One Couple's Chic Wedding Weekend in Jamaica
Porsha Summerville was exhausted—but didn't mind a bit. As an account manager for a fashion designer, she had been in Paris for 10 days—and had spent every night on the phone with Terry Baawuah. The two had recently connected at a party in New York City and, feeling an instant spark, discovered they could talk about anything. "We were head over heels, chatting eight hours a day," she says. When she returned home, they became inseparable; after a month of dating, Terry invited Porsha on vacation in Jamaica. They explored the island—and left even more in love.
Six years later, Porsha was again headed to Paris, and Terry, who is now a senior manager for a data-and-analytics company, joined her. He planned to propose but knew she'd be suspicious, so he took her to jewelry stores and played dumb—never hinting that he already had a ring. Later, in the Tuileries Garden, he popped the question while a photographer he'd hired snapped shots on the sly. "It seemed simple at the time, but the pictures look so glamorous," Porsha says. The pair knew they wanted a destination wedding. "Terry has family in Ghana [his birthplace] and London and all over," says Porsha, "and we like to travel." They decided on Jamaica, in honor of their first trip, and chose the Tryall Club for its elegance and "wow factor" views. "We didn't want to get married on a beach," Terry says. The festivities began with bachelor and bachelorette parties on Thursday and continued Friday with a welcome party at Half Moon resort. "By Saturday, we'd gotten to hang with everybody, so we didn't have to spend much time greeting at the wedding," he says.
The Christian ceremony took place on June 24, 2017, on a hill overlooking the ocean; afterward, guests moved to the waterfront reception. "When we entered, we didn't even get to the dance floor—they were all so excited, they met us on the walkway," says Porsha. The couple eventually shared their first dance, swaying together to Sade's "Kiss of Life," performed by a friend. "She has a lyric in the song: 'Look at the sky, it's the color of love,'" recalls Porsha. "And during our dance, the sky was the most beautiful pinks and blues we'd ever seen! It was a perfect moment."
The Night Before
Porsha's sister held a golden pineapple at the welcome party. Rum punch was the unofficial signature drink of the weekend.
Everybody Have Fun Tonight
All were invited to the welcome party, which took place at the villa rented by the bride's family. Porsha surprised Terry by hiring a fire-eater as the entertainment.
"I normally wear my hair in a big afro, but I wasn't sure how it would hold up in the Jamaican humidity, so an updo was the best solution for me," Porsha says. The gold string woven throughout was inspired by some of Janelle Monáe's recent hairstyles.
Nicholas Kirkwood heels added another touch of gold to Porsha's ensemble.
Friends and Family, in Fashion
African-inspired attire or all white was the dress code the first night. And some guests, like these, continued the theme on the wedding day, too.
The Flower Girl
Seven-year-old Mirielle, a niece to Porsha and Terry, was all smiles on the big day.
Dressed to Impress
By Your Side
Their bridal party could easily have been 10 to 20 people, but instead they opted to keep things simple, with one maid of honor and two best men.
"We were going for a natural but elegant vibe," Porsha says of the celebration's aesthetic. "We didn't want to take away from the beauty of Jamaica, so we focused on lighting and natural green elements."
The Grand Entrance
"As soon as I saw Terry, I was overwhelmed with emotion and started crying hysterically," Porsha says. Once she pulled herself together, she moved down the stairs to her mother and grandmother, who walked her down the aisle.
Mirielle sprinkled white rose petals down the aisle. Her dress was by Abbyabbie.Li.
The Ring Bearer
London, who was four-years-old at the time, wore J.Crew for his moment in the spotlight.
There was no official color palette for the wedding, so it was complete coincidence that many of Porsha's friends—including her best friend from college, Torrie Duckson (left), and her maid of honor, Nyja Chambers—turned up wearing shades of blush.
The Sounds of the Celebration
A Caribbean steel band provided the soundtrack to cocktail hour at the Tryall Club.
After the ceremony, Terry posed on the pier with his two best men, Kwadwo "Kay" Yeboah-Acquah (left) and Gregory Kornegay.
As Q-Tip's "Vibrant Thing" played, Porsha and Terry were first introduced as husband and wife on the Almond Tree Lawn in front of the ocean. "Terry's aunt threw her kente cloth on the ground and we danced on top of it," Porsha says. "I could not stop smiling."
On the day of the wedding, rain threatened to ruin the outdoor gathering. "It would have been totally different inside and it would have defeated the whole purpose of having it at that venue," Porsha says. The bad weather ultimately passed through before the ceremony started and helped cool down the hot temperature. "It was actually a blessing," Porsha says.
Dinner was served on the lawn, where guests were treated to a prime view of the ocean.
Porsha and Terry sat at a table away from the others, which allowed them to talk and laugh freely. "It felt like a private dinner for two even though we had 140 guests there," Terry says.
"We wanted dinner to feel relaxed yet upbeat," Porsha says. "A major part of that was making sure the lighting and music were executed properly." Candles added a warm glow to the tables, bistro lights hung overhead, and the DJ played old Motown and R&B hits.
Bust a Move
"This couple, Nancy and Reggie Butler, literally danced the entire weekend away," Terry says.
The couple participated in a money dance, a West African tradition where the bride and groom are showered with bills as a sign of prosperity. "I don't remember the exact amount we went home with, but it was more than I expected," Porsha says. "Our loved ones sent us into our marriage with lots of good fortune and wishes."
Location and catering, The Tryall Club
Welcome-party location, Half Moon
Flowers, décor, and rentals, Tai Flora Luxe
Photography, Jillian Mitchell
Officiant, Ashley P. Williams
Calligraphy, Nancy Letts
Cake, Leanne Cooke-Popkin of Cakes by Noida
Bride's gown and veil, Rubin Singer
Engagement ring and wedding bands, Roman Malakov Diamonds
Makeup, Dre Brown
Flower-girl dress, Abbyabbie.Li
Groom's tuxedo, bow tie, and pocket square, Musika Frère
Lighting, Elite Media Concepts
Transportation, Jamaica Tours Limited