“My First Destination Wedding” by WPIC alumni, Stefaney Campbell of Ase Events
Last year I was approached by a couple to assist with planning their destination wedding in Jamaica, I was honoured and over the moon for such an opportunity. However, right when I got home, feelings of fear and doubt took over. I immediately consulted with my “life partner” as he is my confidante and the one person who consistently manages to talk me off the ledge and bring me back to reality. With his help, I was able to gather my thoughts and decided to go for it! I was able to ease the fear and self-doubt because both my of my parents hail from the beautiful paradise island of Jamaica. I’m no stranger to the island; I have visited the island every year since I was 3 years old. I knew I would be able to execute a successful destination wedding because of my strong ties to the island and my pride in sharing my culture. Becoming a wedding planner was not the profession I imagined I would pursue. After many life experiences and in-depth soul searching, the decision of pursuing this career path felt right.
Asé Events Inc. was officially Incorporated in September 2017. I have been blessed with an amazing business partner who creates a balance in our company (Ying and Yang so to speak). I am excited to share with you my May 2018 experiences during a destination wedding that I planned.
That’s just the half of it! When I became a certified wedding planner with WPIC in January 2015, the first thing I did was jump on the Alumni Forum. This was a defining moment for me. Why you may ask? This is where I came across the profile of Jennifer Borgh of Borghinvilla and immediately thought how amazing she must be and knew I wanted to meet her one day. She was an organic and genuine inspiration for me. When it was time to find a location for the destination wedding, 5 options were presented and Borghinvilla was THE ONE. Can you imagine how excited I was? The whole time I was thinking, “keep it professional Stephaney”! Borghinvilla is a breathtaking event venue ideal for weddings and other special events. Please bear with me as I try to fit all the fabulous features of this venue into one blog.
Let’s start with the obvious. Borghinvilla sits on approximately 2 acres; boasting a Cliff-side view of the Caribbean sea along the north coast and what I like to call a little slice of heaven. What I love most about this venue is the central location quietly nestled off the main highway which allows clients and their guest easy access to the Montego Bay Airport, some of the top all inclusive resorts, night life and family friendly adventures. My oh my, the ambiance both day and night, was surreal and easily transitions to any feeling you are trying to execute. The privacy and exclusivity of the property are like no other. As I encourage prospective clients to truly embody the culture of Jamaica, Borghinvilla easily exudes the essence of Jamaica.
The staff at Borghinvilla is on a whole other level. I felt as if I were with family to say the least. Everyone was so on the ball and made everything look so effortless. For instance; my clients declined tents and it just so happened to rain on the day of the wedding causing a 2 hour delay and the sound equipment had a glitch, Christian, Chun, and the rest of the staff were right there to assist with getting everything back on track. Through it all they also took time to remind me how composed I was and what a great job I was doing. It was a great pleasure working with Jennifer and her staff, being my first destination wedding I felt support and guided through the entire process.
My clients, being in their mid thirties, had a zest for night life and requested fire dancers, fresh coconut water, a steel band, endless jerk chicken, lobster, and everything in between. I had to deliver! Team work makes the dream work. Nikki Parsons of Dream Weddings Jamaica, who has been in the industry for over a decade in Ocho Rios, was able to satisfy all my requests and managed to exceed the expectations of both my clients and myself. Nikki is definitely one of my most valued and appreciated assets on the ground in Jamaica. Building a strong, trust worthy, and professional team was one of the many lessons I have learned along this journey.
With 120 guest, 82 people coming in from overseas ( Canada, United Kingdom, Unites States, and St.Lucia) transportation was a major factor as well. Salisa Wong of Salisa Tours ended up being another solid asset to Asé Event’s Inc. Salisa Tours took care of all transpiration needs from airport transfers to adventure excursions. Providing nothing short of safe, friendly and professional service. Gratitude is the least I can express. I am still receiving calls on how amazing everyone a part of Asé Events Inc Team Jamaica is.
WOW! Venue and Vendors have been covered. It’s Wedding day, Yay! This is the part where you get a sneak peak behind the scenes. I woke up at the Grand Bahia Principe, stepped out onto the terrace with my newspaper and orange juice “living the dream”. Just kidding. For the wedding party, the day started with a 6am breakfast. I was blessed with a laid back easy going couple who took the Jamaican motto “ Jamaica, no problem” literally. After the wedding party had finished enjoying their delicious breakfast, they were ushered to the venue for wedding day preparations. Everyone was in great spirits. Observing the innate bond, love, support and special moments being shared between friends who have become family was remarkable. At moments, trying to keep everyone together and on time was a whole other story, Luckily, Paula, my assistant for the day, helped out greatly in this area.
With a 2 hour delay due to rain I had to think quick and make the best of the situation. I had to keep the guest entertained while also figuring out logistics due to the inclement weather. In the end, I was able to keep the guests preoccupied by initiating an impromptu icebreaker session where all the guests swapped stories about how they knew the couple. Believe it or not, the guests thought it was a great idea because they preferred to be conversing and enjoying the ambiance of what turned out to be a perfect Jamaican evening.
In closing , my first destination wedding was a fantastic experience. I am so proud of myself for taking a leap of faith after being inactive for almost 2 years, it is never too late. Having a supportive team and being able to share my culture and heritage were the highlights for me. Learning to evaluate client needs and or wants, building and cultivation professional relationships, meeting vendors and others industry professionals are just a few of the lessons and experiences along my journey. I look forward to many more destination weddings. The feeling of doing what you love, combined with passion, drive, and being the individual to deliver the most important day of a couple’s life is absolutely spectacular. If I ever lose the feeling of fireworks going off inside of me I know my journey has come to an end. I hope I was able to inspire anyone thinking of adding destination wedding to their already amazing services.
I would like to extend a special thank you to Tracey and Danielle of WPIC for giving me the opportunity to share my experience.