Wedding and Honeymoon in Jamaica

Album Cover: Pretty Hate Machine

"If I was twice the man I could be, I'd still be half of what you need."
NIN / Ringfinger

Posted on April 12, 2008 11:38 AM in Personal
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

Photo of a Jamaican Sunset

I've been meaning to post this since around the minute I got home on March 25th. However, post-vacation withdrawals and an immense workload have made that rather difficult until now. Better late than never, though, so here goes...

A month ago to the day, my then fiancée and I were making last minute preparations for our trip to the Caribbean to get married. We caught a red eye flight on the night of March 12th that would take us from Seattle to Miami. We arrived in Miami at around 6am and had an unfortunate layover of around six hours before catching our next flight to Montego Bay, Jamaica. I say unfortunate because Miami International Airport has to be one of the grossest airports or even buildings I've ever been in. That being said, long layovers aren't necessarily a bad thing in general, as I'll get into a little later.

Landing in Montego Bay was a breathtaking experience, given that you only see shallow, crystal blue water until about the last second you hit the runway. As we taxied toward our gate, the sounds of Bob Marley began playing over the airplane sound system, which was a nice touch. I think that's when both my then fiancée and I realized we really were in Jamaica and finally about to get married.

Neither one of us got much sleep as we made our way to Jamaica, so that made all the airport/customs stuff a little more unbearable than usual, but luckily for us, the resort we would be staying in for the next week and a half had their own office and bar at the airport, so they made our first experience in Jamaica a positive one. After making sense of our luggage and my then fiancée's wedding dress, the porters told us to get comfortable and wait for the next bus to our resort, which would be arriving shortly. Sure enough, our bus arrived after around fifteen minutes or so, so we got on board along with a handful of other couples who we would soon learn were traveling either to the same resort as us, or to a sister resort not far from ours.

The bus ride from Montego Bay to Negril was a long one (about an hour and a half), but because the change in terrain and climate was so welcome to us, and because we had finally arrived in the paradise in which we'd be getting married, we were soaking up the surroundings the entire time. We also got somewhat accustomed to some of the geography and culture as our bus driver filled us in on some facts about where we were and about the people we encountered.

As we made our way along the Jamaican coastline, we also started to strike up conversation with a couple behind us -- Scott and Kirsten -- who informed us they were spending about four days in Jamaica and would be staying at the same resort as us. They were from Wisconsin, so they naturally had to bring up things that should remain unspoken, but it was all in good fun and we were pleased to immediately find a couple around our age that we might run into again once we got settled in at our resort.

Finally arriving at our resort, Couples Swept Away, was a relief if only for the fact that the two of us were so tired. However, we soon realized that we really were in paradise and that even the grandest of our expecations were likely to be surpassed in the days ahead.

One of our first impressions of what would become our home for the next twelve days was the view from our suite's veranda:

Veranda View

What's not to like about that?

Our suite had French doors leading out on to the veranda, and we very rarely closed them. It was nice to hear the waves slowly but consistently advancing and retreating along the shoreline each night. We very often ate a Caribbean-style continental breakfast out on the veranda, and most of our nights ended there, either enjoying incredible sunsets, breathing in the tropical air, or listening to the sounds of a short-lived rainstorm as it sent the local insects and amphibians into a frenzy.

The day after we arrived in Jamaica, we met with the on-site wedding coordinator to plan our wedding for the following day. It literally took us less than an hour to plan everything from the ceremony to the music to the flowers to the post-wedding photo shoot. It very quickly assured us that we had made the right decision many months prior to cancel the wedding we were planning in Seattle and simply head off toward the equator to get married by ourselves. The wedding coordinator that helped us that day became one of our favorite people from the entire trip.

The following day, at around 3pm on Saturday the 15th of March (gasp!), my wife Katie and I were married on the Jamaican shoreline with the sand between our toes. We had a small audience of beach-goers looking on as we shared our vows and eventually sealed the deal with a kiss, but to us it felt like we were the only ones there. It was an amazing series of moments that I know I will never forget.

Immediately following our wedding, my wife and I spent about an hour getting photographed by one of the resort's wedding photographers, who ended up being another one of our favorite people from the trip. Later that night, we had a romantic dinner on the beach planned, but one of the aforementioned rainstorms changed that plan a little bit.

I believe it was the following night that we were leaving one of the resort's open-air restaurants, Patois Patio, when I saw a face I recognized. I quietly but excitedly said to Katie: "I think that was Leroy Hill!" She immediately turned and called out his name, and he reacted as we hoped he would by turning around to see who, in Jamaica of all places, recognized him. She explained to him that we were from Seattle and were big Seahawks fans, and he seemed sincerely delighted to be recognized by fans so far from home. I took a picture of him with Katie, we both shook his hand (twice) and then I took a picture of him and his girlfriend (at the latter's request) before we parted ways. Needless to say we were pretty excited, not only to meet a Seahawk but to know we were staying at a resort at which a starting NFL linebacker would stay ;)

Since our wedding was officially over, the rest of our stay was devoted to our honeymoon. We had well over a week to lay out on the beach, enjoy the great food, wander a few steps beyond the resort border to buy some trinkets from the locals, etc. One of the locals, named "Spider," became another favorite of ours from the trip. He always had a smile for us, and his frequent shouts of things like "respect everytime!" made him all the more endearing to us.

Our other favorites from the trip had to be Dexter and Trillan. They were members of the resort's "Watersports" staff and we went out on a boat with them several times to go snorkling or to watch the sea life below from a glass bottom boat. I saw some of the biggest starfish I've ever seen and it was my first time snorkling. I don't quite take to the open water like Katie does, but we had fun nevertheless.

Eventually, our honeymoon neared its end and reality started to set in. We'd soon be making our way back home. Our last night in Jamaica, we saw the best sunset we had seen since arriving. It was probably the only one I saw that I didn't end up photographing, but I'm glad I didn't. That is one of several memories that I know I'll never lose.

Our trip home was probably our least favorite part of the trip, and not just for obvious reasons. The combination of a layover time in Dallas that was far shorter than the aforementioned one in Miami and a one hour stint on the Dallas runway made us miss our flight home to Seattle, so we ended up having to stay an extra night at a hotel in Dallas. Needless to say, its views and amenities didn't quite stack up to what we had gotten used to in Negril. But with a little fortitude, we survived and eventually managed to return home, newly wed and still very much holding on to every short-term memory we could possibly retain about our incredible wedding and honeymoon in Jamaica.

Comments

Ryan on April 13, 2008 at 1:39 AM:

Many well-deserved congratulations!

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Bernie Zimmermann on April 13, 2008 at 10:26 AM:

Thanks, Ryan.

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Charmaine on November 11, 2010 at 6:40 PM:

Awesome, I am from Montego Bay. Yes it is breathtaking at times. Can't wait to take my hubby there, hopefully he'll enjoy it as much as you both did...He complains now of the heat in the summer-time here in Ohio.....He may not like it back home....We'll see...I am proud of my homeland, thanks for posting.

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