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For those who love hopelessly romantic moments, what better than the waters of the French West Indies...
From the moment that you step foot onto the island of St. Barts, every day is a celebration. But this vacation was the setting for an 18 year long dream to come true.
On the morning of August 8th, we left as a family to return to St. Barts (my favorite destination in the world). Only this time, we were on a secret mission, with beautiful intentions and long-awaited dreams.
My Mark Zunino wedding dress was carefully stuffed and wrapped in a large suitcase, diamond Jimmy Choos lay beside it in a felt bag. Our Peter Marco wedding bands were placed in my carry-on, and four white hydrangeas were discreetly accompanying us to the perfect secret rendezvous.
We told no one - no friends, not even our mothers. This is going to sound so Hollywood, but I did have to call in the industry troops - my stylist, jeweler & publicist to manage the news. Our wedding day was carefully thought-out, planned in spontaneous record time and perfectly produced by David.
We broke the news to our children just days before our departure, hoped for their support and asked only for their heartfelt participation. Any blended family knows that formalizing a step-parent can be tricky. Although I knew it would be one of Rain and Shaya’s happiest days, my two oldest daughters needed to warm up to the idea. I gave them freedom to feel and participate as they wished. Thankfully, they supported me and opened their hearts to share in my special day, in trust of a deeper family commitment.
Rain asked me every day with sweet anticipation, “Is today your wedding day, Mommy?” On the morning of August 12, she was the first to rise and excitedly shouted “CONGRATULATIONS MOMMY!!!” In a sleepy daze (I’m not much of a morning person), I responded, “WHAT happened, WHY?”
“It’s your wedding day!” she squealed. That warmed my heart and filled me with so much joy. It was as if she was getting married. She was so excited.
David drove my dress to the sailboat in the wee hours of the morning, so that no one would notice. We were trying to be private, and the island was flooded with paparazzi. Walking to the tender with a fluffy garment bag, the family, and a suitcase filled with my family’s white attire would hardly pass for the usual day excursion at sea. Later, we all casually climbed aboard as if it were any other day.
Inside my usual beach bag was a small felt Peter Marco jewelry pouch with our two wedding bands inside.
Off we went to meet the sailboat, which was anchored far away off the shore of a private beach. I knew I would never return to St. Barts again as Miss Burke. Somehow in my 39th year, I felt incredibly peaceful, certain, and blissfully happy. In my soul, I was already married. Making the spiritual commitment to exchange vows in our favorite place, in front our four children, with my soulmate seemed like a real life fairytale.
I must admit that fear has a funny way of delaying things.
It was pure love, commitment, and romance that lead me to marry David in such a picture perfect way. Trust me when I say that my love story has been unpredictable at times. But this day was a long time coming, beautifully staged, and totally meant to be. The summer of 2011, and its many changes, will forever be one of my FAVORITE life chapters.
Not surprisingly, my “marry me” playlist sang throughout the boat. Each song was handpicked with meaning by both of us. It is not often that you get to plan a very special occasion, and have it play out just as you imagined in your mind. Even the weather was perfect, despite the fact that the report predicted a storm.
Many people asked my why we never married. Honestly, I was happy with how things were. But something changed this past year. To stand with David in the middle of the Caribbean sea and exchange our promise to one another seemed so powerful and meaningful. It was the greatest gift that I could give to us and to our children.
There we stood, defying all odds (especially in Hollywood years), in front of Captain Eddie, who officiated our ceremony. We wrote our own vows to offer to each other, filled with our intentions, appreciations and our marriage vision.
It was the perfect wedding day…..
Want to see photos from the wedding? Check out "Merci Gala!"
I found this online….great advice!
Wilferd Arlan Peterson
Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created.
In marriage the little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say "I love you" at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted;
the courtship should not end
with the honeymoon, it should continue through the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice,
but in the spirit of joy. It is speaking words of appreciation
and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience,
understanding and a sense of humour.
It is having the capacity to forgive.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow old.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.