Founded by JoAnne Brown, Celebrations is an incredible planning team in the Cayman Islands that has been producing dream weddings for more than 25 years. From rentals, to flowers, to timelines and logistics, Celebrations can do it all, making the process of planning a destination wedding in the Caribbean a breeze. We asked JoAnne to share more about her planning style, advice for couples, and what clients can look forward to when working with Celebrations.
Photo: Daria Keenan Photography
GO: How would you describe your wedding planning style?
A: Very flexible. We get to know the couple and learn who they are, what they're passionate about, and what style they identify themselves with — whether they are bold and want something extravagant, or if they are more into neutral boho or simple elegance. There are so many fascinating couples and each bring their awesome stories and lifestyles to their wedding.
Photo: Vicki Grafton Photography
GO: What are some of your favorite aspects of planning a couple’s big day?
A: Our team loves the beginning process of planning, where the big decisions happen. It is very rewarding assisting each couple with planning elements, from the choice of bridal gown, venue and vendor selection, color palettes and menu. However, our favorite part is being able to get creative in the fun process of décor styling. It is pivotal to us that we understand their story, their style, and their wedding dreams to ensure we create and execute a day that is looked back on as unforgettable and perfectly fitting to their love story.
GO: What is your opinion on wedding trends vs classic décor?
A: We've been creating weddings since 1996, so we have seen and done so many looks and styles. For us, wedding trends are fun but come and go, whereas classic décor and style is timeless and always something that does not lose its glamour. We also love to mix the two, depending on what trend may be current at the time. There is a balance that can be made to incorporate the trend, but also have the classic look be part of the styling.
There are weddings that we created so many years ago, and the classic look is just as stunning and beautiful as any current wedding style. Flowers play a huge part of any wedding, whether they be minimal and elaborate; the effect that fresh flowers have in any wedding can never be underrated. Flowers transform and create atmosphere and ambiance. Some flowers are classic, but you can be trendy by playing with the color palette and style. Certain flowers never go out of fashion like garden roses, calla lilies, orchids, and peonies.
In terms of glassware, dinnerware, etc. – simple elegance is always in fashion, but so are rattan charger plates and bamboo cutlery. Small accents can just give this little extra twist that makes the wedding classic and trendy. Additionally, we are lucky that we are in the Cayman Islands; turquoise water, white sand, and beautiful sunsets will never go out of fashion.
Photo: Jenna Leigh Photography
GO: Is there an ideal amount of time a couple should dedicate to planning their wedding?
A: For island weddings, we typically recommend booking anywhere from 12 to 16 months out to ensure the best vendors and venues are secured and guests are given ample time to prepare for travel, etc. This time frame also allows enough room to plan the details after developing the budget and guest list.
GO: What wedding details are often overlooked when planning a wedding and designing the décor?
A: The timing of the wedding is important and should be considered and thought about for many reasons. It even affects the types of flowers and décor elements that can be used. If you are looking to have sunset photos after the wedding, you need to ensure your time frame coincides with the sunset. Personalized styled accents at a wedding are always a great touch to make a wedding even more special, and we encourage our brides to have signs, menus and have place cards if possible. This will enhance the entire look and feel of the wedding and making it more stylish and memorable.
If the couple is using social media, it’s always nice for them to create their own, unique hashtag. Especially if they have a lot of guests. These days everyone takes pictures and posts them on social media. Asking guests to use a unique hashtag can extend wedding celebrations and simplify finding your pictures. You can relive your happy moments after the wedding and before you get professional pictures from your photographer.
Alternatively, if the couple does not want photos taken during their ceremony, the information needs to be communicated tactfully to their guests, so no one is offended.
Photo: Jenna Leigh Photography
GO: Aside from having a large budget, what transforms a “standard” wedding into a memorable, luxury event?
A: Luxury is not about having a large budget; it is about priceless memories, creating the experience that will be unforgettable for the couple and their guests. A lot of details cause the WOW effect. It might be about extraordinary floral arrangements, but it might also be about bringing the favorite band from the couple's childhood.
What makes the wedding luxury is subjective. The special thoughts and ideas that are included in your wedding are what truly make it magical and memorable, and hence luxury.
Photos: Rebecca Davidson, Two Mann Studios, Deep Blue Images
GO: What can a couple expect when working with you as their wedding planner?
A: Celebrations offer a variety of wedding planning service levels, each tailored to the couples’ individual needs. Each couple has their own Wedding Planner assigned to them from the very beginning, who is dedicated to their wedding.
Celebrations have a full-time team of Wedding Planners who work together mostly on the day(s) of the wedding, to assist the main Planner with on-site and final touches, all dependent on the size and complexity of each wedding.
From the very beginning of the planning stage, your Wedding Planner is dedicated to your wedding week and day and works in collaboration with all the other facets that Celebrations has. They liaise with our Design Team, Floral Team, and Rental Team, and then the Production Team who together bring everything to life. Our team is there to put our couples' worries aside. We work our magic and provide guidance and wedding etiquette tips to ensure a stress-less journey, creating an outcome that surpasses our couples’ expectations.
Photo: Rebecca Davidson Photography
GO: Do you have any advice for couples who are going through the wedding planning process?
A: Dependent on what stage each couple is at within their planning process, we always ensure the couple is having fun and enjoying the journey. We want them to look back on the whole experience with happy memories, not just their wedding day.
We also like to suggest the couple pay attention to their timeline on the day and ensure they have time set aside for just the two of them. Planning a destination wedding is now a very easy and practical thing to do compared to a few years ago. With all the current technology of Skype, WhatsApp, conference calls, you can have face to face time with your planners and constantly be in touch. I highly recommend that an experienced professional Wedding Planner is hired to work alongside you to make your destination wedding come to life. Local professional planners will have exclusive knowledge about the destination and the ability to secure what you need at the best price. They can recommend all the right venues, vendors, transportation, and all the essentials. Having only one person as your main contact is the most valuable part of having a Wedding Planner working with you; it's their priority to ensure you have a stress-free experience, and they handle any items or issues at any time.