Destination Weddings

Tropical Destination Beach Wedding At Sandals Grande Antigua Resort Complete With Postcard Sunset

The allure of white sand beaches is a seductive aspect to couple’s seeking a destination getaway for their wedding. Factor in a beautiful tropical vibrant setting like Antigua and its pretty easy to see why Chelsea McFadden & Matt Sharkey choose this tropic paradise to say ‘I Do’!  Wanting to really put their stamp on things, Chelsea & Matt dubbed their fete “McSharkfest” and were sure to keeps things on a more personalized offbeat path.  Limited to what the couple could bring in a suitcase, our sweet couple found ways to make their wedding special in personality, musical flair {steel drums! Looooove!}, and one super gorgeous arched outdoor reception!  As if perfectly on order, the islands gifted Chelsea & Matt with a stunning postcard perfect sunset which Bartlett Pair Photography did a smash up job of capturing!  Between the tremendous location, full smiles, and love Antigua was just a bit more special that day!


Novella of the Bride…

Matt and I met during the summer following our Junior year in high school. So, needless to say, we have been through a lot of life events together already.  Matt is the kind of guy that just wants me to be happy. That is all he ever really asks for. His hobbies include brewing his own beer, hockey, and cars! In addition, he went to school for graphic design so he was able to design our save the dates, invitations, and event materials.

I am the kind of girl that never makes things easy. I am never happy with the status-quo and always need to go the extra mile before finalizing a task. This attitude is most of the time a love-hate relationship but, it worked in my favor in planning our wedding. In fact, I was even previously a event coordinator/planner at my prior job and work in the marketing field. Combined with Matt’s artistic abilities, we were able to work really well together designing and creating all of the event materials.  What we both share a passion for is adventure! We both love to travel and try new things that open up our views on the world.

Matt and I wanted something “Off the Beaten Path” for our wedding. We are certainly not traditional. We even referenced the event as “McSharkfest”. We wanted something nontraditional and adventurous, something a little more to remember than the standard wedding so we opted for a destination wedding. But narrowing in on the exact location wasn’t easy either. We wanted something that our guests would truly enjoy and that would make it a bit easier on us planning an event in a foreign country. An all-inclusive was the solution. Next, we identified Sandals resorts as top notch for our guests. Last, we identified Antigua as the most “off the beaten path” island with a Sandals Resort – voila!  For our wedding, I wanted something bohemian to fit with the island venue, but something that appeared romantic – elegant – but with pops of flare. Hence, the coral motif throughout.

Throughout our wedding planning, we wanted our guests to feel special and I am all about the details. However, I was limited in working with the resort’s staff and within the resort’s accommodations. So all of the details included what I was able to pack in my suitcase: buri fans, ring treasure chest, cake topper, welcome (McSharkfest) gift bags and accouterments, our event music, our custom vows and ceremony scripts and my attire.

What I believe was extra special about our ceremony was that we wrote our own vows and ceremony. We provided the script to the officiant who made it her own. While the ceremony was still short, we were able to include a personal greeting from my uncle, a poem from Matt’s sister and our own vows.

I think that everyone who joined us on our adventure helped to make the moment special. In addition, my mom really helped with planning by contacting friends who did similar ceremonies and by getting the inside scoop. My sister – Dana – also helped with my makeup and assembling the welcome bags. And, we couldn’t have made the event as spectacular without the financial support of both sets of parents.

Bride’s Favorite Moments & A Few Parting Words:
– Matt surprised me with a wedding gift delivered by his BM while I was getting ready – some pretty fantastic diamond earrings.
– Our ceremony soundtrack: Lovely Italian music for our guest’s entry (in memory of Mom-Mom McFadden), The processional playing “Over the Rainbow” brought tears to everyone’s eyes, and our recessional “Sweet Disposition” made for a fun exit with the dangling streamers that my mom surprised me with.
– Having our closest family and friends there to celebrate and join in our marriage but also being able to spend time with them in the couple of days leading up to the wedding was priceless. It wasn’t just a 6 hour event but an entire weekend of being with everyone!
– Mr. McFadden is a dancing machine
– The steel drum band during our cocktail hour was the best way to incorporate the island vibe
– Don’t be fooled by the awesome photos, we were very sweaty
– We stayed somewhat tradional by staying in different rooms the night before our wedding

Vendor Love

VenueSandals Grande Antigua Resort and Spa | Wedding Dress: Saja Wedding | Shoes: Guess  | Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss  | Invitations: Groom | PhotographerBartlett Pair Photography