Written by Gabrielle Boyer, Photography by Gavin Howarth
Having grown up in Trinidad and Tobago, Sparkle Sooknanan dreamed of getting married with her toes in the sand and when fiancé Ryan Downer proposed, they jetted to Bermuda to plan their special day.
The now-wedded couple met through a mutual friend in New York City and got engaged under the Manhattan Bridge. Despite their big-city living, “We wanted to be married outside, on the beach,” said Sparkle.
“We visited Bermuda and fell in love with the beaches, the pink sand and the people. We knew from our first visit that the property at Rosewood Tucker’s Point was the perfect location for a fairy-tale wedding.”
The couple set about planning their destination Bermuda wedding with the help of Kathleen Dodwell of Bermuda Event Solutions, calling her their “most valuable resource.”
“Our wedding planner, Kathleen, was absolutely terrific. We met her when we visited Bermuda to look at wedding venues. We loved her and hired her immediately. From start to finish, she was amazing. She listened to everything we wanted, was incredibly responsive during the planning process, and found us the most wonderful vendors. On the day of the wedding, rain was threatening. She kept us calm, quickly switched some plans, and the result was a perfect day. Every single one of our 95 guests commented that it was the best wedding they had ever attended. Hiring Kathleen was the best decision we made.”
With 95 family members and friends in attendance (all from abroad!), Sparkle and Ryan tied the knot on November 19, 2016, with their toes in the sand. “On the day of the wedding, rain was looming but we decided to stick with our beach location. For a couple brief moments, it started raining. The bridal party quickly opened umbrellas and everything continued without interruption. Nothing could ruin that moment and the rain quickly passed. Then a beautiful rainbow emerged. It was perfect!” said Sparkle.
The bride wore a stunning strapless, floor-length lace gown and carried a colourful bouquet of pink roses, blue hydrangeas, purple orchids and orange calla lilies—a dynamic blend designed by Flowers by GiMi. The striking arrangement was wrapped in a tie belonging to the groom’s late father, Terry.
After the “I dos,” the couple and their guests were treated to dark n’ stormys and the sounds of steel pan drums. “Sparkle played the steel pan in Trinidad as a child, so that was very special for her,” said Ryan.
After enjoying a seated dinner at the hotel’s beach club and heartfelt speeches made by loved ones, the couple and their guests danced and celebrated all night long to music by DJ All Star. The night ended where it began, on the beach, but this time with a bonfire and s’mores.
When asked to give advice to future couples getting married in Bermuda, their answer was simple: “Hire our wedding team! Kathleen Dodwell, Gavin Howarth [photographer], Keith Steede [videographer], Flowers by GiMi and DJ All Star—they all were amazing! We couldn’t have had a better team.”