January 2008 Issue
Lovebird Strategies for Wedding Planning
With the advent of inexpensive air travel, and the ease with which the internet allows contact with a multitude of more exotic venues, agents can access many variations on traditional weddings. In many cases, arrangements may be more relaxed and less stressful for the couple, and because the weddings may of necessity be smaller, the wedding may also be less expensive. Usually the destination wedding location also becomes the honeymoon site, further enhancing the profit potential of the wedding destination, honeymoon markets.
As destination weddings and honeymoons continue to increase in popularity, hotels and resorts are embracing the trend by introducing packages, and in some cases, resorts invest in appointing full-time wedding planners to attend to details on site and further lay claim to their market share. Since so many resorts hire full time wedding organizers and planners, agents do not have to be specialists in this market and the Caribbean is positioned as a perennial source of profits for travel agents.
Traditional tropical honeymoons remain fashionable because picturesque beaches, swaying palm trees and painted sunsets never lose their panache. Keeping pace, though, with today’s ‘new’ newlywed, honeymoons also come in all shapes, sizes and locations to meet this discriminating and diverse market. The giveaways and the deals are as startling as are the endless amenities such as the naming of a star for the couple in a constellation above, giving them another reason to remain starry eyed.
Following is a selection of wedding and honeymoon packages as well as enhancements help plan weddings at various resorts in the Caribbean.
The Jolly Beach 2008 Dream Wedding Package includes personal attention from the resort’s wedding coordinator Beverly King and her staff, the marriage license and legal fees, round-trip transportation to the Ministry of Justice in St. John’s to have the license issued, the services of a marriage officer and witnesses if needed. There’s a bouquet for the bride and a buttonhole for the groom, wedding cake, a tray of hors d’oeuvres, fruit juice and a bottle of sparkling wine to toast the future. Dream Wedding couples can choose to have their ceremony at any location on the 40-acre property including two wedding gazebos — one on a mile-long Caribbean-kissed beach, the other overlooking the resort’s fantasy pool with views of the Sea. With King, who has been planning weddings on Antigua for almost 20 years, and her support staff, a couple can rest assured that their wedding day will be hassle free.
“There is no residency requirement to be married in Antigua, but we require one working day prior to the ceremony to process the necessary documents. Couples need to have: passports, birth certificates and/or a driver’s license with photograph; if necessary, original Decree Absolute for parties who are divorced, Marriage and Death Certificates in the case of a widow or widower, or certificate of Deed Poll in the case of a name change. A notarized affidavit of consent signed by both parents is required for anyone under age 18,” says King. The 2008 Dream Wedding Package starts at $699. A $10 fee for a wedding certificate is required by the Antiguan government, other restrictions apply. Wedding extras from digital photography or a DVD/video to a steel band can be arranged at additional cost. Couples can also reach Beverly King at the resort (268-462-0061, fax: 268-562-2302) or a fill out the “Wedding Information Request Form” on the Jolly Beach website. Call 866-905-6559; www.jollybeachresort.com or www.caribbean-weddingshoneymoons.com
Promising a Star
As Almond Resorts gets set to debut its latest property on Dec. 15 – the new 289-room Almond Casuarina Beach Resort set on Dover Beach on the south coast of the island, close to St. Lawrence Gap, after undergoing a $30 million expansion and a complete refurbishing of the existing property, the resort group on Barbados and St. Lucia are literally promising the stars to wedding clients.
Through the International Star Registry, Almond Resorts will have a star in the firmament named after them to mark the start of their lives together.
On their return home after the wedding, newlyweds will receive a deluxe certificate indicating the constellation and the exact location of their special star within it. For the rest of their lives, a clear night’s sky will always evoke memories of that perfect, balmy Caribbean day and will know that there’s one shining star out there, that will bear their names. Almond Resorts are now offering wedding arrangements totally free of cost for couples who book a stay of a week or more. At the same time, customized wedding packages are available at all hotels in the resort chain, Almond Beach Village, Almond Beach Club & Spa, Almond Morgan Bay, Almond Smugglers Cove and soon, at Almond Casuarina Beach Resort. Contact Naomi Lyttle, Almond Resorts’ Wedding Director,and her team at firstname.lastname@example.org Call 800-4ALMOND; www.almondresorts.com
Getting married at Bolongo Bay Beach Resort is easy and affordable with the resort’s Paradise Wedding package features the services of a wedding coordinator and clergyman; the ceremony; decorated arch; services of a professional photographer; wedding album with 72 photographs (4 x 6) with negative ownership; bouquet and boutonniere; a bottle of premium champagne with flute glasses; and witnesses (if needed) priced at $1,399 per couple, which is added on to the cost of the room.
Once “officially” hitched, newlyweds can honeymoon at the resort with the Island Bliss Package. Starting at $3,725 per couple, this seven-night package includes beachfront accommodations with a view of the picturesque Caribbean Sea from the balcony; tropical flowers; chocolate-dipped fruit; a chilled bottle of champagne and two souvenir flutes in-room upon arrival; full breakfast, lunch and dinner, with all dining a la carte; unlimited drinks including premium brands and house wine; $50 resort credit to be spent as the couple wishes; his and her half-hour massages; and a three-course dinner for two, wine included, at the Lobster Grille are among the options. Call 800-524-4746; E-mail email@example.com; www.bolongobay.com
Described as “ Uncomplicated, Unencumbered, Unforgettable,” the intimate 76-room, all-inclusive Mango Bay Barbados offers a host of romantic ingredients for the soon-to-be-betrothed. Starting at $600 per couple, added on to the price of a room, Mango Bay’s wedding package features the personalized services of a wedding coordinator; clergyman, administration and marriage license fees; roundtrip transfers to obtain the marriage license; decoration of a wedding arch; boutonniere for the groom and wedding bouquet for the bride; one bottle of champagne; and a one-tier, 12” light sponge cake with icing. Photography, steel band musicians, video and other features can be added for an extra cost. Call 800-44-UTELL; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.mangobaybarbados.com.
The ultra-elegant 64-suite Spice Island Beach Resort in Grenada set on Grand Anse Beach, re-defines storybook weddings. Priced at $1,300 based on doubles, which is added on to the cost of a hotel stay, the package includes a tropically-decorated wedding arch located either on the beach or among the gardens; one-tier wedding cake and bottle of champagne; bridal bouquet, hair piece (for the bride) and boutonniere (for the groom); 36 color photos (including negatives); hors d’oeuvres platter for six people; room upgrade subject to availability; fruit basket in room upon arrival; one manicure for the bride; one Couple’s Massage for the bride and groom; sunset cruise the day following the wedding; Best Man, Maid of Honor and witness; fees for marriage license and priest or magistrate; Embassy signing fees; and roundtrip transfers for signing documents. Call 800-44-UTELL; E-mail email@example.com; www.spiceislandbeachresort.com
Paradisus Resorts are located in some of the most spectacular and sought-after beachfront destinations throughout the Caribbean and Mexico. The Chill-Out Chic - Designer Wedding and Reception Package, which is for up to 20 guests, features a symbolic ceremony with a non-denominational minister, a bouquet for the bride and boutonnière for the groom, up to 8 bottles of sparkling wine for toast, basic ceremony set-up, in-room bottle of red, white or sparkling wine on the night of the ceremony for the couple, 10% discount on spa services (not including products), late 4 p.m. check-out, romantic turn-down, 1/2 hour post-ceremony cocktail party with hors d’oeuvres and sparkling and still waters, buffet table, fruit juices spiked with vodka, coco rum or rum, (3 drinks per person), square, white wedding cake, adorned with chocolate pearls. Package price ranges from $2,550-$6,100, depending on destination. Additional guests pay from $60 to $150 per person.
Call 800-33MELIA; www.paradisusresorts.travel