Wide Awake: The Destination 
Bringing some sunshine to Jamaica
By Marianne Aleardi

Last month, Joe and I were lucky enough to attend a destination wedding in Jamaica. We happen to love going to Jamaica – it’s beautiful there. Always warm. Always bright. Always sunny. Until of course, on one very special day, it isn’t.

The wedding was for the daughter of very close friends of ours, Lauren. We’ve known her since she was in kindergarten, and while I know we’re entering the stage in our life where we’ll be invited to more and more weddings, Lauren is the first of our friends’ children to be married. (There’s already another who just got engaged. So here we go.)

This was our first destination wedding and I have to say, it’s wonderful to be invited. It’s like someone is forcing you to go on vacation, which I fully support. And while you’re excited for the trip, you’re also excited for the very special event that will happen when you get there. You see people at the resort and think, “Are they going to the wedding?”

When we (very happily) arrived in Montego Bay, it was cloudy. We had no worries, though, because it’s never cloudy for long in Jamaica. We figured the sun would be shining the next morning. But then we woke up and it wasn’t shining, and it was kind of rainy. Still ok, because it never rains long in Jamaica. It’s like Orlando, you might get a quick soaking, but then the sun comes out.

But when it was the day before the wedding and it was still cloudy and rainy, we started checking our weather apps, which said there was 100% chance of rain at 3, 4 and 5 pm the next day. The wedding started at 4.


When you’re in Jamaica and you see 100%, you don’t believe it. Because it’s Jamaica. Everyone there has this very laid-back, slow-moving attitude, so you think maybe the weather people aren’t paying close attention. Or they’re just taking a long time to update the app. Whatever reason, the forecast couldn’t be true. It can’t rain in Jamaica on such a monumental day.

In the early afternoon on the wedding day, it was cloudy but not raining. From the beach, we could see people setting up white chairs and a flower arch on the spa lawn. That made us feel good, because we assumed they knew something we didn’t. Or they had really good radar. But every time we checked, our app still said 100% at 3, 4 and 5 pm.


It started to rain right around 3, and we were encouraged by that. Get it out of the way. At 3:30, we got a text saying they were waiting for the storm to blow over so the wedding was being pushed to 4:30. Around 4:15, we watched from afar as they took all the chairs off the lawn.

We got into vans that drove us to the other side of the resort. We had umbrellas and walked quickly, trying not to step in puddles or get in the way of the wind, which was whipping pretty hard. We arrived at a white pavilion with open walls that had a string quartet in the corner (playing songs from Bridgerton!) and the flower arch at the front. Through the arch, you could see the Caribbean Sea. It stopped raining, and it was beautiful.

We sat in the second row, and I kept having this one thought: Lauren is the sunshine. Does she know that? Does she know she is the sunshine?

I wanted so much to find her and tell her that, but I’m not insane so I stayed in my seat.

When Lauren walked down the aisle holding the arms of her mom and dad on either side of her, she may have had the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on anyone. She knew. She was choosing to focus on how truly happy this day was.

And it was. It was a blast actually. White hydrangeas hung above tables in the dining room. People drank a lot and danced even more. (We even watched one of Lauren’s friends and the best man get really close, and they had just met. So yeah, that added some fun drama to the night.)

At this beautiful destination wedding, we got to see a young couple start their life in the best of ways – by filling the night with their own brightness and warmth. I’m so grateful I was there. It was the happiest, happiest day.

December 2022
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