Do you remember your first crush? And even if you can recall his or her face and name, what are the chances that the two of you actually get married?! They're slim, but such was the case for Tara Mullally and Elliot MacMillan, who met in 1991 while growing up in Jamaica. “We went to the same primary school, and Elliot was best friends with my older brother,” says Tara. “I had a huge crush on Elliot, and made every effort to hang out with the boys whenever I could.” She and her family moved to California in 2000 so Tara and Elliot lost touch. But ten years later, in 2010, Tara went back to the island on vacation and spotted Elliot on a boat near one of Jamaica’s many cays. “I couldn’t figure out how I was going to get to the yacht, so I settled into the sand to read my book," she recalls. "The next thing I knew, Elliot was swimming over from the boat to catch up!” The pair chatted for three hours—so long that one of Elliot’s friends hopped on a jet ski for a frantic search when he thought Elliot might have gone overboard!—and exchanged numbers, and the rest is history.
Six years later, Elliot woke Tara before sunrise on a trip to Bali, and the pair hopped on a scooter to visit Tanah-Lot, a stunning water temple nearby. “After exploring the over-water temple, we made our way to the nearby cliffs for the spectacular views,” says Tara. While she was taking in the scenery, Elliot spotted a photographer and filled him in on the plan. “As the sun rose over the temple, Elliot got down on one knee,” Tara says.
Jamaica is home for Tara and Elliot, and they’ve made innumerable trips back to the island, during which Tara fell in love with Elliot’s family’s historic home. The 18th-century property used to be a pimento farm, and is the setting for nearly all of Elliot’s childhood memories. “It’s an enchanting place, and the juxtaposition between the ocean and the lush countryside is unforgettable,” says Tara. On February 24, 2018, the pair wed in front of 150 guests.
Their ethereal garden wedding—planned by I Do Islands and photographed by Melissa Marshall—was full of fresh greenery, white flowers, and rustic wood. Keep reading to see how their black tie celebration fit seamlessly into the natural setting.
To kick off their wedding weekend, Tara and Elliot invited their closest friends to go bamboo rafting down the Rio Grande in Port Antonio.
The couple hosted a causal rehearsal dinner that turned into a fun beach party, complete with fire dancers. Tara wore a white lace dress by Misha Collection for the occasion, as well as block heels (a smart decision for the sandy landscape!).
The bride spent the morning getting ready and relaxing at the home on the property.
Tara met Elliot on the lawn behind the house for their first look. “We shepherded our wedding party around the side of the house for drinks so we could have some privacy, but after we took it all in, I looked up to see my bridesmaids and our moms quietly spying from the window!” says Tara.
Following their first look, the couple posed for portraits around the home's gorgeous (and lush!) property.
Tara’s Vera Wang gown was perfect for the Jamaican garden setting. The hand-draped French tulle gown was straight off the runway when she tried it on, and the bride customized the dress with the Vera Wang team to make it her own.
In addition to her dress, one of her other favorite details was the custom-designed wooden swing, which flanked the ceremony site. Garlands, twigs, and moss from the property dangled from the rope, creating the perfect place for Tara's bridal portraits.
Tara’s bridesmaids chose their own dresses in shades of nude, taupe, and champagne, bringing out the nude undertones of the bride’s gown.
As guests arrived at the ceremony, they filled paper and bark cones with petals and fresh herbs to toss after the first kiss.
The bride walked down the aisle on the arm of her father as "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri played.
Elliot was in tears as he watched Tara make her grand entrance. And, thankfully, the skies cleared for the special moment. “We had showers in the morning and some clouds, but as soon as the officiant asked the sun to bless us, the clouds parted and the sun shone for the rest of the day!” says Tara.
Tara and Elliot personalized the ceremony by penning their own loving, special vows; Tara promised to "value their differences as much as their common ground," while Elliot thanked Tara for her "incredible organizational skills." They also asked their mothers to select readings to share with the crowd.
The first kiss!
As their friends showered them with rose petals, the newlyweds exited to a reggae version of “Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.
The reception was held beneath a clear tent, draped with string lights and gauzy fabric.
Guests were seated at long tables, creating a dinner party vibe. Garlands of seeded eucalyptus were studded with white roses and arranged over flowing table runners. Each place setting featured a glass charger set over a palm leaf collected from the property. White napkins were tied around sprigs of thyme.
“Since we are both from Jamaica, we kept the menu true to our roots and featured local ingredients,” says Tara. They served favorites like braised jerk chicken on cornbread rounds, pan-seared Caribbean snapper with pineapple salsa, and rice and peas. Later in the evening, they served Jamaican cocktail patties—crispy pastries stuffed with chicken curry. Dessert featured traditional Jamaican fruitcake, as well as cookies and brownies.
The couple thanked their guests for traveling to Jamaica in a speech that was filled with many laughs.
The bride is the founder of Body Bauble so she incorporated her signature product, peel and stick jewels, as a late-night surprise at the after party. "In the months leading up to the wedding, I designed a custom Body Bauble set inspired by elements of our most popular best sellers," she says. "Once it was time, we debuted the new style and helped everyone apply them and then we danced the night away…it was perfect!"
“After our first dance, we played ‘Light it Up’ by Major Lazer and handed out sparklers to lead guests to the sunken garden for dancing,” says Tara. “It was such a magical moment!”
Looking back on the big day, Tara says she and Elliot did their best to spend as much time together as possible. “Plan ahead and carve out private moments throughout the day, between the ceremony and cocktail hour, cocktail hour and dinner, etc.” says Tara. “And do your best to stay together all night! We made an effort make the rounds at the rehearsal dinner, which allowed us to really focus on one another on our wedding day.”
Wedding Planner: I Do Islands || Bride's Dress: Vera Wang || Bride's Veil: Vera Wang || Bride's Shoes: Gianvito Rossi || Bride's Jewelry: Ulyana Aster || After Party Dress: Natalie Rolt || Hair: Rochelle Gordon || Makeup: Tricia Taitt || Groom's Attire: SuitSupply || Engagement Ring: Stephanie Gottlieb || Wedding Bands: Stephanie Gottlieb || Design & Florals: PussBackFoot || Paper Products: Say Hello Designs, Leen Machine || Catering: Whip it Up || Bar: Top Shelf Jamaica || Cake: Selena Wong || DJ: Alric Anglin || Rentals: Novelty Party Rentals || Production: Starlight Productions || Favors: Body Bauble || Videography: Reynaldo Martin || Photography: Melissa Marshall