From the bride’s lace gown to the oceanside ceremony to the simply beautiful lantern decorations, Raine and Aldo’s elegant island wedding is going to make you wish you were on your way to Jamaica – we certainly do!
Did you have something old, new, borrowed, and blue? Yes! My aunts Giselle and Lisa wanted to contribute to my big day in a meaningful and intimate way, and before the ceremony we sat down together and they presented me with four beautifully wrapped little boxes, each carrying a special token of my family’s love. Something old: A gorgeous diamond pendant that was once my mother’s. It was sewn into my bustier close to my heart. // Something new: An antique pair of teardrop chandelier earrings given to me by my Aunt Giselle. // Something borrowed: A ruby bracelet worn by my grandmother Joanna. She passed two years before and it was important for me to include her in the ceremony. // Something blue: A fancy white lace garter threaded by a silk blue ribbon adorned with a gorgeous Swarovski crystal.
From the groom: A tradition was born when one of my groomsmen gave me the bow tie he wore for his own wedding. I was proud to sport his neckwear on my wedding day and even prouder to give it to another fellow groomsmen who will wear it to his wedding in two months in New York City.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? I teamed up with my maid of honor to create a cache of locally themed hand picked goodies to welcome our wedding guests to Jamaica with a taste of island flavors. Our personalized wedding welcome boxes included Jamaican Jerk sauce, mini Tortuga Rum Cakes, Coconut Drops, an assortment of Caribbean candies and island themed post cards.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? The morning of our wedding, my husband and I enjoyed a peaceful breakfast on the veranda of our villa, and two of our closest married friends stopped by to share with us a few words of advice. They encouraged us to steal a few moments to ourselves throughout the day. At the reception that night, we took the advice of our friends and stepped away. For a moment we sat together, holding hands and quietly watched our family and friends laugh, dance and sing together. Looking back today, we are so thankful to have spent that brief quiet time soaking it all in.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Be kind to one another, laugh and enjoy being in love. The planning will not always be perfect but remember that there is beauty in the imperfections. Allow your character and personality to shine through. Believe the hype! It will be one of the most incredible times of your lives!
“Having grown up in Jamaica I had always envisioned having a classic Caribbean wedding. Having been to Jamaica many times in the past, Aldo was incredibly supportive. Round Hill had already been our first choice but when we walked out onto the picturesque spa lawn, framed by the 18th century Great House and the Caribbean sea, our minds were made up.”
Your ceremony in three (or four) words. Elegant, Classic Caribbean, Warm, Loving.
Who officiated your ceremony? A charismatic and warm Jamaican officiant named Glenroy Clarke eloquently guided us through our marriage vows and ceremony.
What was your ceremony music? We were fortunate to have an incredibly talented young violinist, Filip Pogady, fly in from Manhattan to play during our ceremony and cocktail hour. During our ceremony he played Pachelbel’s Canon in D for our prelude, “All of Me” by John Legend during the processional, “Ave Maria” for our wedding march and “This is Love” by Bob Marley during our recessional. Filip also took the time to learn and play the University of Notre Dame fight song during our cocktail hour. This was a special treat as we met at Notre Dame and many of the guests were alumni as well.
What were your ceremony readings? A favorite memory from our ceremony was hearing my aunt recite my mother’s favorite poem “The Marriage” By Rumi. It was a small detail that gave her the voice to pass on a message of support at that very special moment. Our other readings were Proverbs 3:1-6 and Philippians 4:4-9.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Groom: The pure anticipation of seeing my wife in her wedding dress for the first time was one of the most exciting parts of the ceremony. She was absolutely stunning as she walked up the aisle. I knew we were embarking on a new and wonderful journey together. // Bride: I felt at ease standing in front of my husband under the warm Jamaican sun surrounded by an intimate gathering of our closest family and friends. We recited our vows over the sound of the waves as they crashed lightly against the shore behind us. I don’t think I have ever felt more joyful than at that very moment.
“Our reception took place on the historic Hanover Terrace that offers panoramic views of the entire Round Hill property. We dined under the Georgian Room’s architecturally exquisite vernacular ceilings. Then joined our guests for an all out dance party under the glowing lanterns hanging from the canopy of trees above us. The location emanated with a sense of old world luxury that left us feeling a little like the stars that had been there before us. The property is famous for being the place where John F. and Jackie Kennedy honeymooned and is rumored to be location where Oscar Hammerstein dreamt up the lyrics to ‘The Hills Are Alive’ for The Sound of Music.”
How would you describe your reception? Elegant, light-hearted, picturesque.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? We knew that planning a destination wedding would be challenging. Luckily, we met Racquel Bernard, the catering and sales manager at Round Hill on a visit to the property (she made time for us on Jamaican Independence Day no less). Racquel went above and beyond to make our wedding everything we had envisioned. She was with us every step of the way and her knowledge and advice were invaluable.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had a coconut cake with a pineapple filling infused with coconut rum. It was garnished with tropical flowers and topped with “Love” in gold scripted letters.
Did you have a signature cocktail? No, but we had signature chocolates! We brought a little piece of San Francisco sweetness with us to Jamaica by having our favorite chocolate shop, Chocolatier Blue create 200 signature chocolates for our guests to enjoy at our wedding. Each chocolate was airbrushed in red, green and gold, homage to the vibrant irie colors of Jamaica. The delicious flavors included passion fruit caramel, piña colada, chili, sage honey, and sunflower and orange marmalade.
What was your first dance song? “At Last” by Etta James
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. It was important for me to take a moment to honor my incredible mother who passed a few years ago. She had fallen in love with Jamaica as a young Canadian woman on vacation and after many visits decided to follow her heart and build a life on the island. I was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica a few years later. As a child, I remember her telling me that though she loved Jamaica for many reasons, it was the warm crystalline water and powdery sand beaches that had truly stolen her heart. It seemed only natural on my wedding day to invite our friends and loved ones to the edge of the water to participate in a floating lantern ceremony. Each guest came together in a collective moment of remembrance and reflection as they placed a lantern into the Caribbean Sea. Throughout the festivities of the night, I only had to look out to the ocean to watch as 100 (biodegradable) lanterns lit up the night with her presence.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Groom: It would not be a stretch of the imagination to say I have two left feet. Which is a bit challenging when you have a wife that loves to dance. Suffice it to say we did a few lessons rehearsing our first dance song in San Francisco. While our first dance was not perfect and my steps may not have been the smoothest, the laughs we had through the process and the joy we felt that night dancing made it a moment we will never forget. // Bride: Aldo’s best man performed a wildly hilarious poem that would rival any comedian and left the entire wedding laughing hysterically. My maid of honor followed and eloquently tore at our heartstrings. The rest of the night was filled with dancing and laughing on the Hanover Terrace under the canopy of tropical trees lit with glowing lanterns.