Old school tradition meets new age innovation
Krysta Anderson, Gleaner Writer
Whether you are getting married, getting hitched or tying the knot, it's all the same thing ... a wedding. It is a legal declaration of love and is regarded as essential for couples whose ultimate desire is to spend the rest of their lives committed and loyal to each other. A great deal is placed on the planning process, and the decision-making is crucial in determining and establishing a couple's ideal wedding. The practice of wedding ceremonies and receptions in Jamaica has evolved and developed from that of sacred tradition into a new-age innovation. Whilst the ultimate goal might be the same, the constituents of the ceremony have changed through the years.
Dresses & Decor
Marguerite Anderson from Petals & Promises Limited affirmed that over the years, the style of dresses and the décor concepts have changed. Wedding dresses, she declared, have transformed from covering the body into revealing more skin. "The leg of mutton sleeves (long sleeves) on traditional wedding dresses no longer exist, as sleeves are now either short or non-existent," she declared. The custom originally for Jamaican weddings comprised of balloons, flowers and paper streamers. However, she noted that in recent times, fabric and fancy lights are the order of the day for wedding décor. She also highlighted that up-lighting, used in the corners of tents, has replaced pepper lights, and candles of various shapes and forms have now come to the forefront of wedding décor items. As it relates to the ceremony, she stated, "A lot of couples now write their own vows, as opposed to reciting the traditional vows," she ended.
Michelle Phillips, manager of The Wedding Planner Plus Limited, also acknowledged that wedding ceremonies have evolved. She disclosed that the ceremonies have become more intimate in nature, straying away from the big party settings. In the same breath, she noted that this occurrence is in keeping with what the bride and the groom really want. The church is no longer considered the only place for ceremonies and couples are now incorporating gardens and beachfront properties as primary locations. She admits however, that although weddings have become more intimate, nowadays, it has to be about making a huge statement. "Wedding décor has grown into elegance and extravagance. Couples are now having more cocktail receptions. Leather sofas are being employed to give a lounge setting, and chandeliers are used to give an air of sophistication," she ended. The seating choices have also changed. Chiavari chairs are beginning to upstage chair covers and tie backs and wedding cakes have shifted standards, switching from the traditional fruitcake to include more variety.
She too, also agrees that wedding-dress choices have transformed. stating, "Covering has gone through the door. Sexier gatherings on the side of dresses as well as accentuating a bride's figure are top on the list of modern wedding gowns." Additionally, she made it clear that some women are now getting married in coloured dresses, rather than wearing the pure white dresses. She also spoke about the evolution of floral arrangements, "Floral arrangements have become larger, more bountiful and more colourful." She continued, "Weddings back in the day integrated mint green and peach as mainstream wedding colours, but, now, these are considered ancient wedding colours for flowers. Couples are currently opting for orange, purple, plum, fuchsia and turquoise colours," she ended.
She also asserted that even bridal seasons have adjusted. "June was always seen as the traditional month of weddings. Last year showed December being a more popular month, and a lot of people were also having February weddings" she declared.