My Big Fat Jamaican Wedding

Counting down to the big day

Wedding Day August 3, 2012

on August 14, 2012

Our wedding day was very magical.  For me, the wedding was the culmination of so many things all at once.  First, the wedding day represented for me the ten years of knowing Adam and eight years of our courtship.  Second, with the help and support of our parents, we were able to bring our dream to fruition– having our wedding in Jamaica.  Then, of course, the wedding day represented months of planning (or almost two years, if you include the research and investigation of venues).  Next, it was the manifestation of everyone’s love, support, generosity, talent, and assistance for the events that led up to that very moment.  And then, in the back of my head, it was like saying, “F&*% you” to cancer.  (The week I got engaged was when the tumours were discovered in my thyroid.  My recovery period, surgery, and radiation were also reasons why we postponed our wedding plans.)  Lastly, the wedding day was not only about Adam and me but also our dear friends and family who trekked all this way to celebrate and special moment with us.

Many a bride has told me how quickly this day passes and one even told me I should do some mindfulness exercises to “be” in the moment.  I felt and still feel that everything took place at a comfortable speed.  There are very few things I would change about the day other than having more time to dance with my hubbie and to talk with my guests.  I also continue to be mesmerized by this day as I watch our video, look at pictures, and re-recite our vows.  The traditions and customs that Adam and I selected for our wedding day(s) (I include the events leading up to the wedding day and the rehearsal dinner) meant a lot to us and represent the cultural symbolisms deemed important by our ancestors.  I continue to reflect on the importance of the day and the significance of the wedding day in my life and my relationship with my husband.

In the next series of posts, I will reflect on the importance of the aspects of our wedding day(s).  Also, I didn’t put any captions so you can create your own.  Our guests told us how beautiful, organized, and “us” the wedding came out.  I am really happy about this especially considering all of the “craziness” that led up to the day (like, having to return home in Toronto to grab my forgotten toiletries (contact lenses and lipsticks) and arriving minutes before the boarding gate closed, leaving all of my laptop, cell phone, and camera chargers at home, not getting to meet with the minister beforehand (but Carlie, Adam’s sister and our wedding planner that day, did meet with him and he was wonderful), having all my appointments run late so I didn’t get to meet with Carlie and Katy before the rehearsal, just finding out the payment for the wedding had to be done beforehand and then not having it go through due to their system not having two account options, finding a hotel guest to borrow a MAC charger from so that I could charge my laptop and transfer the money to the accessible account at 2:30am before the wedding when I finally had time to fix it, forgetting to print off the ceremony and reception details before arriving in Jamaica, forgetting to pick up the black cake which was supposed to be cut up the night before the wedding- a Jamaican tradition- to be placed in favour boxes to be distributed to guests, forgetting the favour boxes, having to buy “over priced” boxes in Jamaica, forgetting my wedding beach sandals crying about it and then finding them 30 minutes later, my two-year old nephew/ringbearer having a “moment” so he couldn’t participate in the procession, missed and cancelled flights for some of my guests, on our last night finding the favour boxes I purchased in Toronto, just minutes before the wedding getting called by the front gate twice about guests not being on the list who were really on the list, floral arrangements missing from the order, waiting for some members of my wedding party, a crappy, late vegan reception with “roti” and “curry”, the “lost” African money dance CD, Tierra having to run across the resort back to my room a few times because I kept forgetting stuff, etc.)  All in all, thankfully, I was able to surrender all of that and enjoy my day because all of these challenges did not impact the wedding day in the end.  So many things did go right like having a great wedding planner for the day, my maids of honours touching speeches, my bridesmaids bringing me plates of food and teaching me how to get my “butt” ready for the African dance, a fun wedding photographer, amazing music selection and dance, spending time with family and friends, the black cake did get cut up on time as a team of our guests pitched on the morning of the wedding, Joanne doing  a great job on my reception make-up, the children having a wonderful time with their bubbles and loot bags including my nephew, my hairstylist could style dredlocks and understood my vision and did not look at me like I had three heads when I wanted to put cowrie shells in my hair, my maid of honour sister, we did not have to cut short our ceremony because we started a few minutes late nor did the videographer cut the session abruptly nor short, and guests caught other flights, I saw relatives I had not seen in years and others I met for the first time, and amazing weather with sunshine, a gentle breeze, and no rain.  I had my gown(s), my groom, the minister, the venues, and our 65 guests… all in Jamaica!  I was so ready to get married.

During the reception,we had a beautiful musical interlude by my HOGWASH friends from college.  We have a tradition of writing songs and singing at each others’ weddings.  So with Nadine’s crafty lyricism and ukulele playing and the lovely chorus of Susan and Brenda, they sang “Not Single No More” based on the melody of Bob Marley’s No Women No Cry.

Here are some photos from the day.  The day consisted of three parts: the ceremony, the reception, and the after party.  I tried to separate the photos by part but they were a bit of a feat to assemble since the photos came from different sources.  I could not find my digital camera charger so some of these photos are of the precious “few” I took in Jamaica.  (I tend to take a tonne of photos.)  Thank goodness, there were guests who were a lot more prepared than I was.  So some of these photos were taken from their albums posted on facebook (is it too late to ask for permission?).  Disposable cameras were placed on each table at the reception.  Unfortunately, these were cameras in which you had to switch the flash on so a number of pictures came out too dark or not at all.  Thankfully, there were several that we could use which are displayed here.  You may want to add some roots reggae music.  (I will do a post about the music of our day.)

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Note to other brides: Putting disposable cameras at tables are an excellent way to save money.  In our case, it allowed us to save almost $ 1, 000 from not having our photographer stay for the entire reception.  Test out the quality of your disposable camera to ensure that photos do not come out grainy.  Also, give a little tutorial to your guests about how to use the camera and the types of photos to take.  You may also wish to tell the guests that the resulting cameras are gifts for the bride and groom.  In this way, the cameras won’t become unintended wedding favours.  We only lost one disposable camera that day but the manager at my photo store told me at his best friend’s wedding, guests took home 8 out of 20 cameras.

Also wear the most comfortable shoes you can find.  I was barefoot on the beach but I alternated with some sexy silver Papillio sandals which are made by Birkenstock.  For the reception, I wanted to wear red heels for dancing and lucked out with a heeled pair at Naturalizer.  I wore both pairs of shoes in a little bit at home.  My Naturalizers lasted me the whole night and were hot.  I learned later in a book that wearing something red is a good thing in Jamaica culture.


6 responses to “Wedding Day August 3, 2012

  1. I really like your post, it’s very interesting. I just attended my friend wedding I will remember it. All my life. Getting married is a important part of everyone’s life. I will bookmark to give to my friend.

  2. Eugenio says:

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