Most women dream of what we want our wedding day to be like. All these thoughts racing around our minds of where to have it, how many people to have, will it be large and extravagant or simple and intimate. For the most part, I have found the men to be easy and simple when it comes to weddings.
Here is a little background of our story. At the age of 35, I met my husband very unexpectedly. We immediately both fell head over heels in love with one another. Within a week of dating the both of us knew this was not only “it” but it would be forever. Six months to the day of our first date, he proposed to me. We did not want to wait a long time to get married because we were so excited to start our future together. I was back and forth with deciding to have the wedding here in New Jersey or have a destination wedding.
As many of you know, the average time needed to book and plan a wedding in the United States is one year. Whether the venue has a long waiting time or the church is usually a one year minimum requirement. For popular venues, sometimes it can be even longer. The idea of getting married in the beautiful islands sounded wonderful but I was so apprehensive due to some of the reviews I read. I definitely did not want a cookie cutter style wedding. Many of my friends had honeymooned in St. Lucia and every single one of them just raved about the beauty, the green lushness of the island, the rainforest, volcanoes, gorgeous weather and the friendliness of the people overall. Many people I know had described St. Lucia as the Hawaii of the Eastern Coast.
So I began my research of the beautiful island of St. Lucia. One of my main concerns was the photographer. Many of my friends were married at different resorts on the island. While looking at their wedding photographs, I felt that they all had the same similar pictures. I did not see any real uniqueness or personalization to the photographs. I did find a few photographers on the island but overall was unimpressed with their work.The question that kept running through my mind was, “Could I find an amazing photographer who would understand my husband and I as a couple and our personalities? Would the pictures be everything I dreamed of?”
At that particular point, I was feeling pretty sure that I would rather stay close to home in New Jersey because I was close to New York City and the amount of talented photographers was endless. Something told me to not give up yet on St. Lucia. That is when I came across Kirk Elliott. I originally found his website because he advertised photo tours for visitors of the island. Kirk offered a tour where people who had an interest in photography could tour the island taking beautiful photographs all at the direction of Kirk Elliott in all different spots throughout the day. I thought to myself now that is an amazing idea and I instantaneously had to know more about him.
Coming from someone who has traveled to just about every tropical island, I never saw an excursion/tour of that nature. His personality via the internet even seemed larger than life and when I read the reviews on his photo tours people just absolutely loved him. So I reached out to him and introduced myself. I explained that we were looking to get married in a Catholic Church on the island and then go off take some amazing pictures at a few breath taking locations followed by a romantic dinner together after sunset.
Kirk and I immediately connected. Talking to him I felt like I had known him for years. He listened and processed every word I said. He took the time to really know what my fiancée were looking for. For our particular situation, we had two parents very ill that would not be able to travel with us but we still wanted our special day to be filled with love and happiness even though our parents could not be with us. This is where Kirk stepped up and said, “Erin I will make this an experience of a lifetime for both you and Michael. I got it all covered just trust me.” Kirk took it upon himself to learn as much as he could about Michael and I so he could not only plan our wedding photography but the “experience” of a lifetime.
When I tell you that he exceeded all our expectations, I don’t even know where to begin. Maybe this will help – Imagine this: Michael and I landed and we were greeted inside the St. Lucia airport by this great big smile from Kirk and his videographer Kermany who’s also an amazing person. He took all of our bags as we walked to his BMW truck. Upon getting to the truck, Kirk had cold towels, champagne and ice cold water! Wow our vacation really did start the second we touched ground in St. Lucia.
On the way to our hotel, Kirk stopped at a spot on a mountain with the most breath-taking views of St. Lucia. Did I mention it had a little bar with cold beers and bathrooms?? Perfect!! We were then taken to our hotel located at the Sandals St. Lucian Grande where we would spend the first half of our trip. Before getting out of the vehicle, Kirk handed me a local St. Lucian cell phone. He said, “Erin this is a cell phone for you and Michael. It has all our numbers programmed in it since we will be in constant contact. It also has most of the local numbers of anything you should need.” Kirk even included local restaurants, taxi services and a special person if we were interested in any shore excursions or day trips. I immediately felt so at ease and relaxed knowing I could get a hold of him at any time.
The day before the wedding, Kirk called me to confirm every single detail and even picked us up and drove us to the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church for our rehearsal. After the rehearsal, Kirk and his two associates (Kermany and Thia) took us to a local spot for some amazing food! It was like sitting down with good friends, relaxing, laughing and having some cocktails. Kirk even got us fresh coconuts from the locals-Delish! After we concluded, Kirk dropped us off at the hotel for a good night’s rest until our big day. I never went to sleep feeling so relaxed and confident that everything was going to go smoothly.
I imagined that the night before my wedding that I would have a million things racing through my mind and not be able to sleep. But with Kirk, I knew without a shadow of a doubt he had it all covered (Even bad whether back-up plans). By the way it rains almost every day for a few minutes and that’s it. Of course we woke up and it was the most beautiful day I have ever seen and it did not rain one drop. The sky was crisp blue and the warm breeze was blowing. We ate breakfast, enjoyed a nice workout, took a swim in our pool and then back to our hut to get ready.
Kirk timed it all perfectly especially since Michael and I were sharing a room. I showered first, dressed casual and walked over to the salon to have my hair and makeup done. While I was at the salon, Mike got dressed and ready in our room. Kirk and Kermany had taken some photos and video of me at the salon and then some pictures of Michael getting ready in the room. When I was complete, I called Kirk to let him know I was done and headed back to get my dress on. Michael had already been whisked away for a bit to relax and prep for meeting me at the church. One again, all the transportation was handled and elegantly I may add. Kirk took amazing pictures of my every moment getting ready and Thia being there was perfect because she helped with all the womanly stuff 😉
I arrived at the church, and minus it being one hot day, everything went just perfect. It was the most spectacular moment of my entire life and Kirk and his team captured every minute of it both on video and photography. The church was exactly as described classic and beautiful. After we finished the ceremony, we were met outside with cold Champagne for some celebratory pictures as Mr. & Mrs.!
Kirk then drove us to this beautiful marina where Michael and I spent some alone time as husband and wife while Kirk stood back capturing some intimate personal moments between us. Then Kirk snapped some breathtaking photos all while keeping the timing of the sunset! Next, went to this private small beach which had the beautiful mountains in the background while the sun set in every color imaginable. It was so perfect words don’t describe.
Lastly, Kirk dropped us off at Sandals so that we could go enjoy a romantic dinner for two on the pier all to ourselves. It was the most perfect ending to the most perfect day. As Michael and I cheered our glasses together we looked at one another with such ease and said “Wow that was so amazing, relaxing, and easy.” I went to sleep the happiest woman in the world.
Kirk gave us some time to relax and enjoy some couple time. He said just give him a call when we felt up to it so we can schedule your next amazing day. After some much needed relaxing, beach time and swimming, we reached out to Kirk and said, “We are ready for part two of our vacation.” So, Kirk picked us up and drove us to our second resort which was called Ladera. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when we got to our room. Just breath-taking and simply amazing. After relaxing a day at Ladera, we called Kirk and said, “What do you have in store for us next?” His response was “Get ready because I have something amazing planned.”
The next day, Kirk and his team picked came to Ladera, but before leaving Kirk was able to get some pictures of Michael and I in one of most wanted luxury suites at Ladera. It was enormous with a huge open view of the Piton Mountains. After capturing some beautiful photos there, we then headed to the gorgeous rain forest and waterfall. Michael and I just walked hand and hand through the rainforest while taking in the green scenery, gorgeous flowers and plant life. Of course Kirk was able to capture it all on camera. Once we got to the waterfall Kirk took some gorgeous shots of Michael and I and then we were off to the best excursion yet.
Let it be known that Kirk knows everyone in St. Lucia and I mean everyone. There is not a string he cannot pull let me tell you. He was able to take us to another one of St. Lucia’s most well-known locations, Jade Mountain. We drove into Jade Mountain where we were met by a beautiful large helicopter at the Jade Mountain helipad. Once again, Kirk out did himself and we had champagne and took in the beautiful views before out take-off. We met our pilot who was simply the best and very well known in St. Lucia. So doors off, seat-belted in and off we went! When I tell you this island is just breathtaking you have to see it to believe it.
We flew all over and spent some time in between the infamous Piton Mountains where Kirk and Kermany took pictures of Michael and I in the helicopter enjoying an experience of a lifetime. Michael and I didn’t stop talking about the helicopter experience for weeks! Just awesome!
For the next four days Michael and I just relaxed and enjoyed the beautiful island of St. Lucia. We enjoyed some beach time at Sugar Bay Beach Resort during the day and even enjoyed a spectacular dinner there at night. We must say we couldn’t get enough of our accommodations at Ladera and the culinary experience there called Dasheen. When our vacation was coming to an end, Kirk had already prepared a CD of all our untouched images reading for my viewing. Prior to dropping us off at the airport, we all went and had lunch together. We talked about everything and Kirk showed us all our pictures. When lunch was complete, he handed me the CD so I had something to go home with right away. This way I would have time to look through all the thousands of images for my future album. In addition, Kermany had put together a cinematography style video that he showed us a sneak peek of.
Michael and I were sad to leave. It was the best 12 days of our life. We met new friends (Kirk, Kermany and Thia). Friends that Michael and I will have for life. Kirk Elliot did not just take pictures; he made our wedding an experience. The best experience and best vacation we have ever had. I am so blessed to have found him and his skill set is just beyond superb.
Whether your wedding is big or small I would trust him a thousand percent to handle all of it. If you need help with choosing a church or location for the venue, he is capable of helping tremendously. He will drive to the locations you have in mind, and send you pictures of what you choose. He helped us with the runners for the church, the contact for a beautiful florist- you name it. He is like a wedding planner and photographer in one. The best part of my experience with Kirk was I could be myself. I could tell him what I envisioned and he proved to me he could accomplish it.
Looking back, I would not have done it any other way. I would recommend this to anyone getting married that wants a truly amazing, fun, exciting experience. Michael and I can’t wait to go back on our anniversary and see our friends again. You can sure bet he will have something planned for when we come back.
Lastly, I believe Kirk’s happiness in life is seeing other people happy. He is a good soul and a good man. I guarantee if you choose Kirk Elliot for your wedding experience you won’t regret it. You can contact me at anytime via email to answer any questions you may have.