Cassandre Jean and Rodney Lavard got hitched in an island destination wedding at the Gansevoort Hotel in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands on October 3, 2009, with the sound of calm waves in the background.
Rodney proposed to Cassandre in front of friends and family during a trip home to the Turks and Caicos Islands on October 5, 2007, almost 2 years to the date of their wedding.
Rodney won his lady’s heart by always being respectful. He made her feel “safe” and wasn’t aggressive.
For her wedding day, Cassandre wanted her look to be natural yet flawless. She credits Shenique from Shenique Perfection for her loose curls and light make-up and the Turks and Caicos sun for her glowing skin tone.
The bridesmaids wore pink and white orchids in their hair to complement their pink dresses and add an extra touch of exotic island magic.
Lucky for her, Cassandre found her wedding dress at the second bridal shop she visited, Priscilla Boston in Long Island, NY.
“I felt like that dress was made for me,” she remembers. “It was exactly what I wanted from the cut to the fabric, which wasn’t too heavy for Turks and Caicos.”
“Every fitting I had, I cried,” Cassandre laughs. “even til the last day.”
Rodney said he wasn’t nervous at all on his wedding day. “I was more excited that anything. I was just looking forward to it.”
Rodney, who picked out all of the rings, used jeweler Alan Cohen, in Midtown, Manhattan. For Cassandre’s engagement ring he chose a three-stone, past-present-future ring and her wedding ring had a row of diamonds to match. For himself, the groom chose a simple and sturdy platinum ring.
Cassandre gives herself and the camera a final look before putting on her veil.
Cassandre purchased her veil from the Priscilla Boston shop where she found her dress. She wanted something very simple and elegant.
Cassandre tied photos of her two grandmothers to her bouquet of white orchids so she could have them close to her on her wedding day.
When Rodney proposed he said, “I don’t know where my life would be without you and I was wondering if you’d spend the rest of yours with me,” Cassandre remembers.
“It sounds silly, but I just missed him,” the new wife said about being apart from Rodney on the morning of her wedding day. “I was anxious to be with him.”
Cassandre chose pink strapless dresses for her bridesmaids, add a pop of color to the wedding party to accentuate the tropical atmosphere. The girls carried bouquets of pink bougainvillea, that grow wild in the islands.
“Just because it was the big day, I didn’t want it to be any different than any time that I’m hanging out with my girls,” the light-hearted bride said.
Rodney chose beige suits for himself and his groomsmen to accentuate the sandy beaches of the TCI. The men wore pink orchids while he and Cassandre’s father wore white to match his bride’s bouquet.
Before walking down the aisle Cassandre’s dad said, “Daddy never let you down in the past. I won’t let you down now. It’s you and I.”
“Once I saw Rodney, my heart jumped. I didn’t see the people on the left and the right.” Cassandre sighed.
Cassandre remembers getting teary eyed when she and Rodney exchanged rings. “I was just so overwhelmed with happiness.”
“I’m Mrs. Lavard! How exciting is that?!” the newlywed gushed about her new marital status.
To commemorate their union, the couple combined two vials of blue and white sand into a vase, which they now keep in their bedroom.
Rodney thought it would be funny to have a friend place a ball and chain on his ankle after he got hitched. Cassandre was a good sport and agreed to the joke.
After the wedding the newlyweds, wedding party and guests tossed petals of bougainvillea flowers, tucked into paper cones, into the air.
Cassandre and Rodney are proud of their Haitian heritage and their nickname for each other is the French word Cherie.
Rodney said he fell for Cassandre because of “her smile and her good heart… She has a heart of gold.”
The couple’s wedding planner, Diane from Island Harmony, added seashells with the bride and groom’s place settings for a cute accent. They keep the shells in the living room.
Cassandre and Rodney’s first dance was to a contemporary Haitian tune by Alan Cave called “Men Mwen” or ‘Here I Am’.
“When Rodney and I heard it, we looked at each other and we just knew that would be our song,” the bride said.
The new wife felt relief after the nuptials were over after all the preparation for the wedding, and excitement to plan the rest of her and Rodney’s life together.
“It was such a buildup of tension. It was two years of planning and it was a lot of work. It was well worth it at the end of the day.”