Part 2: Why guests should go to a destination wedding…
Not too long ago, I went to my cousin’s destination wedding in Jamaica. After going to countless weddings of friends and family, I would say that the decision to go to a wedding should be based on the following questions:
- Can you afford it? (Better question- will you NOT hold a grudge against the couple on the amount of money you spend to get there?)
- Will you know at least 3 other people at the wedding?
- Is the location somewhere you can see yourself having fun?
If the answer to any of the questions is NO, then I would skip the event and send a gift.
The good news is that I answered yes to each question. And above all, I love my cousin and wouldn’t miss her wedding for anything.
All of the guests stayed at the Idle Awhile Resort and Villas. Two smaller hotels on Negril Seven Sands Beach.
Being from the bride’s side of the family- all of us stayed at the Four bedroom Oceanfront Almond Villa with a butler and chef.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by our butler holding 4 Red Stripe Beers and small Mango spoon treats for us.
My first thought in the Villa- This is how RICH people live. The house had high ceilings, and giant windows all around to capture the beach front views. We also had an outdoor dining table, lounge and pool.
Beyond the villa is another private beach area with lounge chairs, kayaks, and paddle boards.
The Beach – Seven Mile Beach, Negril
Our hotel and villa is right on the Seven Mile Beach in Negril. The swim area is marked so that only guests swim right in front of the hotel. The water is light blue and warm!
Melissa arrives to see how we have settled into the villa. She has perfect glowing tan, long lashings, toned arms. It’s game time. She’s getting married.
The Rehearsal dinner
Pushcart Restaurant– West End, Westmoreland Parish – Jamaica
On a cliff overlooking the ocean. The sunset has so many colors it looks fake. We drink pina coladas and take pictures with friends and family. Dinner includes curry goat, oxtail, spicy jerk sausage and bammies. There isn’t one dish I dislike. After dinner, we gather to the front to hear some bridesmaid and groomsmen speeches. Holly’s speech was short and full great memories of being Melissa’s sister.
“it feels like yesterday we were dancing to reggae in the living room and doing karaoke to Celine Dion… “
“She taught me how to shop. She taught me how to love harry potter. And she taught me how to navigate the subway.”
The speech gave me a small tear in my eye. My cousins have a strong sisterly bond. I see similarities between them as I do between Wendy and I. Weddings have a way of bringing out those warm fuzzy feelings we usually don’t talk about.
Karoake definitely is not my favorite activity. Both Paul and Melissa take turns singing songs and bringing friends up to the stage as back up singers. At one point, there are more people on stage singing the song than at the tables.
“A little Respect” Erasure
“Soul, I hear you calling
Oh baby please give a little respect to me”
The night ended with a new wave classic. We all belt out the chorus with our hands in the air. At some point I think I close my eyes as Andy Bell’s voice fills the room. Laughing, Jumping and Dancing around.
The Big Day of the Wedding
The skies switch back and forth between blue and grey. Fears of rain prompt the hotel to put up a jumbo tent over the dining area. The ceremony is set right in front of the beach. Melissa’s dress is a light gray satin dress with detailed embroidery and beading. All of the bridesmaid are in unique tiffany blue dresses. The groomsmen sport linen pants and gray suspenders. Huck Finn Inspired.
For the next hour we mosy over to the tent and eat appetizers while the wedding party takes photographs. Coconut shrimp for days.
Delayed Dinner – and cranky people
Dinner hit a slight snag when the kitchen discovered a gas leak. While most didn’t notice the delay in meal service, some guests didn’t get served dinner until 10pm. I luckily had eaten so many appetizers that I didn’t mind the delay. While its easy to get annoyed and cranky, I think most guests took it in stride. You’re in Jamaica, on a beach, at a wedding. Life could be worse.
How to give a Best Man and Maid of Honor Speech
Each BFF presented a cute anecdote about how long the couple dated before getting married. Referencing how Melissa is the patient one, waiting for Paul to establish himself before proposing. How Paul and Melissa named their dog “Ted E Bear.” I couldn’t help but have glassy eyes and a wide smile.
The Party Goes On
More Dancing. The father-daughter dance and the mother-son dance. Melissa dancing with Uncle Paul made me instantly tear up. Happiness filled my heart as he held her hand and gently twirled her around.
The tradition of feeding each other with cake at a wedding seems weird to me. Everyone gathers around with their phones and cameras to record a couple slicing into cake and shoving into each other’s faces. Melissa, wide mouth open, ready to receive the cake, gave out a pout of disappointment when the piece was a mere morsel. “Why such a small piece?”
Sky Lanterns – Thailand Traditions
The last time I lit Lantern… Melissa and I were celebrating New Year’s Eve in Phuket, Thailand. It’s said that the lanterns at weddings represent a couple leaving their individual courses in life and start on a life together. For me, setting one of these lanterns in the air symbolizes letting go of my troubles and starting a new beginning. I feel resilient and confident of good things to happen upon my return to the Pacific North West.
Morning After Brunch
The breakfast is a perfect mix of American favorites- eggs, bacon, and pancakes and Jamaican breakfast, Ackee and Fish, bammies, curry goat, rice and peas.
Hair of the Dog? Mimosas seem to do the trick. We swap stories about the drunken guests that passed out on the tables and Rick Ashley dancing. We are all close family now. Bonded by Melissa’ and Paul’s Tiffany Blue wedding.
Sunset Catamaran Cruise
In fear of the ominous afternoon rain, the cruise is moved from the sunset to just after brunch. We sail along the coast towards the West and Rick’s Café. Stopping along the way to snorkel and slide off the boat. The boat included drinks- by this time no one really wanted to drink anymore. The crystal clear waters entice us to jump in. There’s a giant slide off the boat. We take turns splashing off. Everyone enjoying the sun. I don’t think anyone wanted the mini vacation to end.
Note- some of these photos were taken by Uncle Morris. 🙂