I love destination weddings! What a great way to celebrate your wedding by having all of your loved ones celebrate with you at a beautiful and majestic location.
Julia and Brad were married on January 27th, 2012 in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Even though I have some amazing things to say about this wedding, I think the Bride is much cooler than me and has some even better things to say about her stunning wedding.
Describe where you got married (destination and name of the location or resort Explain why you chose that locale.
Sandals Royal Caribbean, Montego Bay, Jamaica
There are many reasons why we chose this resort! We wanted to do something tropical and unique and Sandals offered just that! Everyone spoke highly of the people in Jamaica and how friendly they were, plus we were told the weather was perfect in January. We were sold!
What was your vision for your wedding?
I wanted a relaxed but beautiful beach wedding. Blue water, tropical flowers, and soft sand!
Describe the activities you and your guests enjoyed at your wedding destination.
There was so much to do here we weren’t even able to do it all in 2 weeks! You could always find our guests sailing, kayaking, or paddle boarding. However, we also went on a reggae cruise that included snorkeling and local shopping. At night they always had a theme. Our favorite was white night, were you came dressed all in white. The restaurants were closed and the had an elaborate buffet around the pool with beautiful decorations that were Colorful and vibrant. They brought In a steel drum band to entertain along with men on stilts who danced!
Where did you hold your wedding (gazebo, beach, historic fort, etc.)?
Our ceremony was under a gazebo at the end of a pier reaching out into the water. The pier was wide enough to fit chairs along each side in sets of two, creating an isle for us to walk down.
What time was your wedding (either a specific time or general time of day like sunset)?
Our ceremony took place at 4 pm. It was the perfect time of day. The hot temperature started to cool and made it comfortable for everyone.
Describe what happened at your ceremony.
Our guests met in the piano bar and were escorted to the ceremony by the wedding planner and seated. The groomsmen then seated the mothers and came back for the bridesmaids. The groomsman and bridesmaid walked down the pier together followed by the maid of honor and best man. Then came the triumphant music and an overwhelming emotional moment where my father walked me down the isle! We had asked for a traditional religious ceremony and got exactly that. It was beautiful!
What flowers did you carry?
A gorgeous lime green orchid bouquet and the groom’s boutineer matched. The bridesmaids carried white orchid bouquets and the groomsmen had white orchid boutineers along with the fathers and mothers.
Tell about any ethnic traditions or customs from your destination that you included in your event.
We did a presentation of floral. It was a special moment where we presented long stem roses to our new mother in laws. It represented our thankfulness, love, and new journey ahead. Also different from tradition, following the reception, after signing our documents, we cut the cake.
Describe the location and decor of your reception.
Following the ceremony and cake cutting, we had a small hor dourves and cocktail party for our guests in the garden while we took pictures. During that time we had an amazing authentic Mento Band, Dr. Hood and the Hoodies, entertain our guests. They had everyone dancing and moving! Following the cocktail party we headed over to the beach were our reception began. The tables where covered in white linens. The centerpieces were clear glass vases filled with pink orchids. Candles surrounded the centerpieces Creating a beautiful glow in the darkness of the night. Hanging above our heads, in a zig zag pattern, were strings of lighted pink lanterns.
What food was served at the reception?
Our dinner was a four course meal. It started with Asian spring rolls served from the Thai restaurant. We then had a tropical salad topped with rum flam fruit. The main course was filet, garlic mashed potatoes, and vegetables. The meal ended with a chocolate, coconut, rum flame fruit parfait.
Describe the look and flavor of your cake, plus any other desserts that were served.
We served the traditional Caribbean wedding cake, the flavor was Caribbean fruit. It was a two tired cake covered in a white marzipan and topped with our lime green orchids. It went amazingly well with champagne!
What else happened at your reception? Toasts? Dancing? Any funny or meaningful stories?
I tried to be as traditional as I could in this area. Before our meal came my mother and father gave a tear jerking toast. This was followed by the maid of honor’s and best man’s speeches, again not a dry eye. After dinner the dancing began! We did the traditional father/daughter, mother/son, and first dance. We also made sure to have the bouquet and garter toss! One of my favorite moments was when the DJ called all the men out to the center, no women. He then played “it’s raining men” the look on all of their faces was priceless!
Describe any wedding-related events that followed the wedding and reception.
Following the reception we all headed to the giant hot tub at the resort sat around it and drank champagne! It was a great good bye moment. The following day we met our photographer for a trash the dress shoot. It was one of the coolest things I have done! We took fun, romantic, serious pictures in the water, on the beach, on the pier, and even in the pool!
What did you love about your destination that was specific only to that place?
The people that worked there! The seriously make the resort. In the morning one of the chefs, Brady, would make us egg white omelets and just for us go back to the kitchen to grab feta cheese to add in. Kevin, aka Big Bird, was Always around entertaining us. That man could balance anything on his chin!
What was the best idea you had in planning your destination wedding?
We planned it out so that we all arrived on Sunday, our wedding was Friday, and then our guests would leave Saturday. My now husband and I booked an additional week, staying until that following Friday. We also planned a room change, to a butler suit, our wedding night and on. By doing this it made our second week there feel like a completely different trip, more like a honeymoon.
Best advice to future brides and grooms of destination weddings.
Relax! You are there to get pampered. Everything will get done. It is their job to make you happy! Watch out though, if you are on an island, there are no second thoughts, because there is nowhere to run!
Where did you and your guests stay? Did you find a lot of resorts and hotels offered good group rates?
We all stayed at the same resort. They offered a variety of room levels meeting any budget. This resort had many discounts to take advantage of. Most of them came with a certain number of night stays or rooms booked. We booked 10 plus room and got a one person credit our first week there, a room upgrade our first week, a free rehearsal dinner, plus lots more!
Did you use a wedding planner? If yes, how did he or she contribute to the event? If no, how did you organize a wedding that was so far from your hometown?
Yes! While here in the states I had one planner that handled the larger details. Once we arrived at the resort we had a more personal wedding planner, Marcyn, that helped with finalizing the small details. She made our wedding! She worked miracles! The whole wedding team at the resort was amazing.
What obstacles did you face in planning a destination wedding? How did you overcome them?
Getting our wedding attire to the resort in pristine condition. It is tough traveling with a wedding dress! Lucky for us the resort had steamers and a press for the guys linen pants/shirts. Call ahead to make sure they have this or pack a steamer in your luggage.
In retrospect, is there anything you would have done differently in the planning?
I wouldn’t change a thing!
AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME! Congrats to Julia and Brad on their beautiful wedding! Thank you SOOOO much to Betsi Ewing Studio.