About A Wedding Breeze

Client Interview with Kwanza Clay Bowe,
The Exuma Destination Wedding Expert™

Photo by Reno Curling

Please take a moment to read this before working with Kwanza and A Wedding Breeze

How long have you been doing this and how did you become a Certified Wedding Specialist and The Exuma Destination Wedding Expert™?

I actually grew up in a very entrepreneurial family on both sides and am actually a 4th generation service business owner. My paternal great grandfather had a farm/store, my maternal great grandparents owned a funeral home, my paternal grandmother ran a catering business, my mother & stepfather built and ran daycare centers and I worked with my father in our family travel & ticket brokerage agency.

My most memorable and extensive expertise and experience came from working with my father in his ticket brokerage business. I started working with him when I was 12, during school breaks and summers. When I graduated from college, he bought a travel agency and we became a full service travel and event experience firm where we created and planned unique event experiences for our clients: leisure and corporate groups. So creating memorable events and experiences for people is really in my blood.

Then I married my husband,KB, in 2003 (from an entrepreneurial family as well), and I had always dreamt of having a destination wedding one day. However I never knew that my future husband would actually own the perfect island destination in paradise. When KB proposed, I couldn’t think of a better place than to have my {our} dream wedding than on our own private beach at Chat ‘N’ Chill® on Stocking Island. At the time there were no wedding consultants offering extensive planning services for Exuma wedding locations. So I planned every detail from Atlanta, enlisting the help of close friends and family both in Exuma and Atlanta for ideas and shopping assistance. After Kenneth and I were married on October 18, 2003, I knew that I wanted to continue to create special experiences for those people visiting the beautiful Exuma Islands.

In 2003, I started my company, A Wedding Breeze, and created its motto “Your Island, Your Wedding, Your Way” because I wanted my clients to know up front that a wedding with us would be easy breezy and you can have it your way! My very first clients, Mary & Steve, called me up for their July 2004 beach wedding before I had even completed my Weddings Beautiful wedding planning course! While I was new to coordinating weddings, Mary knew that I had my group travel planning experience and was totally confident with that I could pull our their fun-filled, 5-day long island wedding party for 40 of their closest family and friends. It was really the feedback that I received from Mary, Steve and their guests about their total enjoyment that propelled me to a specific vision for my company and clients.

I started on my mission of creating an engaging courtship approach to deliver simple and customized wedding planning steps so my clients can effortlessly create and realize their wedding dreams, while easily planning their wedding from away. I have worked with Brides and Grooms from all over the world to help them identify exotic wedding locations, design and stage tropical wedding settings for intimate beach ceremonies, receptions, and rehearsal dinner parties. While researching all the beautiful photos for ideas is a lot of fun, putting together all the pretty details is a lot of work. But it’s all worth it in the end because the MOST inspiring part of my job is seeing the pure pleasure and happiness in the smiles and laughter of my clients and their guests. To be a part of their multi-day celebration experience where everyone gets to connect away from it all is such a privilege witnessing all their their love and joy shared with one another during such a special time.

We love your services and your portfolio. Everything sounds fantastic, so can you tell me what sets you apart from all the other wedding planners out there?

There are three things that set me apart from other wedding consultants.  One is because I have actually been in your shoes. I actually have done what I am consulting you on because I have planned my own private island wedding like you, from abroad and I have the Destination Bride & Groom’s experience and view.

The second thing that sets me apart is that I deliver easy wedding planning steps in bite-sized, easy-to-digest chunks. I eliminate planning overwhelm for my Brides and Grooms and help my clients plan both small and large weddings with my Easy Breezy Wedding Planning System.  “Every Bride who is getting married has a vision of what her perfect day will look like when she gets engaged.  When the planning gets started, all of the to-do lists can be daunting leaving even the most organized Bride not knowing where to begin, especially when you add in the distance factor.

You can rest assured that the planning guidelines I am providing for you were tested and proven with dozens of clients who had the challenge of planning a wedding away and ultimately realized an expertly executed, organized event that was memorable for their guests. So you can rely on the fact that you are not a guinea pig and the expertise I am providing you has been built upon numerous years of successful execution and satisfied clients. Plus my background and expertise in planning group travel and special events were very effective in helping my brides and grooms to plan and create their dream wedding in tropical paradise.

Since our focus is explicitly on The Central Bahamas, and our home is here in Exuma, each of our clients receive our expert local knowledge.  My husband’s family settled here in 1765, so when you select the team of Island Wedding Specialists at A Wedding Breeze, you are choosing experience and leadership backed by a superior reputation.  But we do not take that for granted. You are important to us and we appreciate each new client. We want to assure you that you will receive the level of service you deserve and we intend to earn it.

This all sounds so wonderful, but it also seems expensive. Are we going to be able to afford this?

ABSOLUTELY.  I actually think you can’t afford not to invest in a professional wedding planner. I’ve read that it take the average Bride over 400 hours to plan her own local wedding. That’s TEN 40-hour work weeks.  Yikes!  That’s kind of ridiculous, and who has time for that?  But it’s not just about that.  A destination wedding can be a huge undertaking.  By hiring a professional wedding coordinator like me, I help my clients save time, reduce stress and assist them with planning one of their most important momentous life events.  I’m your island connection, have the local knowledge and can navigate the ins and outs of planning a successful wedding in Exuma. Also, I have really strong relationships with the local vendors, typically get the best results with them and can communicate on your behalf.  Also,  please note that most of them don’t have websites, operate on pay-as you go type of cell phones that often will not work if calling from a US based telephone.

I’ve found that many busy professionals simply don’t have the time to plan a wedding (just imagine all the back and forth phone calls with multiple vendors) and and handle all of the details. So I’ve developed a way for you to easily plan all your details while you prepare to be your own guest at your dream wedding in paradise. I’ve had so many clients tell me how much they’ve saved in time, energy, money and stress by working with us.  You are our VIP guest on the island and as your advocate, you can be assured that we will have your best interest at heart at all times.  We have an extensive network of resources and long-standing relationships within all things wedding, event and travel related.  So you can relax in the knowing that we will only introduce you to and match you with the BEST vendors according to your budget, personality and style.

You may be wondering why our prices are not posted on the website.  The main reason is that even though we offer packages, many times we end up customizing a package for our clients and we don’t want you to just look at black and white options.  Most importantly, I want you to understand that we acknowledge each of our clients as an individual and someone who is special.  You’re not just a cookie cutter or some random number,  so we don’t want to force you into a “box” of a package. You are a human being who has your own vision, desire and goals. So this is why we offer a free consultation to make sure we are a good match, or not, at which time we will provide you with our pricing.

Now it doesn’t sound so expensive does it?

If you’re a Bride or Groom who dreams of having a destination wedding in paradise and already has a full plate with your career and social life, but believes you can have it all, it would be my pleasure to help you use our simple steps to bring your wedding vision to life.  Call or visit with me through a complimentary “FIRST DATE” consultation so we can talk about your dreams and how we can create them together.

Who do you work best with?

I work best with  Brides and Grooms who are easy going, fun loving, adventurous, freedom seeking, often extremely business savvy and loves social media and technology. While being a leader in your industry is your daily focus, your wedding worries are keeping the guestlist limited to family and close friends because it is important to you to have an intimate wedding.  You envision your ideal wedding of having as about 50 guests or no more than 75-100.  You love the idea of having a destination wedding because it gives you a sense of charting your own course and will be a fun diversion in a unique setting while giving your guests an fabulous island party experience that they will always remember (plus it’s nothing like the last five weddings you’ve attended)!

You will benefit best from working with me if you want your dream wedding, but you either don’t have the time, the resources or the know-how to get this done.  If you know what you want, but have o idea how to get there, or if you are not clear at all about how to plan the wedding of your dreams, that’s okay. You are a perfect candidate.

Who is not going to benefit from your help planning their wedding?

We realize that an Exuma wedding is not for everyone. It’s off the beaten path, laid back with plenty of uncharted options.  If you are a lover of the sea, boating and simple, naturally beautiful surroundings or want something more authentic and less mass produced, then Exuma may be for you. Our goal is to provide you with sufficient information to choose if it is for you.  We hope your visit to our website will be time well spent and help you with your research to assist you in making your destination wedding dream a reality.

Please know that I absolutely delight in helping Brides and their families create their dream wedding days, but I also, gotta be honest. I would love to help everyone plan their Bahamas destination wedding, but the truth is that some personalities click better than others.  And we have to be a match for one another if we’re going to create the most amazing day that you always wanted.

So if you’re a chronic skeptic, don’t understand the value of having a wedding planner or have trouble seeing that you deserve the mos fabulous wedding possible, this is not going to be a good fit.  If you are the type of person who is trying to please everyone, then you probably want to have a wedding at home because trust me, someone is going to be upset because it’s too far, they can’t get time off, they’re pregnant and can’t travel, you name it. If you are overbearing, negative, short on patience (remember, I am your island time buffer) or a bit of a control freak, that’s certainly OK to be this way and be in this category, but you will need to do some soul-searching and thinking before we get started.  Otherwise, I won’t be able to help you the way you need it.  You absolutely must know that you are deserving of the gifts that are there for you before you can receive them, and you will have to learn to trust in the fact that I will be your partner, your advocate and your friend.

Will I lose control of my wedding if you are planning it for me?

No, not at all. A bad wedding planner is one who takes control away from you.  That is not the point of wedding planning.  The point is being an extension of who you are and of your creativity.  You are the focus of your wedding and it’s totally your day.  We are just here to help you fully explore your potential and fully realize your dreams in ways that you never even realized!

A Wedding Breeze realizes that each client is unique and has their own vision of a perfect wedding. That’s the reason our aim is to give you “Your Wedding, Your Island, Your Way!”and our mission is to create imaginative and fun events that inspire and are a true reflection of the Bride & Groom’s wedding wishes with the perfect blend of their personalities. For example, some people assume that because this is a tropical destination that their wedding has to be beach or nautically themed.  That is totally up to you and by no means do seashells have to dominated your island wedding experience.  It is optional if you want to incorporate some elements of the Bahamian culture or island feel into your wedding day.  With our destination wedding packages, there is never any requirement for your wedding to fit into any pre-made box and you never have to worry that your wedding will ever be a contrived barefoot ceremony.  We give you total power to choose every detail to make your island wedding in Exuma uniquely your own.

You will never, ever lose control.  It is YOUR day. Period.

Will you work with the vendors I already found and people I want to work with?

Certainly. We’re specialists in private island weddings in The Exuma Islands and we are very well connected with and partner with a variety of wedding vendors and suppliers to achieve your wedding dreams. A Wedding Breeze prides itself as the only Bahamian company that has created a written “Code of Standards for Wedding and Event Professionals.” I personally interview every vendor and review with them our Code of Standards, which covers expectations on personal grooming, proper attire and the importance of being on time, among others, prior to hiring a vendor.  Ongoingly, I review their work and performance to make sure that they maintain the quality of service that you deserve. Your wedding should be a truly personalized affair and surely deserves individual attention. Quality as well as ensuring that you receive what you are paying for is our priority. Placing your trust in A Wedding Breeze will allow you to enjoy the most important part of your wedding day – each other!

Should I hire you first or should I try contacting hotels and venues on my own before deciding on a wedding planner?

It’s best that you call me first as I am your advocate and can make suggestions and recommendations to you that you may not find on the Internet.  To be honest with you, there have been issues in the past that have come up and I have been able to help because I am looking at the total picture and not just from the resort or venue’s point of view.  There are issues that people don’t even think about.  If you book your resort first, then call me, that’s fine, but I’ll be able to get a lot more for you.  I’ll be able to pinch hit for you.  I’ll also save you a lot of time, stress and energy if you let me help you from the beginning.  So if you’re already thinking about this, then I would suggest that you book our services first because it’ll make your life so much easier in the long run.  Together, you’ll have better results that way.

So why do people choose Exuma over other popular Caribbean destinations?

The thing that we hear over and over again is the following (besides the obvious beautiful beaches, English language spoken, and no currency conversions):

  • There are no crowds
  • It’s laid-back, relaxed and unpretentious
  • It’s easy to get to in terms of travel time, convenient connections
I had a recent Bride do extensive research on potential Caribbean island wedding locations explain to me why they chose Exuma.  She said, “Antigua was too remote, St. Maarten was too touristy, Mexico was too dangerous, Bermuda was too cold, Cayman Islands was too busy and Bitter End Yacht Club was too difficult to travel to.”  Basically she said that Exuma had the most direct flights and the easiest connections with the least amount of travel time.  Plus she said that “Exuma having no crowds gave me the assurance that I would have an intimate wedding experience because there’s less likelihood that my guests would wander off to a busy nightclub strip and get separated from the group.”  However we cannot guarantee that a few of your guests might not wander off to some secluded beach because there are literally hundreds of them in The Exuma Islands to get stranded on if one wishes to do so!

Will my marriage be legal back home in my country and how do I go about obtaining a marriage license to get married in The Bahamas because there is a lot of conflicting information on the Internet?

Yes, indeed, your marriage in The Bahamas will be a legally binding wedding ceremony.  There is a lot of information on the Internet about getting married in The Islands of The Bahamas that is erroneous and outdated.  Make sure you read our always up-to-date page on Bahamas Marriage License here on our website as I have outlined it all for you so you don’t get confused. Also, we make the process stress-free for you by handling all the necessary legal paperwork for you, including delivering your Bahamas Certified Marriage Certificate and Apostille to your home after your wedding.

Do you take credit cards and do you have a payment plan?

Yes, we currently accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Paypal, Bank wire transfers and cash.  If you are booking your wedding more than 60 days away, we can set you up on a payment plan.  Weddings booked within 60 days require 50% deposit and full payment is due 30 days prior to your wedding day.

Do you take more than one wedding per day?

I personally do not. We are a boutique wedding company that specializes on providing customized weddings and personalized services to each of our clients.  However, if I am not available on your desired wedding date, I have Associate Planners, expertly trained by me, to handle your wedding for you.

Destination Weddings often bring up thoughts of “cheesy, cookie cutter” style weddings that are churned out of big chain resorts, factory style where couples line up on the hour for their turn to marry at the same limited marriage sites on property. Have you always dreamt of having the same mass-marketed, basic ceremony theme, colors, flowers, wedding cake and pictures as everybody else? So blah! Your special day should be unique and a true reflection of both your personalities. With A Wedding Breeze, you can be assured that your wedding will be “off the beaten aisle”!

This sounds like everything we’ve been looking for. What happens next to start the process?

The next step is for you to call me at 1-877-WED-EXUMA (1-877-933-3986) or direct at 954-636-1300 or you can email me to set up your complimentary “FIRST DATE” consultation.  I want to hear about your needs and see if we’re a good match as well as see what program fits your personality, style and budget best.

May we contact some of your former clients to see what it’s like to work with you?

Yes, most definitely. You can also look at our client testimonials here right now to see what our previous clients had to say about their experience of working with me.

We have a couple more questions before getting started. Can I call you to discuss further?

Yes! In fact, we highly encourage and require all of our clients to schedule a complimentary consultation so we can get all your questions out of the way and answered and make sure that we’re a great fit for one another.  Again, please feel free to call me with any questions you may have at 1-877-WED-EXUMA (1-877-933-3986) or direct at 954-636-1300 or you can email me to discuss your needs and desires.

Exuma Cays Sandbar island wedding photo by Fulton Davenport

Island Administrator, Everette Hart officiates Mary & Steve’s wedding at Chat ‘N’ Chill®

Kwanza in custom Therez Fleetwood wedding dress

Photo by Nelson Ranger

I can’t wait to meet you.  And congratulations on your engagement. Love & Best Wishes,

Kwanza