"It was absolutely perfect," Beard, 27, says of her May 1 wedding to photographer Sacha Brown, 34, on Wakatobi, an archipelago in the Banda Sea off southeastern Indonesia. "It was stress-free, and super low-key."
The couple said "I do" in a brief sunset ceremony on a private beach at their resort. Presiding over the nuptials was a local elder, and the only witnesses were villagers from the area – none of whom spoke English.
"I've always said, 'I want to get married barefoot on the sand,' " says Beard. And she did. But following local custom, both bride and groom adhered to Muslim tradition and covered much of their bodies for the ceremony. She wore a black, long-sleeved tunic, a sarong and a white veil, while Brown also wore a sarong ("A long, manly sarong," Beard jokes. "He felt he looked like Aladdin!"), a hat – and a sword.
Non-Alcoholic ToastsAfter the ceremony they exchanged hand-written vows over a romantic steak dinner and a two-tiered chocolate cake with chocolate chips and white frosting. Also on the menu: non-alcoholic Shirley Temples – a must for Beard, who is expecting a boy in September.
"I'm starting to look pregnant," says the newlywed, who cops to major ice cream and Popsicle cravings and, despite exercise, is feeling "a little softer." She plans to get back in the water about half a year after she gives birth, and is aiming to compete in the 2012 Olympics.
Beard, who met Brown on a photo shoot and got engaged on Christmas Day, competed in four straight Olympic Games, starting when she was 14 in 1996 through last summer's Olympics in Beijing.
So could a water birth be in her future? Not if Beard has anything to say about it. "I've heard wonderful things about it," she says. "But I want to do it the old-fashioned way – in a hospital, with all the technology!"