Dreamy Destination Weddings in Jamaica

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Not only do I love what I do for work, it comes with all kinds of great perks. Like sometimes the Jamaica Board of Tourism invites you to come tour the best of their island and wines and dines you, and I’m not gonna lie…it’s pretty awesome! I’ll try to give you the run down here of what you need to know about if you’re considering a destination wedding in Jamaica….

Round Hill is where you want to go if you’re looking for a grown-up, glamorous, beach summer camp of a getaway. Just try to picture where Ralph Lauren would vacation in the Caribbean and you’ll be there–he owns a villa there and designed all of the rooms in the hotel. It’s absolutely beautiful and relaxing and all of the things you want from a resort but I think what makes it distinct is it’s playful vibe. Everyone we encountered, from the staff to the guests, were there to have a good time. Even James Beard award-winner, Chef Maginley, who treated us to a full tasting of imaginative riffs of local foods sourced from local farms and the best of worldwide markets, finished his run with pop rocks firing off in our desserts. And gosh…it would be an amazing place for a destination wedding… There are several locations throughout the property where you could have a ceremony, dinner…heck, a full weekend’s worth of events in different (beautiful) places each time. And you and your guests would be sure to have a blast in all the time in between.jamaica-ocean-joy-thigpen1jamaica-ocean-joy-thigpen2jamaica-ocean-joy-thigpen3jamaica-ocean-joy-thigpen4jamaica-ocean-joy-thigpen5

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Half Moon, a Rock Resort in Montego Bay is another Jamaican destination worth knowing about. This is the resort the Queen and family visits as well as a go-to for American royalty like the Kennedys (Jackie O wrote her will there), and more recently, we stayed in the villa that Tyra Banks stays in. I see the draw of the place… It’s pretty fabulous and still somehow retains this down-to-earth sense that makes it all the better. I’m pretty sure they have just about anything you could think to want on the property….ride horses in the water, swim with dolphins, great food, child care, you name it they’ve got it.

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If you’re looking for something more intimate and quiet Tensing Pen might be a great place to check out. It’d be a great place to unplug and unwind and have a smaller wedding. And yes, you recognize this from the recent J.Crew shoot…

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Oh and there are so many more places to explore in Jamaica! We got to jump off cliffs in Negril…

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Explore waterfalls and gardens…

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My personal favorite was the peaceful ride down the Martha Brae River with the guide who softly sang Bob Marley without a care in the world. Jamaica was a dream, and it would be the perfect place for your dream destination wedding.

Photography: Joy Thigpen (using Contax and iPhone) | Camera Rental: Contax Rental

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05.26.14 / Featured, New Sponsor Blog

Register for your Dream Home with Zola

I am so excited to finally show off an exciting project that we created for Zola Registry! Zola has collected hundreds of beautiful and modern home, bath, and kitchen accessories, and has put them all at your fingertips! No longer do you have to run around town from store to store to find the perfect coffee mug, cutting board, or bath towel – it’s all in one place! You can even register for your honeymoon through your personalized page!

We couldn’t wait to collaborate with an amazing team to display some of our favorites from their website. Ali Harper beautifully captured every shot that was perfectly styled by Ginny Branch and Ginny Au, and we had our top notch food stylist, Katelyn Hardwick, on set to make sure every plate and dish shined!

Zola truly makes registering for wedding gifts fun and easy, and we were blown away by the huge selection of home decor items- it really is a one stop if you’re looking to fully outfit your home with stylish and functional pieces. I’ve put together a curated collection for Zola so you can see all my favorites in one place! I instantly fell in love with all of the calming bath and decor pieces, and can just imagine filling my home with linenwoodstone, marble. I’ve never seen a registry like Zola- they have so many lovely things for you to choose from that it makes me wish I could get married all over again!

Zola’s modern online registry lets you create a gorgeous personalized registry page, and register for gifts + honeymoon funds in one place…start your registry here and receive a $25 credit !

Creative and Art Direction: Emily Newman for Once Wed | Photography: Ali Harper | Styling: Ginny Branch and Ginny Au | Food Styling: Katelyn Hardwick

05.22.14 / Featured, New Sponsor Blog

Elegant Garden Party Wedding

Sarah and Thorsten’s wedding story is so charming. Because they lived abroad, they planned two celebrations, one in Germany and one in the United States. Their American wedding, photographed by Ciara Richardson, is a stunning combination of their cultures and style, and we love the result. This charming garden party style wedding is timeless, and we hope serves as inspiration for any bride looking for a casual, fun, intimate, yet elegant celebration with friends and family.

Here’s a little more from Sarah: As Thorsten and I come from different continents, we had the joy (and intensity) of planning two wedding celebrations- the wedding in Germany and a garden party shortly afterward in Utah. We met while I was in Stuttgart, Germany doing an summer internship during my master’s studies in architecture. Our meeting was clearly fated, and I knew I would return to Germany after finishing my last year of school. We had many wonderful years of exploring Europe together before we were engaged, and we decided to hold the ceremony in Germany as well. Our wedding took place in the Germany countryside where I was fortunate enough to have my closest friends and family fly from the United States to share the day with us. We celebrated again shortly after the wedding in my parents’ garden, where my larger extended family and friends were able to attend. In planning both wedding celebrations, we combined American and German traditions, foods, and languages. For our Utah celebration, we brought the casual elegance of a European sidewalk cafe into the Utah garden setting. Although planning the event from Europe was challenging, I was fortunate enough to have an old family friend (the amazing Vicki from Ella Bella Floral) as a coordinator and stylist, and through many late-night Skype calls and a shared Pinterest board the event came out exactly as I envisioned. We served Mediterranean- and German-style foods (including freshly grilled sausage and apfelstrudel!), to create an atmosphere where guests could mix and mingle and enjoy our fabulous band below the evening skies. After an early weather scare at the beginning of the party, the rainclouds cleared away and we had a perfect evening.

Photography: Ciara Richardson | Wedding Planner: Ella Bella Floral| Dress: Marchesa | Tux: Groom’s own attire | Hair and Makeup: Celise Artistry | Caterer: Off-Premise Catering | Cake: The Graceful Baker |Linens, tables and chairs: Red Poppy Linens | Balloons: Sego Events | Water-colored Food Labels: Peter Loves Jane | Party Lights and Draping: Embellish the Moment | Bohemian band: St Boheme |

Flowers and Vertical Installations, Lounges and Signage: Ella Bella

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05.21.14 / Featured, Real Weddings, Real Weddings Blog

Lace Wedding Invitations from Invitations by Dawn

Have you been searching for the perfect wedding invitations? Are you overwhelmed by the choices out there? Are you looking for a vendor who will advise you along the way? Well look no further than our sponsor, Invitations by Dawn

Invitations by Dawn has been guiding couples to the perfect invitation suites for over 30 years, and are famous for their variety of designs, quality, and high level of customer service. To make this part of your planning process easier, they have a team of courteous and knowledgeable consultants on call to help you with all of your etiquette questions, and any other questions you may have about your invitation suite! 

Our favorite part about Invitations by Dawn is their huge selection of designs- especially their lace collections! If you’ve been struggling on a design for your wedding invitations, lace is a flawless choice! Invitations with lace accents are the perfect way to bring a little elegance to your rustic wedding, and they create an instantly vintage feeling for a classically designed wedding. Lace is the most timeless wedding detail, and we love the lace accents that Invitations by Dawn have included in their new collections! If you’re looking for an elegant and vintage accent for your wedding, be sure to check out Invitations by Dawn’s new Love and Lace design from their classically styled Letterpress Collection. And the Embroidered Embrace design from their David Tutera Collection is the perfect addition to any rustic wedding! 

We’re so excited about Invitations by Dawn’s newest lace wedding invitations and they’re excited to share an amazing discount with Once Wed readers today! Get 25% off of your wedding invitation suite by using the code ONCEWED25 at checkout.*

*This offer includes their premium collections such as Letterpress and Foil-Stamped invitations but does exclude Disney Invitations. Offer valid through 8/31/2014. 



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05.20.14 / Featured, New Sponsor Blog