CELEBRATIONS CEO JOANNE V. BROWN INTERVIEWED BY ISLANDS MAGAZINE
In Charge of Your Big Day Away on the Cayman Islands
JoAnne V. Brown “makes miracles from scratch.” She’s the founder and CEO of Celebrations Ltd., a full-service wedding and event firm with 48 full-time employees: planners, designers, production crew, florists and laundry team (try washing linens for an 800-person soiree). Known as “Miss Jo” to her clients (mostly eager, excited couples), the Jamaican-born, UK-educated Brown has watched the Cayman Islands grow into an A-list destination wedding locale. Who doesn’t love a vacation with some I-do’s thrown in?
The Cayman Islands is not known for the quantity of weddings, but the quality. We don’t have all-inclusive venues or prepackaged offerings. Our weddings are customized and very personal.
The growth of destination weddings has been phenomenal. People look at them now as a great way to vacation. It’s like, “Let’s go to the Cayman Islands. And oh, by the way, there’s a wedding.”
The largest wedding we’ve done was 800 people.
My first wedding was 380 people at a woman’s home. That was a huge undertaking. I went to all the local restaurants and asked, “Can I get 10 chairs from you? Can I get 10 chairs from you?” and so on. It worked!
I will never forget the day we first arrived in Cayman. It was August – really hot. We arrived one day after my husband and I got married. There we were at the airport with everything we owned in boxes and suitcases. There wasn’t a taxi big enough for all our stuff. I’m sitting outside this tiny airport and here comes a customs officer. He says to me, “Can I get you a Pepsi?” Where else does that happen?
We’ve done underwater weddings. They’re really cool. In the beginning, we didn’t have a marriage officer who was a divemaster. Now we do. The couple and the marriage officer go underwater and hold up signs with the vows. Seriously.
I planned all three of my children’s weddings. But I got a lot of help. On those days, I was really able to just be a mom.
For the Caymanian people, being Caymankind comes naturally. That feeling I got from the customs officer? That’s the norm for us.