In a freshly white-washed church on a hillside overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Shanna and Matt exchanged vows in front of 65 friends and family members who had flown in from all over the world to witness their ceremony on the island of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.
Following the ceremony, the small crowd reconvened at Havana Blue, a beautifully-decorated, beach-front restaurant with the feel of a Miami nightclub.
To the delight of everyone in attendance, Shanna had organized a traditional Hora Loca or “Crazy Hour” which featured a fire-eating woman who walked barefoot across shards of glass and a chorus line of colorfully-dressed Caribbean dancers who escorted guests under a limbo stick and adorned them in Venetian-style masks, feather boas and other party accoutrements.
The wild evening extended until the early morning hours. Groomsmen stripped off their shirts on the dance floor as relief from the Caribbean heat, and bridesmaids, fully-attired, concluded the affair with a ceremonial swim in the sea.
My assistant Elyse and I tried to keep up with the rapid pace of events in the face of sweltering humidity, which was a unique challenge coming from the arid West Coast.
Beth Smith, a transplanted Georgia Peach and a wonderful host, coordinated the event at Havana Blue.