Palm Prints and Stripes Set the Tone for This Couple's Destination Wedding in Jamaica
In the summer of 2014, Abbey Lipson and Jeffrey Silver swiped right on each other on the same dating app. Their relationship started off slow—in part because of Abbey's long work hours at the time—but once it started picking up speed it just never slowed down. Two years later, Jeffrey took Abbey out to dinner at their favorite French restaurant in their New York City neighborhood. There, Jeffrey announced he had planned a surprise weekend getaway. The pair had been discussing an engagement for some time and Abbey knew he was working on the ring, but the groom-to-be knew he had to deceive her so she didn't see the proposal coming. "I'm a hopeless romantic and wanted to do something over the top," says Jeffrey. So, off to Mohonk Mountain House in the Catskills they went.
Upon arrival, they decided to go on a hike. He was nervous, and she kept stopping at gazebos and other viewpoints. "I was over the moon to just get away from the city and be out in nature," Abbey says. "I was soaking everything in and actually told Jeffrey that it was too bad the ring wasn't ready because this would be the perfect place to propose." As they approached the summit, he spotted a sky tower and knew that's where he knew he wanted to pop the question. Abbey ran ahead of him where she once more was taken aback by the views and scenery—not noticing Jeffrey behind her, down on one knee. She didn't turn around until he said, "Hey Abbey…" and that's when she spun to see him, the diamond-ring glistening in the sunlight, and then started bawling. The question was asked, the answer was given, and they celebrated with a picnic, a spa trip, and some horseback riding.
Eighteen months later, they went to another equally spectacular setting for their destination wedding—Montego Bay, Jamaica. On December 3, 2017, with 87 loved ones in attendance, they tied the knot at Round Hill Hotel & Villas, a spot that inspired the design of the day. Graphic stripes, tropical prints, dark wood, and a pineapple motif were used throughout the event. As for the mood? "It really felt like we were on vacation with all of our closest friends and family and a wedding was just thrown into the mix," says Abbey. "Everyone was there to celebrate us and at the end of the weekend no one wanted to go back to reality. It was a surreal, dreamlike fantasy."
To build excitement for the guests, Mekala Tinnin of Tie That Binds designed save-the-dates with paper doors (like those found at the wedding venue) that swung open to welcome them to the celebration that awaited them in Jamaica. Bob Marley lyrics peppered the stationery pieces, as did the couple's pineapple monogram.
"The invitations were a direct reflection of the thoughtful design Ralph Lauren executed at Round Hill," says Tinnin of Tie That Binds. She took her cue from the venue's dark wood details, brass accents, and lush landscapes. Vintage botanical prints were used to create a palm leaf collage which wrapped around the invite. The gold foil text was printed on walnut wood and the location's signature stripe was used for the envelope liners.
Round Hill Hotel & Villas was chosen because of the Old-World charm it exudes and how it feels like home when you stay there. "Being there transports you back to the era of the Kennedys and the 1950s and 1960s," says Abbey. "It has this understated elegance and is posh without being stuffy. It's literally a slice of paradise."
"It was important to me that the wedding design reflect the venue," the bride adds. "It had so much character to begin with I just wanted to build off it. We drew inspiration for the color palette from the interior design of Round Hill, and I added in blush for a pop of color and to give the design a softer feel."
Tinin describes the venue-inspired wedding aesthetic perfectly: "It was a timeless and crisp approach to a tropical destination wedding with thoughtful nods to the retro-meets-Colonial-flair at Round Hill."
Welcome to Jamaica
Beach-ready jute totes were stuffed with tissue paper sporting the couple's signature palm print and plenty of local goodies, like rum cakes, plantain chips, Ting soda, and a bottle of rum. Necessities like water, ear plugs, and aspirin were also tucked inside.
Abbey tried on three dozen or so wedding dresses at Kleinfeld Bridal before she chose her gown—a lace-accented, sheer-bodice Reem Acra number that she customized with cap sleeves. She accessorized with a simple veil, pearl-and-diamond Mikimoto earrings, a diamond tennis bracelet borrowed from her mom, and Bella Belle shoes.
Jeffrey's ensemble was from The Black Tux. He first considered wearing a white dinner jacket because it is traditionally worn for afternoon soirées and common for a tropical, elegant affair. When he and Abbey learned that Ian Fleming (the creator of James Bond) once stayed at the wedding venue it solidified the ensemble. Even his slim bow tie was influenced by the more recent films in the spy franchise.
A Tropical Bouquet
As many of the guests were not Jewish, the cultural and religious traditions and the meaning behind them were outlined on the programs, which were tied to the wood chairs with striped ribbons.
The Ceremony Setup
The ceremony took place on the lawn in front of the restored plantation home overlooking the Caribbean—a location that gave Abbey goosebumps the first time she saw it.
The wood chuppah was dressed up with asymmetrical clusters of monstera leaves, roses, hydrangeas, lisianthus, eucalyptus, palm leaves, and ferns. It would later serve as a backdrop for family portraits. "I loved my chuppah and wanted to make sure I had tons of pictures in front of it," says the bride.
The Ceremony Soundtrack
Jeffrey's late father was a Broadway musician and to honor his memory, the couple chose to play one of his favorite songs as they walked down the aisle. The musicians performed "The Shadow of Your Smile" (which the groom's dad played for his mom at their own wedding) for Jeffrey's entrance on the arms of his mother and uncle. Abbey selected "Small World" from Gypsy for her processional with her parents.
Pineapples in Paradise
Abbey couldn't resist customizing the kippot with the pineapple that was part of their monogram.
Though not religious, Abbey and Jeffrey were both raised in Jewish households and they wanted to pay respects to their backgrounds with a traditional Jewish wedding. Abbey's uncle officiated and the couple's other aunts and uncles recited the seven blessings before the couple exchanged the standard Jewish vows.
An instrumental version of Bob Marley's "One Love"—the lyrics of which appeared on the save-the-dates and invitations—played as the happy couple recessed up the aisle. Then it was off to take photos before joining their guests at a Jamaican-themed cocktail hour where everyone enjoyed the sunset, the sounds of an acapella group, and appetizers like jerk pork wontons with watermelon chutney, ceviche with Scotch Bonnet oil, barbecue beef on plantain tostones, and brie tartlets with vanilla-mango chutney.
Fruity Escort Cards
Tie That Binds created the laser-cut pineapple escort cards mounted to gold paper and displayed in brass holders.
The Reception Tables
Round tables covered with linens were mixed with dark wood tables to complement the aesthetic of the resort. Tall, asymmetrical arrangements of palms and white and pink blooms added height, dimension, and a soft romanticism. Rum-colored mercury glass votives added a nice glow.
The long tables were set with cotton runners, low floral arrangements, and black taper candles. A simple menu with cotton-striped ribbon tails draping over the edges outlined the delicious meal being served. It began with a warm goat cheese medallion served on organic baby greens with tarragon dressing. A hibiscus and sorrel sorbet came out as an intermezzo. For their entrées, guests chose between four different options.
The Table Numbers
Abbey and Jeffrey's monogram was used for wax seals that topped each table number.
Time for a Shot!
Wanting to highlight the local culture and traditions, while also celebrating the major exports of Jamaica, the couple had diamond-shaped place cards printed with each guest's name and one of four quotes, including "Live, laugh, love, rum, repeat" and "When life gives you pineapples, just add rum." The color of the place card dictated each person's entrée selection and the shot of rum placed on top was enjoyed during the toast before the meal.
The Wedding Cake
The couple stuck with tropical flavors for their wedding cake: a coconut cake with buttercream filling lightly flavored with coconut rum, and a vanilla rum cake with ginger buttercream filling. The striped design was adorned with fresh hydrangeas and the bride and groom took the top tier with them on their honeymoon in Ochos Rios.
Adirondack chairs were jazzed up with custom pillows to give guests cozy seating to settle into after the meal.
Time to Dance
The newlyweds chose Adele's version of "Make You Feel My Love" for their first dance song. "The band's vocalist was fabulous," says Abbey. "Everyone was screaming and clapping at the end. You would have thought it was a concert."
Paper lanterns and string lights glowed over the dance floor. "Dancing under a full moon with the sounds of the waves crashing in the background, surrounded by our dearest family and friends…I can't think of anything more romantic," says the bride. "Being in Jeff's arms and seeing all our loved ones celebrating with us was such a memorable moment."
Abbey and her father then shared a dance to Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of my Life" and then Jeffrey and his mom took a spin to "It Had to Be You" by Frank Sinatra. One more planned dance—the hora—took things up a notch, with the couple (and then their parents) getting lifted up on chairs by their guests.
Photography, Amanda K Photography
Location, Catering, and Cake, Round Hill Hotel & Villas
Flowers and Rentals, Tai Flora
Videography, Stanford Brown
Stationery and Event design, Tie That Binds
Cake, Rose Lee
Hair and Makeup, The Spa at Round Hill
Groom's dinner jacket, pants, studs, and slippers, The Black Tux
Kippot, J. Lowy Yarmulke Manufacturing