Shannon and Nathan’s wedding in Indonesia, (dubbed Bali Bliss) was probably one of the best weddings I have ever been a part of. It was a small, intimate, week-long affair that left all of us feeling bonded. Although Shannon and I planned just about every detail of her wedding together, it turned out to be almost exactly the opposite of my own wedding, and it left me feeling like no matter how you do it, as long as you are surrounded by people who love you, you really can’t lose. She spent her budget on a week in an exotic villa with her family and friends she’s known since childhood (and me!), while I spent my budget on one night surrounded by 150 of my favorite people- most of whom I got to talk to for 38.5 seconds. I wouldn’t have done a thing differently when it came to mine, but if I could have another day to marry Dane all over again, I’d do the next one Shannon-style.
The Arsana Estate was the perfect venue for such an event. We were able to have both the ceremony and the reception on the property, and they pulled out all of the stops to make everything fantastic. From the moment we arrived we each felt like we were the guest of honor. The staff was attentive to each and every one of us and Shannon was a perfect bride. She took care of all of the details for the week: day trips, menus, tips, etc. so that her guests could just unpack and enjoy. This had been one of her highest priorities while we were wedding planning. She wanted everyone in attendance to know how special it was to her that they had made the trip to Bali for her wedding.
Shannon and I spent the week before we left designing watercolor menus with personal notes to each person. I’d done the same for my wedding, and while it’s no easy thing to write a personal note to 150 people it’s one of the things that people remembered most. I’d gotten the idea from my friend Sara, and it seemed only right to pass it on to Shannon, especially given the emphasis she had placed on personal touches.
Both the ceremony and the reception were full of traditional Balinese details including Balinese wedding flags, umbrellas, rindik players and fire dancers.
The personal feel continued when, during the reception, the honorary best man decided that in addition to his 12 minute toast (I kid- kind of) we should all give a toast. Because it was a small group, and because almost everyone had known one another since the 1990’s, this turned out to be a particular highlight of the night. The toasts were a perfect combination of amusing and nostalgic.
Finally as the night was wrapping up, we asked the DJ to play “Rhythm of Love,” (which was also the song they had chosen for their recessional). As he blared it from the speakers, we lined up along the edge of the pool. With Shannon still in her dress, we all jumped into the pool with pretty close-to-perfect synchronization – we blame the weight of Shannon’s dress for her early entry. For the next fifteen minutes or so we splashed and sang and swam. There couldn’t have been a better finale for a perfect night. For the rest of my life I will smile every time I hear that song and I will think of Bali Bliss.
Photo Credits: Eyecon Photography
Video by: Danielle Vitarbo
Really, really… you should watch the video!
In 2013, I quit my job and bought a one-way ticket to Thailand. After four months of backpacking I returned to the States and fell in love with a guy whose job sent us straight back to Asia. Nothing has gone according to plan... and it's been absolutely magical.