(Published in Cayman Airway’s Skies magazine, May/June issue, 2018)
With a host of skilled industry experts ready to cater to every whim, those looking for a destination wedding offering the ultimate in hospitality combined with tropical romance opt for the Cayman Islands.
Whether it’s marrying at a five-star resort, along a secluded beach or on a chartered yacht surrounded by the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea, Cayman offers something to suit everyone.
Wedding planners are integral to almost every wedding, helping to plan and coordinate the big day. Some of the biggest planners in Cayman are Save the Date, Five Star Weddings & Events, and Celebrations.
Juliette Heath of Five Star Weddings & Events is an established wedding planner who helps create dream weddings no matter how big or small.
“Helping people realize and exceed their dreams for their special day is an incredible privilege and something I love doing,” Heath says.
Amongst some of Heath’s favourite wedding locations are the White House in Bodden Town, Pedro St. James and Surfer’s Beach.
“Private holiday rentals are becoming a very popular choice for destination couples and provide a really intimate setting with personal chefs coming to the home to prepare the reception dinner right there,” Heath adds.
JoAnne Brown, creative director of Celebrations, echoes this sentiment, adding that Cayman offers some of the most exquisite villas, such as Sun Salutations, Kaia Kamina and Tranquility Cove.
“I particularly love to see weddings happening at these private villas because they offer such a personal setting which you get to share with just your family and friends,” Brown explains. “They also offer incredible amenities and outstanding beaches.”
Heath says that amongst some of the most popular key trends in weddings this year are a move to more minimalist weddings and those with a bohemian twist.
Brown adds that weddings are becoming more like “life experiences.” She explains, “Weddings are much more than one day. In fact, they are now an experience for the entire family that will never be forgotten.”
“Not only do we have the most stunning beaches and clear blue waters offering an idyllic backdrop for weddings, but the level of service and professionalism offered on island from vendors and venues alike is world class,” Heath explains.
Brown adds that getting the necessary paperwork done is extremely easy and that Cayman’s cosmopolitan environment and kind people make it a must.
“There is something for every guest of any age,” Brown says. “Our Islands are small, and therefore it makes it so much more personal and intimate for weddings to happen here. The Cayman Islands is the unfound jewel of the Caribbean for destination weddings!”
Photographer Julie Corsetti of Deep Blue Images has been photographing Cayman’s brides and grooms for more than 15 years. Originally from New York, Corsetti aims to capture natural, candid and less posed moments in weddings, favouring a laid-back island feel.
“It’s a privilege to be trusted with capturing each moment and the feeling of the day,” Corsetti says. “Every wedding creates its own magical setting, island-style with a creative and personal twist.”
For stunning images, Corsetti recommends world-famous Seven Mile Beach. “It’s so pristine, it’s hard to beat,” Corsetti says. Other popular spots of hers include South Sound, Surfer’s Beach and Smith Cove.
The “Drown the Gown” trend is still very much alive and kicking in Cayman, with Corsetti favouring underwater shots at Stingray City or the bride jumping off the cliffs at Smith Cove.
“With Cayman’s beautiful, warm, clear waters, Drown the Gown pictures are perfect for the adventurous couple after they tie the knot,” Corsetti says.
She adds that more and more brides are requesting pre-ceremony portraits, and Corsetti often takes the bride and groom for a drive around the island, visiting three or four locations. “It allows me to capture an awesome variety of photos, all before the ceremony even begins.”
Rebecca Davidson is another talented Cayman-based photographer who photographs some 80 weddings a year.
“Weddings in the Cayman Islands are beyond special, and every opportunity is a ‘moment’ waiting to happen,” Davidson explains, adding that she loves to capture every moment of a wedding, from the bride getting ready to the exchanging of vows.
Amongst Davidson’s favourite photography spots are rustic old Caymanian homes, heritage kitchens, the rock formations of South Sound, Rum Point and Starfish Point.
“I love finding new places, new ways to get my couples to ‘pose’ so they look natural,” Davidson explains.
Whether it’s a simple hand-tied bridal bouquet or a lavish display for the ceremony and reception, Cayman’s wealth of specialist florists can handle it all. Amongst some of the most popular are The Flower Dell, Trisha’s Roses and Every Bloomin’ Thing.
Del Child has been working as a florist for more than 20 years and in 2011 started The Flower Dell, a florist that caters specifically to weddings and events.
Child trained at Pencoed College in South Wales, U.K., and has a passion for wedding floristry. She says that looser style hand-tied bouquets are particularly popular, with many brides choosing peonies, garden roses, hydrangea and orchids in soft delicate shades or bright colours.
Rachel Cudmore of Trisha’s Roses, a popular florist that was established in 1981, adds that tropical flowers are also popular with brides, in addition to succulents, which look beautiful nestled neatly in between flowers.
Sarah Hill of Every Bloomin’ Thing says that wedding floral arrangements and bouquets are taking on a much more rustic edge.
“We are seeing many couples choosing bouquets and décor with earthy tones and sprawling greens and then pairing these unique creations with full wedding gowns,” Hill says.
Hill adds that brides and grooms should leave plenty of time to plan their floral arrangements.
“Weddings taking place in paradise require more time for planning than mainland countries, as we import most of our flowers,” Hill explains. “It’s important to leave time for shipments and quality checking. Planning early also ensures you get the best flowers at the best price with the best preparation.”
Cudmore adds, “Some things to consider when choosing your flowers is the time of year for more seasonal flowers as well as the temperature. The weather can be lovely, but some flowers are not so happy with the heat; and some more delicate flowers don’t always travel that well.”
For those looking for an extravagant, fully catered feast, Mise en Place is a popular choice. Boasting a team of trained chefs and professional service staff, Mise en Place has catered some of Cayman’s biggest weddings, including one that had more than 800 guests.
Mise en Place offers a stylish and seamless experience for every occasion. They have a fully licensed mobile bar and pop-up cocktail cart, as well as their very own seaside venue, Sunset Bay, which can seat up to 200 people and offers stunning views of the Caribbean Sea.
“The longest-standing and largest event catering provider in the Cayman Islands, our growing business is inspired by our passion for great food, attention to detail and flawless execution,” says Sean Collins, award-winning chef and founder.
Collins says that food is becoming much more of an “experience.”
“We’ve seen a flurry of requests for interactive food stations, like our build-your-own taco bar, make-your-own ceviche station or a sugar wall of doughnuts, which can even double as a photo wall,” Collins says.
“The late-night snack is also a recent trend,” Collins adds. “We encourage couples to incorporate their favourite snacks into the party or, for destination weddings, add local fare like jerk chicken and pork, or spicy island patties.”
Whether you are opting for a luxurious, no-expense-spared affair or a low-key wedding on a secluded beach, looking your best is paramount.
Glamorous Hair Studio is a leading provider of wedding hair and makeup in Cayman.
“Glamorous offers a wide range of bridal hair and makeup services, from beautiful headpieces, hairstyles and hair extensions to gorgeous makeup looks,” says Tamara Pesic, salon coordinator. “Our stylists are committed to ensure that every bride has beautiful, natural and long-lasting hair and makeup for their special day.”
Services are offered in the sumptuously decorated spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman; or the salon can come to you. The full wedding service includes a pre-session appointment where the spa’s team of experts will create a bespoke bridal look.
Pesic says that whilst Glamorous can cater to the most extravagant hairstyles and makeup requirements, many brides getting married in Cayman opt for something simple.
“Simple styles are always very much in demand,” Pesic explains. “Beach waves and loose curls are requested often, since most of the weddings are happening on the beach. Braids are also popular, from bohemian to oh-so-chic.”