Little Cayman shines on Style

Little Cayman’s beauty and charms can be viewed by potentially millions of viewers internationally this Saturday evening in an hour-long special airing on US cable TV channel Style Network.

Exposure from the show, My Destination Wedding with the Knot presents limitless possibilities for both the destination wedding/honeymoon markets and the tourism market in general in the Cayman Islands, noted owner of Celebrations Jo-Anne Brown.

The Hindu-style wedding was created and brought to life by the design and décor team of Celebrations in collaboration with The Knot.

‘The potential is absolutely huge. The show will air on American cable TV channel Style Network, which reaches over 60 million households internationally and will re-run frequently – potentially for up to five years after the original airing,’ Ms Brown explained.

The show will also be featured on www.TheKnot.com, which is the No. 1 wedding website in the world with 3.2 million unique visitors a month.

On 26 October, Little Cayman became home to one of the most lavish and unique weddings Celebrations has ever orchestrated. One lucky couple, Brooke Fischer, a Midwestern Catholic college student, and Neil Aggarwal, an Indian/American financier, were selected to have their dream wedding courtesy of The Knot.

‘They wanted a location that was exotic and less well known, and an island that is visually stunning. So naturally Little Cayman was the perfect choice,’ said Ms Brown.

The Southern Cross Club resort on Little Cayman was chosen as the venue for ceremony and reception.

Resort owner Peter Hillenbrand said, ‘I think it will be great publicity for all three islands.’

Southern Cross Club probably does 12 to 15 small weddings a year for about four to 20 guests, in fitting with the resort’s size. ‘I’m fully expecting we’ll do more after this airs,’ he said.

‘Little Cayman is a beautiful undeveloped place,’ he commented, adding that everyone living there hopes it will stay that way.

Along with the bride and groom, 35 guests were flown in to Little Cayman for the wedding. The Knot and Style Network flew in approximately 12 persons to work with them, while from Grand Cayman Celebrations had a team of 12 members of staff who literally set up a full floral and event production on the island for the week.

‘I also coordinated and planned for all the local artists and vendors to participate, which included, steel drummer, violinist, photographer, Tassa band (a group of five), hairdressers, make up artist, and of course, the marriage officiant who oversaw the marriage ceremony performed by the Indian pundit who also flew in for the wedding,’ explained Ms Brown.

The Celebrations team, tasked with producing the rehearsal dinner and reception, as well as the Indian wedding ceremony and reception, worked tirelessly for three days to make yet another dream wedding come true.

‘It was most gratifying to see what we produced, especially faced with the challenges of weather, and making the necessary changes as it unfolded – all right in front of the cameras,’ said Ms Brown.

Filming took four days as the crew wanted to portray the amount of preparation and work that goes into such an elaborate event.

But there was the whole logistics of filming such an event to get through first. ‘The main challenge for both the film crew and ourselves was shipping all of the equipment to Little Cayman. This required serious attention to detail. We had to ensure that nothing was left behind.

‘We packed a 40 foot container with all the items we needed, including clear roof tent, all the fabric, décor elements, chairs, tables, etc,’ said Ms Brown.

Founder and editor of TheKnot Carley Roney, the biggest and most recognisable name in weddings today, hosted the entire show. ‘We were really very flattered to hear the feedback on how incredible they thought the wedding was,’ said Ms Brown.

Another challenge was that Celebrations had to come up with a way to help blend the groom’s Hindu heritage, the bride’s Catholic traditions and the local island culture into their own wedding style.

Ms Brown explained, ‘Building a mandap [a wedding canopy which is the focal point of every Hindu wedding ceremony] and ensuring that all the cultural elements are correct was a large responsibility. There are certain colours that must be integrated and we were very meticulous in ensuring that all elements were instilled in our design.’

And in the face of all this hard work the weather threatened to hamper the beach ceremony and rehearsal.

‘The weather did not co-operate. We had a really bad day of rain on the Thursday, the day of the rehearsal dinner, and this really put some severe pressure on us, as we had to change all our plans for the rehearsal. Thankfully, the day of the wedding, the weather was truly wonderful.’

Because of the weather, the rehearsal was held inside the Southern Cross Club main club house, which was transformed into a Mendhi/Henna party setting, with low seating, and very exotic tropical floral designs.

The couple also visited Grand Cayman for a day of shopping, where they visited Tortuga Rum Company and were filmed there, and the groom also enjoyed a game of golf.

Speaking about potential impact this opportunity offered Ms Brown said they jumped at the opportunity to work with the Knot and Style Network on the project. ‘We knew it would generate fantastic publicity for both Celebrations and The Cayman Islands in general.

‘To be featured on a leading network such as Style Network, and associated with the largest wedding website company in the world The Knot, is simply amazing, and we are just so grateful for the opportunity.’

But the whole event was really a team effort on behalf of Cayman Islands’ tourism partners: Cayman Airways donated flights, Southern Cross gave their entire resort for the duration of the filming, and additional accommodation was given by Little Cayman Beach Resort.

Ms Rebecca Grinnals, strategic consultant to the Department of Tourism for the wedding and honeymoon market, was instrumental in bringing about this opportunity for the Cayman Islands. ‘We are so grateful for her encouragement and leadership in the destination wedding business,’ said Ms Brown.

It seems the overall impression on bride, groom and guests was overwhelming.

Ms Brown said, ‘I cannot begin to tell you how awed and impressed they were with the wedding, and just everything about the islands. They kept saying ‘this is so much more than we could ever have imagined, it is a dream come true’. They fell in love with Little Cayman instantly’.

Tune in for the premiere of My Destination Wedding with The Knot on the Style Network this Saturday, 15 December at 9pm EST.

Visit weddings.theknot.com and go to Real Weddings.