Although we are nearing the peak of Cayman’s wedding season, which generally runs from January to June each year, many excited brides are already well under way to planning their weddings for next season. Weekender asked a couple of Cayman-based wedding planners to share the latest wedding trends that will carry us into 2015.
Jo Anne Brown, founder, CEO and creative designer of Celebrations, owns a one-stop shop for bride and grooms. She and her team of planners work alongside their clients (usually brides) to plan and produce their weddings, which includes everything from securing venues, caterers, photographers and entertainment, to selecting wedding invitations, designing decor and facilitating fireworks for the finale. The company even organizes activities for wedding guests during “wedding week” and has a warehouse filled with chairs, tables, tents, linens, silverware and the like, so that couples can rent items should they decide to plan their weddings themselves.
Brown says that the trending color palette is what she considers “vintage-inspired,” ranging from blush pink and peach to mint green and dove gray.
“Very popular among our brides is the smart mix of bright splashes of colors against neutral tones, from brilliant yellows matched with silvery gray, to tangerine with earthy brown, to pink with touches of gold.” The vintage theme extends to décor, but mixed with rustic elements.
“Old suitcases, lanterns, bicycles and the like are used as décor accents,” she says, noting the trend of modern graphic patterns such as bold stripes and floral prints, which are often used for backdrops and linens. “We also see brides choosing glamorous accents from using sequined linens, to lush floral centerpieces bedecked in crystals, to chandeliers trimmed with flowers.”
Celebrations’ clients are also paying more attention to the finer details of their wedding décor, wanting it to be a reflection of their personalities.
“From using countries or cities they have traveled to as table names, to incorporating photos of themselves over the years (from childhood to their travels) as part of the centerpieces, to personalized cushions, to custom signs ranging from seating charts to hand-painted wedding signs with witty wedding-related quotes; it is all about them as a couple,” says Brown.
Flowers are no longer relegated to just bridal bouquets and centerpieces, either. Brown says that in the next few years flowers will make a huge statement in décor from backdrops to aisles to lighting; flowers will also complement the color trends. She has a floral team that handles shipments of fresh flowers from all over the world to give couples a huge range of choices.
Five Star Events
Juliette Heath has been planning weddings and events in Cayman since 2007. Having previously worked at Celebrations, her company, Five Star Events, has been in operation since 2012. She is also the on-site wedding and events coordinator at the newly opened exclusive waterfront venue The White House in Bodden Town after planning the first wedding there recently.
Heath says the hot color trend this year has been blush pink with silver or gray accents, as well as white and ivory themes.
“They are both very soft, classic looks,” she says, adding that navy and white have also become quite popular recent requests from brides. For wedding décor, one of her favorite looks, especially for beach weddings, is the natural rustic décor. “It never seems to go out of trend and complements the stunning natural beauty of the island perfectly,” she says.
When it comes to flower arrangements, many of Five Star Events’ brides request peonies, but since they are seasonal and expensive, they are not always available, especially on island. “We always try to offer less expensive alternatives, if need be, to still obtain the look our bride is going for without going over their budget. For instance, hydrangea is a great bouquet filler and one of the least expensive flowers. By combining hydrangea with peonies and roses it helps keep the overall cost of the bouquet down, but it still has an absolutely breathtaking look.”
For entertainment, especially for those traveling from abroad, many of Heath’s clients like to embrace the spirit of the Caribbean by hiring steel pan players for the cocktail reception and ceremony. Her go-to favorite local vendor for music is steel pan artist Olujimi La Pierre.
A coconut rum bar is also a big hit with destination wedding guests. They can enjoy fresh coconut water served out of a coconut with a splash of rum. Another fun new trend that Heath incorporates into her weddings is beach ball confetti to replace real confetti or rice. “Miniature beach balls are given to all the guests to throw in the air when the couple walk back down the aisle.”
As for wedding cakes, tiers are always in style, but the growing trend Heath sees is a small top-tier cake for cutting and then cupcakes or mini-cupcakes in different flavors for the bottom tiers. However, Brown believes the cupcake trend is beginning to diminish and sees beautiful sculpted cakes with intricate workmanship akin to masterpieces becoming the next trend.
Most destination wedding clients in Cayman hail from the U.S., Canada and the U.K., bringing along about 50 to 70 guests, and their budgets can range from big to small.
“For destination weddings, some couples prefer to spend a larger part of their budget on activities for guests while they are here in Cayman, from trips to Stingray City and various excursions to see and enjoy all Cayman has to offer, whereas, others like to put the majority of their budget into décor and the wedding day itself,” says Heath. However, she did have one cruise ship couple from China stop into Cayman for the day, marry, and then hop back on the ship to sail onto the next port.
Brown thinks there are probably double or triple the amount of destination weddings compared to local weddings. Regardless, Brown has seen her share of unique requests from brides. “We had a bride fly in a three-man opera [comedy] group from the U.K., disguised as the chef and waiters. The entire 300 wedding guests were in for some operatic surprise. Another bride actually had a marching band performing for her wedding.”
Although a “wedding on a dime” is next to impossible in Cayman, considering the high cost of living, it can still be done rather inexpensively.
“In Cayman, anything is possible. If someone wanted to come and get married for US$1,000, they could, choosing a public beach such as Governor’s Beach where there is no charge to set up. You just walk out onto the sand with one of the most spectacular panoramic backdrops – the sparkling crystal waters of the Caribbean Sea! A very simple bouquet would cost CI$50-75, and then there’s the minister’s fee and government fee for filing the license. Heath and her husband did just this at Spotts Beach in Newlands for their own wedding. They said their vows in front of a minister, their dogs and two witnesses, and she says it was perfect.
“However, if the couple wanted a simple setup with wedding arch, chairs, musician, flowers for bridal party together with planning services for, say, 25 or so guests for the ceremony only, they would be looking at anything from US$5,000 upwards,” says Heath. The most extravagant wedding she planned was at Pedro St. James Castle a few years back, which cost the couple in excess of CI$150,000.
When it comes to the weather, it can be a challenge in Cayman, especially since most couples want an “al fresco” ceremony and reception. Says Brown, “We have to be very innovative in somehow finding ways to still have a wedding happen on the beach even when we have had a 10 minute shower of rain an hour before. Your production
team is vital in these types of situations! Our planners actually regularly check weather forecasts and present the couple with alternative locations if inclement weather is imminent. We always have a back-up plan. Always.”
Thankfully, Cayman enjoys its fair share of beautiful weather all year round, which makes it one of the top beach wedding destinations in the world. Having a trusted wedding planner in place will make even the most anxious “bridezilla” cool, calm and collected on her big day.