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Allana + Josh’s dream wedding in Paradise

We love all of our clients and when they cross over to being #BAD, you know they are family :).  Allana + Josh became family the minute they met our awesome coordinator, Nadine because it was the same night Josh proposed to Allana at Villas Sur Mer in Jamaica on vacation.  They thought it was kismet because they met a wedding planner minutes after they got engaged and we welcome them with open arms.  This wedding was quite a journey as the couple hails from Kingston, ON, got engaged in Negril, Jamaica, went back to the same venue to get married and then had part of their honeymoon in Kingston, Jamaica!  The couple was even treated to good old Jamaican showers of blessing aka liquid sunshine for the reception :). There was not a dry eye at this wedding as love, laughter and tears heralded and ended a beautiful day in paradise.

Wedding Planning + Design: Ophellia McKnight

Venue: Villas Sur Mer

Photography: Levar Gordon of Visual Embrace Photography

Caterer: Ashebre

Cake: Signature Desserts

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Wahida + Shan’s Wedding Part 3 – The Wedding Day!

We finally made it to the wedding day and it was phenomenal!  Our home away from home for the weekend was Moon Dance Cliffs with our overflow guests at Riu Negril and a few smaller properties on the beach.  We got up to a gorgeous day of blue skies and moderate heat and the couple radiated love and happiness.  Where the mehndi was colourful and bollywood, the wedding day itself was a vision of Caribbean elegance. The most fascinating part of the day for me was the “Bridal Gate”.  The bride explained that the Groom to be and his crew would be stopped on their way to the ceremony and would be required to negotiate the “bride’s price” with her crew after which he would be able to unlock the gate (by cutting the ribbon in this case) and pass through to the ceremony.  She indicated that it could take up to an hour for the negotiations to conclude, which made me twitch since that would run us late! Thankfully, the Groom’s side was prepared and negotiations were over in about 35 minutes :). It was a beautiful day from start to finish and I will let the images below tell the story!

Wedding Planning + Design: Ophellia McKnight

Travel + Accommodations: Bridal Affair Travel TPI

Venue: Moon Dance Cliffs

Photography: Dwayne Watkins Photography

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Wahida and Shan’s Wedding in Jamaica Part 2 – The Mehndi Party

The mehndi party was staged on the 7 mile beach at a hotel that we have a wonderful relationship with and they welcome our groups who stay on the cliffside for their beach days as well.  Our day started out early with overseeing the construction of a huge 12X12 stage as the backdrop for the evening’s festivities.  Our couple hailed from different countries and so there were components of mehndi (henna tattoos for the bride) and gaye holud (tumeric paste is placed on the couple by different family members for cooling and beautification).  The thing that most fascinated me was a tidbit the bride shared while I checked on her during her henna.  She mentioned that the rooms name was supposed to be worked into her henna in their old language and that traditionally he was supposed to find his name before the marriage can be consummated and he had a mere 48 hours to do so.  I thought is was very nerve racking since both bride and groom did not know the old language however, the groom knew what his name looked like written in old language! The BAD Team found this all very fascinating and I consider learning about different wedding cultures a huge perk of doing what I love to do :)  Please find some shots of the evenings festivities again courtesy of Team DWP (Dwayne Watkins Photography) who were on hand for the entire weekend!

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Wahida + Shan’s Muslim wedding in Jamaica – part 1

As things taper off for the season and we look forward to winding down for a few weeks until the Fall wedding season, I would love to take the time to showcase some of our weddings from 2014!  We had an amazing array of couples from varying cultural backgrounds, with different themes and ideas for their wedding celebrations but overwhelmingly we had a lot of love! So much that we will need to re-brand Jamaica as the land of sun, sand, sea and LOVE!

I have decided to share Wahida + Shan’s wedding in three parts because it was one of our bigger weddings, with 112 guests in destination, but it was also one of our most involved with 4 days of celebrations between Negril’s West End and the Seven Mile beach.  Many of our clients have a full wedding weekend with many events and this will walk you through what that looks like. Part 1 will feature shots from their Rehearsal dinner by the amazing team from Dwayne Watkins Photography!

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Rehearsal Dinner at 3Dives Jerk Center
Rehearsal Dinner at 3Dives Jerk Center

As the name suggests, the rehearsal dinner was at a local cookshop on Negril’s West End called 3Dives.  They produce the most amazing jerk meals on the West End Road and I love taking my clients there for their first “taste of Jamaica”. Paula and Lloydie has a very intimate, friendly place with lots of island vibe.  You will also see the “One Love Shuttle” which we always use to add that special island flavour.  Lenbert (who also does a pretty cool bar crawl along the cliffs in the evenings) keeps the group entertained with irie music, fascinating tidbits and wifi on the bus!

These are only a few components of #BAD wedding weekends!

 

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Do I need a travel agent for my destination wedding?

Would you get married without an officiant to make your wedding legal or a not provide a meal for your guests?  In my opinion, a successful, stress free wedding relies on having the right professionals onboard to plan and execute your wedding celebrations. There are many guests who are savvy travellers and are used to doing their own bookings online through expedia or many other other travel sites however, booking one trip for yourself and coordinating a trip for a group going to a wedding in destination is vastly different.

Pictures this scenario: you send out an email telling your guests that you are getting married in Jamaica and the date. Everybody is excited to get started and you let them know to do their own booking and meet you there.  Your guests are coming from multiple gateways and you have singles, couples and families.  Your guest count is 50.  Can you imagine your life over the next few months when each guest calls you repeatedly to check which tower everybody else is booking on; what kind of price they are getting; do you think this is a good rate; are you going to do anything fun like an excursion because they have to shop for a cuter bikini for that; are transfers included when you book all inclusive; can you drink the water there; is it safe to go out to town; how far is the airport from the hotel and the list goes on.

Picture a second scenario: you do your due diligence and meet with several travel agents to see what they can offer.  You choose an agent who is also a certified destination wedding planner and therefore provides full service for your group.  They are able to knowledgeable discuss each property that you are considering; offer you options for doing you wedding offsite; produce quotes for each property and also quotes for onsite vs. offsite wedding receptions; be the point of contact for all your guests and as they are extremely knowledgeable and specialize in Jamaica, they can field every question that comes up; they become the liaison between you and the venue so you never have to deal with multiple persons during your planning; they find you the best rates; book all travel, transfers and excursion; is even able to suggest some special excursions based on what your group might like; be onsite to assist with all your details on the ground; deals with getting Aunty Alice’s luggage that didn’t make it on the flight and has everything sorted for her while she waits for delivery; transfer you quietly to another property for your honeymoon for a few days away from everyone else and make sure you are aware of the flight credit you earned to go back to destination for your first anniversary.

Do you still wonder if a travel agent is necessary?  Do you want to have a smooth, stress free wedding planning experience in destination?  I wholeheartedly encourage you to find a Certified Travel Agent who is also a Destination Wedding Planner so that you can relax and enjoy the process of planning your wedding celebrations in paradise!

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The staff of Bridal Affair Destinations are certified by the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada as Wedding Planners and Destination Wedding Planners as a specialized certification.  Bridal Affair Travel TPI is associated with Travel Professionals International and is certified by the Tourism Industry Council of Ontario (TICO).

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Destination wedding favors and special touches

One of the hardest things that brides confess having a hard time with is deciding on favors for their destination wedding.  They are eager to find personal, significant touches to let their guests know how much they appreciate them flying thousands of miles to celebrate with them in destination.

Sometimes a bride is frustrated with all the options and sometimes feel that all the options hasve been done ad nauseum and are seeking something different.  It is indeed hard to find a totally unique idea so we usually jump in and offer a twist on the regular things that are done.  There are some go to items for favors in Jamaica like Appleton Rum, Coffee, candles, tobacco and jerk sauce/rub.

One of the fun things we do is to find different ways to present the same items for your celebrations.  One example of this is doing a Blue Mountain Coffee Favor Bar instead of having the coffee already pre-packaged and put with other items.  The bar is set up with roasted coffee beans in gorgeous glass containers or local casks or barrel type coffee containers that are all custom made for the occasion.  Bags are custom printed with the B+G names, the wedding date and a quick heartfelt thank you.  Guests are encouraged to dole out their own coffee  at the end of the night and encouraged to try a cup to help them with the hangover the morning after!

Here are a few more options you might want to play with personalizing or find another way to present 😉

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