Anyone else watching “Wedding Island” on TLC?
The reality wedding show follows Sandy Malone who manages Weddings in Vieques. Sandy is a tough wedding planner who has an even tougher job. Planning weddings on an island requires organization skills unlike any other location. Flowers have to be shipped from the main island of Puerto Rico and wedding locations range from simple beach canopy arrangements to full house rentals, but there are no traditional wedding venues. The clothes steamer becomes an important tool for the wedding party outfits and bridal gown which have been packed onto a small plane. And it does not take much for something to go wrong- which it does, often. But Sandy runs her business like a drill sergeant, watching that can be both good and bad. I want to like her, but it is the island that calls me back to the show.
After our April anniversary trip this year, Dave and I look forward to watching the show to see our favorite spots and remembering our time on the island. The show producers do a great job of capturing the beauty of the island, and while she has yet to grow on me, the wedding planner Sandy does a great job of dealing with first-world expectations on a remote Caribbean island.
In another blog post “What To Know Aboue Vieques”, I said that Vieques is not for everyone. While watching this show it becomes clear that not only is the island not for everyone, but destination weddings are also not for everyone. Island time is a real thing, but it is not just about being late or moving slow – it is a mindset. To be happy on the island, you need to be flexible. You are not going to get everything you want at the pace that you are used to in the United States, so go with the flow and have realistic and lenient expectations while visiting the island.
The driving is stressful, the roads are not perfect, there are signs of military occupation (including bomb warnings on the beaches), the food is good but not five star, and your accommodations are most likely run by a lovely couple and not a big corporate hotel chain ( aside from the W). It is not perfect and it is a very different way of life, but it is charming if you can adjust.
The other aspect that we have noticed about the show so far is that it is clearly edited to show the pretty postcard image of the island and does not paint the full picture. They edit out the poverty and lack of infrastructure on the island. It is not just beaches and beautiful horses running wild. There is a welfare issue for both humans and animals on the island that is overwhelming at times. We got lost in a bad neighborhood and watched a casual drug deal in the daylight by an island gang of some sort. We heard tales of petty theft from locals who provided tips on how to avoid a Jeep break-in or beach loss. We also set a house alarm in our beautiful bungalow with an ocean view, just to be safe. It never felt unsafe, but we also tried to be aware during our entire visit. It is important to know that the show is “Photoshopped,” and that there are flaws as well.
But knowing that, I miss Vieques very much.
I think it took us about 24-48 hours to really adjust to being on the island during our visit, which is why I am daydreaming about another visit in the future. I believe we will be able to adjust much faster next time. And so, to help me bide the time until we can save up for our next visit, I have been using Pinterest as vacation therapy. Here are some of my favorite images from this photo collage website that I just might be addicted to. To be fair, this is another totally ideal representation but really that is what you remember the most when you come home anyway…
*Update: “Weddings In Vieques” has been cancelled.