Kristen & Bryce

Kristen & Bryce’s unforgettable Panama Destination wedding!

Here are just a few photos as a tease… click to go to Kristen & Bryce’s gallery for many more wedding day images!

Here are the details!
Photographer: Michelle
Photo Package Chosen: You Will Love It full-week package
Final # of Edited Photos Delivered to Couple: 1579
Resort: Playa Blanca Beach Resort, Playa Blanca-Farrallon, Panama
Travel Agent: Dawn Fairbanks of Destination Weddings by Dawn / Northstar Travel, Kitchener Ontario
Sessions: Panama City Tour Excursion, Anton Valley Excursion, Full Wedding Day, Trash/Love the Dress Session

See Kristen & Bryce’s Love Letter to us here!

Here is Kristen & Bryce’s Reality Wedding Story as written by and featured in theweddingring.ca‘s Magazine!

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Kristen & Bryce
A Wedding Week in Panama
Photography by Captured Soul Photography (www.capturedsoulphotography.com) I Story by TheWeddingRing.ca

Kristen Micallef admits she wasn’t exactly looking for love when she first met Bryce Elliot. It was a snowy February 14th in 2010 as she slowly made her way through traffic on the 401, on her way to a friend’s Anti-Valentine’s Day party. By the time she got there, she was late and slightly frustrated. “Someone had parked in the spot I usually park in… I was forced to park way back beside a dumpster, and haul my laundry basket through the snow…” As she walked in, Kristen had a few choice words about the parking spot culprit. Bryce sheepishly looked up, admitting it was him. When Kristen laid eyes on him, her frustration disappeared and Bryce was instantly forgiven. The two have been inseparable ever since.
It didn’t take long for Bryce to realize that he wanted to marry Kristen, “It was a breath of fresh air to find someone who had similar goals and ambitions and I could envision us together forever.” On Saturday August 7th, 2010, he proposed and the pair began planning their wedding.

Initially, Kristen and Bryce had no idea where to start, much less were they’d tie the knot. Eventually, they landed on the idea of a destination wedding. They loved the idea and simplicity of a beach wedding. “It was the perfect way to keep the wedding intimate and about our relationship.”

Kristen immediately got to work researching potential locations, with one agreed upon stipulation: it had to be somewhere that neither of them had ever been. As avid travellers, it helped narrow their search and after lots of research, they choose the Playa Blanca Resort in Panama. They liked its adventurous reputation and budget-friendly price point.

True to their destination’s surroundings, Kristen and Bryce chose a tropical beach design theme, with hot pink and mossy green accents running throughout the décor. Kristen designed their invitations, calling them her “a labour of love.” She used fridge magnets as Save the Dates, featuring a beach scene made with scrap book paper, sand paper, and sparkly three dimensional foam coral. The invites were a simple white on hot pink with tropical flowers that reflected Panama.

Although they loved the simplicity of a destination wedding, not everything would prove to be so easy. Two days before leaving for the wedding, Kristen’s wisdom tooth came in. “It came in fast and furious. My face was extremely swollen; I couldn’t open my mouth or eat.” Luckily, Kristen was able to book an emergency appointment and even had the swelling down by the time she boarded the plane. “You never think you’re going to need a dental surgeon to save your wedding!”

Kristen and Bryce did their favours a little bit differently, handing ‘Vacation Kits’ out at the airport on their way to Panama. The kits were created with help from Kristen’s mom and Michelle Kauntz, of Captured Soul Photography (www.capturedsoulphotography.com). Each kit included reusable bright green insulated plastic tumblers, filled with goodies for the week such as a hot pink lanyard with a zippered pocket to hold room keys and a wedding week guide that introduced the wedding party and plugged the week’s events and need-to-knows. “The cups and lanyards were also great because they flagged who was in the group all week. That made it easy for our group to find and get to know each other.”

Kristen had a specific vision for her flowers, and since she knew she wouldn’t be able to get them in Panama, she decided to bring silk flowers in her suitcase. She chose calla lilies, orchids and spider mum silks that could withstand the journey and yet still look real. Kristen’s Aunt had experience working with silks and put the bouquets together at the resort. “They held up great, and we had tons of people asking to touch them because they couldn’t believe they weren’t real!”

For a sunny day in Panama, Bryce and his groomsmen wore Tommy Bahamas linen pants in tan, with golden yellow silk short sleeved dress shirts. Kristen knew she wanted her dress to reflect her beach wedding and found the perfect gown at a boutique in Cambridge. It was lightweight and trainless with a sexy, transparent bodice. Kristen chose watermelon for her bridesmaids’ dresses colour, but because her party members were coming from all over the globe (some as far as Abu Dhabi), each girl was able to choose her own cut and style.

Since she was in Panama without her normal hair stylist (and no opportunity for a hair trial), Kristen was nervous about her look holding up to the humidity. So instead, she opted to plan ahead as much as possible. Kristen says her stylist did a fantastic job of prepping her hair over the months leading up to the wedding, with color that would hold up in the sun and products to manage frizz.

Kristen and Bryce said ‘I do’ on February 13th, 2012 in front of fifty-nine family and friends. The ceremony took place just before the sun was about set, in the resort’s gazebo on the beach. For the newlyweds, the natural beauty of their surroundings was simple and perfect.

The reception also took full advantage of their exotic destination. Dinner was served at the open-air à la carte restaurant on the beach, right next to the ceremony location. They chose their menu when they got to the resort and opted for a simple cake, finished with tropical flowers. “We wanted the reception to be distinctly Panamanian, nothing like what you would get in a hall at home.” For example, dinner included dishes like chinese egg rolls, sweet and sour “hong kong” pork and ‘sea treasure’, the restaurants fresh mixed seafood special.

To capture the week’s events, Kristen and Bryce had chosen Michelle Kauntz, owner of Captured Soul Photography. They both say they immediately fell in love with her work and knew they had to have her shoot their destination wedding. “Michelle fit into our group well and made all the photos so much fun… She captured the best side of us all. She was even there to offer tips, advice, and coach us on what to expect once we got to the resort!”

One of their favourite events of the week was actually their Trash the Dress photo shoot with Michelle. Kristen and Bryce decided to include their whole wedding party in the shoot. A forward thinking guest had gone into town to buy water guns for the photo shoot. “It was a blast! By the end, we were all soaking wet and playing in the ocean in our dress clothes.”

To take full advantage of their time in Panama, Kristen, Bryce and several of their guests took trips throughout the week. They visited the Panama Canal as well as a zoo and hot springs in Anton Valley. They also visited a village that sits within the crater of one of the world’s largest inhabited dormant volcano’s. Overall, they were able to truly enjoy time with their guests and soak up Panama’s scenery and history.

And even though Kristen and Bryce admit that they weren’t sure what to expect, they say their destination wedding was the perfect way to start their marriage: “We went in with open minds and the whole experience ended up being more than we ever could have expected. We had a week to spend with our guests, and were able to actually spend quality time with everyone at our wedding.”

In fact, the two had such a great experience that told The Ring, “We’re trying to talk our friends and family into having destination weddings so we can have the chance to be on the other side and be a guest at one!”

Kristen and Bryce’s
favourite DW things…

Wedding plans were much less detail-orientated with their DW. “We didn’t need to handle details like, reception and ceremony décor, and menu until we were at the resort. Anything that we really wanted done a specific way like music, favors, and flowers need to be organized and transported carefully.”
Their 60kg luggage restriction made the KISS method a must!
Getting to choose their wedding meal at the resort in Panama.
The week long adventure allowed for lots of fun, quality time with guests
The natural beauty of Panama meant very little décor was required: “It was simple, beautiful and intimate.”

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