3/31/2020

Our Destination Wedding In Jamaica

Hey guys!! Wow, it’s our first year ANNIVERSARY. I cannot believe a year came by so quickly. It’s surreal and so much has happened in one year. We’re currently quarantined at home heading caution to what’s happening in the world with the coronavirus. If it’s one thing, I’m thankful me and my family are healthy and safe so far. This is not the way we thought we’d be celebrating our first year anniversary but we are extremely thankful that we are safe. That is the biggest gift and blessing we could ever wish for at this very moment. 
To celebrate, my husband and I went through our photos and videos from the wedding and I thought I’d write a detailed post on how we planned our destination wedding in Jamaica. The reason we got married in Jamaica is because both Lincoln and I are from there. We were both born and raised there we went to high school there (where we met), we spent a good amount of our young adult lives there. It's home at the end of the day and we wanted to cement our love there also. 
When we got engaged in December 2017, we knew we it was time to buckle down and plan the wedding we both wanted. At the top of that was a budget. We saved and saved so we could have it exactly as we wanted. We were not going to take out a loan to have our wedding so saving was extremely important. 

The first thing we started doing the next day after we got engaged was to look for wedding venues. We got engaged in Jamaica so we wanted to get a head start looking at venues. We stopped at one in Ocho Rios but had a weird experience and that became a no right away. On our way back to Los Angeles, Lincoln was up on the flight looking at venues and came across Trident Castle. He woke me up, showed it to me and I was sold. I loved how beautiful it was and my obsession with castles and Victorian style & genre made me fall madly in love. Our worry was, would it be available and would it fit our budget? Three days later, I emailed them and yes it was available and somewhat yes, it fit our budget. We locked in the down payment and our venue was secured. 
One of the most important vendor is definitely a Photographer/Videographer. We knew we wanted the absolute best, and that had to be Corey from Hamulti Media. Thankfully, Corey was available and so we booked him right away. I have always admired his work on Instagram and it was a dream come true to have him capture our wedding. Corey and his team were immaculate. They were extremely professional and did such an amazing job. Their photo and video direction was amazing. My advice, do not hold back on a good photographer and definitely get a videographer as well. 
 
Next, I moved on to finding a decor team. I used Instagram and a slew of hashtags and came across quite a few decor companies but fell in love with New Levels Decor taste and style. It matched mine and that was important. I reached out to them and they were available. Right away we secured them by putting down the deposit. Over the next few months, I took my time to create a mood board as we decided on theme/style of our wedding. We went with all white and hints of greenery. The venue inspired our all white theme, plus I’m always a little unsettled when folks wear loud (neon) colors to weddings. The fear of neon cemented an all white dress code. White doesn’t come in neon, you can’t mess that up haha! I also love the clean and pristine look that all white presents. New Levels Decor did such an amazing job with the decor. 
 
My sister gifted us our cake and we both fell in love with the design from Cake Couture JA. To be honest, she was hard to get a hold of and her follow-through wasn’t optimal for a type-A bride like me, however she promised she would come through and THAT SHE DID. Not only was this cake beautiful, but it tasted great. We went with traditional Jamaican fruit cake because Lincoln and I are not necessarily cake eaters but Jamaica fruit cake we both love. It was beyond delicious.
I had one thing on my wishlist that was a must have and that was fireworks. It was a must and thankfully Lincoln found Event and Entertainment Services and they did an excellent job. 
They say a wedding is nothing without an amazing MC and I completely agree. We found and booked Oncall Weddings Jamaica- Damion. I initially reached out to him to officiate our wedding and he convinced me to let him be my MC as well, and so glad he did. He did an excellent job officiating and MC-ing. He really matched our vibe and that was a huge plus. He was young, fresh, hip, and delivered the most tasteful jokes at both our ceremony and reception. 
Our DJ was DJ Narity. It was important that our DJ understood us and who we are and DJ Narity was THE ABSOLUTE BEST! Lincoln's Best Man suggested him as the man for the job. We went with him because he was in our age group and we knew he would understand the vibe we wanted. We gave him a genre and a soft list of music and he killed it. He was also great at listening and watching the crowds reaction at our after party to ensure we were having optimal fun. 
Sound and Lighting makes for such beautiful decor at a wedding. Knowing that our wedding was an evening wedding and that it would have led up to night, we knew sound and lighting were important. We found BlakTie Entertainment and they did an excellent job with the DJ booth, PA system, strobe lights and uplights.
For myself and the girls, I got Sue Gregg- Sue The Makeup Girl and Rochelle Gordon- Rochelle The Hairstylist as the perfect glam team to make us extra pretty on the big day. They did not disappoint. Myself and my girls looked like a million bucks when they were done. 
I really wanted to walk down the aisle to an instrumental. Late one night, I was on YouTube listening to instrumental music and then it hit me, why not have someone play live while I walk. That began my hashtag search for Violinist or Pianist in Jamaica. I found Kemoy Gordon and was blown away by his talent. To be so young and talented. I wanted him. He was available and I booked him pronto. He played beautifully as I walked down the aisle. A moment I will never forget. Read more about my ceremony dress here and my cake cutting dress here. My reception dress is from Martiana Liana.
Finally, I want to talk about our Day of Wedding Coordinator, Chloe from WeddingsByClomo. What a gem we were blessed with. A friend of friend recommended Chloe and upon talking to her the first time I knew she was the one. I had already found 95% of my vendors but I was in need of help because I was living in USA, working my blog, my 9-5 and this wedding planning thing was becoming another full-time job. But again, my Type A personality would not give up all reigns to someone, i.e a full on wedding planner. In retrospect I wish I had just let go and hired Chloe as my full on planner. She would have done just as excellent. She blew what it meant to be a day of coordinator out the park. Chloe and her team were the key and glue to a seamless wedding day. A matter of fact wedding weekend (more on that below). She matched our vibe, understood our style and executed our vision with such precision. See why I wish I had saved myself some stress and had her be my full on planner? Sigh. But Chloe is the real deal and we’ll forever be grateful for her. 
All of our vendors were amazing and are to be credited for how amazing and beautiful our wedding turned out. Lincoln and I was adamant on using all local vendors in honor and respect for our fellow Jamaicans and their craft. We paid every single one of them their full 100% fee and it was worth it.


Part 2

Since we were getting married in Jamaica and we had a 70/30 situation where 70% of our guest would be flying in for the wedding and 30% would be be local in Jamaica. However, the venue was remote and distant for everyone one. No one lived close. We ensured giving our guests time to secure tickets, dress code, transportation, child care etc. We also created an Instagram account so we could send mass messages to our invited guests. As for RSVPs and wedding information digitally, we used The Knot Wedding Website and it was seamless and easy. 

We wanted to give our guests an experience as we understood the resources that went into making the trip. For some, this was their annual vacation and we wanted to honor that. We planned a ‘Wedding Weekend’ that followed this schedule:

Friday- Jerk Center Hangout at Boston Jerk Center. We got married in Portland, Jamaica and it’s the Jerk Capital of Jamaica. You can enjoy all things jerk- chicken, fish, lobster, shrimp etc and a slew of side plates. For those who were in town, we gathered, ate, music was playing and the vibe was awesome.
Friday night- We wanted to take some of our guests to enjoy the party scene in Jamaica. Unfortunately, being in Portland we were miles away from what we wanted people to experience. So, we rented a bus, took 35+ people into Kingston, on a yacht and we had such a fun time. Once the yacht party was over, we made our way to a local chill spot where sweet reggae music played. After that we went to get street side Jerk in the wee hours of around 3am on Red Hills Road in Kingston. We then made our way back to Portland. 95% percent of our guests were staying in Portland. 
Saturday- We invited everyone around to Frenchman’s Cove beach to relax. It was a raining few days leading up to our wedding so the water wasn’t as blue and beautiful but we still had a great time. Lots of laughter, old and new friends and tons of photos. It was all so surreal as if I was in a dream of bliss. 
Saturday evening- we had rehearsal and cocktails after, with our families and a few close friends. 

Sunday- the BIG DAY. A little back story. It rained from the Wednesday all the way to Saturday afternoon. I was so nervous and worried about our wedding day since the ceremony and reception were both outdoors. The backup plan was to have it indoor and all the vendors were on board with Plan B. Thanks to our amazing coordinator, Chloe and her team, I didn’t have to think about Plan B, instead I used that time to pray to God, there will be no Plan B. Oh my Jesus came through for me and Plan B was out of the door as of late Saturday evening, it stopped raining and Sunday was bright and beautiful with the perfect aura of blessing in the air. 
The girls and I got glammed upstairs while the men got ready downstairs. Chloe and her team executed the day so well that we were on time, I was ready however we have a VIP GUEST that ran late and so we didn’t quite start on time. 
When it was go time, I said a little prayer, the doors of the castle opened and my first thought was “Oh, everyone looks great in white” haha! I said, I’m Type-A and also a Virgo, perfection and details are my forte. 

My girls wore Kleinfeld bridesmaids dresses (See post here & here & also how I proposed to them here), the men were in Friar Tux and they looked Immaculate. We decided to not have our wedding party walk down the aisle as couples because we really wanted them to shine individually. Instead we had the men go in casual suave style and the girls go after in romantic walk down the aisle. We couldn’t be more proud to call them FRIENDS & FAMILY. For us, our wedding party picks are some of the most significant people in our lives. We chose them because they truly love us, individually and collectively and we love and trust them. 
I had my brother walked me down the aisle because aside from my husband, he is the most significant man in my life. My
Brother will always be my brother and I know he’ll always have my back. He did such a great job securing me tightly to him and made sure I got down the aisle seamlessly and beautifully. 
I have to mention, our wedding party surprised us with a gift at the reception and we were both floored. I literally started crying. We were just served our dinner when I heard someone singing. I leaned over to Lincoln and said “Oh, I didn’t know Trident (the venue) had an in house singer, that’s nice”. I couldn’t see the person, I only heard him. Lincoln responded by saying, “That voice sounds familiar...wait, it’s Lukie-D”. In a bit of cloud am like “Lukie-D, Lukie-D?” He said “yes”. My eyes now starting to circle the room and saw him at the top by the DJ booth singing while making his way down. I’m confused, Lincoln is...why is Lukie-D singing at out wedding- he's a local Jamaican artist by the way. It hit me, and I started looking at our friends at the wedding party tables and saw their delight in our delight and one shouted ‘surprise, it’s our gift to you guys’ I lost it and started crying. I was so overwhelmed with joy and what a thoughtful gift. Lukie-D serenaded us as we ate and it was magical. He made his way to our table and then proceeded to ask the DJ to play the beat of a song. He started playing it and Lincoln turned to me and said “Babe, this is my favorite song” I said to him “Really, I just marry you and after 8 years together and I never knew you had a favorite song let alone this was your favorite” ha! So Lukie-D, Lincoln and our amazing MC busted into an impromptu group band and sang “Just As I Am- by L.U.S.T.” and I rocked out in my chair like a true fan to this newly formed group. It was beautiful and a highlight of our wedding. 
The fireworks went off to the sweet melodies of Koffee’s- Toast, and we proceeded to dance the night away and one hour over our allotted time. We ended the night with Jamaican street food we had separately catered for the after party folks (curry chicken back, fried dumpling, fried breadfruit, fritters, ackee and saltfish). I still have curry stains on my cake cutting/dancing dress. 

What a dream of a wedding it was for us and exactly how we wanted it. 
It wouldn’t have been what it was without our amazing family and friends. We’re so blessed and so thankful that they joined us with their beautiful, warm and loving spirits. Lincoln and I felt so loved and celebrated. A wedding, a weekend to remember forever. 
I've posted a one minute video below, I hope you enjoy. If it's not playing, you can also watch it on my Instagram

xx
Keyma

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