One Couple’s Italian-Inspired Destination Wedding at Pattoo Castle in Negril, Jamaica

These days, “we go way back” means just one thing: “we started chatting on Instant Messenger.” Yahnique Richards and George Lawrence grew up just a fe

These days, “we go way back” means just one thing: “we started chatting on Instant Messenger.” Yahnique Richards and George Lawrence grew up just a few blocks away from each other in Brooklyn, attending elementary school together. Once they entered high school, they regularly talked on AIM. “We eventually became best friends and started dating in March of 2006. I moved to Florida for two years where we remained friends, then I moved back to New York City to attend college,” the bride explains. “I was accepted to the same college as George and the rest is history!” When it came time to propose, George planned a sweet, at-home proposal in the presence of friends and Yahnique’s siblings. “Let’s just say it was extremely awkward and I knew something was up because my brothers and I never hang out,” Yahnique laughs.

The couple decided to wed on their 16th dating anniversary: March 19, 2022. Seeking a destination wedding, Yahnique and George chose to plan their nuptials in Jamaica. “It’s a beautiful country and it holds a special place in our hearts, as many of our family members were born and raised there,” says the bride. However, the aesthetic of the day was informed by a different destination entirely. “We were inspired by weddings in Italy—clean, minimal, elegant and centered around the setting,”

When the day finally arrived, the bride and groom excitedly donned their curated wedding attire. George made sure he kept his look current. “I wore a black and ivory tux that I chose based on trends that I saw on Instagram that were done very well by other grooms,” he tells. Though he wore his snazziest dress shoes for the majority of the wedding, he was “sure to switch out to a pair of black and white Alexander McQueen sneakers for the dance floor.” His bride elected to wear a stunning, fitted gown from Allure Couture. “I purchased my dress and veil from Lotus Bridal Brooklyn: nothing short of AMAZING! As a plus-size bride, I wanted to make sure that my dress not only fit well, but it was also comfortable and lightweight for Jamaica’s warm weather,” she reveals.

As the lovebirds readied themselves, their loved ones gathered in the open courtyard of the striking castle venue and found their seats on either side of the greenery-lined aisle. Wood details throughout the space mirrored the dark neutral color palette of the storied building. Yahnique and George said their vows on the castle steps in front of a golden, geometric arch adorned with light-hued flowers and plenty of complimentary leaves. “We kept the florals white with lots of greenery to let the beauty of the venue and location shine,” tells the bride.

After the “I dos,” friends and family enjoyed a tropical cocktail hour while the newlyweds finished their photo session. While their guests received fresh coconuts to enjoy, “we missed most of the cocktail hour food and refreshments,” Yahnique remembers. “Our wedding planner made sure to grab us our very own coconuts to devour!”

The reception took place in an open-air courtyard sidled up to the venue’s pool. Countless café lights illuminated the space as the sun set. Attendees enjoyed their dinner at two long, rectangular tables lined with simple, bright arrangements. Each place setting featured gold and white charger plates, gold flatware and a satin napkin in bold turquoise, giving the tables just the right pops of color. The new Mr. and Mrs. danced well into the night with their nearest and dearest—the perfect ending to an idyllic wedding day.

“We believe having multiple vendor options and booking those vendors in advance for a destination wedding is very important. The bride and groom should be involved in their wedding planning and advocate for themselves in every aspect,” Yahnique and George advise for future couples choosing to host destination weddings. “Lastly, ENJOY THE MOMENT! The day goes by so fast, and you want to take in every moment with your new spouse.”

A bride gets her glamorous wedding hair and makeup done, complete with blush pink eye shadow with shimmer, big lashes, a wavy down hairstyle and an elegant crystal hair clip.
Bridal Beauty Shot, Wavy Down Hairstyle, Glamorous Makeup, Pink Eyeshadow, Nails
Bride Posing Outside Castle Venue, Fitted Wedding Dress, White Floral Bouquet, Down Hairstyle With Hair Clip
An unplugged ceremony at a tropical destination wedding at Pattoo Castle in Jamaica with wood details, low white-and-green flower arrangements and a gold geometric ceremony arch adorned with florals.
Groom in White and Black Tux Jacket and Boutonniere Holds Bride in Fitted Wedding Dress With Lace and Deep V-Neckline, White Bouquet, Outside Castle
Drone Shot, Waterfront Castle Wedding Ceremony, Pattoo Castle in Jamaica, Tropical Destination Fantasy Wedding, Bride and Groom at Altar
Long Wood Table, Low Centerpieces With White Flowers and Greenery, Wood Table Numbers, Gold and White Chargers, Turquoise Satin Napkins at Wedding Reception
Drone Shot, Castle Venue at Night, Outdoor Courtyard Reception, Pool, Uplighting, String Cafe Lights at Pattoo Castle in Jamaica
Two-Tier Semi-Naked Wedding Cake, White Frosting, Gold Flakes, Custom Cake Topper
Pattoo Castle in Jamaica at Night Reception, Uplighting in Pool, Cafe String Lights, Fantasy Wedding