Briana Hainley and Jason Schnitzer are one lucky couple. They entered and won a competition organised by Brides Magazine that gave voters around the world the ability to plan their wedding for them, right down to the dress and the tuxedo.
They got married at the St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point, California, the bride resplendent in the Oleg Cassini dress that had been chosen for her, and then were whisked off for their honeymoon in the Cayman Islands, courtesy of the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism.
They spent a week relaxing at the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa, with a two-day visit to Little Cayman and a stay at the Southern Cross Club. I sat down with them a day before they were flying back home to talk to them about their wedding and honeymoon and whether they would be coming back to visit in the future.
The Caymanian Compass’ Vicki Wheaton sent a few questions the couple’s way and they responded. Here is a closer look at the back and forth:
(Vicki Wheaton) Was the wedding all you’d hoped and dreamed?
(Briana Hainley) It was more than anything we could have ever hoped or dreamed of. It was just beyond words.
Did you get any kind of input into what kind of gown you were looking for?
Literally everything was preselected. There were four options for each category, and we had no say in anything. But they were all fabulous choices, so nothing would have been wrong anyway.
Friends and family voted for you as well?
Oh yes! My parents weren’t even on Facebook before the contest started, but once we were the finalists, they all joined Facebook so they could go on and vote as well.
(Jason Schnitzer) Friends, family and strangers alike [laughs]. It was a pretty intense month and a week of our lives.
So how have you enjoyed your honeymoon so far?
Oh gosh, it’s been amazing. This doesn’t even compare to any vacations we’ve taken.
Have you been doing much? Has it been a honeymoon full of activities or more a case of relaxing?
We have had a great mixture of both. We were able to go to the spa here and we had a day at leisure where we enjoyed the beach and the pool. We were actually able to do the dolphin excursion as well; that was fun.
(Jason) Being that the Cayman Islands is the culinary capital of the Caribbean, we spent half the time eating. We have been going to a different restaurant to eat every night and lunchtime, and at every one we say to ourselves “Oh my God, this the best meal we’ve had,” then we go to another one and we say: “Oh wait, THIS is the best meal we’ve had!”
(Briana) And I don’t think we expected that. We came here to relax and have some fun, but we have really enjoyed the food.
(Jason) Only yesterday I said “I can’t wait until dinnertime!” [laughs].
It’s probably difficult to say, but what’s been your favourite part of the honeymoon?
(Jason) Well we still have a couple more activities to go, we are going today to see the stingrays, so looking forward to that.
(Briana) It was so relaxing in Little Cayman. We biked around the whole island and it’s just so peaceful and quiet there. And everybody waves at you as they go by. It’s a nice little community there.
Did you know much about the Cayman Islands before this competition?
(Jason) We knew it was part of the Caribbean, but not a whole lot. We did a bit of Googling.
(Briana) Once we won, yes, but I don’t think we knew that much about it beforehand. Now we’re excited to go home and tell our family and friends about it; bring them out here.
(Jason) I’ve been telling my friends “Dude, we have to come back here!”
So you would recommend the Cayman Islands as a honeymoon or wedding destination?
(Briana) Oh absolutely, without a doubt. Absolutely.
(Jason) Very much so.
(Briana) It’s the best of both worlds. You’ve got food [laughs] and you can relax, but there are still fun activities. You can work at your own pace.
You’ll have to organise a friend’s wedding to be held here!
(Briana) Yes! [Laughs]. We actually went on a photo shoot with Rebecca [Davidson] and we only went to a couple of places and it was less than an hour, but she had these amazing photos and honestly we’d have to drive far to have anything like that where we live.
Do you think you’ll be coming back to visit in the future?
(Jason) Oh yeah. Then we can be the tour guides for our friends [laughs].