It was never a hard decision. A destination wedding. We talked about a destination wedding long before we were even engaged. We just loved the idea of getting so many people we love in one place away from home where we knew they would have an amazing time—with us. Some say destination weddings are selfish. Most love the idea of you getting their butts up and out of their state for no better reason than to celebrate love. 99% of the time your guests want to be there. That’s why they go. If they didn’t want to be there, you having a destination wedding is an easy scape as you need to understand that some people you really may want there will not be able to attend.
When we first started talking about having a destination we went all over the globe. We discussed everywhere from Bali to Spain from Costa Rica to the Caribbean. We had to figure out what was important to us and if it was accessible to who we really wanted there. My grandfather is 84 years old and it was important to us that he be there. We could not imagine putting him on a flight longer than four hours. We also got married on a holiday weekend which is another reason we kept the flight under four hours. We had quite a few teachers attending as well so a holiday weekend made it a little bit easier as for time. Kids who attended all had that week off as well! It was convenient but also peak season!
We chose to wed on the beautiful island of Jamaica. We chose Montego Bay to keep travel short for our guests coming from the airport to Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa. While our guests stayed at Hilton Rose Hall—we chose to be married in Endless Summer Villa. It was a dream. No pictures can do this villa justice, but I must say our photographer did an amazing job and capturing all the character this estate had to offer.
We chose a villa so we can make our wedding personal and intimate. Endless Summer Villa will forever be in our hearts. With endless beautiful views of the sea and plush greenery, flowers, and palm trees it was a dream come true as a venue.
This estate had so many elements to the property and we wanted to utilize them all. With the landscape of the land we knew it would keep our guest guessing where everything might be. We had several options as to where we could officially tie the knot. Due to the large size of our group, we chose the side terrace with sea views, beneath the tall palm trees. It was the perfect isle to make my journey to the love of my life. I love that you could hear the birds chirping and the leaves blowing in the wind during the ceremony. I could not have dreamt it better myself. We added some special touches to our ceremony. Our cousin was kind enough to help lead our ceremony and it was so special to us that she was standing up there next to us while we said I do. Our friend also played the guitar and sand Boxes by the Goo Goo Dolls acoustic while we signed our documents.
We incorporated a tradition from my husband’s culture and put our own twist on it as we had a non-dominational ceremony. The minnu is a pendant normally a cross. After a few days or a week , the minnu(cross pendant) is taken from the thread(the original) and put on a gold necklace and the bride is supposed to wear this till death. The thread normally comes from the bride’s saree, but we put our own twist and kept it on a chain.
Directly after the wedding ceremony, our guests were escorted to the pool deck for cocktail hour and a steel drum band. As they entered the pool deck they were handed fresh coconut waters or a blue island cocktail. It was important to us to really get the Caribbean feel. We included some Jamaican favorites during cocktail hour such as beef patties, salted fish, and kebabs.
After cocktail hour our guests were escorted to the front of the property to be seated for dinner. I know it sounds crazy. We came up with this idea on our second trip to Jamaica to view the property. We had 100 family and friends and that number was pushing it for a seated dinner. It was not until we were leaving did my father in law suggest the front of the villa for a seated dinner. It was an amazing idea. We ate, drank, and danced beneath the stars.
We had a rowdy crowd and it was hard to contain. The dancing began before the dancing even began. We have the best family and friends ever. It was so much fun. Speeches, cake cutting, and dinner took place and there after we headed back inside the estate (another part of the villa utilized) to “open up the dance floor’. Like I said dancing began even before dancing began. We shared our first dance as husband and wife in the center where everyone surrounded us and even witnessed from above. From there tour de dance began. I say tour de dance because dancing took place everywhere that night. We made our way from the front of the villa, to inside, to the stairs outside in the back, and to around the pool.
The music bumped through the entire property and different colored lights lite up the property like a club. Club Mathews bumped while the drinks flowed.
Back on the side terrace where we wedded, we arranged a cigar roller to attend for our guests. It made for awesome pictures and our guests really loved it. Guests were able to enjoy a freshly rolled cigar and were able to take a few home as parting gifts.
Later into the night for our late-night menu we offered jerk chicken and festival bread along with our wedding cake. Another Jamaican staple.
The booze started to dwindle and the night started to wind down. We could not believe how fast this day goes by. I know, everyone says this.
But seriously! Cherish every waking moment of this day and do not get caught up in the little things. Something will go wrong and most likely it is something that your guests will not even be aware of. Live in the moment and do not sweat the small stuff.
Our long but short day ended around 1:30 A.M and as much as we wanted to keep the party going that night transportation was scheduled to take our guests back. This worked out well because everyone was up and at the next morning ready to keep the party going. We all met at the pool bar and hung out all day. It was really nice to be able to have fun, stress free with all of our guests.
In all when you ask brides how they feel about the planning of their wedding and the actual day, a good amount will tell you how stressful it is, the drama that came along with it, and again how fast the day goes by. I can fortunately say we had the best support from our family and friends and we are so lucky to have such wonderful people in our lives.
We are still in awe of the turnout at our “destination wedding” for it was not an easy trek. We had guests come from all over the United States, Canada, and even India and China! If any of my guests get around to reading this, I cannot express how special you made Sean and I feel. Almost a year in and we still talk about that day and its largely because of all who attended. We are so grateful to have all of you and our day would not have been what it was without you. We love you all. Thank you for making the trip to Jamaica and take part of Destination Mathews.
Event Planner: Chic Weddings & Events
Photography: Adrian McDonald- Lexon Art
Makeup & Hair: Joni Stone- Gourmet Girls
Destination: Montego Bay, Jamaica
Endless Summer Villa
Guests stay at: Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa