was initially upset by the prospect of their perfect vision being ruined. Gary however, calm and optimistic as ever, reassured her that it would pass.
Working with the right partners always help too, especially when their wedding planner and photographer were great sports in delaying things a bit, allowing for the weather to clear up.
Here’s a piece of sound advice from Wendy to beach brides: Don’t waste negative energy on things you cannot control. Your wedding will always be a day to remember forever, so enjoy every single moment – just as they did.
The evening ended with a lavish five-course dinner in a private oceanfront cabana complete with candles, champagne and a private butler. Without having to tend to guests or manage others’ expectations, the couple was able to enjoy many hours just sitting there, dining, talking, and reflecting back on the most amazing day of their lives.