In most of my stories, I try to keep the “I” to a minimum – better to let the places I visit take center stage than go on about myself. But I had to make an exception with this story. Last year I was married in Jamaica, on a beautiful stretch of Negril’s seven-mile beach. Turns out there’s a huge market for destination wedding stories. I couldn’t resist.
Wedded Bliss in Jamaica
Remy Scalza, Postmedia News
In terms of spiciness, the Scotch bonnet pepper is about 30 times as hot as your average jalapeno – which probably explains why I’m sweating.
The jerk sauce at Best in the West Jerk Chicken Bar, a thatch-roofed shack alongside the main drag in Negril, Jamaica, is pretty much all Scotch bonnet peppers. I reach for a Red Stripe to douse the flames and pull my chair closer to the bar. Outside, sheets of tropical rain are falling, turning the dirt parking lot into a big mud puddle. “‘Bout time,” the bartender says, cracking open a beer for himself. “We need a break from de heat.” He’s right. It’s been 29 Celsius all week in Negril: gloriously hot and cloudless. There is, however, one problem with the rain. I’m getting married in 90 minutes on the beach. Just then, the wind picks up. Big drops whip sideways into the little jerk shack and sizzle when they hit the grill.
Couples choose to have a destination wedding for lots of reasons. It’s a chance to spend a whole holiday with family and friends, instead of just a hectic few hours. Guest lists tend to be smaller and costs lower. You get a vacation out of it. But paramount among the reasons we decided to tie the knot on the beach was the stress factor, or lack thereof. There’s an unwritten law that wedding anxiety is inversely proportional to distance from home and availability of umbrella drinks. This was important for us. My wife, Stephanie, was born without the Bridezilla gene. Aisle runners and wedding favours and matching boutonnieres don’t keep her up at night. And I’d be lying if I said I knew what a boutonniere was before this all started. So an island wedding seemed to make sense. It’s hard to sweat the small stuff when you’re sipping a banana daiquiri, feet in the sand, a few thousand miles removed from real life.
Of course, when it comes to the quintessential stress-free getaway, there’s still no place quite like Jamaica.
Click here to read the rest on The Province website.