Friday’s Five Favourite . . . Locations *Big Day Edition*

Today, I wanted to share with you a little on my journey of becoming the ‘Mrs’. 

Most if not all wedding planners and online resources will tell you: the first 2 things you need to consider when planning your Big Day are date and location. We’ve already chosen April 19, 2014 as our Big Day, so the next big decision to make is . . . where to celebrate this Big Day.

Where will we have the Ceremony?

Where will we have the Reception?

What kind of Wedding do we want?

Beach, Garden, Traditional, Intimate, or Secret o.O

Ideally, and if budget wasn’t an issue, we would have a Destination Wedding – a wedding in which all the guests would travel to a vacation-like setting and would have to stay overnight or for a couple of days.

Our ideal Destination Wedding location in Jamaica?!

Frenchman Cove

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Because it has that perfect balance of garden meet beach and all in the coolest, most awesome parish on the island . . . Portland. So if you’re thinking of visiting Jamaica – consider adding a Portland trip to your itinerary. Seriously! You wont be disappointed.

But . . . a destination wedding is not in the making for us. For me, the next best thing is a Garden Wedding.

The following are a list of five locations I’ve considered for our Wedding:

Alhambra Inn is a small 2 storey hotel in Kingston across from the National Stadium. I have never been there before but I hear they have a really good restaurant, and after my visit I might just go back some time for lunch or dinner, maybe even date night.

This Spanish style hotel has a rustic atmosphere with antique items strategically placed throughout the hotel. Not only that, they had 2 beautiful gardens to choose from.

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Small lounge overlooking the front garden
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View of the front garden
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Garden with its rustic elements

Hope Gardens (officially named the Royal Botanical Gardens) is a 200 acre nature preserve located on the Liguanea Plains nestled between Long Mountain and St. Andrew Mountain in the heart of the city. The Garden adjoins the Hope Zoo and provides an oasis in the midst of our concrete jungle that is Kingston.

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Welcome to Hope Gardens
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The Sunken Garden
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Overview of the Sunken Garden
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The Annual Garden
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The Annual Garden (part 2)
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One of the many gazebos

Unfortunately, I was unable to visit the next two locations even though they were on my list of possible locations.

City View Hotel, as the name suggests, is a hotel located in the Smokey Vale area of upper St. Andrew which over looks the city below.

Step out on to your balcony and enjoy a panoramic view of the city of Kingston and its ‘Stunning Environs’ which present the Nature – lover with everything that will make for a desirable and comfortable retreat! City View Hotel

Here are some photos of the Hotel and its view as presented on its website here. My apologies regarding the size of the photos. Like I said, I wasn’t able to visit the hotel myself so there are no personal photos.

View of the city
View of the city at night
View of their garden

The Caymanas Golf and Country Club is located 25 minutes from Kingston in the foothills of St. Catherine. The Club was established in 1959 and features a spacious hall overlooking the lawn and the city. There are comfortable conference facilities, 2 garden gazebos, and an International-Jamaican infused restaurant; everything you could want in a garden venue.

Here are some photos from the Caymanas Country Club.

Caymanas Country Club
Poolside garden
A wedding set up overlooking the pool

The Admiral Mountain Great House was the last addition to my location list. I had seen photos of a wedding that was held there and fell in love. The Great House was built in the late 1700’s as the residence of Admiral Peter and Lady Parker. The House later became the residence of all British Admirals stationed in Jamaica during the 18th & 19th century.

This 50 acre National Heritage Site overlooks the plains of Kingston; you can even see the Kingston Harbour and Wharf, and parts of Portmore in St. Catherine from the gardens of the Great House.

The best thing I think about this location is that you can have a tour of the Great House as an interlude between the Wedding Ceremony and Reception. Isn’t that just awesome? A little history tour to occupy the guests while the wedding party takes its photos.

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Admiral Mountain Great House
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Admiral Mountain Great House
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Even on an overcast day you can see the Kingston Wharfs
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Secluded Garden
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Inside intimate Garden

In my opinion, all 5 locations are beyond beautiful and would be perfect for Weddings. The Caymanas Country Club and Hope Gardens would be ideal for larger weddings, while Alhambra Inn, City View Hotel, and the Admiral Great House would be perfect for smaller more intimate weddings.

There are however, a couple other things one must consider when choosing a location:

  • Travel routes to the sites and distance from the city
  • Amenities provided on site
  • Whether catering will be provided or if you’ll have to source that
  • Provisions for changes in weather, because it is in fact a garden wedding

Now, based on those considerations, Alhambra Inn and City View Hotel would be ideal as they are located within the city and have indoor facilities available for changes in weather, they also provide catering. But, and this is probably me being really stubborn, Hope Gardens won the lot for me. It is centrally located, and I can already envision myself (and the entire wedding party) walking down that part of the Annuals Garden with the rows of roses on either side.

Can you spell ‘Dream Wedding’?

What do you think?

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4 comments

  1. Whoa! Decisions, decisions, decisions! [From my part of the world, Jamaica would be my ‘destination’ choice, period![ They all look just as lovely as the next to me. I’m sure the right venue will come your way – hopefully ‘Hope Gardens’ 🙂 Wherever the venue, it is the people who will make your special day special. It’s so exciting!!

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  2. Hey! Funny enough 3 of thoSe locations are where we had in mind. Decided on on, booked it, got a refund because they said it was already booked, ended up somewhere else (CityView) and loved it! Congrats Char! I pray your journey of preparation is a blessing and your impending marriage will also be even more of a blessing. 🙂

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    • Thanks Tamz, really appreciate the prayer. I remember you had yours at City View that’s how it was even on my list, but I never got to visit 😦 but I’m happy with Hope Gardens, cant wait! 🙂

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