I am MARRIED! And to the man of my dreams. I still cannot believe I get to say those words now. I feel like the luckiest girl on the planet. Now that we have our pictures back from our photographer, I wanted to let you in on and blog about something a little different today: my own Jamaican destination wedding day!
Let me start by saying that our day was far from “perfect”. Murphy’s Law was in full swing and I don’t think a single thing went “according to plan” (let alone according to my timeline). Not to mention, the traumatic event that happened minutes before my ceremony that, to this day, still makes my heart sink. Having said that, we had the perfect people around us and the day ended up perfect regardless.
I don’t share this to minimize my wedding day. Because, to be frank, it was everything and more than we had ever dreamed of. Just in different ways than we anticipated. I think this pressure we, as brides and grooms, put on ourselves to create this epically picture-perfect day is almost enough to kill the magic of it all; if we let it. So, while I want to share the magic of the day with you today, I think it’s also important to acknowledge that it was magical in spite of (and in some cases even because of) the chaos that ensued. Not because there was no chaos present.
Maybe one day I’ll share the full story. But, today, I want to focus on and share the magic that was my wedding day and celebrate my husband and the people who made it as special as it was! Because it was an absolute dream; and one that we’ll be reliving over and over forever!
The Wedding Day
Our wedding day was so very far from traditional – it suited us perfectly and we wouldn’t have changed a thing.
We started our wedding day together in a beautiful villa at Sandals Royal Plantation with our family. We had a spiked tea party and everyone hung out on the patio while the girls got our hair/makeup done inside.
Kyle wore a custom Atelier Munro suit from Gary’s (with “Remember the 5th of Nov” stitched inside his jacket, heh). He also wore his favorite watch (the Omega Seamaster we all gifted him for his 30th birthday). And he looked heart-stoppingly handsome if I do say so myself.
I wore a custom Nicole Milano dress (if you are looking for really feminine/elegant wedding dresses, I couldn’t recommend hers enough). For my “something new”, my parents gifted me a timeless pair of chocolate/diamond rose gold earrings; as the start of my very own family heirlooms. As my “something borrowed”, my best friend, Dom, offered me his late wife, Janelle’s, wedding headband to wear around my wrist in honor of her. It was the sweetest way to have a piece of her with us on the day. Those two items were so meaningful, that I completely forwent the “something old” and “blue”, haha.
We had a private First Look before heading to our ceremony location: Laughing Waters. For those who don’t know, Kyle is a huge James Bond fan. So, when I traveled out to Jamaica the year prior to scout ceremony locations, I sent him a photo of this beach location and told him it was at the top of my list. When he excitedly responded that he recognized the location, I knew we had found our spot. For any other James Bond fans out there, you might recognize it as the iconic location where Ursula Andress walks out of the water in the white bikini in “Dr. No”. Not ever having seen the movie myself, it felt kismet and we solidified the location that day!
Kyle was welcomed with a wave of laughter and “of course he would”s as he walked out to the Top Gun theme song. Fittingly so, ha! He was followed by our hilarious fanny-pack-toting flower men – who absolutely crushed it and had us laughing our butts off. My mom then walked me down the aisle to an acoustic version of Faithfully. (Fun fact, I walked her down the aisle and gave her away to my dad 19 years ago – I couldn’t imagine anyone else giving me away.) We did, however, have to stop 2-3 times along the way because she (okay, we) couldn’t stop crying… at one point someone even threw a hand towel at my mom to help wipe her tears since the tissues weren’t cutting it anymore. LOL.
Once we finally made it down the aisle, we were met by my (now also teary-eyed) husband-to-be and my verklempt dad (who graciously accepted to officiate our ceremony). We started the ceremony off with a group shot of rum. (I saw it once with whiskey during an Irish wedding and thought it was brilliant. And hey, I’m apparently 60% Irish/British and we were in Jamaica, so why the heck not!) The ceremony ended up equal parts sweet, funny and heartfelt – and absolutely perfect. Not to mention, Kyle’s vows completely and utterly blew me away.
We then spent the last 30 minutes before sunset taking photos with all of our guests – and still had time for our own couples portraits! Our ceremony started over an hour late, so I’m still shocked we managed to squeeze in every photo we had been hoping for before dark. Huge shoutout to our photographer, Jennifer, for making that happen!! That was a miracle in itself. Then we shuttled back to the resort for our reception!
My very creative and talented mom designed the look and feel of the reception hall. Bless her and her creative vision, because had it been left to us, it would have been a very simple/boring room. Ha! She also designed and made all the centerpieces by hand (with the very generous help of our friends and family). They turned out so beautiful. My favorite part was that she also included little metal cameras and fighter jets as cute easter egg references to us. It all came out so beautifully!
One of my very favorite details from the day was our custom cake topper! I wanted to surprise Kyle with something that was very ‘us’ and that we could also save and display at home as a special keepsake from this season of life together. After weeks of working with the artist, I was absolutely obsessed with how it turned out! Kyle LOVED it and it was a big hit among our guests too! (Scroll down to the reception to see it for yourself!)
One of the moments we were most looking forward to were the speeches from our close friends and family. To say we’re a group with big personalities, would be an understatement. So, going into it, we had absolutely no idea what to expect… but boy did everyone deliver. We were laughing, we were crying… my sister even put together the most epic video presentation… we were so grateful to have so much love and support around us!
Honoring Passed Loved Ones
I had mentioned to my family early on in the planning process that I had an idea of a special way I wanted to honor our late friend (/ my sister from another mister), Janelle, during our wedding reception. She was the kind of girl who’d be the first and last one on the dance floor with you. And we had some really fun memories with the song “The Git Up” by Blanco Brown. We had promised each other we were going to learn the dance to it one day – but never got the chance. So, I wanted to finally learn and perform it during our reception as a nod to her.
I thought it would just be a small moment within our family. But my mom and sister went above and beyond to contact everyone and let them know about it – and then even put together a secret dance class to help them learn it before the wedding day. When the song finally played that night, I was absolutely floored by the number of people who rushed to the dance floor eagerly prepared to help us pay tribute to her. It was the best moment – and a beautiful gesture I’ll forever be thankful for!
We danced the rest of the night away and made some hilarious lifelong memories that night. To say we’re thankful for the friends and family we have around us would be a gross understatement. The fact that we had people coming in from as far as Australia, Turkey, France, Switzerland and all over the U.S. to celebrate our wedding was not lost on us. We couldn’t have felt more loved or supported. And we’ll be forever grateful for everyone who came all the way out to Jamaica to help make this celebration as incredible and as memorable as it was! We love you all so much!
This wedding would not have been possible without a few key people. And it wouldn’t be right to not acknowledge them!
- The amazing wedding director at Royal Plantation, Kelly-Ann. She went above and beyond (to say the least) to ensure we had everything we needed for our wedding. She was our “yes” girl and made the whole experience that much easier and more enjoyable!
- Our extremely talented decorators, Stuart and Liz from Big Balloon Build. After spending months collaborating with us to understand and put together our vision, they then spent 2-3 days transforming the reception hall (and our welcome dinner area) into a level of beauty and elegance the resort had never seen before. Everyone was blown away by the transformation. It was absolutely stunning and we were so honored they blessed our wedding with their talents.
- Our incredible travel agent/wedding planner extraordinaire, Alicia with Two Pineapples in Paradise. This destination wedding literally would not have happened without her. I could (and just might) write an entire blog on all of the reasons why we love her. The number of fires she so gracefully put out and the level of stress she removed from my, my family and my guests’ plates is immeasurable. This woman is a rockstar of epic proportions and I’ll be forever grateful for her, her assistants and everything they did for us and our wedding.
- My absolutely wonderful and generous parents. This could be another blog in and of itself. They not only went above and beyond our wildest dreams to throw us the most spectacular wedding. One we’ll be reliving over again forever. But, they also helped make our entire engagement/wedding planning season so special and memorable for us both. We couldn’t feel more loved or supported and couldn’t be more grateful for them.
Our Jamaican Destination Wedding
Without further ado, here are some of our favorite moments from our Jamaican destination wedding! And one last big shoutout to Jennifer Lourie Photography for capturing our wedding day so beautifully!
Coordinator // Alicia with Two Pineapples in Paradise
Photographer // Jennifer Lourie Photography
Ceremony // Laughing Waters
Reception // Royal Plantation, Sandals
Balloon Decor // Stuart and Liz with Big Balloon Build
Wedding Dress // Nicole Milano from Nicea Mariage
Custom Suit // Atelier Munro from Gary’s
Wedding Rings // Larson Jewelry Design + David Yurman
Florist // Ling’s Moment
Custom Cake Topper // Dealeasynet on Etsy
Ceremony Rentals // JM Floral Events and Rentals
Shoes // Badgley Mischka
Catering + Cake // Royal Plantation, Sandals