“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
– Lao Tzu
Noran and Jay’s tropical island nuptials took place by the turquoise waters of Bora Bora at the Four Seasons Resort Bora. Read on to find out about the inside details of this gorgeous ceremony!
The stunning couple, Noran and Jay reveal all about their whirlwind romance and how Bora Bora came to be their destination of choice for their incredible seaside wedding. Additionally, Lauren Grech, CEO of LLG Events and adjunct professor at New York University gives us some insights on the planning, designing and execution of the Polynesian ceremony.
Noran (The Bride): Our story begins with a ‘like’, a ‘bagel’ and a cup of coffee. The algorithm gods must have been wise! Our love affair began with an iPhone app, but we’re so blessed to be spending the rest of our lives together in the real world. The journey was not without hiccups and detours. As with all rewarding life events, we were both forced to deal with the fear of unknown, perform the expected dating dance, and overcome our own insecurities. We had both been in and out of relationships, failed once and we suppose we were both weary. Yet, we shared an indelible faith in lasting love and the will to keep moving forward.
One of our first dates didn’t go so well, when Jay asked me to drop by his house after dinner for a drink. Although he didn’t mean it in that way (he swears), Noran was put off and decided to cancel the next date (at the last minute no less). This didn’t discourage Jay who asked her out again, this time to an art exhibition, a public safe place. Jay has always been interested in art and all things visual. So, I finally saw the side of Jay that I actually liked! That evening was when Jay made the move for the first kiss and I couldn’t resist!
Fate would have it that soon thereafter Jay was set to travel to Senegal and The Gambia, West Aftrica. Contact was difficult given the lack of reliable internet connection. Still Jay reached out to me, whenever he could, when wi-fi was available. I was impressed by Jay’s efforts given that he was thousands of miles away in a distant African continent. My impression changed and feelings grew, each day he was away. They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder and, in this instance, it was definitely true.
So much so that on the first day Jay returned from his trip, that evening in a dimly lit Korean bar, I asked Jay to be my boyfriend! Jay was honestly surprised by this early bold move and yet, something about it seemed right and he said “yes!” Even after just two dates, we knew somehow, we were meant for each other.
Soon after our relationship began, we were met with a serious life challenge, as if God was shining a light to a path towards the future. Jay was diagnosed with stage three kidney cancer. There were no prior signs and yet here it was. No one, including Jay could believe this was happening. This tragedy, however, was a gift in that it brought us so much closer together.
Jay (The Groom): Noran was a true fighter, a determined emotional, spiritual and physical guardian, determined to not let cancer get the best of us. We went through it together and with the grace of God, I have fully recovered and in remission. This experience really solidified for both of us, how important and amazing we are to each other.
Jay proposed to Noran on his birthday, at a surprise party indecently thrown by Noran. She said ‘yes’, to the sheer delight and surprise of all of their friends and guests. Together, their journey continues!
The Blissful Ceremony
Noran (The Bride): We chose a destination wedding so we could have a small and intimate wedding and also thought it was a good idea to combine the wedding and honeymoon together. Our destination of choice was Bora Bora because it is a very remote paradise island. We chose the Four Seasons Resort because we felt that we would be treated special for the very remarkable event in our lives.
Jay (The Groom): We wanted a western-style wedding with Polynesian details for the ceremony and it turned out perfect! Noran chose a wedding dress which was formal yet elegant for the beachside wedding. Polynesian details like hand washing, blanket wrap, flower crowns and more, made the ceremony so much more unique and memorable. We felt like we had best of both sides.We chose a yellow and white colour palette for the décor as Noran’s name means “yellow” in her native language. Overall, our wedding really surpassed our expectations!
The Planner’s Perspective
Lauren Grech (CEO of LLG Events): Bora Bora serves beyond honeymoons and elopements, with unlimited bucket-list activities to make a truly memorable destination wedding for large groups of friends and family. For example, as a welcome activity for wedding guests we arranged a private jet ski tour around the mainland Bora Bora, followed by a surprise boat trip the next day. We invited all wedding guests on the trip, but they had no idea what to expect. We took them on a private snorkel tour through the coral reefs of French Polynesia. The guests got to swim with black-tipped reef sharks and feed stingrays.
After this excitement of getting to explore the nature of the islands and becoming familiar with the sea and its marine life, we led them to a private island where there was an overwater lunch set up with a frui-cruterie spread and a traditional Polynesian barbecue of fresh fish. This really tied together the culture of Bora Bora.
Memories like this are once-in-a-lifetime, so it couldn’t be more fitting to use them as a kick-off to the ultimate celebration of life and love. It helped everyone truly relax and unwind, so they could focus on nothing else besides supporting Noran and Jay as they tied the knot in paradise.
Planning, Design & Execution: LLG Events
Venue: Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
Photography: Marc Gerard Photography
Secondary Photography: Sasha Popovic
Videography: Sadly Ghacir