A Caribbean destination wedding (and honeymoon) always sounded way too ambitious. But I’m proud to say, we successfully pulled off a wedding in Jamaica and it was the best day of our lives!
It’s been a bit of struggle getting out of my island state of relaxation and back into ‘London mode’ since being back. And who said recovering from long haul flights was a piece of cake? It took me at least a week to feel normal after the jet lag!
Since then, it’s been back to the grind and doing a bit more wedding celebrating (thank you everyone who celebrated our London leg with us) and sorting through hundreds of wedding and honeymoon photos. So now that’s over, I think it’s about time I told you about my Caribbean destination wedding and our amazing two weeks in Jamaica.
Our Caribbean Destination Wedding in Jamaica
After arriving into Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay with Mr C, and my lovely sister and brother in law (and baby T) we made the two-hour journey from Montego Bay to the Western spot of Negril. (The rest of our family were all arriving separately over the next few days).
Negril is famed for its Seven Mile Beach, but Mr C and I decided to head a bit further south, away from the busy Downtown and booked a beautiful place called Indigo Sky, set within a tranquil guesthouse through AirBnb called Somewhere West. (You can read a separate review of this place here). It proved to be a complete away-from-it all place to relax into island life while we prepared for our Caribbean destination wedding.
During the next four days, we caught up on sleep, explored Negril and had a meeting with Faith Fraser of Faithful Weddings, who was the associate of our wedding planner, Isabelle, of ‘Weddings by Isabelle’.
We met her on Half Moon Beach where our wedding ceremony would take place and went through all the last minute prep ahead of our big day. We were so pleased we went ‘local’ and picked Isabelle and Faith to plan our weddings. While you can go for a very lavish hotel wedding in Negril complete with all the frills, we wanted our beach wedding ceremony to be really intimate (there were just 15 of us) and to feel unique to us. So we were so pleased we went with a smaller company where we could plan our day exactly how we wanted it. Half Moon Beach turned out to be a really special place – I was so excited to see it for the first time.
On Sunday, the night before our wedding we met all of our family at Rick’s Café. All the tourists come here for music, gorgeous sunsets and plenty of rum, but despite the crowds it’s actually a really interesting – and beautiful – spot. Rick’s was one of the first businesses to arrive in Negril during the 70s and has bounced back twice, after being devastated by Hurricane Gilbert, in 1988 and Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Today, the gorgeous sunsets and plucky cliff divers still make it a Negril hotspot and they’re amazing to watch. We enjoyed a few Red Stripes and rum punches and caught up with our family as the sun slipped into the horizon.
That morning, we were sad to leave Somewhere West, but we were very excited to check into The Rockhouse – a boutique hotel located on the Cliffs – where we would stay for the next three days. Waking up at this hotel on the morning of our wedding was an absolute dream. I set my alarm just in time to join the morning yoga class by the pool.
And then Mr C and I tucked into a fantastic breakfast – the Rockhouse Special – which we ordered to our room. This bride and groom were more than ready for our big day ahead.
After realising my hair dryer didn’t work with the voltage in Jamaica (yes I know, wedding disaster) I booked a blow dry in my hotel (thanks to the lovely stylist from Queenbee’s Bridal Beauty for dropping by!). It was then up the coast to our family’s villa to do my hair and make-up ahead of the 4 o’clock wedding ceremony.
After a jerk chicken lunch, a glass of champers and a long hair and make-up session (I did my own wedding hair and make-up), we had the wedding pre-shoot with Adrian of Lexon Photograhy who did a grand job of capturing some lovely shots of me and the ladies of my family.
Meanwhile, the guys were at Half Moon Beach having a few beers and – unbeknown to us – were having to shelter in the beach bar while they suffered a pretty torrential Caribbean downpour.
This is the weird thing about the Caribbean – you can get microclimates where there will be pockets of heavy rain, while a few miles down the road, it can be soaked in sunshine. (So bear this in mind if you are planning your own Caribbean destination wedding!)
So, as Mr C was getting gradually more and more stressed about the possibility of our wedding being a washout, I was enjoying having snaps on the sunny veranda.
Eventually, I found out about the rain but we decided to go ahead with things as it had slowed down a bit. I, and the other ladies jumped into our arranged cars and headed to the beach. And while I had to do a bit of puddle hopping in my wedding dress, thankfully, the rain stopped and the skies started to brighten. Only 15 minutes behind schedule, we had our wedding ceremony on beautiful Half Moon Beach.
The special thing about Half Moon Beach is it’s one of Negril’s best kept secrets (which I’ve just let out). Known by very few visitors, this beach is really hidden, not far from a town called Green Island in Hanover, which is north of Downtown Negril. The little bit of distance between here and the tourist heavy Seven Mile Beach pays off, because you can often have this place all to yourself, save for the few dogs who roam around.
There’s a great little beach bar that also serves some great food and if you visit the beach when the seas are calm, the owners can arrange a boat trip for you to Calico Jack – an island restaurant named after the infamous pirate. Sadly, we didn’t get to do it as the sea was pretty choppy, but it’s on the to-do list for next time.
Adrian took some fantastic shots of us in the wild overgrown gardens that surrounds Half Moon Beach and then it was onwards to Ivan’s – an absolutely gorgeous restaurant at the West End hotel, Catcha Falling Star.
Like the Rockhouse, this hotel and restaurant is moulded into the cliffs of the West End, so everything is beautifully set on various different platforms and dotted with thatched parasols, pools and hundreds of fairy lights. As the sun was setting, Adrian took some more photos of us amidst the twinkly lights of the restaurant and on the picturesque bridge which crosses a pool. (I grabbed a quick pic of Adrian too).
We then tucked into plates of lobster with our nearest and dearest and it was the perfect way to celebrate our wedding day.
Margaret Myrie is a well known cake maker who runs Negril Cakes and is well known in the Caribbean destination wedding industry. She made our evening even more special by not only making the most fantastic wedding cake, but also introducing a Jamaican tradition to our wedding night. The tradition is for the groom to take a piece of cake and place it in his mouth and then feed it to the bride and vice versa. Now, you may think this sounds absolutely gross but when in Rome, right? We managed to do it in the most civilised way we could – and the cake was absolutely delicious – think boozy rum and plenty of spicy ginger in the sponge, encased in a beautifully sweet icing with seashells on top.
With the rest of the wedding party feeling pretty exhausted, Mr C and I headed back to The Rockhouse for some cocktails in the bar, overlooking the crashing waves. It was the perfect wedding day that I always dreamed of. And there was more to come. After another relaxing night at The Rockhouse, it was time to head south for our honeymoon week in the rural coastal spot of Treasure Beach.
Fringed by barely trodden beaches; beach shacks serving the freshest fish dishes and a peace and quiet only disturbed by the sound of the ocean, we were in paradise.
I hope any brides looking to plan their own Caribbean destination wedding will consider Jamaica. In my eyes, it’s an amazing island that’s full of unspoilt natural beauty and a unique vibe that in my eyes, you can’t quite match anywhere else.
Until next time x
If you are a bride or groom planning your own Caribbean destination wedding and you’re interested in any of the wedding services I have mentioned in this post, feel free to drop me an email. Thank you once again to the brilliant people who made this the best wedding day I could have asked for.