Destination I Do
Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Classic Nuptials in Jamaica

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Lisa Anne Photography

Tanna and Andy decided to host a destination wedding for much the same reason as most couples. “We wanted something intimate and wanted to spend our money on an awesome vacation/party for our family and close friends!” says the bride. Most importantly, the couple wanted an experience where they could put their trust in someone else and not have to expend too much effort themselves. “We wanted an all-inclusive resort where they took care of all the details instead of us having to contact different vendors in another country,” explains Tanna. “Sandals was the perfect fit for this!”

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Once the couple decided they wanted a Sandals destination wedding, it was just a matter of picking a destination. “We were originally looking at the Sandals in St. Lucia, but St. Lucia doesn’t have a Beaches Resort. Sandals is adults-only and their sister resort, Beaches, allows children. We chose Jamaica because both our families had kids they wanted to bring and the Negril location had a Sandals and a Beaches Resort about five minutes away from each other.”

Thankfully, their chosen venue, Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa, delivered on allowing them to be mostly hands-off. “With Sandals, you talk to a wedding specialist over the phone many times to coordinate the details,” says Tanna. “When we arrived at the resort we met with our on-site wedding planner who was so attentive and awesome! The Sandals staff rocked! I used Sandals so it was easy to coordinate everything and customize everything through them. I ran into an issue with my wedding coordinator about the kids being at the rehearsal dinner, but I talked to our travel agent through Sandals and she helped get everything worked out. The overall experience of planning [our wedding] was smooth and non-stressful.”

The couple did get creative when it came to a few aspects of their wedding. Each of their guests was gifted a welcome bag full of goodies that said, “Sandy Toes. Salty Kisses. Starfish Wishes.” The couple kept the bags pretty general so their guests would be able to use them even after the wedding was over. The bride wasn’t particularly picky when it came to some of the finer details, so she let talented relatives work their magic. “Jackie Wuest, my sister-in-law, did my bouquets – my maid of honor thought they were real until we told her they weren’t! Ashley Wuest with Artfelt Wishes customized our save-the-dates and invites.”

When Tanna and Andy look back on their decision to have a destination wedding, they have no doubts they made the right choice. We asked the couple how a hometown wedding would have been different. “It would have been less intimate and more stressful,” says the bride. “I work a lot and don’t have a lot of time to give to planning, so this made it easy for me! With everyone being in Jamaica we had more opportunities to vacation and spend time with our family and close friends. The day after the wedding we rented a private catamaran for everyone – it was worth it and so much fun!”

We asked the couple what advice they would offer other couples currently planning a wedding away. “Don’t stress over the small stuff. The day will still be amazing and you want to spend your time enjoying your day, not stressing! [Also,] prioritize costs! What really matters to you? For me, I didn’t care to spend a lot of money on flowers because I had a beautiful, tropical beach setting! I got lucky and knew someone who would do the bouquets with fake flowers – now I get to keep my bouquet forever! I didn’t care to spend a small fortune on my dress, either – I got it on sale! I did want to spend money on feeding all our guests and providing them with cocktails, though! Take a look at what really matters to you – each bride is different, but not everything has to be over-the-top or expensive!”

Vendors: Photographer: Lisa Anne Photography, Wedding Planner/Wedding Venue: Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa, Florist: Jackie Wuest, Stationery/Cake/Hair & Makeup: Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Tommy Bahama

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