Written by Laura Bell, Photography by Donovin Seymour
Once upon a time a boy from Spanish Point befriended a girl from Camp Hill on Facebook. From there a sweet friendship slowly evolved into a solid relationship for Natasha Butterfield, an English teacher at CedarBridge Academy, and David Thomas, a project manager with the Bermuda Tourism Authority. The couple dated for just over six years before getting engaged on February 26, 2016.
When asked when they knew their partner was “the one,” Natasha recalled a night before the May 24th holiday one year, when they were just friends, when they sat on the sidewalk eating custard creams, drinking ginger beer and listening to music while marking her family’s annual parade spot. David, on the other hand, said he always knew but it was her unwavering support during a difficult time that sealed it for him. “I’ve always known she was special and was probably going to be ‘the one,’ but after going through a pretty tough period personally and having Tash in my corner to rely on as a great support system, I knew that it was game time,” he said.
On the night of their engagement, David had created a mosaic portrait of the couple’s 400-plus photos and arranged to have it displayed during an exhibition opening at the Bermuda Society of Arts. “We started at Little Venice for drinks and happened across City Hall on the way to ‘dinner,’” explained David. “I arranged for her best friend to be there ‘coincidentally,’ and we bumped into her as we were browsing the art just before we happened across our image. Initially, I fumbled with what I was going to say but when I started rolling, that was all she wrote… I was ready to turn ‘one day’ into ‘day one.’”
“It was literally one of the best days of my life,” said Natasha. “I’m so glad that he arranged for it to be recorded, because looking back I see that I dropped my purse and phone on the ground when he got on his knee—and the only words that I seemed to have in my vocabulary were ‘NO WAY!!!’ It was absolutely thoughtful, romantic and perfect.”
David proposed with a 14k white gold six-prong diamond solitaire that he had chosen himself. “I told David I would’ve said yes if it were a fake plastic ring because I loved him that much!” said Natasha.
The couple officially said their vows just over a year later on April 8, 2017, at Fort Hamilton in front of 90 friends and family members. The bride wore a white ball gown from Pronovias, while the groom went with coral Bermuda shorts from TABS and a navy blazer from Marks & Spencer. After a fun morning of getting ready at her aunt’s house (which was transformed into a beauty parlour for the occasion, complete with mimosas and walls decorated with childhood photos), Natasha and her bridal party jumped into taxis and headed to the ceremony at Fort Hamilton.
“Having different religious backgrounds, we opted to choose a venue that didn’t pose any conflicts for either of us,” said Natasha. “The area we chose in Fort Hamilton was intimate and provided a great backdrop for our special day without being overbearing. Additionally, it was a naturally beautiful venue that would not require many decorations, which was a plus.”
The couple had planned on using the atrium at the Berkeley Institute as a backup plan in case of bad weather and naturally the unpredictable April weather caused some initial panic. “Ironically, we had terrible weather the night before, and were pretty nervous over what the day would bring but we lucked out and were able to have the wedding where we envisioned,” said David. He wished he had known beforehand “that the weather was going to turn out in our favour. I really wanted things to go as we planned, and that would’ve saved me a lot of undue stress.”
Officiated by Dwayne Caines and coordinated by day-of planner Emma Sims, the ceremony included maid of honor Victoria Borges; bridesmaids Tiffany Butterfield, Mia Williams, Alanna Butterfield and Djevin Thomas; flower girls Xaana Green and Milan Gibbons-Thomas; groomsmen Taryq Brown, Damian Pitcher, Gavin Manders, Wayne Ball, Marquis Jones and Chris Weeks; and ring bearer Cree Bean.
“Looking back, what made our ceremony special was the intimacy of it,” said Natasha. “Being able to walk down the aisle and to see my friends and family a few feet away smiling at me, whispering jokes and sharing kind words of encouragement is a memory that I will cherish forever. The weather was also absolutely brilliant juxtaposed with the horrific weather the night before.”
“Everything ran so smoothly and the ceremony was quite short, which was a bonus because the sun was beating down fiercely,” added David.
Once the show began everything went quickly, said the groom, and before they knew it the couple and their guests were on the way to their early afternoon brunch reception at The Reefs. Using a coral, gold and white colour scheme—“We were going for a simple but classic theme, as that mirrors our personality as a couple,” said the bride—the Ocean Echo dining room was transformed thanks to Class Act Designs and Flowers by GiMi. “We had a brunch reception with every dish and dainty that you could have imagined! It was elegant, simple and laid-back—all the things we aspired for it to be,” said Natasha. But it was not without a few surprises and a little hilarity.
“I wrote a poem for David that he knew nothing about and presented it to everyone immediately after the toasts were shared,” said the bride. “Needless to say, he had no words! This was followed by yet another surprise when one of our long-term friends, Jecoa, arrived and David informed all of our guests that he would be singing ‘our’ song for our first dance! I was completely surprised and Jecoa did an amazing job! Finally, David and a few of his groomsmen took to the centre of the reception and broke out into song—belting at the top of their lungs!”
However it was David’s grandmother who truly stole the show, said Natasha. “David’s grandmother, ‘Mimi,’ graced us all with her amazing dance skills during the reception—getting low to calypso music with a purse around her neck and the train of my wedding dress over her head. It was truly one of the most hilarious and amazing parts of the day!”
After the cake (a beautiful white three-tier confection by Cake Boutique Celebration) was cut, the speeches finished and the dancers were done, guests left with airplane-shaped bottle openers that said ‘Let the Adventure Begin’ and gold Kate Aspen favour boxes with butter mints and almond chocolate kisses inside.
It was a near perfect day for the happy couple, and the bride was left with only one small regret. “The only thing that I would have liked to have done differently was get the chance to interact with all of the guests on the day,” said Natasha. “This obviously proves to be quite a task, being the bride and being shuffled from one area to the next; but it would have been nice to have a moment to get around to each and every one for a quick hug and chat. Save for that, it was everything we wanted it to be and more!”
“I’m not sure that I would do anything differently,” concluded David. “Magical isn’t a word that I throw around very often—if ever—but that’s exactly what April 8, 2017, was.”