Caribbean Weddings Let’s get married, mon!
Even though the Caribbean has borrowed a lot of the traditions from the United States, there is a lovely blend of African and European flavor in the wedding celebrations of the Caribbean … Oh, and that fabulous food … and those sassy drinks!! The style varies from island to island, but there are commonalities that abound during these festive ceremonies.
With all of the bright sun, flowers, and greenery, it is customary for the bride and groom to walk from their homes to the church through the streets of the town. They dress up in their finest threads and the village people line the streets to comment on their beautiful outfits. Typically guests are personally invited to the wedding, but anyone who shows up is welcome to partake of the festivities.
Instead of a best man or a maid of honor, the parents walk the veiled bride down the aisle and stand by the groom. When the groom lifts the veil to kiss his bride, all the guest cheer and shout. No solemn ceremony here! Happiness, music, and joy are in order for this union. The church bells ring so that the entire island knows that there has been another happy wedding.
There isn’t a wedding reception in the world that is more joyful than those in the Caribbean. With the sound of steel drum island music in the background and potent rum punch to curb one’s shyness, the wild dancing and toasts go on until well into the night. The smells of the exotic foods (spicy chicken jerky, ceviche, jerk pork, saffrito, curried goat, conch fritters, fried plantains, and fresh seafood, to name a few) are intoxicating and the island wedding cake is the most unique in all the world.
The wedding cake is called “Black Cake” and is made from recipes handed down from mother to mother – generation to generation. At its most basic, it has a pound of brown sugar, a pound of flour, a pound of butter, a dozen fresh eggs, and a pound of fruit (cherries, currants, prunes, and raisins). The fruits are soaked in rum for anywhere from a month to a year! Then the cake is served with a delightful, spunky hard rum sauce poured over the top.
There are some interesting wedding variations from region to region. In the West Indies, the wedding cake is hidden from view and the guests can pay money to get a sneak peek early. This money is given to the couple for their honeymoon or to help set up their first home together. In Cuba the bride has a money dance; the men who wish to dance with her must pin money to her dress to pay for the dance. Bermuda has a unique variation on the wedding cake. A small potted cedar tree is placed on top of the cake. After the party is over, the couple takes the potted cedar tree and plants it in the yard of their home.
After the all night wedding party, the couple spends a week alone in their home together or island hops to spend some quality time together before starting their new life together.
The in house catering team at The Avenue can create authentic Caribbean foods because one of its main chefs was born and trained as a chef in Barbados. She also has trained and worked as a chef in other Caribbean islands.
The Avenue Banquet Hall Vaughan Toronto