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J and G 2012

J and G's After the Fact Jamaican Planning Thread (Long and Lots of Pics!)

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Itâ€s my turn! Iâ€ve been piecing this thread together this whole year to make it a little easier, I wanted to wait until we got our pro pics back, but I canâ€t wait any longer!


Thank you to all the brides Iâ€ve turned to for advice, I donâ€t know what I would do without this site! That would be my number one piece of advice, start research well ahead of making any decisions, we sent out our STD before I really had any clue of what I was doing! As happy I am with how things turned out, I probably would have made a few different decisions. One of those would be not having a wedding right after Christmas! But it was in fact the best week of my life!




Before I dive right into the details about the planning of the weekâ€s events let be tell you nothing went as planned. So “A†type personalities (like myself) be prepared it may not be just as you pictured it, but in the moment it really doesnâ€t matter! All the little glitches (see Resort Review), problems and changes made our week that much more special. In summary:


  • It wasnâ€t the greatest resort. It had some bad rooms, we had 3 different rooms ourselves. Then we finally got a suite, which was amazing! But with such a large group a lot of our guests had issues.
  • The Officiant wouldnâ€t do our ceremony that we wrote (found out 1 hour before the wedding) so my brother read it instead.
  • Catamaran reception was cancelled the day of the wedding because of weather, but it was rescheduled for the day after, which gave us another opportunity to be with our guests and allowed us to let lose and party without our wedding attire on.


The Begining


Letâ€s start at the very beginning. I was in high school and had just sworn guys off. I was going to focus on school and my future (thatâ€s what youâ€re supposed to say, right ;) ), then I met Garett. His friend and my best friend (Maid of Honour) were dating and DH wanted to be set up with one of her friends. There weâ€re two of us in the running, luckily for me (and him ;) ) he preferred brunettes! We dated for 9 more years. I decided to take things to the next level, and last year we bought a house, even though I didnâ€t have my ring!


Us in the early years J




Us on our wedding night :)




The Proposal


Our first Valentines Day in our home, we decided to make dinner and stay at home. We cooked up some lobster and had a nice candle light dinner. After which I did my usual, get my pjs on and lay on the couch to watch tv. He came over and said that we “had to talkâ€, my first reaction was “oh shit, what did I do?â€! He proceeded to tell me how much he loved me and that he should have done this long ago (all of which I had to get him to repeat after because I was giggling and crying through his speech!). He gave me a beautiful ring that wasnâ€t mine (back story: I was going to have my ring made by a family jeweler, but I guess he wasnâ€t quick enough for Garett, and he picked out his own!). Iâ€m glad he chose the ring himself because it is so beautiful and I couldnâ€t imagine not having it now!




After I got my ring I was a little bit stressed. I wanted “the ring†for so long that I forgot what happened after, … the wedding. In the first few months we weâ€re throwing around the idea of having a “backyard wedding†at his family farm, we knew we didnâ€t want to do the regular sit down receiving line/sit down dinner kind of thing, but it was still a little bit over whelming for me. Then we talked about a destination wedding, I had always joked about getting married in a bikini and sarong.


We contacted a few friends who were travel agents to get prices for a trip. We had been to the Grand Palladium in Jamaica the year before and absolutely loved it. Unfortunately it didnâ€t quite fall in our budget for the wedding. We wanted to have as many of our friends and family join us so we had to make it affordable for everyone. So we chose the Sunset Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios. I didnâ€t do much research in the beginning and booked without looking into the prices for the wedding and extra costs, so make sure you do your research before booking anything!






We chose our week and sent out almost 200 save the dates. We wanted to make sure that anyone who wanted to come, could come. We had friends of friends and family book, even some new  friends, but thatâ€s they way we wanted it, a big party. Our STDs were designed by Etsy  Seller ItsMelC and they were great. She sent me the file and I had a local printer print them all out. If I had of been more familiar with this site and Vistaprint at that time, I would have done them myself.




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Our Logo


Our logo I designed myself after getting tips from brides on BDW. I designed it (in a number of different ways) in PPT and saved as picture to be used throughout our wedding suite.







I designed our invitations using the free ayleebits template and word clip art. Everyone was really impressed with how they turned out (we only sent them to those that booked). Here is my thread on making them and the package they weâ€re included in. We gave most of our invitation packages out at our Jack and Jill.




OOT Bags


I really wanted to do OOT Bags but weâ€re on a very limited budget and could not afford all the elaborate things that some of the brides put in them. We also had 90 ppl attend so it was hard to get some of the numbers of those things. We tried to make them as useful as possible and our guests really did appreciate them and used all of the contents. Each couple and single got a bag and the 6 kids that came got their own special bags with colouring books, sand toys, etc..




Bags and key card holders – Oriental Trading, most people used these, I was disappointed I didnâ€t keep a key card holder for myself!

Toys/Activity Books - Dollar Store

Decks of Cards – used Casino cards (free)

Incents – Liquidation world $0.11!


Ping pong balls


Mugs – these were bought by our TA for all our guests even the ones that didnâ€t book through her. One side had her info on it and the other had stickers that we bought from Etsy seller DavetDesigns. The stickers are waterproof, fade proof and dishwasher safe! The TAs info rubbed off with a little sunscreen.




We also got bubbas mugs engraved for DH and me. We used them everyday, and have a great souvenir now! Not the greatest Pic but his says groom and his nickname and mine says Bride and my nickname.







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I think Vista Print deserves it own section. Once I discovered how to use it, I got most my stationary there. It was so easy and inexpensive!


Our Welcome Letter was on a regular size postcard, I would have ordered an oversized one if I did it again. The wording came from other brides on here, so thank YOU!





Photo Share Cards with instruction on how to use Photobucket on the back side.




Postcard Guest Book

Great idea in theory but hardly anyone has sent theirs yet! I would have them fill them out on location and give them to you there instead of mailing them.




I picked up a handmade photo album in Jamaica and am placing all the completed cards in it.


Wedding Day and Week Schedule – Tried to keep in the same them as our inviatations.

Wedding Itinerary Good.pngWeek.png


If Iâ€m going to give any advice about the OOT Bags its better to buy stuff during the summer/end of summer clearance. I wanted Inflatable rafts etc. and could only buy them on line at an increased price.


Our Wedding party


This is a huge stress for a lot of brides, myself included. When I had finally made all my decisions a few of my good friends were hurt that they were not included,… but I didnâ€t feel I needed to justify my decision. Originally it was just supposed to be the MOH and BM, but FI kept asking everyone he knew! I think he was just so excited everyone was coming! I had asked the women that I love and were involved it our lives. In fact I had asked DHs friend who is a woman and she asked to be on the groomâ€s side! We had an uneven amount of Groomsmen to Bridesmaids, but that didnâ€t matter to us.


The Bridesmaids wore the Victoriaâ€s Secretâ€s Multi-way dress, I loved how they turned out! Each wore it a slightly different way to suit their own body. They wore whatever shoes and earrings they wanted.




For their gift I gave them a beach bag with a few goodies in it, including the necklace that they wore to the wedding (bought from Etsy Seller BellaJewelsInc). They liked them so much that they wore them for the rest of the week!




I also made ‘Bridesmaids†tanks for the Jack and Jill and Jamaica. The Rhinestones came from Etsy Seller Rhinestone Wishes.





I also DIY groomsmen shirts by printing on iron-on transfer paper.




The Groomsmen wore Linen pants and a linen button up shirt from Old Navy, the best part was that they got a great deal on them at the end of the season!




MOB wore a gold cocktail dress from BCBG. I had always pictured her in gold on my wedding day.




Flower girls wore a dress that I found on sale a Winners, they just happened to have the same cute little white dress in two sizes for $15!




Ring Bear wore a Childrenâ€s Place White Linen shirt and Mexx Linen Pants.




I am so happy with how DHâ€s outfit turned out. I had bought him the Old Navy pants in white and beige and a linen shirt with some embroidery on it. One night when I wasnâ€t home and he was going out with his friends he decided it was a good idea to wear his ‘wedding shirtâ€! So then I was on the hunt for a new shirt in the fall, when there is no linen anywhere!. I bought a long sleeve linen from Tommy Bahamas but it wasnâ€t quite what I had pictured, so with a month to go before the wedding I ordered from Studio Suits. I ordered the long sleeve shirt and linen vest in his measurements, and it looked so good! With his hat on he was big pimpin (his words!). I love that he wore all white as well!




For DHâ€s wedding gift I had done a boudoir shoot. I am so happy I did it! It was such a confidence booster as I had just lost 60 lbs and needed to feel beautiful and sexy again before the wedding.





I also had a handkerchief embroidered  with a card that read “To wipe the sweat from your brown or the tear from your eye. I love you and canâ€t wait to spend the rest of my life with youâ€. It was from Etsy Seller designsbyGloria . At first he thought it was a bandana to wear around his head!





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MY Dress


Finding MY dress was a huge dilemma. I had gone shopping with my Mom and Mother in Law early in the planning stages. I thought that I wanted something simple (which was what we were planning for the wedding). I chose a straight, plain dress for a great price. But as our planning went on and I continued to see more dresses, I knew the first was not the one for me. I am so glad I went back out to try on more dresses because I did find THE ONE! With a few alterations I was really feeling like the bride I wanted to be! If you are not sure about your dress, go try more on!






My jewellery was very inexpensive. Earrings were from Aldos  and the bracelet from The Bay.





The hair flowers were real and the hair dresser put them in last minute, I wasnâ€t really planning on wearing anything in my hair but Iâ€m glad I did.

I also had a red belt made to wear with the dress but decided against it on the day of. I kinda wish I wore it, but oh well.




I do not like wearing heals and in the summer I always wear flip flops so I chose to be comfortable on my wedding day. I did however bling out my flip flops with a bedazzler! I did the same to the Flower girls shoes.





The Rings


His ring is titanium with laser Calladah because I am Scottish and Irish, and itâ€s also inexpensive, and he will lose it (again, his words).




My jeweler made my ring using the gold from the first necklace DH gave me. Iâ€m going to get an eternity band to match for 1st anniversary, fingers crossed!





This was a really tough decision for me (Hereâ€s the link to my thread) but I think I made the right decision. We were on a very tight budget and really didnâ€t have a plan for the photographer. I knew that I wanted great pictures but wasnâ€t sure on which way to go. At first I played around with the idea of using a photographer down there but couldnâ€t find any info. about the photographer the resort uses. And we really didnâ€t like the vendor fee they charged to bring a photographer in. I got a few quotes from photographers down there with recommendations from this site, but nothing wowed me. I was I love we the work of a photographer that my friend used at home but I didnâ€t think it would be in the budget to bring them down with us. But then my TA came up with these cheap seats for our trip and we contacted them to see if they were interested.


I canâ€t rave enough about our photographer! Samantha made us look good! She knew exactly what she was doing and told us exactly what to do! She completely captured the mood in every session! Now I havenâ€t received the whole lot of them yet, but what Iâ€ve seen on her blog, I love! I canâ€t wait to see the rest!


For anyone that is considering a TTD shoot, do it! I knew I wanted one, but I also knew that we would not look as good splashing around and laying in the water as some other pictures Iâ€ve seen. But we got some great pictures! I love them because they are simple, capturing us on a more inimate level (without, having to be half naked!).





Photographer's Blog

The Wedding

The Catamaran Reception

The TTD Shoot





We wanted to keep this as simple as possible while still keeping certain traditions and personalizing it to make it feel special. We wrote the ceremony using bits and pieces from the Unique Ceremony Thread. A welcome and a few readings, not to long but personal. Communication with the WC wasnâ€t all that great (more to come below) and at about 1 hour before the ceremony I was told the officient wouldnâ€t follow our ceremony. I went with the “no problem†attitude and let it go, but my MOH asked my brother to MC the ceremony and it made our day that much more special. He had such a hard time getting through it without crying, so did the rest of us!




You can kind of tell in this photo that DH has his back to everyone. I had told him that I didn`t want him to turn around until I was at the end of the isle. He took that to mean he wasn`t to turn around until I was right beside him!








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For decorations we paid a few extra dollars for tulle and rose petals. I created our program/fans using postcards from vista print and paper from Papercircle, everyone loved them! I made reserved signs using the same scalloped paper.





The Ring ‘pillow†was a conch shell Iâ€ve had since I was little. I spray painted it white and glued some ribbon to it. The flower girl basket was metal and I got it from goodwill for a buck. Spay painted it as well, a few bows and ta da.




I also brought bubbles down for after. Love this picture!





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Another big decision for weddings! Originally I was going to make my own. After playing around with it for a few months I decided that some things are best left to professionals! I went with Bloom Bridal last minute. Judy was amazing to work with and turned out better than I expected! They are much more colourful in real life! I also ordered some loose hibiscus to but on the cake.







Just want to mention that my chest looks so fabulous thanks to “Flaunt†inserts!


The Wedding Day Details


Because our group was large we qualified of a free cocktail party with horderves which I had scheduled right after the ceremony while we were doing pictures. It was supposed to be outside but because of the weather it was moved to one of their smaller banquet rooms. I just recently found out that the horderves consisted of Banana chips…thatâ€s it. Luckily my guests didn`t care, I I was too oblivious to notice.


The evening of the wedding we had dinner just the 2 of us. It wasnâ€t anything to right home about, I was hoping that the resort would have done something a little bit more elaborate. We just ate in one of their a la cartes. But it was nice to have the time together to recap the dayâ€s events.




As I said before I didnâ€t do much research before we booked so I was surprised at the cost of dinner at an AI resort! I just couldnâ€t see spending that much money when all of my guests were staying at the resort and would be eating their anyways. So we decided to do things a little different. I started looking for Catamaran Charters for a cocktail party. DH went on a fishing expedition with Island Routes last year so I contacted them. Melissa Forbes got back to me with some quotes and I just had to go with them. She was so amazing to work with, I even invited her to the wedding! The Island Routes staff made our party that much more exciting! Besides being very professional they interacted with our group like they were part of the celebration! They partied just as hard as the rest of us! The menu included kabobs and crackers and cheese, fresh fruit etc. it was just what everybody needed! The thing we (and our guests) liked best about it was that it was so different than a usual dinner and dance that we could have done in Canada. We did our cake cutting, speeches and dances all on boat.


Jamaica 2012 024.JPG






 Our first dance was one of the most epic Iâ€ve ever heard of and it wasnâ€t even planned! We weâ€re on top of the catamaran at sunset dancing to God Gave Me You by Blake Sheldon.







The Week's Events


We didnâ€t want to plan too many activities because we understood that this was a vacation for all of our guests as well. But we did want to ensure that we had time to spend with everyone that came down.


Volley Ball Tournament

We had a volleyball tournament on day 5. It was an optional event but we had a great turn out. Because we had such a large group, it was nice to get everyone together and have fun.

Jamaica 2012 047.JPG




Dunns River Falls


This was an awesome day, definitely a highlight for me! We took the Cool Runnings Catamaran to go snorkeling and then climb the falls. It was so much fun and exhilarating! After we came back down the mountain we had a great party on the boat. Iâ€m really glad we did it this way instead of taking the bus to the falls, so much fun!


Jamaica 2012 140.JPG

Jamaica 2012 143.JPG














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`Rehearsal` Dinner

The resort didn`t offer a rehearsal and due to a conflict we didn`t have our bridal party together the night before the wedding we had however scheduled a post wedding dinner for the bridal party and their spouses. This was great because there was no stress and we got to thank everyone for all their support and tell them how much we loved them and being part of our week!


Experience with WC

The communication with the WC sucked. Iâ€m sorry to be so blunt but thatâ€s just the way it was. I know that they are very busy with lots on Wedding and only 2 staff but I didnâ€t find them very professional either. I had inquired about the cost of a rehearsal dinner early in our planning stages and she called me the day the payments were due to get the fees even though we had not discussed menu, location, etc etc. Thank goodness we really didnâ€t want a rehearsal dinner. In the very beginning of the process we chose to do the free wedding only at the resort, to avoid all the extra fees and hassle. The one thing I can commend the WC on was that she did get us a reservation at an a la carte for our 25 person bridal party.


In Closing


You can DIY some things, donâ€t tackle it all or you will go insane! I thought I was going to do it all in the beginning but after a few unsuccessful attempts, I left the important things to the professionals.


Donâ€t let the drama get to you. Sometimes weddings bring out the best in people, sometime the worst, but in the end, it all works out.


We will be having an AHR this summer in our backyard. Iâ€m still in the planning phase, so I will be around on the forum until then if you have any questions, donâ€t hesitate to ask!


Here are a few more of my fav pics (so far!). I will post more when I get them back in the next few weeks.








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Wow, looks like you had a beautiful wedding. Everything looks great. I think you made the right choice with your dress, loved it! The catamaran cruise looked like so much fun! Congrats! Where did you get your bubba kegs? 

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Absolutely amazing! I have to say one of the best planning threads I have seen (and trust me I stalk these babies). Not only was it a fun read, your husband seems like a riot (very similar to my dear FI), but everything seem like it turned out great, dispite the hiccups along the road! I could feel the love through the thread and it seems liked you guys had a blast!


I am happy you did the cool running excursion, we did that last time when we were in jamaica and wanted to share it with our guests. Did they give you a group rate? Did your guest pay separate or did you cover it all?


Congrats on being a MRS!! Don't stress too much about the AHR!

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