Destination I Do
Friday, July 22, 2022

Barefoot in Jamaica: A Real Wedding

Words by Jessie Allen
Photos courtesy of Meghan Baskin

When Rory and Kait met at a business club in Philadelphia, and several months later, Rory asked Kait out on a date to a jazz club with red roses and a card that read “Come fly with me.” That’s when the two became inseparable. A few years later, the couple took their first steps toward destination “I do’s” when Rory popped the question in the very same building where they met!

Choosing a location for the wedding seemed like a no-brainer to the couple. Rory’s father Todd (also known as “Big Sully”) visited Sandals Jamaica a total of 14 times! Unfortunately, Rory lost his father to colon cancer his senior year of high school. So, Rory and his dad’s closest friends traveled to the island to spread Big Sully’s ashes in his favorite place.

“All of those friends traveled to Jamaica once again to share in the joy of our wedding day,” Rory says, “one of them even stepped in to make the welcome toast that is usually a father's duty.”

While Rory and Kait would’ve liked to wed at Sandals, the 18-years-and-older policy barred Rory’s two younger sisters from participating. 

“After talking with a travel agent, we discovered that Sandals has a sister property for families called Beaches,” the couple says. “Lucky for us, they have a Beaches in Ocho Rios which happens to be very close to one of the resort group’s largest properties,  Sandals Ochi Beach Resort. With just under 100 wedding guests, we could not have made a better choice.”

Joining Facebook groups and connecting with past Sandals’ wedding couples helped the couple know how to navigate planning their wedding away. “Everyone we met through those groups were just as excited as us and were so willing to share,” Kait says. Additionally, the Sandals wedding planning team, especially Ochi’s on-site planners, proved to be a great asset for the couple.

To help streamline lodging and travel logistics, the couple had guests put a deposit down on their room 10 months ahead of time, with their final deposit due four months from the wedding date. “This ensured everyone had plenty of time to make travel arrangements,” Kait says. “With COVID-19 travel restrictions still lingering, we created a WhatsApp group chat to send out important travel-related updates which helped streamline information.”

The wedding weekend held all sorts of fun (outside of just the day-of), like a welcome party on the beach and a catamaran cruise at sunset for guests to enjoy! 

“Although we could have hosted similar events at home, we wanted Rory's father's spirit to be with us on the most important weekend of our lives, and his spirit is in Jamaica,” the bride says.

Having spent less money by choosing to do a destination wedding, Kait and Rory still feel that they were able to support a country that relies on tourism dollars, especially during a really difficult time for travel!

The couple left off with some wonderful advice: “Don’t be afraid to dream big and own your wedding day vision! Creating an event begins with a clear vision. Taking the time to write down your ‘must-haves’ helps to make that vision become a reality.”

Vendors: Photographer: Meghan Baskin; Planner/Venue/Florist: Sandals Ochi Beach Resort; Stationery: Lucky Lady Paper; Hair & Makeup: Chasity Wedding Center; Gown Designer: Martina Liana; Groom’s Clothing Designer: Suitsupply; Bridesmaids Dresses: Azazie; Groomsmen’s Clothing: Generation Tux

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