Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A "Glorious" Wedding on Seven Mile Beach

What a glorious day, for a lovely couple from Texas! I couldn't wait for Fevi to send me these pictures because I knew how special they were. This couple were visiting on a cruise ship, and we took them to our "new" beach, a lovely private spot off Mary Molly Road in West Bay.

It was hot! But the colours of the sand and sea were fabulous against G's formal wedding dress.

This is the "tropical" bouquet I often recommend to my brides.

It is such fun to work with a couple who are game to try exciting and unusual shots. As you can see, G was not averse to playing in the surf.

A toast to the newly -weds, and then off back to the harbour to rejoin their cruise-ship.

Cayman is one of the few ports on the northern Caribbean cruise itinerary where you can be married the same day. Getting married in Cayman is very easy, when you have a wedding planner and Marriage Officer who will work with you to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Today there was not a wedding jitter in sight, it was a lovely fun day for all of us.

Your wedding can be just as easy. Call me at (345) 5256551 or email me at mywedding@candw.ky

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Real People- Real Weddings, L & D's Cruise Wedding

As I have said before, the best way you can thank me for my services is to drop me a note and send a picture. Here is a picture of a cruise wedding I did on 17 April for a couple from Tucson, Arizona who were visiting on the "Carnival Conquest."

Below is their note, verbatim.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Renewal Times Two ...and Unity Sand Ceremony

Yesterday I did a double vow renewal and Unity Sand Ceremony for two couples from Tulsa , Oklahoma. This was the first mother.daughter couples renewal I had done, and to include the Unity Sand Ceremony was very special.

Another feature was to include the younger couple's small daughters and make them feel a part of the ceremony.

My client had been working with me on this for months, and I knew how important the ceremony was to her, so I wanted to create a ceremony which was original and unique to this beautiful family group.

One of my first challenges was to create three separate ceremonies in one event. The older couple needed vows which reflected their life journey, but also honoured the very obvious, loving relationship which they have.

The young couple, surrounded by their family, needed a ceremony to mark a significant milestone, their 10th anniversary, which would be very romantic without being sappy.

Then there was the Unity Sand Ceremony, which everyone would take part in, to produce a beautiful and meaningful keepsake of the event.

Believe me, the Unity Sand Ceremony can go very wrong, and you can end up with a container of very ugly looking dirty sand (which nobody wants to take home). The key is always the sand. and the colours, which can be very challenging to find and work with.

For the foundation. poured by the older couple, I used neutral sand, and composed speaking parts for them which reflected the role of older parents and grandparents.

The next layer, poured by the younger couple used emerald green (wife) and royal blue (husband). I chose emerald green for the wife because green is a colour which resonates with life, fertility and the earth. I chose royal blue for the husband because it is a strong, protective, masculine colour which resonates with the sky and the sea. Their speaking parts reflected their roles as lovers, but also as parents,

The third layer was poured by the children, and was orange, a happy colour which I associate with children, and the sun, and which was appropriate as the ceremony was at sunset

As a mother and grandmother, my goal is to create memories for my family in everything I say and do. In my work as a wedding celebrant and planner, I take much pride in helping my clients create special memories of their time on Grand Cayman, and the significant event they celebrated here.

If you are planning a wedding, vow renewal or commitment ceremony on Grand Cayman, email me at mywedding@candw.ky

Any questions cheerfully answered, the only dumb questions are those you wish you had asked, and the information is free!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

No One forgets a Woman in a Hat!

Today is very special for me, because it marks 12 months since I received my own Marriage Register as a result of being licensed as a Civil Registrar of Marriages by the Cayman Islands Government. Prior to this, for 13 years I was a Deputy Civil Registrar and shared a Register with my mother, Francine, who was the first person in the Cayman Islands to be appointed as a Civil Registrar of Marriages.

Here is a bit about me, not found in my profile. I was born in Grand Cayman and have lived here all my life. I was educated in Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Canada, the USA and the United Kingdom.

I did my BA degree at McMaster University in Canada, and my MA degree at Durham Business School, Durham University in the United Kingdom. I have done various diplomas and certificates in other areas, namely strategic planning, management, counselling and human resource development. I am a Justice of the Peace, Notary Public and was honoured by Queen Elixabeth II with the Member of the British Empire (MBE) in 2001 for service to the Cayman Islands in the areas of education and national planning.

My husband and I met at university in Canada, and we have been married for 36 years. We have 4 beautiful, well educated and successful children and 2 1/2 grandchildren. I am Roman Catholic. I love to travel and have travelled all over the world.

I am an avid reader, and writer, working on the novel which everybody is supposed to have inside them. I love to cook, and I am happiest when I am in my big kitchen surrounded by children and grand-children and cooking up a storm for the many family dinners we have. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to volunteer with our Humane Society, and I am committed to working to preserve the beautiful island where I am privileged to live.

Since I retired from working with the Cayman Is government almost three years ago, I have started doing wedding planning and officiating at wedding ceremonies full-time. I started wearing hats because I was on the beach all the time...now I wear them because I think they compliment my personality, happy and fun-loving, but with a serious side and make me instantly recognisable and memorable.

My approach to life is simple, anything worth doing is worth doing well.

If you think I am the right person to plan and officiate at your Grand Cayman wedding, email me at mywedding@candw.ky or call me at (345)525-6551.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What happens when something goes wrong?

It was a wedding planner's nightmare. First of all, my couple wanted to get married on a Sunday. This meant that I had to get their Special License on Friday, as the Governor's Office is closed on weekends. As luck would have it, my couple missed their flight, and instead of arriving Friday noon, they arrived Friday night.

In itself, this wasn't too big a catastrophy, since they could have been married on Monday...except the guests they had flying in for the weekend were booked to leave Monday morning, and would therefore have missed the wedding. Thanks to their American Airlines agent, arrangements were made for the Governor's Office to open so they could get their license.

Everything went according to plan - until it was discovered they didn't have the required documents, specifically the final divorce decree. As the window of opportunity began to close, I have a disappointed bride, flowers ordered, (florists here aren't open on Sunday) photographer booked...everything set to go, but with no license!

Plan B - do a Commitment Ceremony. A Commitment Ceremony is done, when for whatever reason a couple can't be legally married, but they want to have a public ceremony to honour their commitment to each other. It is not binding. They will have some of the elements of a marriage ceremony, ( flowers, photography, rings if they wish) but the form of the ceremony is diffent, and instead of wedding vows they will make different promises to each other. There is no record of the ceremony, and no Marriage Certificate is given.

One of the other things which can go wrong, and which I have no control over, has to do with cruise ship weddings. Very infrequently because of weather, a cruise ship will not stop at the island. In this case, I will refund 75% of your deposit. In the last 12 months I have had this happen one time out 127 weddings.

Couples ask me all the time if I have back up arrangements for rainy weather. The answer is yes, I have several inside venues. However, particularly if you are a stay-over visitor I will try to accomodate you by changing the hour, and even the day of your wedding until the weather is more accomodating. This year I have had to do this only twice.

The odds are that everything will go smoothly with your wedding. However, having an experienced wedding planner, even for a simple wedding can make a big difference. Remember I do this hundreds of times every year, and I live here.

One of the biggest mistakes couples make is to think that they can do things themselves to save money. If you live here, you can do the running around yourself because you have the time and the opportunity. If you are here for a few days, or a few hours...leave it to the specialists. We live here, and we already know where the deals are, we work with wedding service vendors every day.

The most important thing you can do for your Destination Wedding is to build up a good relationship with your wedding planner in advance, so ask as many questions as you want, have as many jitters as you want (before you get here). Once you're here, I have it covered.

Treat your wedding planner as a professional. Know all costs up front, know the company policy on refunds, bad weather etc. up front. Keep your end of the arrangements, regarding deposits, documents, etc. and be on time for your wedding. Remember you might not be the only wedding scheduled for the day (unless you are having a cruise wedding, in which case you WILL be the only wedding scheduled for that morning). If you aren't happy about something, say so. Many of my weddings come from word-of-mouth referrals, so if you are happy with my services tell your friends. I want your wedding to be a truly memorable experience which you will talk about for the rest of your life.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Getting Married in Cayman ...Is it legal back home?

Probably the question I get asked most often about getting married in Cayman is "is it legal back home?" The answer is a resounding YES! Let me walk you through what happens.

First your marriage must be performed by a person who is licensed by the Cayman Islands government as a "Marriage Officer". I get quite a few requests from couple who want to bring their own officiant with them. That's fine...as long as you understand that whom ever says the words, your Cayman Marriage Officer has to do the paperwork which makes it legal.

As a visitor, you must be married by a Special Marriage License. Your Marriage Officer will do the documentation for this, and then sign that everything is in order. You will be given the Special License to keep as a souvenir. It is rather nice, as it has the seal of the Governor of the Cayman Islands. There are other arrangements in place for residents, and one requirement is a time requirement for the Banns of Marriage to be posted.

Visitors can be married the same day they arrive, as long as I have time to get the Special Marriage License. Special arrangements can be made for visitors who want to be married on a weekend or Public Holiday, when the Governor's Office is closed.

After the ceremony, you have to sign three documents. Ladies, you sign your maiden name, or the name on your documents. You don't sign your new married name at this point. The first document is a certified copy of the Marriage Certificate, which is yours to keep. It will have the couple's signatures, the witnesses signatures, and my signature and seal as a Civil Registrar of Marriages aka Marriage Officer.

The next two documents will be handwritten, and you should check that all your details, especially your legal names, and your postal address is correct. One of these documents is kept in my Marriage Book, and I file the Duplicate Marriage Certificate with the Registrar General.
This is akin to your County Clerk, or Public Records Office at home.

When your marriage is filed, I make an application on your behalf to get your Registered Marriage Certificate. This document will be sent to you by mail, within 3 working days of your marriage. This is the legal document you will need to have your driver's license changed to your married name, your passport changed etc. It will have the seal of the Registrar General. a watermark of the Cayman Islands crest, and on the back it will say "Secure Document."

Some European and Asian countries require an Apostille. If in doubt, be sure to ask. The USA and UK do not require an Apostille.

Many people tell me they want to be married "just the two of us". Well, under Cayman law you must have two witnesses over the age of 18. Here is a picture of me explaining to some witnesses where you have to sign. If you don't have witnesses, then let me know and I will provide them. You should give these witnesses a small tip ($20/$30) as a token of appreciation for them getting dressed nicely and coming out specially for your wedding.
This is what your certified copy looks like. I like to take a picture of what I call "The Proof"! If you have any questions, email me at mywedding@candw.ky.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Favourite Spots (6)- Pedro St James Castle

Pedro St James Castle is one of the oldest buildings in the Cayman Islands, and it's beautiful grounds overlooking Pedro's Bluff is a favourite spot for large local weddings.

Here is Vernon Jackson, OBE, JP, Cayman's most popular Marriage Officer, presiding at the wedding of his grand-daughter.
The beautiful bride with her new husband, and her three brothers,

The wedding reception was themed to reflect the groom's Indian heritage, with an array of
jewel colours. Event planning was by Lions Productions, photography by Rebecca Davidson of "Picture This."
This was a fabulous family event, and what did the mother of the bride do? I relaxed and enjoyed it. First rule of thumb for the mother of the bride? Let someone else manage the event!

Real People- Real Weddings (2)

In 2007 I performed 100 wedding ceremonies, most of them for visitors. I really appreciate it when couples take the time to let me know they enjoyed the whole experience. For one thing, a heartfelt testimonial is the best advertisement. Here is a quote from the couple below,

"I want to send you a note to say D and I are still in wedded bliss, almost one month after the beautiful beach wedding... The wedding was so absolutely perfect and represents a moment not to be forgotten. We've had several discussions since returning home about how meaningful it was to stand in the surf, to feel the warmth of the setting sun, and exchange our promises to one another. It was truly one of life's mountain top experiences. and captured at sea -level no less...so from both of us, a very heart-felt thank you!"

Here is another unusual shot from my favourite photographer, Cayman Girl! Thanks D and S for being such good sports. We both enjoyed working with you very much. Enjoy your fabulous pictures of your special day, and all good wishes for a life-time of happiness together.