When dreams of a big city soirée came up over budget, this DC bride went south (literally!) to plan her dream wedding for 50 at the Hummingbird Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Guests came from accross the globe to celebrate with the bride and groom, and the tropical locale gave everyone a chance to relax and enjoy the view. Put on some sunscreen and bask in the gorgeousness by Rebekah J. Murray Photography in the full gallery!

From the Bride… Rob and I met in December 2005 on a cold, snowy evening in Newark, Delaware, at a bar where I was celebrating a friend’s 21st birthday. I was a college senior, and he was a first year grad student. We talked a lot that night, and I ended up giving him a ride home. As he got out of my car, he got my number and thanked me profusely for driving him. “I owe you dinner, or my life!” he said. After that, we were pretty inseparable. He’s from California and I soon moved to DC for grad school, so there were some tough times when it came to tackling the distance. However, meeting a best friend and a soul mate makes any distance worth doing! DC has become our home now, and we got engaged here at the Lincoln Memorial in 2010.

I’d been planning an elaborate DC wedding in my head for ages, but the cost just rendered my dream wedding unfeasible in DC. It made sense to have a destination wedding, as my family is on the East Coast and in England, and Rob’s family is in California — everyone would need to travel somewhere regardless. After doing a lot of research on destination venues, we stumbled upon Hummingbird Hall in Jamaica, and it was our dream come true. Hummingbird Hall made the planning so completely simple, and it made it possible to have my dream wedding in a dream location! I would communicate with them often on design elements that I loved about other weddings, and the team worked with me to create a vision for my day. We also made the decision to bring our amazing photographer with us — no regrets there!

The wedding day was absolutely perfect. We didn’t have a wedding party, as we were only having 50 guests, but we each still had some of our closest friends come with us to get ready. It was such a low-key day; we sat around and laughed, exchanged our gifts, drank champagne, and waited for our ceremony! Rob and I did a first look, which both of our mothers hated, but we really enjoyed having a few calming minutes with each other pre-ceremony. The ceremony was short, informal and sweet, with four readings by close friends (mostly from children’s books!) and our own vows. Guests sat on chairs adorned with ribbon streamers and could pass the time with program fans that had games on the back of them. We had a cocktail hour with a steel drum band, drinks with striped straws (my favorite!), and guests had a chance to sign our guestbook: a vintage map of Jamaica. Our reception featured more ribbons, with ribbon runners on the tables, fresh flower and fruit centerpieces and custom-made ribbon chandeliers on the pool deck. After a traditional Jamaican buffet dinner, there were toasts, lots of dancing, cigar-smoking and even some illicit pool-diving.

I honestly adored my wedding and the planning process. Having a venue that was so hands-on with the planning was fantastic, and they always made me feel like everything would be okay. It gave me the opportunity to concentrate on all the wonderful friends and family who traveled to be with us, which was the best part about having a destination wedding. There is nothing like being surrounded by people who are genuinely happy for you, and who can make your reception a party even in small numbers! Rob and I were so grateful for all of the love and support, and couldn’t have imagined a better start to our life together.

Wedding Photography: Rebekah J. Murray Photography / Wedding Venue: Hummingbird Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica / Event Coordination, Floral + Event Design, Officiant, Band + DJ: Hummingbird Hall / Wedding Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas / Wedding Dress: Wtoo Brides / Bride’s Jewelry: Nadri / Hair Flower: Bella Mia Design / Bride’s Makeup: Jessie, A Friend of the Bride