We could all use a little bit of sunshine and joy right now and boy does this stunning Bora Bora elopement do the trick! Carissa & Jasen had dreamed of going to Bora Bora for 21 years. “It was the closest thing to heaven on earth that I have ever seen,” the bride shared. I couldn’t agree more! Their original thought was to go for their honeymoon, but once they started planning they knew a destination wedding was for them.
I love how the couple wore traditional Tahitian wedding outfits for their legal ceremony, really embracing the culture. The plan was to then change into their wedding dress and suit for their beach ceremony on the water. It almost didn’t happen when the Carissa dress still hadn’t arrived by the morning of the wedding. “The legal Ceremony at Bora Bora town hall we dressed in the ceremonial Tahitian wedding outfits. It was really special and fun! Finally my dressed arrived and I was able to wear my original wedding dress too, it worked out perfect.“
Everything came together for their dream oceanside ceremony. And of course, who could resist jumping into Bora Bora’s clear ocean for a little trash the dress session? Swimming with fish wearing layers of tulle and lace was the icing on top for this island elopement! Damien Gobron captured all the magical moments that are sure to inspire.
Q&A with the Bride/Groom
Why did you choose to get married at this destination and venue?
I had wanted to go to Bora Bora for the last 21 years, after I first saw a picture of this beautiful place. It was the closest thing to heaven on earth that I have ever seen. So, we planned our honeymoon there and then after looking at venues and planning a wedding close to home, we found ourselves getting stressed over other people’s opinions of should(s) and shouldn’t(s) and decided why not get married in the most beautiful place we could think of? Why not do something different and fun? It will be an adventure, we thought. One we could look back on when we are old and think we did it! We got married in Bora Bora! And it was everything I ever dreamed it could be. Truly the best day of our lives so far.
How many people attended your destination wedding?
5 people. The two of us, two witnesses, and the Mayor of Bora Bora.
Did you have a wedding theme?
I shipped my wedding dress to Bora Bora. Don’t do it! We found out later you can take it on the plane. The morning before our wedding my dress still hadn’t arrived. While laying in bed Jasen said, what do you think about wearing what the Tahitian’s wear when they get married? I was actually thinking the same thing and we both got really excited. Yes, we will embrace this beautiful place and if my dress comes in-time, we will use it for the beach ceremony, and it came, and that’s exactly what we did!
What were your sources of inspiration when choosing your colors, flowers, cake, etc..?
I had a lot of ideas. I’m a planner at heart. I actually planned other people’s weddings to pay for college years ago. But this time was different. Jasen decided to get my name tattooed on his finger so he didn’t have a ring. We thought let’s make it super authentic and find a ring in Bora Bora at a local jewerly store. Something fun to shop for when we get there. It turns out, they don’t exactly have men’s rings for sale in Bora Bora. We asked hotel staff and locals and the same shop names came up. Nothing. Needing a ring for our legal ceremony, we were desperate. Like ready to ask someone if we could barrow theirs for an hour kind of desperate. I went to bed praying that night that God would help us find something. We didn’t even care what it was made out of. The next day we went to pick up our favorite Tahitian alcoholic drink to help “put us at ease” and at the checkout we looked down through this glass case and Jasen found a little box with two adjustable fake rings and because they were adjustable, one fit his finger! It was awesome! I may have cried happy tears, ok, I did. I was so relived! So, we spent the rest of the day looking for the perfect shell necklace for me and a bracelet that I could wear on our special day. Our legal ceremony we had shells and a sweet adjustable ring and the beach ceremony, we had bling. A girls gotta have some bling too : )
Was there something unique or special that you incorporated into your wedding décor/theme?
My hubby had kids when we met and his oldest son passed away before I got the chance to meet him. I wanted Jasen to feel like all his kids were there with us, even if they couldn’t be. So, I made him some cuff links with their pictures on them.
What was your favorite wedding detail and why?
I love that we wrote our own vows. When I told him about the idea I said they have to be something that you can stick to and actually do throughout the years. They have to be from your heart and as long as you have those two things, I don’t care about how long they are or what you say, but they better be good, lol. He said don’t worry, they’ll be “wow vows” and you will love them.
What was the most memorable, crazy, special, unique, quirky, emotional or unusual thing to happen on your wedding day?
After a champagne boat ride from our legal ceremony and a quick outfit change, we hit the sand ready for our beach ceremony. But we were both happy, excited and a bit nervous to share our vows with one another. The man that married us could see it on our faces I think. So, he started out by welcoming us and saying there is nothing to be nervous about, just repeat after me. So, all serious, we repeated what he said. We wanted to get everything right. After all and we didn’t know Tahitian. But he pulled a joke on us and we ended up repeating something I can’t even remember. All I remember is that we both laughed really hard and all of the nerves melted away and the ceremony was filled with love and laughter after that moment.
What was your favorite part of having a destination wedding?
The day was all about us. All about our love. We didn’t have to worry about anyone else feelings or opinions. We just got to live in the moment and enjoy every second, together.
What was the biggest challenge in planning your destination wedding in Bora Bora?
The Legal Ceremony. Bora Bora is very specific on what they want and need to get legally married there. The paperwork process should be started 6 months in advance and no, that’s not too soon. We had an incredible woman named Mayana Tapi, who is the Chef Concierge at the Bora Bora Le Moana Resort, help me through the process. She was amazing. She ended up finding us our authentic Tahitian wedding clothing and she even dressed us, since she was the one that knew how it needed to be wrapped. She was even one of our witnesses for the legal ceremony. She is a beautiful person inside and out and we will always hold a special place in our heart for her.
What’s your advice to other couples planning a destination wedding?
Plan early. Read all the blogs and information you can find about your destination. Don’t leave anything until the last minute because once you are there, it might not be exactly like what you thought.
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
Marrying my husband Jasen was the best decision I have ever made. Getting married in Bora Bora was a close second. No words can describe how mesmerizingly-beautiful this place truly is. I feel so blessed by God to be able to say that we were there and we got married in Bora Bora. A dream come true. One we will hold close to our hearts and never forget.
Tell us about the vendors for your Bora Bora wedding:
Damien was the photographer for both our legal wedding and our beach wedding in Bora Bora as well as an engagement and trash the dress session. Damien could not have been better! He was so easy to work with! We loved him so much that he ended up being our witness too! He had ideas on where we should go for our pictures and how we should stand and where to look for the best photos; But even with all that direction, he made it seem effortless and fun and even helped keep us clam when things got a little stressful. The pictures are everything I wanted them to be! My husband and I are thrilled with the pictures and are thankful to God that we had Damien with us to capture the most important day of our lives!
I also wanted to say that Sophie Jordan, the Chief Concierge at Intercontinental Bora Bora Resort and Spa was professional and knowledgeable and did a fantastic job helping me coordinate all of the details of our beach wedding ceremony, and romantic dinner on the beach. She knew exactly what to do and who to talk to, to make all of my dreams for that part of our wedding come true.