Our Destination Wedding- Part THREE
I walked over to the Salon where I had my hair done. Taking inspiration from the Duchess of Cambridge aka Kate Middleton, I decided to do my own make-up on my wedding day, which my make-up artist sister showed me how to do before I flew out. I get chatting to the other bride in the chair next to me who is getting her hair and make up done. Her ceremony is at midday. We both share our nerves as well as our good wishes for each other.
I wait in the salon until I get a call from our butler Melisha (who is also a twin) to let me know my husband-to-be is no longer in our room, and I can head back without getting seen by him to slip into my wedding dress. Since Navi and I chose not invite and family or friends, I drop them a message with a quick selfie of me to check with them if my hair and make up are okay. A thumbs up from my make up sister confirms I am good to go. My family are all there on standby with their well wishes, albeit via whatsapp!
After a few portraits of me taken by our photographer Kieron, I get another call from Suan- our wedding planner. I should add how nervous the photographic team were to shoot our wedding. When they realised Navi also was a wedding photographer by trade, they really felt the pressure! ‘Its time to get married Noorie’ says Suan . At this moment, I start shaking. How bizarre. I didn’t think I would feel the nerves this intensely, especially since there are no other wedding guests.As I start walking towards the ocean view gazebo, with Suan by my side, I catch a glimpse of my something blue. Do you remember that feeling when you first date somebody and you make an extra effort to look good? That feeling of excitement and nerves, that takes over every fibre in your body? That is what I felt in the moments before I turned the corner and stepped into the gazebo to face the stranger I met seven years ago. We laugh in amazement that we have made it to this moment. We giggle in fondness at how we both have scrubbed up in western wedding attire, and we laugh in disbelief that we are about to be wed on a white sandy beach in the Caribbean.
We take it in turn to recite our vows. Mine are my own verses coupled with the wise words of Robert Nesta Marley. After all, it is only appropriate to quote the man whilst being wed in holy matrimony in the very land where he was born, and the very land, which has had a musical influence on my husband to be. Jamaica- where the sky kisses the sea and everything is irie! This was the destination wedding I had not dreamed of, and that’s because it was so perfect that I couldn’t have dreamt of it even if I tried. The wedding I had imagined all those years ago was grand in size, grand in splendour and grand in price. It is at this moment, I realise how much time we spend focusing on a ‘wedding’, which will pass within moments, but it is the marriage i.e. the thing that lasts a lifetime that we often don’t plan enough for. I am glad I downsized from the big fat Rajasthani wedding I imagined to this intimate and personal ceremony, as this makes sense for us.
After the ceremony, we have a 30-minute private cocktail reception where we cut our cake (red velvet with coconut cream) and dance away to reggae songs performed by the live Mento band. You have a choice of either bringing your own music, or a live band, either traditional local Mento or steel pans.
After a few photos on the beach, we make our way together to our private cabana, passing by the guests on the resort that cheer and clap, congratulating us on our new beginning as husband and wife. Most of the guests and staff thought that we had eloped. Apparently, they had never heard of a young Asian couple get married abroad without family present. Imagine our faces when they thought we ran away! What we explained to them was this. We did not elope, our families know we are here, but most importantly, this is something for us to cherish. There is no rush, no madness, nobody to please. Just the two of us. This is our moment. This is why we chose to have a destination wedding with nobody else present, because two months later, we had our Indian wedding ceremony, which was for our families. It is often difficult to steal a moment and be totally absorbed in one another on your wedding day as there is so much to be done and so many people to meet. South Asian weddings in particular don’t encourage the bride and groom to even steal a glance with each other or visibly show our happiness at the ceremony. It all seems rather a serious affair. The bride may feel the pressure to act coy and have her head down. The groom seems tamed. We seem to be on edge, that is until the reception of course. Why can’t we just be ourselves and laugh and smile? Isn’t this supposed to be the happiest day of our lives? By having two ceremonies- one for ourselves and one for the families enabled us to have the best of both worlds and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
HIGHLIGHTS OF SANDALS, NEGRIL
- adult only, 24 hour security manned beach to ensure no other guests from other hotels come onto the private beach, reserved for Sandals guests' only.
- tantalising all inclusive food and drink (the after effects of which are highlighted around your waist a few weeks down the line!)
- butler service (additional) who cater to your every need by always having your dinner table reserved with your name, decorated with flowers and with the best views. They also ensure your sun lounger is reserved with towels and your favourite beverage, and when you come back from excursions, they have nibbles and tipples ready in your room as well prepare the hot tub. This is the ultimate pampering experience.
- negril is famed as the capital of 'chill' and capital of 'cool' where you relax and soak in the reggae vibes of which, are all around you. One love!