Inside This Jewelry Designer's Stunning Destination Wedding in Bermuda


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(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

Octavia Zamagias and Matthew Joanou met the old-fashioned way—at a bar on the dance floor. During a night out in Venice, California, the two locked eyes, exchanged numbers, and have been together ever since. "From [that point on], it always felt like he was my person and I was his," shares Zamagias. Joanou is the CEO and co-founder of Stakeholder Labs, and Zamagias is the jewelry designer and founder of Octavia Elizabeth, which makes the story of their proposal quite untraditional. Joanou proposed in Malibu, California, with a ring designed by Zamagias herself. "I stayed true to something I tell all couples or grooms," she explains. "The moment you get engaged should be a surprise—the ring should not!"

After contemplating whether or not to plan their wedding in California where they both live, the two ultimately landed on Bermuda, a place that has sentimental value to the couple. "My family has been going to the island for over four decades, and we've spent our summers there since I was a little girl. Over the last seven years, Matt has also fallen in love with the island, and it became clear that it would be the perfect place for us to have our wedding, as summer is particularly beautiful," shares Zamagias. With that, the planning commenced.

The wedding weekend was filled with an array of events, including a boat day, a welcome party, and, of course, the wedding itself. "I am that person that never wants a party to end. I stay to the end. So a destination wedding was really special, in that it encouraged us to have multiple events and evenings to celebrate and be with our friends," explains Zamagias. "It was all about us, but at the same time, it wasn't. I mean that in a beautiful way. It relaxed us to know we had multiple days and evenings to spend time with each one of our guests and friends." Scroll through to read more about the wedding weekend with words from the bride and to explore the details of this stunning Bermuda celebration.


(Image credit:  Andrew Kirkpatrick)

"We kicked off the wedding celebrations with our bridesmaids and groomsmen on board a 77-foot catamaran." 


(Image credit:  Andrew Kirkpatrick)

"The boat sailed around the beautiful island of Bermuda and stopped for lunch, cliff jumping, and snorkeling." 


(Image credit:  Andrew Kirkpatrick)

"Lunch was catered by our favorite casual spot on Bermuda, Devil's Isle. I surprised Matt with his favorite chocolate chip cookies for dessert." 


(Image credit:  Andrew Kirkpatrick)

"Before we planned any of the evenings and actually before we even had booked our planner, I knew I wanted to start the wedding weekend off with a sail around the island. The Zara was such a beautiful part of the whole weekend, and I booked it as soon as I could!"


(Image credit: Courtesy of Octavia Zamagias)

"By the afternoon, the rest of the guests arrived on the island and began to take over the Coral Beach Club, a private members-only club and hotel dating back to 1948. Once we decided on Bermuda, we immediately confirmed the Coral Beach Club for our wedding festivities. My family has been going there for years, and we felt there was no better representation of the island than the CBC with its quant Bermudian traditions coupled with its relaxed island feel. 

"The entire club was occupied with our family and friends throughout the wedding weekend. Guests were welcomed to the club with afternoon tea, a long-standing and daily tradition on the island of tea, crumpets, and sandwiches."


(Image credit: Courtesy of Octavia Zamagias)

The bride wore a Vivienne Westwood dress and Octavia Elizabeth jewelry. 


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"Thursday's dinner was a classic Bermudian seafood feast on the Coral Beach Club's Longtail Terrace. Guests were encouraged to wear Bermuda formal attire, and the men donned their traditional Bermuda shorts and long socks, which were given to guests in their welcome baskets."


(Image credit: Courtesy of Octavia Zamagias)

"It was surreal to see the lobby and beach chairs filled with our friends and family. We felt so loved. Walking down the beach on the first day was hilarious. It truly took me an hour to cover what is usually a five-minute walk because I got to stop and hug and see everyone." 


"After an open day spent by the beach or in Bermuda's charming town of Hamilton, guests gathered on the CBC's south shore beach, where Matthew's family hosted a traditional Bermudian pig roast and fresh-catch dinner on the beach. The evening included live music with guests dressed in 'beachy chic' attire. Bare feet were mandatory!"


(Image credit: Courtesy of Octavia Zamagias)

"Walking down the stairs of the CBC to the beach was such a memorable moment. The combination of the band playing, our closest friends and family waiting for us, and the noise from the crashing waves made this moment one of our favorites of the weekend."


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"I wore a one-of-a-kind bracelet, The Front Street Bracelet. [It] was inspired by Hamilton's Front Street, which features iconic pastel-colored buildings. Casa Mestansa used the bracelet in the design to clip up the train of the dress. It fastened into my train." 


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"We wanted Friday evening to feel relaxed and unrushed. Growing up, we would go to dinner once a week in Bermuda at an old inn called Horizons and Cottages. They would have live music, a pig roast, and dancing. It was very casual and felt very Bermudian. Horizons and Cottages has long since closed, but I had told Matt about how memorable those evenings were. I wanted to re-create this for our guests. We had live music playing throughout the night with one long table that seated our 150 guests on the beach. My other favorite design detail from this evening was the copper tiki torches that lined the beach.


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

The bride and dress designer Carlota Salvadores Calero of Casa Mestansa


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"I worked with Indigo by Boutin owner Antonia on the custom 250-foot tablecloth. She is a fabulous textile designer. My planner in Bermuda recommended her, and then by chance after I reached out, I found out she was based in Venice, CA! Antonia got to come to my office in Brentwood, and I just felt the proximity was kismet. I think we will have the tablecloth made into curtains for our baby's room one day because I don't know when I will ever use that length again!"

WWW Weddings tip: "If you do a destination wedding, I highly recommend doing a pre-wedding trip there to iron out the details. I loved meeting all of the vendors on the island and met such talented people."


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"I got ready with my mother, sisters, and the designer of my wedding dress and dear friend Carlota. Matt got ready on his own. He felt like that was the best way for him to stay calm and present."


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"I opted to keep my beauty look really simple, clean, and natural. The dress was so classic and romantic. I wanted there to be minimal fuss with my hair. I created mood boards for each day, and I reviewed them with Helen Hening before we got to the island. I've worked with Helen for years, and she is also a friend, so I didn't feel the need to do multiple tests or trials, but we did do one before we left for Bermuda. Helen brought along Ardree Merriweather (hairstylist) and Keri Kemper (assistant makeup) to help me, my sisters, mother, and mother-in-law all get ready."

WWW Weddings tip: "For hair and makeup, if you have a great team, let them know ahead of time how important efficiency is to you. Ardree, Helen, and Keri were amazing because they truly got that I wanted to be on the beach and swimming with friends until the very last moment. Come with a mood board and clear reference photos. If you provide that and have the right creatives working with you, they will be able to execute it efficiently. Don't overcomplicate it."


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"I am an extrovert, so I loved having my sisters and family all around me for the entire wedding day. One of my favorite moments in the business of getting ready was when my younger sister, Gabrielle, gave me a handwritten letter from Matthew. It was so thoughtful of him and allowed me to take a moment of calm before the ceremony."


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"Six years ago, I made the engagement ring for the designer behind Casa Mestansa, Carlota Salvadores Calero. It was in the early years of Octavia Elizabeth, and the couple, Christopher Nolte and Carlota, entrusted me to make their significant piece. Fast-forward several years, Carlota and I worked together to create my dream wedding dress. 

"I wanted something one-of-a-kind and bespoke, something old-world and feminine yet functional. I knew I wanted to dance. After a few conversations with Casa Mestansa, Carlota came up with three amazing concepts, of which I chose one. It was not easy. All of them were genuinely iconic. Like my jewelry, the materials, fabrication, and finishes were so important. I love texture, and originally, I was envisioning a linen texture, but with wrinkles, that just was not going to work. We ended up sourcing a few different douppioni silks, which have a lovely texture, and choosing one of them. To bring texture into the gown, Carlota had the dressmaker hand-tear the silk for a raw edge. All of the buttons on the dress (over 100 of them) were fully functioning. To me, details like that are so important." 


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"Matt was less specific about his outfit. After trying on a few different suits on his own, we decided to spend a day in Beverly Hills trying on different options. After lunch at South Beverly Grill, we made a few stops nearby and ended up at Ralph Lauren. The team there was great and super accommodating. While we weren't planning on doing green or a tux, we saw a beautiful green tuxedo, and I knew it would perfectly complement the Unfinished Church." 

WWW Weddings tip: "Have your partner try on their suit or tuxedo before they take it home with them after their final fitting. Matt and I shopped and went to his fittings together—it became a fun ritual. It was on a final fitting day that we had planned to just swing by and pick up his tux—it was four days before we left for Bermuda. We ran into the shop, and I insisted he try it on one final time. I am so happy he did because the alterations had not been made, and the pins were still in the tuxedo. Ralph Lauren ended up doing the tailoring while we went to lunch, and all was well, but I truly cannot imagine what we would have done if we had not noticed this until we got to Bermuda." 


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"We personalized the veil with a small heart with our initials. It was so small that unless you really looked, you wouldn't see it. I hope my daughters will wear it one day and add in their own initials."


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"The dress transformed from highly formal (worn down the aisle and shown here) to a mid-length (worn while dancing with my dad)." 


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"The house I got ready in is historic. The property served as the official Bermuda residence of the United States consul general for 30 years." 


"With most wedding festivities at the Coral Beach Club and all of our guests staying there, we knew we'd want our ceremony to be slightly removed, and we fell in love with the Unfinished Church the moment we visited the open-air space. We visited the ruins in the UNESCO World Heritage town of St. George on the island. Funny enough, it was not really on our radar. I was in Bermuda a year before with just my parents, and my dad and I went to check it out. He started tearing up, and I knew it was it." 


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"The church itself is iconic, and the ruins are stunning on their own. I didn't want to work against that with something hyper-modern or sleek, so instead, with the help of Helen Sawden, we worked to create a lush and overgrown landscape, something that felt natural. Give me a beautiful space to work with, with amazing bones and historical significance, and I'm a happy bride.

"From day one, I was dead set on not bringing stuff onto the island. I wanted to use what was there. That goes for everything from tableware to florals. I had to get a little more flexible as time went on, but I am so proud that 80% of the plants and flowers from the church were 'living,' meaning the florals and trees were replantable and thus reusable. I wanted to limit waste and use on-island plants and florals whenever possible. Helen Sawden was amazing and coached me on what was possible and what wasn't."


(Image credit: Nhuri Bashir)

"We didn't have a bridal party or groomsmen, so the walk down the aisle was brief." 


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"I walked down the aisle to 'Unchained Melody' played by Stephen Crawford, a local Bermudian musician. I will never forget when I saw Matty. We locked eyes, and throughout the entire ceremony, it truly felt like it was just us."


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"Upon arrival at the church, guests were welcomed and offered water and icy, cool towels. Straw fans were laid on each seat to combat the August sun." 


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"Matt keeps a book of poetry—The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran—on his bedside table, and … every once in a while, we read from it together. We knew we wanted traditional vows with readings from that same poetry book. Matty and I had a family friend as our celebrant, followed by two readings of our favorite poems by our childhood friends, Meredith and Taylor—'Love Without Possession' by Charlie Child and 'On Marriage' by Kahlil Gibran."


(Image credit: Nhuri Bashir)

"I felt like my dress told a story. The foundation of the dress was a luxurious douppioni silk that had a beautiful texture to it. Casa Mestansa shirred the edges of the dress, which I thought mirrored our invitation, which were torn edge, and I felt that played so well with the Unfinished Church."

WWW Weddings tip: "Make a conscious effort to be present. Prior to our wedding weekend, Matt and I had a thoughtful discussion about this. Both he and I knew that throughout the weekend, we were going to be pulling each other aside and saying out loud how special the feeling or moment was. You can actually see this in a lot of our photos where it is just the two of us. Some of the key moments I will never forget are from when we both just whispered to each other to take this in or feel the moment." 


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"We tried to keep the ceremony short but meaningful. I'd say it was about 25 minutes in total, and guests were then whisked back to the club for the cocktail reception!"


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

WWW Weddings tip: "Matt and I both have our own companies, so hiring a great planner was a must, but you still have to do a lot of the work and have a clear vision. For Matt and I, working on our wedding after a long day of work was not realistic. We started to block off whole Saturdays once a month, and it worked so well for us."


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"Our cocktail reception was hosted on a beautiful lawn overlooking the entire club and ocean."


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"My actual wedding dress transformed throughout the night—so much so that guests thought I was changing each time! In reality, I was simply shedding a layer to reveal a new silhouette."


(Image credit: Alexander Masters)

"Our wedding, to me, was all about beautiful 'moments,' bringing two people and two worlds together. Matt and I have many friends that have never met from various chapters of our lives. He has always worked in the tech industry, and many of his friends come from when he lived in San Francisco. Most of my friends are in the creative world, and I met a lot of them through my college community of friends in L.A. It was so fun for us to see everyone meeting and bonding throughout the different events. Not so surprisingly, as they're all wonderful humans, many new friendships were formed. It's been beautiful to see how even after the wedding the two groups have become one."