Morgan + Mike’s stunning beach wedding photographed by Janet Jarchow
I am so thrilled to share Morgan and Mike’s stunning Cayman beach wedding today. Their wedding day was on the same day as the Batabano festival on the island, and the carnival parade was passing by the hotel just as we were leaving to take our photos. We ended up walking down the middle of the parade route and there were hundreds of people cheering Morgan and Mike on and taking photos of us and congratulating them as we walked by. Even the police put their sirens on and cheered for them. I was stunning myself and struggled to get to my camera to snap a few pics, Mike and Morgan were a little embarrassed but knew it was such a unique and cool experience. It was definitely something they will never forget.
Morgan and Mike are originally from New York, New York and brought their closest friends and family to Cayman for a beautiful intimate beach wedding at The Wharf, Grand Cayman.
I asked Morgan a few questions about her stunning Cayman beach wedding. Let me share these in her own words.
Can you tell us a cute story/experience about you both?
We originally met in 1999 as kids, started dating in 2009 during high school/college, and got married in 2019. We got legally married at the City Hall near our apartment in New York before our wedding in Grand Cayman. I wore the same dress that day to City Hall as I wore to my high school graduation dinner that I attended with Mike back in 2009. I have photos from both days wearing the same dress.
How did you two meet?
We met just about 20 years ago (1999!) when our older brothers Rob and Joe started high school and became best friends and football teammates. We would see each other at the football games and Mike still says he remembers me from all the way back then. Mike eventually began middle school at the same all-boy school as our brothers and I went to the nearby all-girl “sister” school. Mike and I would see each other at dances and athletic events and of course at the bus stop. We became reacquainted and began talking in 2008 at a horse race that we both attended with our brothers and their group of friends. Although we hung out throughout that day, I didn’t think much of it. Mike took a chance by sending me flowers a few months later on Valentine’s Day in 2009, when I was in high school and he had recently started college. We then began talking and went on dates every day of Mike’s spring break of freshman year. Exactly one month after he sent the first bouquet of flowers, we were “officially” girlfriend and boyfriend!
How did he pop the question?
Mike proposed during our weekly Saturday routine of waking up together and having coffee on the couch while we talk and wake up. We were sitting on the couch in our pajamas when he said he had a question to ask and pulled out the ring. Of course I was overjoyed and said yes. We went for a walk to the seaport afterwards, and celebrated with my entire family at my parents’ house. The two of us then had a celebratory weekend with a spa day and a Billy Joel concert. It was so much fun! A funny story: Mike and I had dinner reservations on his birthday night, which just so happened to be the night before he proposed. When we met the hostess, she had asked if we were celebrating the engagement, but Mike hadn’t proposed yet! He was originally planning to propose that night before dinner but had changed the plan to wait until after dinner and there was some type of miscommunication with the restaurant. The look of horror on Mike’s face was hilarious but I pretended not to hear. Mike decided to wait until the next morning and it was perfect.
What was your favourite moments from the wedding?
One of my favorite moments of the wedding was reciting our own vows to each other. We put a lot of thought into writing them and it was really special and memorable to read them to each other in front of our closest friends and family. Another favorite moment was when the first fun song of the evening , one of our favorite songs, came on: Centerfold by J Geils Band. It got everybody dancing and Mike and I were jumping up and down singing and having so much fun. It was the kickoff for the party! Having a steel pan drummer for the cocktail hour was really fun and made for a nice environment. Our friend eventually took over the drums for awhile and surprised us all by playing well. It was really funny.
How would you describe your overall wedding experience?
I would describe our overall wedding experience as very relaxed, fun and go-with-the-flow. We never cared much about decor or fine details – we cared more about a casual and comfortable environment for us and our guests and wanted everybody to just have fun. I cared a lot about having good photos and video to memorialize the day, and knew that if we had enough food and drink for our guests, good music for dancing, and our closest family and friends were in attendance, we would have the most amazing time no matter what. Our wedding was very small and only included the people closest to us in our lives, so there was already a level of comfort that made for a lot of fun. I didn’t want to get wrapped up in the details or the pressure of having everything be perfect, and I’m so glad that we just focused on feeling well and being relaxed on our big day.
What advice would you offer other couples planning a destination wedding?
I would recommend doing your research and making as many decisions as early on as possible to avoid stress as the wedding gets closer. We had never been to the Cayman Islands before so we were totally clueless, but we spent a lot of time on Google maps and Yelp and made decisions based on the vendors that seemed to communicate well over email and phone and followed through. We made a lot of decisions early on in the planning process, which gave us the time and energy to focus on final details and the inevitable unforeseen circumstances in the last month or so. If you are planning a destination wedding, it’s likely that you’re thinking of a more relaxed or unique vibe, so make sure you do exactly what you want to do and make it your own. Most of all, I would say to just enjoy the destination and not stress too much about the wedding itself. Being in a special and beautiful location was already a treat for us and our guests and relieved a lot of pressure from the planning. There were a lot of things out of our control that either had to be addressed or ameliorated or just accepted – last minute entertainment cancellation, torrential rain during our outdoor rehearsal dinner, road closures that delayed all of our guests from getting to the ceremony, transportation taking our guests to the wrong venue! We didn’t know the surroundings or vendors or have any control, and everything worked out to make for a beautiful wedding and the most fun night we could have imagined.
What photography related advice would you offer to a couple?
I would say to think about particular moments or photos that you know you would like taken and make sure you voice that to the photographer so you get the shots you have in mind. If there are photos you don’t care about, voice that too, but trust the photographer’s opinion since you’ll probably appreciate taking the time when you look back at the photos. Something that was really important to me was to have fun and make sure we were enjoying the wedding and the moments we were living in real time – some of the best photos are the candid shots!
The team behind Morgan + Mike’s wedding!
venue: The Wharf, Grand Cayman
hair + make-up: Kaidan & Jenny Rock Gorgeous Hair Salon
wedding dresss: Grace Loves Lace
flowers + decor: Del from the Flower Dell
groom suit: J.Crew
wedding shoes: Bella Belle
wedding rings: Howard Engle