Musical Bash in the Caribbean

Valery Joseph & Chauncey Upson
Round Hill Hotel and Villas, Montego Bay, Jamaica
May 24, 2008

Before deciding to marry in Jamaica, Valery and Chauncey considered New York. “But for the amount of money we would have spent for one night in Manhattan, we did four days of festivities in Jamaica—a Thursday-night cocktail party, a Friday beach barbecue, the wedding, an after-party that went until sunrise, and a Sunday lunch,” says Chauncey. Value was not the only appeal: “Doing a destination and paying for it ourselves, we had more control over the list,” he explains. Jamaica was an obvious choice for the couple, who vacation there annually. “The hip culture, the people, the whole musical tradition—it’s right up our alley,” says Valery. “And Round Hill Hotel has very old-school glamour.” Adds Chauncey: “You have to dress up for dinner; Churchill, JFK … they used to go there, and Clark Gable in the forties.” For all of their perks, destination weddings do have drawbacks. “If you’re type-A you will go crazy, because you have to hand over the keys to the point person you’ve outsourced to work with the local vendors,” warns Valery. And in the end they did go over budget. “We flew in our D.J.’s, one from Brooklyn, and another from Colombia. We also flew in our band and some of our broke-ass friends.”

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Bride’s Gowns: Catherine Walker & Co. (ceremony), Alice Temperley (reception)
Hat: Gina Foster Milliner
Groom’s Suit: Etro
Flowers: Sandra Martin
Reception Band: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
D.J.’s: Quantic (Colombia), Queen Majesty (Brooklyn)
Planner: JoAnn Gregoli of Elegant Occasions

Valery Joseph and
Chauncey Upson “We told them, ‘Do it old-school.’” Photo: Cappy Hotchkiss

“We wanted the classic country-club-in-the-fifties kind of menu: Caesar salad, iceberg wedges, lobster tails, steak. It seemed fitting. ” Photo: Cappy Hotchkiss

“Rum punch was our unofficial signature cocktail; we like the numb, happy Carib buzz it gives you. When planning food and beverage, it’s key to know your crowd: Do they drink a lot? Ours drank us out of house and home.” Photo: Cappy Hotchkiss

“We put our own stamp on the ceremony: Chauncey was like, “There will be no flower-strewn aisle!’ So we had cocktails first, and then it was sort of like a dinner theater, with everyone seated at tables around us.” Photo: Cappy Hotchkiss

“I play the sax and flute, and Val sings. During cocktails, we were the entertainment. We dedicated meaningful songs to each other: I performed Art Blakey’s ‘When Love Is New,’ and Val did Cole Porter’s ‘You’re the Top,’ and the Etta James version of ‘Nature Boy.’” Photo: Cappy Hotchkiss

Musical Bash in the Caribbean