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JayKay's Jamaica January 13, 2012 Wedding Planning Thread - Detailed!!

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Planning Thread

We leave in 10 days!!


I never thought the time would come for me to post my planning thread.  Time has sure flown by since I first started reading threads/posts on here.   I have come a long way from having no clue about where to begin with planning our destination wedding to almost being married!  We were engaged on December 14, 2010 and will be married January 13, 2012.  Since we were both University students (yay, done my degree!) we are on a pretty tight budget.


I want to thank everyone on here for providing their amazing ideas and inspirations.  My wedding sure would not be the same if it wasnâ€t for everyone on here!  I found way too many great ideas and have had so many questions answered on here by past, present, and future brides.  I wish I had kept track of who I borrowed my ideas from so I can give you some credit, but unfortunately I didnâ€t.


I have been putting this planning thread together right from the beginning of my planning to make it easier.  I will try to include where I got things from.


How it all Started

I wonâ€t rewrite my engagement story as it can be found here:



Engagement Ring



Resort Choice

This was by far the hardest decision we made in the entire planning process.  When we first got engaged we had thought we wanted to get married in the Mayan Riviera in Mexico.  After looking at every single all inclusive resort in the Mayan there was not one that we really fell in love with that fit the budget.  Plus, my family has never travelled anywhere other than Hawaii and they werenâ€t too keen on travelling to Mexico.  We then chose Jamaica.


Once we narrowed down the location to Jamaica it was relatively easy to choose a resort.  I feel in love with the gazebo at the Gran Bahia Principe in Runaway Bay, Jamaica and it fit the budget.  It was also a bonus that I personally know some people who go there every year and they gave me rave reviews.

Another reason we chose this resort was because of the variety of wedding packages offered.  It gave us the most flexibility depending on how many guests we would end up with.  We ended up going with the free package.



We consulted with a travel agent right from the beginning in helping us decide on the perfect location.  We are using a travel agent from AMA.  We chose her as she is a good family friend. My parents have used her in the past for travel and were happy with her service.  I canâ€t say anything bad at all about her, she has been nothing but amazing.


Once we decided on a resort, we went to her in early February and asked her to get us group quotes from a few airlines for one week travel to the resort.  The lowest quote came back for Sunquest Vacations.  The travel agent has some recent negative experiences with Sunquest (cancelling flights two days before another brides wedding was supposed to depart for their destination).  Transat was the middle quote, with Air Canada being the most costly.  We decided we wanted to go with Transat.  She then went back to Transat and explained that another company was cheaper and asked if they would match their price.  Transat did.


We also were able to qualify for $400 off the price as an early booking bonus.  I also happened to be looking online in June for prices for the week we are going, January 9-16, 2012, and I came across prices that were about $300 dollars cheaper than our group price.  I called the travel agent and she was able to pass this info along to Transat and they decided to give us $500 dollars off per person. 


Originally, the price for one week all inclusive from Calgary to Jamaica was about $2000 per person.  With all the discounts we are now paying $1300 per person, tax included.  Also, as a gift from Transat for all the troubles they are upgrading all our guests to Club Golden for free.

Also, at the time we booked Transat offered us the 16th trip free for every 15 people that book.  Because we have exactly 16 people booked we get one trip for free. We are being selfish and using that money for ourselves.



The next decision we made was in regards to colors.  I had really wanted to go with bright colors such as fuschia, orange, or purple.  However, my Fiance didnâ€t want to go with anything to girly.  We compromised on turquoise and green.  This was my color inspiration:




Save the Date

Shortly after choosing the resort and the approximate date we decided to send out Save the Date magnets.  As we werenâ€t exactly sure about the exact date of the wedding as the flight schedules werenâ€t out yet, we just put the month on them.  We sent these out in the end of January 2011.

We got these for free on Vistaprint so we only paid for envelopes and postage.  It cost us less than a dollar for each.




We sent out 50 STD magnets. Out date to pay deposits by was June 30th.  By the beginning of May we already had everyone respond to us to say yes they would be coming and paying a deposit or no they wouldnâ€t be joining us (even though we didnâ€t include any RSVP info).  Because of that we never sent out formal invitations, but rather a postcard with a bit more information about specific dates ect.


Legal Documents

We wanted our wedding ceremony to be legal not symbolic.  That was one of the reasons we decided on Jamaica- it is relatively easy to get legally married there.  We had to both get our long form birth certificates. My FI was born in Ontario; we were able to order his online.  I was born in Alberta, I had to go in and apply for mine at a registry office.  For both birth certificates it was $55.We also had to get our IDs (drivers license) notarized by a notary public.  We went to a local Lawyer and she did this for us in about two minutes.  It cost us $40.



Where I live there is only one small bridal shop.  One day, shortly after I was engaged, I was with my friend out for lunch when she suggested we go try on wedding dresses.  I never really thought I would find my dress at this small local store, and had been planning on making a trip to the city to find my dress. I didnâ€t really know what I wanted in a dress, however, I wanted it to be fairly light.  I am a plus sized bride and therefore, thought the selection at the store would be even less.  I was sure wrong.  I tried on about 6 dresses that day and fell in love with one.


However, I couldnâ€t commit to a dress without my mom seeing it first.  It took about two months before I was able to take my mom and show her the dress.  When I went to show her the dress, I tried on two other dresses along with the one I loved, but didnâ€t tell her which one was my favorite.  As soon as I put the dress on I loved and came out my mom started crying.  She said it was definitely the dress!

Here is the sample dress (a few sizes to small):IMG_0200.JPG









The only alterations I have made to the dress was to have the train chopped off in the back.  I made the train into a small sweeping train less than a foot long.  I hated the way the dress looked bustled and never really wanted a train to begin with.


My dress cost $900 and alterations were $108.


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After finding my dress I started to find my accessories.


-Hair Flower

I purchased it from Etsy seller VirginiaGeigerJewels.  It was $28.00.  The quality is really great and it matches my dress perfectly.



I never knew finding jewelry would be so hard.  I donâ€t normally wear a lot of jewelry.  I fell in love with this jewelry set from Etsy seller KarinAllie. 




However, once I tried it on with my dress I didnâ€t like the way it looked.  I was pretty disappointed as I really love the set.  I then found a second set I liked from http://www.emitations.com/.  It was $65.00.  It looks much better with my dress then the first set. 




I wasnâ€t sure if I want to wear a bracelet or not, I purchased this one anyways.  I purchased it from Etsy seller ritasoy for $19.00.  I changed the color of the gem to a deeper blue and the initial to J.




After I received the above bracelet, I immediately decided I wouldnâ€t wear it for my wedding.  It is way to big (I donâ€t have small wrists!) and kept sliding off my hand and it looks cheap for the price I payed for it. I was pretty disappointed with it.

I ended up purchasing this bracelet from Wal Mart.  It was $39.





I do not normally wear heels and thought my wedding day would not be a good day to start!  I wanted to be comfortable.  I opted for flip flops.  They are more of a turquoise color then the picture shows.  I got them at Superstore; they were $3!




-Bouquet Jewelry

I purchased a starfish for my bouquet before I knew about the starfish passing thread.

I purchased it from http://www.dreammakerwed.com/bouquet_jewels.html.  It was $14.49. 



I have decided to pass my starfish around in the starfish planning thread for one year following my wedding and then retire the little guy.


I also received a pearl sleeve from a friend that goes on the bouquet handle.  Because I am using a bouquet provided from the resort they donâ€t wrap the handle in ribbon or make it look pretty.  She used this in her wedding in Mexico and passed it on to me. It is stretchy and wraps around the stems.  (If curious, she purchased it from Michaels, she said for around 8 dollars.)



Bridesmaid Dress

I was supposed to have three bridesmaids join me for my special day, however, one was unable to come due to health reasons and the other became pregnant (she is due a week after our wedding).  So that left me with one, my future sister in law.  I guess I could call her my MOH.  We had gone looking at the bridal shop for a bridesmaid dress but didnâ€t really find anything we both liked.  I wanted to make sure she was comfortable and liked the dress.  We decided to take a trip to the city and after a good solid 8 hours of shopping (who knew finding a dress would be so hard!?!) we found this dress at a store called Laura.  The dress cost $149.  The day after we purchased it I was a bit worried that it was to prom like and wondered if we made a bad decision, but every time I see it I like it more and more.  Her flip flops cost $21.19.  She will be wearing her own jewelry. (The dress looks better on her, then on the hanger)




Groom and Best Man Attire

We found their outfits at Tommy Bahamas.  Since there was only my FI and his best man it was really easy to find outfits.  They are both wearing white shirts with khaki pants.  For 2 shirts and 2 pants it cost $251.96.

My Fiance had brown flip flops from his brotherâ€s wedding in Mexico a few years prior so he is just going to wear those.  We found the very same flip flops for his best man.  They cost $31.49.



Our gift to our wedding party was to purchase their outfits and accessories.





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Wedding Bands

I knew what I wanted for a wedding band, round cut channel set diamonds.  I bought my wedding Band in early March as it was on sale from Valentineâ€s Day.  By buying it early I saved myself over $300.  My wedding band cost me $550.



As I am a Nurse I donâ€t wear my e-ring to work and I donâ€t plan to wear my diamond band to work.  I had all intentions of buying a plain white gold wedding band to wear to work.


 I have had multiple problems with my e-ring, such as the prongs breaking, the diamond coming loose, ect.  They finally had to reset my diamond in new gold as the gold it was first made of was found to be faulty.  In the first 6 months of my engagement my engagement ring was in the store getting fixed for 4 of them.  Because of all the problems I was having with it I was not very happy with the store and they knew it.  So in compensation for all the problems I was having they gave me a free white gold band.  It saved me $169.




When it came to choosing a wedding band for my FI it was a battle.  As he works in the oilfield he canâ€t wear a ring to work.  He also said he would hardly wear it so he didnâ€t see the point in spending money on one.  I told him he had to have a wedding band so we came to a compromise.  We purchased this one for $39 from overstock.  If my FI decides he will wear a ring more we will spend the money to purchase a nice gold one at that time.



OOT Bags


I wanted to create a simple logo to put onto our OOT Bags.  I didnâ€t want it to contain our names or dates, but be pretty general so our guests could use our bags again.  I created our logo on powerpoint. (You will see the picture of it on our OOT bags)



I wanted something simple and didnâ€t want to spend much money on these.  I had some extra paper lying around the house from school projects.  I only had to pay for the ribbon to tie it to the bag.  That cost $0.59 from Micheals. (the one pictured here is one I donâ€t plan on using for our OOT bags as I apparently couldnâ€t glue things on straight!) Iâ€m going to attach them to the bags with a turquoise ribbon.




OOT Bag Tag2.JPG



I purchased our OOT bags from cheaptotes.com.  As we are only having 16 guests I only needed to make 10 bags.  I ordered a few extra just in case. They arenâ€t the best quality but they will do.  We didnâ€t want to spend a lot of money on the bags. The bags cost $13.86 + 11.99 S+H. 




I used these instructions here to transfer our logo onto the bag.


I purchased the t-shirt transfer paper from staples for $16.99 for 10 sheets.  I was able to print two logos on each page so that I could get away with using only 5 sheets for 10 bags. 


My thread about Things I would change from the above directions can be found here





OOT Contents

Here is a list of what we included in each bag:



Per Bag

Total Price

From Where

Glow Bracelets


$0.22/per 2


Key Card Holders

-Coiled Key Ring

-Key Card Holder



Key Ring – oriental trading company

Key Card Holder – Ebay seller gcishoponline

Bottle Opener




Playing Cards



Dollar Giant




Bought from BDW Bride (all items in a package)













-first-aid kit




-hand sanitizer




-lip balm












-drink crystal packs




-nail file




Photoshare Card




Welcome Letter



Printed from home computer on extra paper


Puzzle Books












Total Cost for Bag Contents: $13.48/per bag


Key Card Holder


I printed the insert on my printer with card stock. 











I added a tag onto the packages.  It says “Wedding Week Survival Kit"








Picture Share Card


Photoshare - Copy.JPG


Welcome Letter: I borrowed some wording found on here





­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Pre Travel Brochures

I first made brochures on vista print, however, they didnâ€t arrive within the 21 day shipping window and when I did receive them they were all misaligned, smudged and didnâ€t look good at all.  Because they didnâ€t arrive in the shipping window I did receive a refund from Vista Print.  Instead of reordering from them I made my own on Microsoft Word and printed them myself.  We sent them out in the beginning of November.









Jamaica Keycard Holder!.pptx

Survival Kit Template.docx

Welcome Letter.docx


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Wedding Day Details

-Ceremony Script

We wrote our own ceremony script.  It basically comes from a compilation of others I found on here.  We personalized it to make it our own:












-Ceremony Location

Our wedding will be held at the Gazebo with our ceremony starting at 4pm. 



We will have the same set up minus the flowers and our chair bows will be turquoise.  I purchased our chair bows from http://weddinglinensdirect.com/.  They cost $11.80 + $9.69 for S+H.




At first I wasnâ€t too concerned about flowers.  Iâ€m not much of a flower person at all.  The free wedding package we chose includes a bouquet and boutonniere. When I first booked my wedding date the resort send me three choices.  About three months prior to the wedding when I had to provide all the detailed information, such as flower choice, I was told those bouquets were no longer part of the free choices.  I explained that they had sent me those choices when I first booked my date and they agreed to honor it and give me one of those bouquets for free.  My MOH will carry the same bouquet, just a smaller version.


package bouquet.JPG


I wanted to have parasols for myself and MOH to use for pictures. I think they just look so elegant in pictures.  I purchased two turquoise parasols from http://www.weddingfavours.ca/p/3050/Coloured+Paper+Umbrellas.html

They cost $17.50 for two, plus 6.99 S+H.




Our free wedding package included a free boutonniere.  We chose not to use it as I donâ€t like flowers on guys.  Instead we purchased these from etsy seller amirandas.  Two of them cost $5.  I was able to customize the ribbon colors to fit our wedding colors.



Sand Ceremony

The next thing we purchased was a sand ceremony set.  We kind of went back and forth for awhile between a set of glass vases or a frame.  We decided on a set of glass vases.  I bought them from Michaels and the set cost $42, but I used a 40% off coupon for a total of $25.82.  I also purchased a tube of blue sand for $4.99.

sand ceremony.jpgSand.JPG


The set does come with a lid so it wonâ€t spill.  I am planning to pack the sand down and melt a candle on top of it to prevent mixing on our trip home.



My FI and I are good friends with a couple and she is a photographer.  They were going to travel to Jamaica with us and she was going to be our photographer (for free!) for the day.  Unfortunately, she found out she was expecting a baby and is due the end of January

Since she wasnâ€t going to be able to make the trip to be our photographer we started looking at other photographers to bring with us to Jamaica.  We soon found out that this was out of our tight budget.  Instead, we hired Merrick Cousley from Jamaica.  The package we chose includes: all day coverage, a DVD with all images, and photo retouching.  We paid $1050 for the wedding package and $200 for travel fee.



So far he has been so amazing to work with and I can't wait to see the results.  I plan on giving him a short list of a few photos we want.





-Hair and Makeup

I am getting my hair done at the spa at the resort.  I am having a trial done right before I leave and plan on taking pictures so I can take them to the resort with me.  I will also be getting my makeup done there as well.  Here is my inspiration






At first we wanted to hire the steel drum band for music at our wedding.  However, we just couldnâ€t justify spending $400 for one hour.  Instead I was given this website where I was able to purchase steel drum music for $6.


We are going to use that music for before the ceremony starts and after the ceremony during the chamagne.  We are going to be making a CD (probably 2 of them to be safe) and taking them with us.


Bridal Party Entrance: Somewhere Over the Rainbow-:Isreal K.

Brides Entrance: Marry Me- Train

Signing of Registar: A Thousand Years- Christina Perri

Sand Ceremony: Wonderful World- Isreal K.

Exiting Gazebo: Better Together - Jack Johnson



Our reception will be held at the Grill Restaurant.  We are just using the décor provided from the resort.






After the reception we plan on going to the disco to party the night away!



I didnâ€t want the traditional guest book with just names written in it.  I wanted something we would actually look at and that would mean something to us.  We decided to purchase a fingerprint tree from Etsy.  We will then ask all our guests to stamp our tree with their fingerprints and write their name underneath.  As we are having a small group I had to have a tree custom made.  I worked with seller forkeepsdesigns.   It cost $44. Here is our tree:



I purchased two different colors of ink, blue and brown, for our guests to stamp their finger print with.  I purchased those from Michaels for about $10.  I also purchased a scrapbook pen so that guests can write their names under their fingerprint.  That was from Micheals as well and cost $4. After our wedding we will get it framed and hung on our wall.





I made this sign to put beside it and bought a frame from the dollar store to put it in.




Our free wedding package from the resort includes a cake.  We got to choose the flavor, we chose chocolate and vanilla. 


Gifts for Parents

We wanted to get our parents something that they would actually enjoy and not just something for the sake of getting them something.  We decided that once we receive our pictures from our photographer we are going to make them photo books online and give that to them as our gift.  Iâ€m still undecided where to make the book. Any suggestions are appreciated!



We originally were not going to register because we felt that everyones gift was to come along with us to celebrate our wedding.  We also donâ€t expect gifts from people who are not attending.  However, we had lots of people ask what they could buy us as a wedding gift.  We decided to register for a few things that people could purchase that we didnâ€t have or wanted to upgrade (like the 15 year old toaster we have!)  We chose to register at The Bay.


Random Extras

-Bra Bag/Panty Pak

I received these as a gift from one of my girl friends for my engagement.  She has a set and said she loved them and wanted to give me one for my trip.  I havenâ€t used them yet.  She got them from http://www.thebragcompany.com/








Luggage Tag/Passport Cover

I purchased these from Etsy seller GracieDesigns.  I was able to choose what fabrics I wanted.  They are great quality.


Passportcover.JPG               Passportcover2.JPG        



The very first thing we did when starting planning was to sit down and make a budget.  Our original budget was $9500.  In the end we spent a little more then half our budget, about $5200.


I was able to organize the budget, along with guest list, and other things on this spread sheet.  I got this from another bride who posted hers on here but redid it to fit our wedding.



Thats everything!  If you have any questions or need more information on anything, just ask!  Thanks for making it through this massive thread!!



Photography List.docx

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Thank you for sharing this! Your wedding is going to be so beautiful.

Have fun and I cannot wait to see the pictures!


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It's coming up so quick!!!  See you soon!!


Originally Posted by BusyBee123 View Post

Congrats JayKay!  Everything looks wonderful!  I guess we'll be seeing you down there in a few short sleeps!  Can't wait!


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