Natalie and Ross met on Halloween in 2012 while getting late night food after partying with friends. “We didn’t technically exchange numbers, but Ross slid into my Facebook DMs the next day. Of course, I replied,” Natalie says. Eight years into their relationship, the couple planned a trip to Falmouth in Cornwall, England. Ross set up a beach picnic with Natalie’s favorite foods and drinks from their travels. He told Natalie he had one more surprise for her and asked her to close her eyes. When she opened them, Ross was down on one knee with a diamond. Natalie remembers, “I think I cried about six times total!”
The couple planned their destination wedding for August 8, 2022 in Barbados, one of their favorite places. They decided to keep it small and invited 25 guests to join them for their ceremony at St. James Parish Church in Holetown—the oldest church on the island. The reception would then follow nearby at the Cobblers Cove Hotel in Speightstown. The couple envisioned an untraditional wedding showcasing the Caribbean lifestyle with seafood, rum, and steel pans.
Natalie and Ross worked well together planning their wedding from afar, sourcing many of their vendors through Instagram. “Everyone was so passionate about their craft,” the bride says. “Our suppliers were amazing at what they did and helped our vision come together.” The very first vendor the couple booked was their photographer, Leah Marie Photography. They also worked with Dana Straker at Cobblers Cove Hotel to make sure the day ran smoothly, and Giselle and Charlie from Events by Giselle to bring in vibrant florals.
Although rain was an unexpected visitor on the day, it still proved to be a bright and joyous day. See all the details ahead, planned by Dana Straker and photographed by Leah Marie Photography.
Natalie and Ross’s tropical wedding stationery, created by Steve Alsopp, featured artwork from the reception venue, the Cobblers Cove Hotel.
Natalie spent the morning getting ready with her bridesmaids and junior bridesmaid at the hotel. She gave her them all pink robes to wear as they had their hair and makeup done. The bride stood out in a robe in bridal white.
When Natalie thought about her dream wedding dress, she envisioned something unique with ruffles and bows. “I knew I’d be a Halfpenny London bride, because her gowns famously feature some of these details,” she says. She went to Amare Bridal Studio with her mom and tried on a few of the designer’s gowns. When she tried on the Mayfair dress, a silk organza gown with an overskirt and ruffled sleeves, she didn’t get emotional. The bride recalls, “It was more joyous and I honestly couldn’t stop smiling and just didn’t want to take the Mayfair gown off!”
“The only thing that was missing was a big bow, so I had my seamstress make one for me to add to my hair in the evening,” Natalie adds. To accessorize further, she wore gold hoop earrings by A.B. Ellie with pearls, her birthstone, and a bracelet she borrowed from her mom that was her “something borrowed” and “something blue.”
For her hair, Natalie knew she wanted a low bun with a middle part and she brought a picture of Alicia Keys with pearls embellished on her hair for inspiration. “It took the whole of the next day to remove them and I am still finding little pearls to this day,” Natalie jokes. The final touch to her wedding day look was a veil by Amare.
Ross wore a tailored double breasted suit from Reiss with tapered trousers and brown leather loafers. “It was lightweight, so perfect for the Barbados climate,” Natalie notes. “It looked so smart and sleek.” Natalie gifted Ross a watch the morning of the wedding, so he decided to wear it that day. He finished his wedding day look with a wet shave, a haircut, and a spritz of Byredo Bal D’Afrique fragrance—which Natalie wore, too!
Natalie’s bridal party included both of her sisters, Ross’s two sisters, and Ross’s niece as a junior bridesmaid. She asked them to wear a midi or maxi length dress in hot pink, fuchsia, and bubblegum pink hues. “I never wanted the traditional bridesmaid dresses. It’s not reflective of my style and I wanted bright colors,” Natalie says. The groomsmen matched Ross in double-breasted suits in a neutral tone. But, they wore light pink ties while Ross wore a brighter polka-dot patterned one.
The couple’s church ceremony featured floral arrangements of white roses, orange ranunculus, and peach peonies. The junior bridesmaid made her way down the aisle first in a white organza dress with puff sleeves. Ross watched on as the rest of the wedding party walked down the aisle. Natalie entered the church with both of her parents at her side as an organist played Palchabel’s Canon. “It was my mum’s idea and I loved having them both by my side,” Natalie says. “It is also a Jamaican tradition, which I previously didn’t know.”
Natalie and Ross exchanged vows in front of their family and friends before recessing down the aisle to Salomon’s “Arrival of the Queen of Sheeba.” Natalie shares, “I loved the traditional sound of the organ playing.”
It started off the celebrations in the most perfect way!
After the ceremony, Natalie and Ross headed to the closest beach to hop on the Cobblers Cove Hotel’s pink candy-striped boat. The couple was whisked away and taken to the hotel for the reception. “Only a few people knew about our arrival, so it started off the celebrations in the most perfect way!” the bride says. They snapped some portraits with their photographer, Leah Marie, before entering the reception.
The couple’s 25 guests sat at one long wooden table for an al fresco dinner at the hotel. Festoon lighting was draped over the table between palm trees. The table was topped with a dusty pink table runner, colorful taper candles, and bud vases holding tulips, roses, alstroemeria, and ranunculus. The couple decided to use the hotel’s signature chargers, which featured a bright green motif. Each place setting also included a custom menu and a wedding favor in the form of mini bottles of Mount Gay Rum.
Natlie and Ross made their grand entrance to the reception hand in hand before joining their guests at the table for dinner.
After the starters were served, it started pouring rain, so guests grabbed pink parasols and umbrellas. Natalie shares, “Rain was never going to stop us from enjoying our day and they do say that rain on a wedding day signifies blessings!”
The couple brought the party inside and sprayed each other with champagne as they poured into their champagne tower. Guests gathered to listen to the newlyweds’ loved ones share heartfelt speeches.
The couple’s all-white tiered wedding cake featured sugar ruffles. “We saw it on Instagram and loved it straight,” Natalie says, “You can never have too many ruffles.” The flavor was a buttery lemon cake filled with fresh mixed-berry meringue buttercream.
Natalie and Ross shared their first dance to “Grow’ by Sam Henshaw, followed by “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” by Natalie Cole, the bride’s namesake.
At the end of the evening, Natalie jumped in the pool in her wedding dress and drank a cocktail on a raft, which ended up being one of her standout memories from the wedding day. The newlyweds stayed at the hotel for their honeymoon, where they enjoyed a suite complete with a rooftop terrace and private pool. Natalie adds, “We politely asked our families to swiftly vacate the morning after the wedding!”
To couples planning their wedding, Natalie and Ross suggest making the day your own. “Don’t be swayed by opinions if they’re not something you want,” they say. “You want to look back on your wedding day with no regrets!”