I remember going to the Caribbean for the first time as being so special because of the locals. I went to design the wedding for a family at the Four Seasons on Nevis (hyperlink https://www.fourseasons.com/nevis/) I arrived before my friend, the wedding planner and was greeted at the airport by friendly locals. I’d never been on any tropical island like thisbefore so I took in the smells, the heat, the lush tropical plantings, the sounds of birds and frogs and the singleness of the island’s simplicity. I expected very little when I arrived at the resort entrance on the road because the tropics overwhelm our grand architecture and pomp and ego. The port-cochere was, as I remember it, lodge-like and unobtrusive; I mean it didn’t call attention to itself, but it did the job intended shading and embracing with welcome. Looking toward the lobby at the top of the steps was a sweet woman dressed in a floral or batik patterned sarong with a cold towel and orchid—just for me. I felt welcomed…and honored to be a guest. She invited me to take a seat anywhere in the lobby that was designed as a great home, West Indian style, with dark woods that calm the spirit and cool the skin and mesmerizing views out past the verandah and pool onto the Caribbean. It was all open, with a breeze, it wasn’t falsely cold with air conditioning, the outdoors was allowed in. When I sat down, a gentleman dressed in shorts and a print shirt brought me a cool drink. I sat there for a few minutes sensing the taste of the rum in the drink and the scent of the humid mahogany and teak mixing with the aroma of moist oriental rugs and sisal. A spell was being cast. A third local came and sat beside me, her name escapes me, but she had a folder with my name and room information and a map of the property. She informed me of where I could find lunch, or another cocktail, cigars and sipping rums and where the pool was. It was the most relaxed and civilized check in I’ve ever experienced. I didn’t want to get up and go explore.
Over the next couple of days, we met to discuss the various locations events would be for family, friends and guests. Up in the villas we had green monkeys to contend with—my first time seeing monkeys in their own habitat…a golf course. The wedding couple was young and privileged with an abundance of joy and politeness. As we sat by the pool talking about floating lanterns and an enchanted barge upon which they would float and take their vows surrounded by flower petals and romantic island lighting I tried to express the fulness of this place as a form of celebration and ceremony. Our only limits were what the island itself had to offer and how fast a shipment of required items could arrive from Miami. Clearly, the joy of this place was itself and the people who’d been raised here and that, in my opinion was what needed to be delighted in, the creature comforts and the surroundings of Nevis.