I had a chance to have a chat with Natalie Chen and her right-hand assistant, Charlene Sinclair, from Caribbean Pantry as they were transforming one of the rooftop terraces at the villa the other day. I wanted to hear straight from their lips what they thought was the best advice to give to couples planning a destination wedding in Jamaica from the perspective of a Jamaica wedding planner.
I’m not exaggerating when I say they are among the top wedding planners in Jamaica. They have planned weddings in Jamaica for a wide range of guests from local couples to NBA players and other celebrity types who tied the knot at Discovery Bay villas and elsewhere on the North Coast of Jamaica.
I have stopped being amazed at the different types of vendors whom they can source. Natalie either knows someone or knows someone who knows someone. I’m just glad I have their number on my favorites list in my phone because I know I can call on them when I have guests with unusual requests.
Not using a planner for your Jamaica wedding is the absolute biggest mistake that couples make.
Before you pounce and brand them as self-serving, I have to tell you that I share their sentiments.
Unless you are planning a very small and simple wedding, say less than a dozen people, and don’t need vendors, other than maybe a minister and a florist for a couple bridal bouquets, you should strongly consider using a wedding planner.
Only you can determine how much your time and piece of mind is worth to you, but, I imagine that you will want to be a guest, and not a worker, at your own wedding. That’s part of the real value of using a wedding planner.
Before you ask, I have absolutely no financial relationship whatsoever to these ladies or their company. I admire their work and the absolutely fabulous service that they give to our guests. If our guests are happy, we are happy.
So why else should you use a wedding planner? The answer is one word – access.
You may think you are saving money by not using a wedding planner; but, the truth is, wedding planners in Jamaica know the ins and outs of the market, what is available, who is available, who is good, who isn’t, who charges too much, who gives great value for money, and who will fit within your budget.
You will not be able to figure this information out on your own even if you scour the internet. I’ve tried. Why? Many of the really good vendors in Jamaica do not have their own websites, especially if they cater predominantly to the local market!
How do you find these wedding vendors?
You need their cell phone numbers. Nearly everybody in Jamaica has at least one cell phone! And who has their phone numbers? Wedding planners. Vendors get most of their business through word of mouth, in particular, from wedding and event planners.
You don’t need just any wedding planner. You need a local wedding planner, someone who knows the area in which you will be getting married and who has access to vendors in that area.
Why is this important?
The further the planner or the vendor has to travel to get to your location, the higher the price due to additional transportation costs. Plus, you are introducing one more element that could go awry.
We are supremely lucky that Natalie is about 15 minutes from our villa. Score!
Do not assume that Jamaica is cheap. It isn’t. Some prices may be less in Jamaica. Others may be more. For example, red and white wine are fairly reasonably priced. Champagne, on the other hand, is very expensive.
There are some things that are just not possible. For example, you cannot have a lobster dinner for your wedding meal if it is out of season. It is illegal. Don’t expect to your planners to make this happen. They can’t.
Compromise isn’t a dirty word. It’s part of the secret sauce to having a well-designed destination wedding in Jamaica.
Your wedding planner will be able to help you figure out what will work and what won’t.
For example, you insist on a beach wedding. Ok. That’s fine. But, maybe you will want to rethink the poofy wedding dress and 4-inch strappy stilettos if that was your plan. Or maybe, based on the time of year, the tide may come in early and there won’t be much of a beach area for what you are envisioning at your Jamaica wedding venue. Your planner might suggest having the wedding in a garden or rooftop overlooking the sea with a photo shoot on the beach as an alternative.
You will have more options, more possibilities, if you can be flexible.
You never know what is possible unless you ask!
Talk openly with your wedding planner about your ideas, goals, dreams and concerns. They can best help you figure out how to achieve your dream in the most creative and budget friendly manner.
So there you have it – Wedding planning advice direct from Natalie Chen and Charlene Sinclair
Check out Caribbean Pantry, Wedding Planner Jamaica
Located in Salem, Caribbean Pantry is 15 minutes from Discovery Bay. They provide destination wedding planning services for couples getting married on the North Coast of Jamaica, between Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook.
If you are interested in a wedding or vow renewal at Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa, no worries, we’ll connect you with Natalie Chen – wedding planner Jamaica. If she can’t help you, she will know who can!
Best wishes with your Jamaica destination wedding plans.
‘Til next time.
Think and dream Jamaica!
Sherry, Darrell & Darrian
Considering a visit to Jamaica? Contact us today for more information about, Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa, our boutique 8-BR ocean view Jamaica villa rental experience in beautiful Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Perfect for multi-generational families, groups, and intimate destination weddings.
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Sherry & Darrell, owners of Mais Oui Tenis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, consider themselves unofficial ambassadors for Jamaica. They look forward to using their insider knowledge to help guests create priceless vacation memories. Feel free to say hi!