This delightful wedding was sent to us by the Bride and is featured in two parts. Caito and Devin live in Pittsburgh, USA and planned an amazing destination wedding in Bali followed by a ceremony six weeks later in their home town. The images are truly stunning and Caito describes the details of their wedding to perfection…….. enjoy.
“When planning a wedding I encourage all couples to follow their hearts’ passion, no matter how unconventional or challenging it may seem”………. Caito
THE PROPOSALSeven years after we met, I was an award-winning jewellery designer and Devin, embarking on a second career, was a recently graduated registered nurse in the pediatric ICU unit at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Eager for a celebration, we set out on a rugged month-long journey through Egypt where we traveled by jeep through the Sahara, on camels to the Sphinx, and in a felucca down the Nile. In the dead of darkness, we climbed a grueling midnight trek that included the 3,250 steps of repentance to the same spot where Moses received the Ten Commandments. As we sat on the 7,000-foot summit at sunrise, Devin proposed. Cold and sleep deprived, I nearly fell from the edge in surprise! Shouting our happiness to the camels and Bedouins below, we pledged to have the wedding of our dreams but little did we suspect then that it would take place 12 months later, half way around the world. BEST OF BOTH WORLDS Back at home we scoured the globe for weeks looking for a wedding site where we could exchange vows and immerse ourselves in another new culture, as we did in Egypt. We knew if we did this most of our family and friends would be unable to attend; however, we decided (being a slightly older couple) it was more important to be true to our wanderlust spirits on our special day. Still, it was a difficult choice to make. So we came up with a plan to have the best of both worlds with two ceremonies, on two different sides of the globe, both rich in customs and traditions.
On September 15, 2010, with my mother and a handful of close friends present, Devin and I were married in exotic Bali, Indonesia, a place I can only describe as “heaven on earth.” Our official ceremony took place on a sacred cliff-top overlooking Tanah Lot, a Hindu temple in the middle of the Indian Ocean surrounded by crashing waves and scented with hibiscus and frangipani flowers. Then, on November 6, 2010, my father’s birthday, we held a completely different, symbolic Handfasting ceremony in a Gilded Age setting at the esteemed Frick Art & Historical Center in Pittsburgh, PA.
DISCOVERING BALIWe discovered Bali by fate. Late one night, I was researching Italian heritage destination wedding locations online when a random but incredibly beautiful image of a glass chapel in the water popped up on my computer screen. I tracked it down and discovered it was in Bali. Our main criteria for the wedding destination were that it had to be a place we had never been before, draw from the country’s local culture, and located on or near a body of water. Bali was a perfect fit and I immediately knew this was the place for us. WEDDING PLANNING Although we were aware of international wedding planning services, we thought planning the details ourselves would be half the fun. A serendipitous online introduction to someone in Bali (who is now a very good friend and can only be described as “wonder woman”) became invaluable with the many months’ worth of creative and very personalized wedding planning. Despite the twelve-hour time difference, the ease and potential for planning with her from Pittsburgh, via only email, amazed me as we customized a fabulous 10 days of Bali highlights for us and our guests. I was appreciative and genuinely moved by the sincere interest, helpfulness, and enthusiasm of everyone I contacted while arranging our 2½ week honeymoon to various islands including a 4-day trek to the top of a volcano. When I received the email responses, I could almost read the smiles on their faces! THE PHOTOGRAPHER By happenstance, our husband and wife Bali photography company was David Lynne Photography (now based in Australia) and without Lynne Adams, we never could have pulled off this amazing dream wedding!! She helped with every detail and has since become one of my best friends! . A double Bali blessing. THE DRESS I have a fascination with the avant-garde in fashion and couldn’t wait to begin creating my own hand -made wedding gown and accessories. I bought a pale gold dress to use as a canvas and yards of sparkling tulle and fine embroidered floral fabric for the veils. Hundreds of days and thousands of Swarovski crystals later, I completed a design far more traditional than I had originally envisioned. I was inspired by the gilding and rich floral beauty of Indonesia that kept appearing in so many aspects as I researched the numerous islands that make up that country. My headpiece was reminiscent of a traditional Balinese dance headdress and coordinated with the offset necklace comprised of a huge crystal flower made of clear crystal, golden shadow, white opal, and azure. Crystal armlets encircled my arms, and to symbolize the metamorphic qualities of marriage, a blue organza and crystal butterfly perched between my left thumb and forefinger and above my right forearm. I used fabric from the hem cuttings to make flowers that attached to the skirt and accentuated the corset-style bodice with even more flowers and crystals. A beaded white opal and gold rhinestone chain traced the boning and plummeted all the way down the back of the gown. Sparkling touches of “something blue” were sprinkled throughout the entire ensemble and adorned my neck, wrist, ears, and ankles.
THE CEREMONYDevin, a Christian priest, an official from the Indonesian Consulate, and our guests all stood on the ceremonial precipice and waited my arrival while I glided along a long winding pathway through the lush tropical foliage to Rindik, the omnipresent sound of Bali. Two Balinese flower girls, in traditional dress, scattered flower petals on the walkway lined by hundreds of onlookers. I followed, accompanied by two umbrella boys, holding gold-trimmed ceremonial umbrellas on either side of me, as it is the local tradition to protect the bride until the groom greets her and to protect the couple until they are wed. I carried an armful of white spider mums, the first flower that Devin ever gave me, mixed with local orchids. Wrapped lovingly around the stems were blue rosary beads borrowed from my 90-year old grandmother. I pinned my dad’s 49-year old Air Force dog tag to my slip, and inside one of my gold beaded sandals I taped the sixpence that a close friend had given me as a going away gift. I will never forget the look on Devin’s face when he saw me for the first time, as I rounded the corner onto the intimate outcropping of rock.
We began the eclectic, and personally written, wedding ceremony scattering around us the ashes of our beloved canine companions, who had recently passed. A jewelry designer in Pittsburgh had created a ring for me with some of their ashes and we commissioned him to make our custom platinum wedding bands. In a stylized water-themed infinity symbol, based on our fondness for the sea and its connection to life and love, Devin’s black diamonds complimented my white ones as they lay on a traditional Balinese ring pillow, woven of flowers and palm. The ceremony included a reading by my mother, and Christine McVie’s “Songbird” sung acapella by a friend, and it ended with a live butterfly release.
Even a random rain shower couldn’t dampen the utter joy we felt during that amazing day of dreamlike bliss! Photographs were taken in the nearby rice paddies, at their peak just before harvest, and on the beach at sunset, while a lavish feast of local cuisine was prepared at our private oceanfront villa. The villa came complete with a full staff that treated us like royalty the entire week. Round red lanterns glowed under the stars and lit the pathway between the villa and bale bengong (Balinese gazebo-like structure) where our wedding dinner was served. Afterwards, as a surprise for our guests, three Balinese dancers, wearing colorful costumes, performed and the guests all danced, while laughter and Rindik pulsed in the background. The following day, Devin and I went down to the beach where Balinese offerings to the gods burned in small woven palm baskets on the sand. We made our own offering alongside those and I tossed what was left of my bouquet into the Indian Ocean and watched as the foaming waves carried it away.
Six weeks after we returned home we held a Handfasting ceremony and reception at the Frick Art & Historical Center for our family and friends
Months later, as we look at the photos, it all feels so surreal. We followed our hearts and united in two extraordinary ways, in two extraordinary places. It was worth every minute of planning it! We experienced the best of two worlds while reflecting and acknowledging the various facets of our personalities, beliefs, and passions. In Bali, we gained so much knowledge and respect for the local people and very diverse culture, while the emotion surrounding our hometown ceremony developed into something more powerful than we ever could have imagined. Before the trip we worried that, even knowing us as well as they all do, our family and friends could never truly understand our choice to travel so far away. And yet we continue to hear repeatedly what a uniquely memorable and meaningful series of events it was for them to experience with and vicariously through us. And my husband, who was equally active in planning every detail, teases that his beloved bride/fairytale Indonesian princess/ancient Briton/ intrepid travel partner schemed the whole thing just so she could wear her wedding gown twice!
Thank you so much to Caito and Devin for sharing such a wonderful wedding story with us. Part 2 – The Handfasting Ceremony in their home town of Pittsburgh can be seen here.
BALI WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY – DAVID LYNNE PHOTOGRAPHY
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