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Larry & Lauren’s Jamaican Wedding – Planning Thread


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#1 Lauren Newsham

Lauren Newsham
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  • 129 posts
  • Wedding Date:May 30, 2012
  • Wedding Location:Riu Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Posted 11 June 2012 - 09:49 AM

Wow, I can’t believe how fast time has flown… it’s almost been two weeks since we got married in Paradise! This was the most amazing experience and I’m so glad we decided to get married in Jamaica! I want to start by thanking all the BDW brides who inspired me throughout this process! I surely would have no clue what I was doing without this site. It was actually a friend of mine who introduced me to me all you wonderful people!!

 

Feel free to ask me any questions. I’m sorry it’s so long but I have a lot of details to share! Hope it helps!

 

Our story

We met in the summer of 2006 at a house party for a mutual friend. My roommates and I lived in a house across the street from Larry’s high school. We went to a party one weekend for some friends who lived in the neighborhood. Larry’s roommates were also attending the party, so he decided he would meet up with them. We actually met at 2:00am! Larry walked in while my friends and I were sitting on the couch in the family room. I looked UP (because he is 6’4”) and said “You’re pretty cute, who are you?”... We were basically inseparable ever since. We decided our first date would be at the Mandarin since crab-fest was currently on and we both love shellfish! Not a very romantic first date since there was hot butter, crab legs and even a few cuts and blood. It was informal and natural, just the way we like it! This is the very first photo ever taken of Larry and I (August 2006) 

 

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Engagement

We’ve been together for almost 6 years and lived together basically since the beginning. We had talked about marriage but didn’t think it was in the cards for us in the near future. We had some debt to pay off first and a lot more saving to do! We went to Dubai in May, 2011 with some friends on vacation. We took them to the see the Gold Souk - A market where travelers all over the world come to buy and sell their gold. While we were walking through the Souk, Larry asked me if I wanted to go look at rings. I thought he was teasing me so I ignored him and just kept walking. He stopped me and said; “I’m serious!” So of course I obliged, skipping and smiling inside! We looked in a few stores until my eyes caught the ring I knew had to be mine! To this day I say it winked at me! It was so shiny! We tried the ring on and talked about it for a few minutes. The store was closing so I told Larry it was something we needed to think about more. The next day, Larry and his friend went back to the Souk to buy it! I was aware he bought it, since we share our finances but I just wasn’t sure when I could have it! He kept saying when the time was right. I thought, great!  Now I have an engagement ring but it’s not technically mine, I can’t tell people about it, or show them. We had another 3 days left of our vacation but still no sign of a proposal. It wasn’t until we got back home that Larry had decided that would be the right time! So on Canadian soil, he got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him! I of course said yes!!

 

My beautiful Ring.jpg

 

Engagement Photos

We celebrated our engagement in July with our friends and family. We had an afternoon golf game followed by a BBQ at my parent’s house. I had asked a friend of mine to take photos of the party so we had some memories. He ended up taking a few shots of us which we weren’t originally prepared for. They actually turned out pretty great.

 

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We had however planned to take our photos in the fall since this is my favorite time of the year. After a lot of thought and research we decided to ask a really good friend of ours who had already committed to coming to Jamaica, to take our photos for our wedding. He is not a professional photographer but he has a great camera and some really awesome ideas.

These are our engagement photos from the fall. Ironically, the day we went to do our photos, it was 25 degrees (in October). So they ended up more like summer/fall shots. We love them! 

 

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Location

Jamaica: We teetered on the location of our wedding for a while. Before we got engaged we always said we would get married in Jamaica. It’s been our bucket list forever. But, when we first started planning; we looked at locations across Ontario. We visited golf courses, wineries, famous landmarks and even the location where my parents were married. We were very close to booking a wedding around the time of my parent’s anniversary which would have been this coming August. Finally we came to our senses and realized that what we really wanted was to get married in Jamaica. We were worried our friends and family wouldn’t be happy about us going away but turns out we were wrong! The majority of people have been extremely supportive about our choice. There were 29 people including us and we couldn’t have been happier!

 

Travel Agent: This was an easy one for us! My mother has been in the travel business for 30 years and has traveled all over the world. She specializes in groups and has fantastic contacts. My parents have been to Jamaica 8 times so we knew she would definitely be an expert! A lot of people seem to question whether or not they should use a TA. I understand when people want to book a last minute flight they might go direct to the supplier for a better rate. But, when it comes to booking your wedding, who will you turn to when you have questions? The suppliers don’t return your calls quickly; the WC’s are busy and will only be able to help you with the actual wedding. Your TA will coordinate everything else and will be there for even those silly little questions you might have leading up to your day! Do your research and work on recommendations. If you need one, I’m happy to provide you the details for an excellent one in Canada! ;)

 

Resort: Originally we wanted to get married in Negril, but found the price was too expensive to ask of our guests. So we knew the next best option was Ocho Rios. We chose the Club hotel Riu Ocho Rios based on their facilities, meals, location and reviews. We actually had 2 people in our group who have stayed at this resort and had nothing but good things to say about it! Once we nailed down the resort, we had to decide on the wedding location. There were 3 beautiful locations on the resort. I knew it had to be on the beach otherwise in my mind, what’s the point of a destination wedding! I fell in love with the photos of the beach gazebo. Even without d©cor this back drop is simply stunning!

 

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Invitations

We decided not to send out invitations for our wedding. We wanted to keep our costs to a minimum; I find these days, technology is ultimately the best way of communication. So, we created a website and used email blasts and social media to communicate the information to our family and friends. We basically invited everyone we knew. If they wanted to come, they would let us know. We spoke to a lot of our close friends and family personally though and asked them if they were coming. We knew early on who would be able to join us and who wouldn’t. It was just a matter of firming everyone up. 

 

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Colors

When picking our wedding colors we knew what we wanted, it was just a matter of determining how it would all work together. My favorite color is blue and my husband’s is orange. We figured both colors would be amazing for a destination wedding but now how to do incorporate them together. Here are our color inspiration boards. 

 

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The colors we choose were based on David’s Bridal’s Malibu Blue, Tangerine and Champagne. 

 

The Outfits

 

My Dress: Although I have planned my wedding in my head from a young age, I had never really imagined my dress. I knew I wanted something light but I still wanted to feel like a bride. I found a picture of my dress online and knew I wanted to try it on. It was actually the first dress I tried on! I knew I loved it but decided to try on others to be sure. I also tried on several short dresses thinking they would be better for the beach but they made me feel like a bridesmaid and not a bride. I didn’t want the typical “destination wedding” dress, I didn’t think they were very flattering on me. I actually decided on the very first dress I tried on. I know what I like and I’m the type of person who doesn’t like shopping around or wasting time. I always go with my gut. I picked out my high school prom dress the same way and I still wish to this day I could wear over and over again. The only thing with my dress was that it was hot! There was a bit of crinoline on the inside which made me really hot. I had to keep lifting up the skirt (tastefully of course) to cool myself down. This was my something new! 

 

My dress!.jpg       Me.jpg

 

 

Grooms’ Outfit: My husband wore beige pants and an ivory dress shirt, which we bought from Moore’s. He also wore an Orange vest with a brown, beige and orange tie. Originally I was concerned about the orange vest. I thought it was too bright, but from the moment he saw it, his face lit up like a kid on Christmas. It’s the one thing he was so passionate about, how can you crush his happiness?  We bought him two shirts and had one made into short sleeves so he could change after the ceremony. He also wore brown Clark’s leather sandals and a brown fedora. He looked so good! 

 

 

 

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Groomsmen outfits: Our Groomsmen wore the same shirt and pants as the Groom, without the vest or tie. We also had their shirts hemmed to short sleeves. We purchased the men’s outfits and sandals for them as their gift to being in our wedding party.

 

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Bridesmaid Dresses: For my bridesmaid dresses I knew I wanted blue! I found a dress online that I fell in love with. I knew it was “my style” and I knew it would be flattering on my bridesmaids. We found the dress at David’s Bridal but unfortunately they didn’t sell it in Canada, so we had to order it over the phone from the states and then drive down and pick them up. That wasn’t a problem; we got a day of shopping in at the same time! The ladies at David’s were amazing and very helpful. The dresses came in within 3 weeks. My bridesmaids purchased their own dresses but we bought them beige wedge Steve Madden’s sandals along with silver ball earrings and blue Swarovski crystal necklaces as their gift for being in our wedding. 

 

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Ring Bearer: Our Ring bearer is my husband’s son. He is 6, turning 7 in July. He’s been a huge part of our relationship. His dad and I got together when he was just turning 1 so he’s been in my life from a very young age. He’s an amazing kid, I love him to pieces and I’m so excited to have such an amazing step son! The outfit? Originally we wanted him to match Dad exactly but figured putting a 6 year old in a vest, pants and tie in 30+ degree weather would only make him grumpy and that’s the last thing we wanted on our wedding day. We’ve decided to keep him cool but still in our colors. 

 

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Ring Bearer Bowl: I wanted our Ring Bearer to carry our rings but I didn’t like the idea of the pillow. I looked at a million different options and finally came across a cute ring bowl through Etsy. It reads, “You & me, married by the Sea”. 

 

rings.jpg

 

 

ACCESSORIES

Veil: I knew I wanted a veil but I wasn’t really sure about wearing a long veil. I came across a bird cage that I loved and figured it would be perfect for me. I have short curly hair and this is how I plan on wearing it on my wedding day. I specifically like this piece because the veil portion is detachable which allows me to keep the flower in my hair for the whole day and I can wear the veil only for the ceremony. It was very windy and the veil portion made me even hotter so during the time we were signing the registry, I quickly remove the veil portion and shoved it into my husband’s pocked!

 

Shoes: I loved my shoes!! I knew they had to be my something blue. I wanted height but I also had to have something that I could walk in the sand. I decided a wedge heel would be best. I found these shoes at DSW. They are Steve Madden’s and I love them! I thought originally they would match my BM dresses but they didn’t. I did have a bit of trouble walking in the sand and I was warned not to wear shoes but I’m still glad I did. My husband is a foot taller than me and I didn’t want to look like his kid sister on our wedding day. 

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Jewelry: My Jewelry was looked after by my mother. My Mom took my great grandmothers pearls and had them changed into more modern styles for me. We made a set of earrings, a necklace and a bracelet. There were also enough pearls to make my mom a nice pair of earrings and a bracelet to wear on my wedding day as well. This was my something old.

 

Rings: Because we purchased my e-ring in Dubai, we had a really hard time trying to find something that matched it! I finally came across a thin half eternity band that compliments my engagement ring quite nicely. I actually decided to go with two wedding bands. I never thought in a million years I would have 2 bands. I actually thought it was tacky and selfish originally. But, I changed my mind and now feel bad for thinking that of other people. I think the two compliment my ring quite nicely. my husband chose a tungsten band. This was a hard decision for him as well. He wanted something with diamonds but also wanted something comfortable and practical. He probably went to about 3-4 jewelers before he made up his mind! 

 

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Something Borrowed: I had a really hard time finding something I could borrow especially since I basically bought everything for myself. My girlfriend ended up lending me a beautiful broach that I attached to my bouquet on my wedding day. 

 

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Flowers

This was a gray area for me… I am not a flower person. Sure, I love getting them. But, I kill them, plants or anything with soil. I even killed a cactus once. Who kills a cactus? So, originally I said who cares about flowers. I’ll get the free bouquet with the package, throw some fake flowers in the bridesmaid’s hair and call it a day! Well…that didn’t happen. I originally planned to go with the resort florist. But, they annoyed me. It took me 5 months to get a proper quote back from them. When I finally did, it was terrible. They had chosen 4 different types of flowers that didn’t match, she missed the pricing completely on 3 items I had requested and they were asking for a ridiculous amount of money. I decided to go with Jan’s Flowers. Janice and her assistant Audi were amazing from the beginning. They were courteous, quick at replying and very helpful in seeing my vision. I sent pictures of the outfits and asked for a few suggestions. The further I got into my planning the more I realized I had an opinion and wanted nice flowers. We decided on orange & white dendrobium orchids for the bridesmaids and groomsmen and I and my husband had a combination of white roses with orange and blue dendrobium orchids. I was sad I couldn’t bring them home! Jan's Flowers also did rose pentals, chair covers and ties for the ceremony. These were much cheaper than the cost from the resort...

 

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Decorations

We decided not to go overboard on decorations. We have chosen the semi private dinner and we will have some time to decorate the table before we sit down for dinner. I’ve read up a lot that it isn’t necessary to go overboard and the table will be filled with a lot of other stuff so there basically won’t be room.

The only thing I have done is centerpieces. My inspiration came from an image I found online of floating orchids. I decided then to purchase glass vases, clear stones and fake orchids from the dollar store. The lights underneath are LED lights from Amazon. I was inspired by an image of floating orchids I found online but realized the fake ones actually look fuller in the vase.

 

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Memorial Candle

This is something near and dear to my heart. Both of my husband’s parents have passed away and I unfortunately never had the pleasure of meeting either of them. I decided it would be nice to honor them at our wedding. I found a memorial candle online and ordered it. The candle reads, this light shines as a symbol of love and lives remembered. I also ordered a blue pillar candle from Partylite which will sit inside the vase and have sand at the bottom of it. The ceremony will start with a prayer, read by my cousin and maid of honor, in their honor. Unfortunately the vase was cracked in transit and ended up breaking the glass shortly after the ceremony from the heat of the candle. But it was there and we had a chance to honor his parents. 

 

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DIY Projects

Early on in our wedding planning I had my friend who is a graphic designer, design a logo for us. Because our names are Larry & Lauren, we generally get referred to as L & L. Here is the logo she designed. 

 

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We decided we would use this in our decorations but I didn’t want to go overboard with it either. Only after joining the BDW I decided that I should put together OOT bags. This was an ongoing project for me and caused a bit of friction between my husband and I. He thought I was going out of control with everything I purchased. I actually became obsessed with them a little. How can you not be? They are like loot bags for adults! J

 

So to start, I’m a marketing coordinator. I have suppliers who I regularly order promotional material from. My contact gave me his net cost on everything I needed. I ordered the bags which were just reusable grocery bags and the cups from him. The cups were less than $3 each and the bags were $1 each! Both were a huge hit and most people used them. Especially the cups, no one left their rooms without them!

 

I decided not to put our logo on the cups to save costs but I did want to do iron transfers to the bags. This was a headache! My mom, my husband, my cousin and I spent several nights ironing the bags and ironing on the logos. Most of them turned out pretty great but I wouldn’t do it again! 

 

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Inside the bags I made little travel brochures outlined with details on the wedding. A welcome letter, the week’s itinerary of events to come, a wedding day timeline, services and amenities offered by the hotel and well as a meet the guest pamphlet so everyone knew everyone’s names. I put all of them in a file folder inside the bag.

 

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I also made personalized luggage tags for everyone and gave them to them at the airport. The majority of people did put them on their luggage which made it easier to recognize when unloading the buses or at the airport. I got the idea from another BDW bride but ended up designing them directly myself with her vision. 

 

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Finally and the most important part was the actual kits. These were a huge hit. Our guests used almost everything in them, especially the Tide kits and the Aloe! We even put little glow sticks in which everyone wore at our bonfire on the beach after dinner.

The majority of the items I purchased at the dollar store but some came from Target, Wal-mart and Shoppers Drug Mart. I put everything into a Ziploc bag and attached a little template that I got from another BDW bride with my own customization. 

 

 OOT.jpg

 

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Wedding Favors: I love my rum so from the early stages it was an easy decision that we would order a case of Appleton’s Rum from J. Wray & Nephew Ltd as our wedding favors. Their team was amazing and very accommodating. They even arranged to meet me at the airport upon arrival to deliver the case of rum as opposed to us having to travel 2 hours to Montego Bay later in the week! I was originally going to design a label to go over the bottle but had a hard time matching it. So, I purchased little tags from Staples and designed them myself. The little tag has our logo on it and reads a quote from Bob Marley. Live the Life you Love, Love the Life you Live. One Love. One  Heart. One Destiny. All I had to do is put the strings on the tabs and slip them over the bottles when we got there. 

 

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And there you have it! Hopefully I haven't forgot anything...



#2 bride6262

bride6262
  • Member
  • 582 posts

    Posted 11 June 2012 - 11:28 AM

    wow great job lauren!!! you looked stunning! absolutely stunning!!! I love your personal logo (i wish i had had one )



    #3 MJKH

    MJKH
    • Site Supporter
    • 654 posts

      Posted 11 June 2012 - 02:39 PM

      L & L,

       

      Whoa...how did I miss that your wedding had come and gone?!?  It was GREAT to see your pics and read your thread...thanks for sharing! : )

       

      To me, you still get the prize for the best wedding monogram EVER!!!  Congrats to you both and best wishes always!

       

      J~



      #4 MJKH

      MJKH
      • Site Supporter
      • 654 posts

        Posted 11 June 2012 - 02:48 PM

        Oh and p.s., 

         

        I appreciated your comment about not feeling that a typical dw dress was for you (although I came to learn on this forum that really ANYTHING goes!!!)...but I know exactly what you mean and I learned this the hard way myself. Light and flow-y with no structure is not necessarily the best look for our shape! ; )

         

        J~



        #5 Arch713

        Arch713
        • Jr. Member
        • 161 posts

          Posted 11 June 2012 - 03:46 PM

          Gorgeous wedding and congratulations! I loved the ring bearer bowl - how perfect!

           

          Thank you sharing your special day - its an inspiration to mine!



          #6 murmel

          murmel
          • Resort/Area Ambassadors
          • 1,407 posts
          • Wedding Date:January 24, 2011
          • Wedding Location:Azul Sensatori Mayan Riveria

          Posted 11 June 2012 - 04:09 PM

          Looks like it was a beautiful wedding! Love the graphic logo- so neat.


          Married my best friend on January 24, 2011 at Azul Sensatori! :wub:

           

          Ambassador for Azul Sensatori and Karisma resorts

           

          Official Azul Sensatori thread:

          http://www.bestdesti... azul sensatori

           

          Recommended Travel agency: Wright Travel

          http://www.wrighttravelagency.com/


          #7 AllieH

          AllieH
          • Resort/Area Ambassadors
          • 2,014 posts
          • Wedding Date:November 5, 2012
          • Wedding Location:El Dorado Royale, Riviera Maya MX
          • LocationAtlanta, GA

          Posted 12 June 2012 - 03:49 AM

          very cool wedding and planning!!!!!! And I'm with ya on the typical "DW" dress - it was a no-go for me as well. congrats! 


           

          Official El Dorado Royale/El Dorado Casitas Royale Thread <---check here for all info about EDR/EDCR

          Wright Travel Agency <--for all your Destination Wedding needs! Contact the experts and reduce your stress. 

          El Dorado Royale Brides Thread <---come chat with other EDR brides

          AllieH's EDR 11-5-2012 Planning Thread <--because it was so awesome


          #8 mrlddst

          mrlddst
          • Jr. Member
          • 222 posts

            Posted 12 June 2012 - 12:22 PM

            Congrats! Thanks for sharing.  I am going to use Jan for my wedding in August. I was a little apprehensive but since you liked them, I feel better.  Did they get to the resort on time?  Did you have any problems using the rum at the resort? Sorry for all of the questions.


            Its done.....you can read my planning journal or the review...long over due.

            http://www.bestdesti...ego-bay-jamaica


            #9 Lauren Newsham

            Lauren Newsham
            • Newbie
            • 129 posts
            • Wedding Date:May 30, 2012
            • Wedding Location:Riu Ocho Rios, Jamaica

            Posted 12 June 2012 - 12:33 PM

            Thank you for all the well wishes! I’ll share your comments with my friend who designed the logo, she’ll be happy for the compliments! 



            #10 Lauren Newsham

            Lauren Newsham
            • Newbie
            • 129 posts
            • Wedding Date:May 30, 2012
            • Wedding Location:Riu Ocho Rios, Jamaica

            Posted 12 June 2012 - 12:40 PM

            Originally Posted by mrlddst 

            Congrats! Thanks for sharing.  I am going to use Jan for my wedding in August. I was a little apprehensive but since you liked them, I feel better.  Did they get to the resort on time?  Did you have any problems using the rum at the resort? Sorry for all of the questions.

             

            No problem, happy to help! I thought Jan’s was perfect. I’d spoken to them many times and still confirmed before I left. The WC’s are used to multiple vendors and Jan’s is the most common one I know of so I think they are used to working together. Just give your WC a copy of the invoice when you meet before to finalize your plans. They will stay on top of everything.

             

            The rum favors weren’t an issue at all. I also think these are fairly common for Jamaica weddings these days. If you are hesitant though, might be best to ask your WC in advance just to be sure!






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