Jamaica is a popular destination for couples looking for an exotic destination wedding. With the clear turquoise water and tropical sunsets, what’s not to love? Not only is Jamaica a beautiful backdrop for the ultimate summer wedding, but its culture is filled with unique wedding traditions.
Here are six Jamaican wedding traditions you may not know about.
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The Cake Is A Big Deal
The cake is an important feature of any wedding, but in the Jamaican culture it’s especially important. Jamaican Black Rum Cake is baked for weddings and carried in procession to the ceremony. Everyone is silent during this procession and the cake is covered in white lace which is then unveiled. It’s not like your average packet mix cake either – it includes aromatic spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg and dried fruit that has been soaking in rum since the engagement. Not to mention, it’s ideal that you burn the sugar in order to give the cake its dark colour. Now, this is a tradition we could get on board with.
Finding it difficult to find a reception venue? This isn’t a problem for many Jamaicans as their backyards can also double as a wedding venue. Traditionally, the reception is held in a marquee in the backyard of the groom. The community helps to build the hut but the groom must not work. He is there to guide and observes the process (quite like most grooms, Jamaican or not). It’s unclear if this is still a widely practised tradition in the modern life.
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Goat Is On The Menu
Traditional Jamaican wedding food includes two staple ingredients; goat curry and rum. While the rum is in the cake, a goat is usually chosen by the bride and groom prior to the wedding. It is then killed and used to make the curry which will be served at the reception. The curry is slow cooked for hours and is packed with flavour.
The Giving Away
Walking down the aisle becomes a family affair in Jamaican weddings. The bride is traditionally given away by both her mother and father. With the dominant religion of Jamaica being Christianity, the ceremony doesn’t differ much from many western weddings.
Partying Till The Morning
A wedding is a great excuse for a party and Jamaican weddings take full advantage of that. ‘The more the merrier’ is the mantra, with it being quite common for guests to turn up uninvited. The reception will last until daybreak and it’s expected that guests will stay late. A pair of comfortable dancing shoes are a necessity.
Tun T’anks Sunday
The wedding doesn’t stop after the reception has finished. On the Sunday following the wedding, the attendees are invited back to the bride’s home after church to partake in further celebrations. This is known as Tun T’anks Sunday. This can sometimes be bigger than the first reception and, without surprise, there is an abundance of cake and rum available.
Written by Sarah Mourtos