Planning a destination wedding

Written by  Stacey Marcus

Carib Honeymoons
8 tips and news to help your clients tie the knot in the Caribbean

Looking to help your clients plan a wedding in the Caribbean? What are some of the benefits of a destination wedding? Should couples visit the island before the big day? How many days should they plan to stay? We reached out to experts in the Caribbean to gather useful tips and insider news to share. Here is what they have to say-

1) What are some of the benefits to having a destination wedding?
Natalia Plasencia, Director of Weddings, Resorts World Bimini, Bimini, The Bahamas (www.rwbimini.com):
Destination weddings are the largest trend in weddings for many reasons, but the most appealing reason is combining a wedding and a vacation. It allows you to enjoy several days with your family and friends while celebrating the beginning of your new family. In addition, destination weddings typically have smaller guest counts than local weddings, which allow them to go further with a smaller wedding budget.

2) How does one identify clergy to perform the ceremony?
Speak to your catering manager or planner to obtain a list of local officiants, along with marriage requirements for your particular wedding location. Regulations and requirements can vary. Bringing your own officiant is always an option and many couples chose to do so. You should also speak to your catering manager to know if you are required to obtain a work permit for any non-local vendors.

3) How can a couple pick a venue?
Abigail van der Linden, Wedding Sales Manager, Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino (www.marrriott.com):
It depends on the ambiance a couple is seeking and if they’d like an indoor or outdoor wedding. Right on Palm Beach surrounded by palm trees with stunning turquoise waters, Aruba Marriott is in a beautiful location. We have incredible space for a wedding inside in our Grand Ballroom which can accommodate up to 450 guests with round table setup. Outside, we have four great beach venue options as well as the La Vista Patio which is popular for receptions. Guests can dance under the moonlight and are steps away from the water.

4) What is the typical number of days a wedding guest should book for a destination wedding?
Cypriana George, Sales/Training & Development Manager, The Landings Resort & Spa, St. Lucia (www.landingsstlucia.com):
Five to seven nights, as it allows couples to finalize any last-minute details a few days before the wedding and gives them a breather once they tie the knot.

5) What are some the flowers that are indigenous to the destination?
Roses and marguerite daisies are two popular flowers found in St. Lucia. Couples also opt for vibrant tropical flowers including birds of paradise, hydrangeas and mini callas.

6) Should couples visit the destination prior to their wedding?
Tashnae Castillo Barath, Wedding Sales Manager and Andrea Smith, Master Wedding Planner, Half Moon/Jamaica
(www.halfmoon.com): We highly recommend a pre-site inspection visit (planning site); this way the couple gets to enjoy and familiarize themselves with their chosen destination and venue and will be able to share first-hand experiences with their guests. At Half Moon, our Master Wedding Planner creates a detailed itinerary to include appointments with the chef, baker and local service providers such as photographers, DJ, florist etc. Couples are always encouraged to keep an open mind and enjoy the process which most times, involves parents or mother of the bride.

7) What is proper Caribbean attire for a wedding?
Each couple and their guests are different and will choose outfits that suit their personalities. The type of wedding they decide on also plays a big role in how everyone will dress for the big day. Light, breathable clothing is recommended given the climate and the fact that the events are hosted outdoors and close to the beach. A wedding dress change for the bride during the reception after the formalities, is quite a common trend.

8) Should couples get insurance?
Couples and guests are encouraged to purchase travel insurance to cover unforeseen circumstances and protect against loss of their deposit. Additionally, insurance should also be considered and is recommended for precious and sentimental tokens such as wedding dresses, rings etc.

Insider News
Like many other hotels on the tiny island of St. Barth, Hotel Le Toiny took a wallop from Hurricane Irma. Brighter days are ahead, as the beloved 14-key luxury hotel is being fully restored and will reopen October 2018 with eight new Villa Suites - its first expansion since 1992.

Hotel Le Toiny is a dream venue for a barefoot chic wedding on the sophisticated Caribbean island of St. Barth. Ruggedly beautiful and delightfully un-fussy, the boutique hotel offers total privacy and a mix of beachfront and Villa venues ready to be transformed. Hotel Le Toiny is ideal for elopements, intimate weddings and full property buy-outs for up to 30 guests.
(www.letoiny.com)

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