Wedding expert likes Cayman destination

Darcy Miller is one of the most
recognisable faces in the wedding industry. The editorial director at Martha
Stewart Weddings is an expert in all matters nuptial, with more than 15 years
behind the helm of the influential magazine and countless weddings all over the
world under her belt.

Ms Miller was one of the eagerly
awaited keynote speakers at the Engage!10 conference at the Ritz-Carlton Grand
Cayman this year, opening the conference with an intriguing seminar on the
status of the wedding scene worldwide. The annual conference is attended by
movers and shakers in the wedding industry and is considered a very influential
get-together.

In her seminar, Ms Miller talked
about the various approaches that personalise a wedding and make it special,
such as employing silhouette artists, personalised pillows, cookie bars and
crossword puzzles specific to the bride and groom’s lives — all things that
add to making a wedding memorable. Other elements, such as using craft
techniques involving tissue paper, stacking boxes and anything with an
individual touch, are also welcome features.

She said these personal touches are
all about getting people to connect the experience to the bride and groom,
rather than the amount that had been spent. Wedding trends are going to have
more ‘wow’ and more personalisation, and be more colourful, more crafty, more
thoughtful and more delicious, she said.

In her presentation she noted that
theme weddings are popular, citing the example of a couple who held their party
in the same spot where they had walked to school together two decades earlier.
Other trends include involving pets in the ceremony by naming compilation CDs
after their dogs, or creating dog-shaped cookies for the guests. Additionally,
it’s all about giving people what they like to eat, she noted.

Wedding scrapbooks, an enhancement
of the traditional wedding photo album, are another great way to remember the
day.

The Cayman experience

Destination weddings remain a
hugely popular trend, the wedding expert told The Journal. She noted that
though there are some costs involved for guests, both in financial and
time-investment terms, the pay-off could be more than worth it.

“Even though sometimes brides might
feel it might be asking a lot of guests to travel, when you pick a place like
Cayman you are really giving them a great experience.

“There’s so much else here, so many
great restaurants and things to do that guests can make it a great vacation,”
she said. “There’s a lot of choice of places to stay, and a lot of flights that
come in and out. Cayman is a place that’s set up with great service; it has a
lot to offer.”

Destination access

Ideally, Ms Miller said, there
should be significant access to a destination to make it as easy as possible to
get to and from the wedding, but there are certain things that are beyond the
control of planners.

“Anywhere that doesn’t have direct
flights multiple times a day to multiple parts of the USA and the world
presents a challenge, but that’s the nature of an island. The nice feature of
Cayman Islands is that it has more direct flights than some of its competitors.

“I say to brides and bridegrooms,
at the end of the day when you’re choosing destinations, make it easy for your
guests and that includes a place with multiple direct flights. Even though
Cayman has relatively a lot more travel options than some of the other islands
it’s not somewhere that has multiple direct flights every day, all day,” said
Ms Miller.

Planning phase

Turning her attention to the
planning phase, Ms Miller said there is no substitute for organisation.
Ideally, as much as possible should be planned at home prior to visiting the
location, including which time of year had the most guest-friendly weather. A
scouting trip to a destination, whenever possible, is also essential to meet
with everyone, from potential hairdressers to caterers, hotels and cake-makers.
It’s always better to be able to discuss plans in person with the people who
may work on the wedding, she said.

Ultimately, having chosen Cayman
means having chosen well, she said, because in contrast to other destinations,
there are many options for people. The snorkelling, diving and water sports
on-island, as well as the many varied, high- quality restaurants will ensure
that visitors have the opportunity for a fun-packed week.

“Once you [have decided to] do the
wedding here, you can share with your friends how much there is to see and do,”
she said. “If somebody’s spending the money on a plane ticket to get down here,
they may well also take two more days to have a vacation. There’s all different
kinds of options and things to do, so it’s not just a case that if you don’t
like sitting on the beach, that’s it.”

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