If you are debating whether or not to have a destination wedding, today’s feature wedding may convince you to book your tickets. Tanika Gray and James Valbrun and had a beautiful Caribbean wedding in Montego Bay, Jamaica full of stunning natural scenery and sentimental moments. Every element of their wedding exuded beauty starting with their ceremony, which took place on the top of a hill overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The couple’s vows were just as captivating. , shares, “One of the most special moments during the ceremony was when James and I recited our own vows. Both James and I could not hold back our tears. We honored my late father, Rev. Dennis Lloyd Gray by placing his picture on the seat next to my mom from their wedding day. We also released doves in his memory.”
The bride is from Jamaica, so the couple made sure to incorporate her culture through music and dance. A top steel band played during their cocktail hour, and their wedding favors included rum cake and Jamaican “black” cake. Guests headed inside for the reception, were they were greeted by colorful purple and blue décor with Peacock accents. Everyone partied the night away, jamming to Reggae and R&B jams and Fotos by Fola beautifully captured every moment.
- Wedding Date: 08/18/2012
- Wedding Location: Ceremony – Ritz Carlton Montego Bay White Witch Golf Course – Reception – Ritz Carlton Montego Bay Ballroom
- Wedding Theme: Classic Glam with Island Sophistication
- Wedding Flowers: Orchids and peacock feathers
- First Dance Song: During the reception both James and I ‘performed” special dances to each other. My rendition was Beyonce’s, “Love on Top” and his was, The Flamingos, “I’ve Only Got Eyes for You”
- Wedding Cake Flavors: Rum Cake
- Wedding Menu Favorite: Rum Cake
- Bridesmaids Gifts: Custom robes
- Groomsmen Gifts: Cigars
How They Met/ The Proposal
We met on October 21st, 2009 at the W Hotel in midtown Atlanta. I know this statement is cliche, but it was truly love at first sight. I had just gotten off work and a group of friends and James walked into the lounge. When he said his name I couldn’t hear him, and I asked him to repeat himself; he repeated it 3 times and finally said, “James, like King James.” That night we went to the famous Atlanta eatery, Midtown Diner and talked into the wee hours of the morning. We courted for two years, and after asking my mom for her blessing, James popped the question on December 10th, 2011 at TOP CHEF Kevin Gillepsie’s former restaurant WoodFire Grill. The night we got engaged, we went back to the W hotel where we met in midtown for a nightcap!
Our wedding ceremony was held on August 18th, 2012 at 5pm at the Ritz Carlton Montego Bay White Witch Golf Course, on top of the hill, overlooking the Caribbean Sea. I was escorted down the aisle by my mom, Pearline Gray and my Godfather, Dr. Rev. Dennis Archibald.
The reception was held at the Ritz Carlton Montego Bay Ballroom. Our cocktail hour was complete with the best steel band in Jamaica, Silver Birds Steel Band. During the reception both James and I ‘performed” special dances to each other. My rendition was Beyonce’s, “Love on Top” and his was, The Flamingos, “I’ve Only Got Eyes for You”. We also showed a video to our guests complete with baby pictures and personal messages to our new in-laws.
Our guests feasted on filet mignon, chicken and salmon. We danced the night away listening to reggae legends and R&B kings. We exited with firework sparklers. We honeymooned in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
Incorporation of Culture
Our island was all about our cultures. We were married on the island of Jamaica, where I was born. We got married on the famous White Witch Golf Course, overlooking the Caribbean Sea. We had a traditional steel band and danced the night away to reggae music. Our wedding favors included a special note to our guests and a Wray and Nephew rum cream and Appleton rum cake, and traditional Jamaican “black” cake. We called it cake and cream!
Most Memorable Moment
One of the most special moments during the ceremony was when James and I recited our own vows. Both James and I could not hold back our tears. We honored my late father, Rev. Dennis Lloyd Gray by placing his picture on the seat next to my mom from their wedding day. We also released doves in his memory. I released my dove but for some reason it would not fly away. I guess that was my daddy, saying he’ll be with me always. After being pronounced husband and wife we strolled down the aisle to R.Kelly’s “Happy People”. We took pictures immediately following the ceremony and almost missed the sunset. We also- showed a video to our guests complete with baby pictures and personal messages to our new in-laws that we had not seen prior to the wedding.
Have separate bathrooms!