In a Certain Fashion

Real Wedding: Venessa & Shawn

What happens when a young, innovative jewelry designer falls in love with a cutting–edge photographer?

Chic nuptials à la Venessa Arizaga and Shawn Roche, two New York City-based artists who wowed guests at a tropical locale. But Venessa and Shawn didn't let their classic beach destination in Rincon, Puerto Rico lull them into hosting a predictable affair. Instead, they blended Old World romance with fanciful on-trend elements all their own.

"We made a lot of things that would have added a huge expense. It was a lot of work but thinking outside the box can save you thousands," says Venessa.

Their visionary style imbued every aspect of their event, from the pure white-on-white décor to the splashy custom-made Zac Posen gown donned by the bride. "Zac is a true master," says Venessa. "He really knew how to highlight my best features and make me feel sexy on my wedding day." It took more than 400 hours to make the one-of-a-kind dress with its blue ombre details that echoed the Caribbean water and sky.

Planning the event also tapped into Venessa's own design spirit, inspiring her to create a jam-packed charm necklace to wear down the aisle. It was bursting with miniature icons, from a tiny bride and groom and a chapel to blue rhinestones and even a crucifix, to symbolize the couple's happily ever after. "It was a sweet reminder on our Day of everything to look forward to for the future," she explains.

Do-it-yourself creativity also dictated many of the personalized touches hand-selected by Venessa and Shawn. This route not only gave them the freedom for artistic license, it also kept them to their $50,000 budget. "We made a lot of things that would have added a huge expense. It was a lot of work but thinking outside the box can save you thousands," says Venessa, "I wanted to capture the romantic mood of Puerto Rico."

So, Shawn strung carnival lights to hang overhead during the reception. The couple combed the beaches for pieces of driftwood and shells to decorate the table-settings. Local vegetation was transformed into flower arrangements. The result? A three-day event that left their guests reeling at every turn from Venessa and Shawn's inimitable vision of a tropical rendez-vous.

--Erinn Bucklan

 
 
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