Couples, Jamaica is THE place to get married. Sun-kissed wedding snaps aside, wedding venues in Jamaica span the spectrum from beach chic to luxe-laden resorts with all the trimmings. Bespoke weddings are made all the easier with easy access to wedding planners – and independent marriage officers that take care of the pesky paperwork. Even the fanciest venues recognise that some couples just want to get hitched and then fire up the barbecue on the sands. Packages for all price points and venues that can host just you and a couple of close friends or 650+ acquaintances. Let’s break it all down…
When to tie the knot
Before you can start looking at wedding venues in Jamaica, you’ve got to pin down the date for the big day. On this island, the weather isn’t always as sunny and perfect as you’d imagine. That said, sunshine isn’t exactly in short supply, so setting a date just depends on your attitude to rain risk. As a general guide, December to March is the best time of year for weddings in Jamaica. Which, is a bit of a sweeping statement, so let’s breakdown those months a little. December’s the coolest month, with temps peaking at 27°C. The sea’s warm enough for a post-ceremony dip but there’s a chance of seeing rain showers on 1 out of 3 days. In January and February, visitor numbers in general rise – along with prices. The mercury’s higher at 28°C, but showers are scarce – and short. There’s little to separate these two, other than to say February sees a little less rain.
Overall, March is the month to marry in, if you’re looking to hopefully avoid rain altogether. You’ll want to consider how make up, dresses and suits will cope with highs of 29°C though.
Orbzii tip: Even in rainy season (May – November) Jamaica’s downpours tend to be short-lived affairs. Get hitched in the morning, out of peak tourist season, to secure a cheaper venue.
The stunning wedding venues in Jamaica will woo you with their sandy beaches, all-inclusive wedding packages and eager-to-help wedding co-ordinators. But if you’re looking for something a little more bespoke, there is another way. You can hire an independent marriage officer via the Registrar General’s Department. They’ll help you plan your wedding, book a venue and, most importantly, sort out all the necessary paperwork. That said, let’s look at your options…
Half Moon - Montego Bay
The savvy folks at Half Moon have essentially created a one-stop shop for engaged couples in Jamaica. Their many – and varied – locations dotted around the 400 acres of premium ocean front real estate tick that ‘something for everyone’ box. You can pick from a cool and casual beach barbecue to a massive 650+ guest cocktail reception in the conference centre. Ok, so the conference centre comes off as just a little too corporate for most. But it’s probably the in between locations that are the winners. The Royal Pavilion hits the sweet spot. Sea views that come with a terrace and lawn space for the reception. Ideal for keeping the sand out of every guest’s wedding sandals.
Jake’s Hotel - Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth
If the luxurious stylings at Half Moon leave you wanting something luxe, but still a little bohemian, Jake’s Hotel is the one. This is a venue where couples can add a little colour to their big day. Buildings of almost every shade make up the boutique hotel that sits rather nicely on Treasure Beach. Jake’s captures just about every vibe you see in pictures of Jamaica, so if you’ve fallen in love with the island already – you’ll feel right at home here. They pride themselves in delivering weddings of all kinds – from barefoot beach chic to the full bow tie and bridal gown traditional wedding vibe. The one thing most couples like about Jake’s? It’s a family owned hotel with strong ties in the local community. Intimate and low key are the buzz words on this one.
Bahia Principe Luxury Runaway Bay - Salt Coopers, Runaway Bay
Before we take a deep dive into this 5-star belter. We’ve got two words for you. Free. Wedding. Yes, the nuptials legends at the Bahia Principe Luxury Runaway Bay can provide a free basic wedding for between 16-30 guests. Which, depending on the vision for your Jamaican wedding, could be an ideal option. And, you’ll see, the venue isn’t exactly low on plus points. Yes, it’s a sprawling resort – but some couples will appreciate the adult only tag. There’s no scampering children, but you’d probably have to file this huge hotel under lively in your wedding planning file. Salsa classes, sports, activities, beach parties will all be happening around your big day. Which could be just the inspo for you and your guests to get stuck in.
Much like fine wines, fine art and fine dining, not all beaches are to everyone’s taste. The texture and colour of the sands – along with the beach backdrop – could harsh with your wedding palette – which just won’t do. Though, you’ll find it hard not to fall in love with any spot on the coastal splendour at Seven Mile Beach. The vast expanse of sand means it’s usually possible to find a secluded spot and there’s plenty of scope for wedding photography. The usual beach staples are here – pristine soft sands and azure waters, but there’s a handy lighthouse, some swaying palms and occasionally a stark white catamaran idling just offshore. Boston Bay Beach doesn’t look like it’s been lifted from the airbrushed pages of a travel mag, but it’s not without charm. It’s a little less well known so sees fewer tourists.
And, if you’d like a little movement and romance in the wedding pics, the waves here tend to crash over the rocks – rather than casually come ashore.
Something a little… different
The pristine pavilions the all-inclusive spots are offering don’t appeal to all couples. Jamaica knows this. And, helpfully, has laid on some distinctly different wedding venues. Yes, Mystic Mountain is better known for its adrenaline boosting rides, but they also host weddings. You probably can’t say ‘I do’ on the actual Sky Lift, but that’s not going to stop you getting some wedding snaps high up in the mountains. The cascading waters of Konoko Falls make a rather stunning backdrop to your vows, and the folks there have wedding packages that start with just the venue but layer up to include catering, accommodation and venue.
Most of the packages offered by wedding venues in Jamaica are all-inclusive gigs, with catering included. But if you’re opting for fully bespoke, you’ll want to wheel in a caterer to provide you and your guests with an island menu to remember. Some companies, such as Pollyanna Caterers and Karl Hart offer a huge range of services – including a cake, cocktails, venue decor, sound system and wedding planning. Ideal if booking everything separately is leaving you feeling a little fraught.
Jamaican wedding traditions
Some Jamaican wedding traditions have fallen out of favour over the years. And, most couples will be thankful they no longer have to go and handpick the goat from the farm that will end up being the centrepiece of their wedding breakfast. Happily, a few of the more festive customs have lingered. Expect a small crowd of unfamiliar faces to appear on your wedding photos. Jamaicans love a good party, and may well want to celebrate with you – especially if you’re hosting a reception in a local restaurant, or on a public beach.
Despite the heat, it’s still customary to dress to impress on your wedding day, but you can get a little more bold with colour, if that’s your vibe.
And, if you want a day full of fun – your guests may well be expecting more than just a local DJ to keep them entertained. Packages on the island often include a trip to famous landmarks in Jamaica. Though, it’s down to you to decide whether you can get the entire party up a waterfall and back in heels and suits.
Lastly, the one custom that does differ in Jamaica, is the giving away of the bride. Two parents – not one, get to proudly escort the bride to be down the aisle.