Bride: Breanne Barnard, 32
Groom: Michael Thomas, 35
Occupations: Barnard, preschool teacher; Thomas, attorney
Homebase: New York City
Wedding Date: August 14, 2010
Wedding Location: Bay Gardens Beach Resort, Gros Islet St. Lucia
The Set-Up Breanne and Michael had a brief encounter outside a Duane Reade convenient store, yet it was over a year later that their mutual friend and Breanne’s roommate Adrian played cupid. “Adrian thought we were both looking for the same things in life and suggested we go out,” says Breanne. She was immediately impressed by Michael’s demeanor. “A lot of guys are intelligent and accomplished but they’re cocky about it. Michael wasn’t,” she explains. Michael admits he did think Breanne was cute but went into the experience with zero expectations. He explains, “I didn’t put too much thought into the date because I figured, ‘These things never work out.’” Over Mexican fare at Michael’s favorite NYC restaurant, he discovered Breanne was more than a pretty face. “She seemed grounded and very sweet. She also has an innocence and naivete that drew me in,” he says.
The Missing Piece to My Puzzle The pair hit it off and began seeing each other regularly. Breanne was in an accelerated graduate school program and often sought Michael’s guidance with her studies. “He read over all my work. He was incredibly supportive,” she shares. For Michael, the assistance was effortless. “I didn’t think helping Breanne with her papers was a big deal,” he offers. In addition to helping Breanne academically, she beams that Michael soon became the ying to her yang. “I’m hyper with a bunch of energy going nowhere — he calms me down,” Breanne says with a chuckle. “I was a full-time student and unemployed when we met but I never felt less than with Michael,” Breanne notes. She continues, “We definitely complement each other beautifully.” Michael echos this sentiment, “I didn’t have to be guarded with Breanne. There was always this trust and comfort level that made everything easy…including falling in love.”
[All images excluding honeymoon pic by Mikael Lamber.]
Let’s Toast It Up That comfort level extended to Michael’s family. After dating less than a year, Breanne spent the Christmas holidays with her future in-laws who hail from New Orleans. During this visit Breanne bonded with Michael’s mother. “She shared a family gumbo recipe and showed me how to make it. She told me I would put my own spin on it one day,” remembers Breanne. Two months later Michael proposed over dinner. “I had a completely different night planned. We were supposed to go for a walk, dancing and sing karaoke before my proposal but I couldn’t wait!” says Michael with a laugh. Since Breanne’s engagement ring was burning a hole in his pocket, he excused himself from the table and returned with the ring in a wine glass. He asked Breanne to be his wife and the couple planned their nuptials in a whooping six months.
Island Flare The couple decided against a long engagement and since Breanne was born in St. Lucia, the island seemed like an ideal location to tie the knot. “We got married during Hurricane season but with the weather these days you take a risk no matter what,” Breanne shares adding a caveat that researching a hotel’s backup plan for rain is a must when planning a destination wedding. The couple’s risk-taking saved them a hefty amount of cash and they passed those savings to their guests in the form of activities like a day cruise and visits to the historic Pitons landmark. One hundred of the couple’s loved ones including the bride’s makeup artist Hiyiyatun Muqaribu traveled to St. Lucia to celebrate their union. Breanne confesses, “Witnessing so many people travel to support us was humbling. A lot of my relationships with guests will forever be changed. It was a really good experience.”
Breanne’s Money Saving Tips for Future Brides:
Make it Personal “An important saving tip that Michael and I used was going to St. Lucia [prior to the wedding] and talking face to face with vendors. This is the best way to know what you’re going to get and negotiate prices,” says Breanne.
Home Grown “Use local flowers, foods and services as much as possible when planning a destination wedding,” warns Breanne. She points out while many brides are indignant about having orchids or calla lilies, opting for flowers that are local to the area is more cost-efficient and unique.
Wholesale Wonders “You can get bridal accessories in New York City’s Garment District for so cheap.They will even custom make items for you,” advises Breanne adding that one can snag a veil for as low as $40! If you don’t live in the Big Apple, these types of savings could be worth a day trip for those in the Northeastern or Mid-Atlantic states.
**BONUS from Michael for Future Grooms** “As painstaking as it might be to go shopping, get involved in wedding registry process. If I had known then what I know now, I would have gone. I gave away my rights,” warns Michael between laughs.
Take a look at past Tie the Knot Tuesday features here.
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