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frettingmom Oct 3rd, 2010 05:45 PM

This is my first time posting... I have been scouring the internet for weeks trying to help my daughter find a destination for her wedding that is affordable. We have our hearts set on St. Lucia, but I'm wondering if it's within our budget. Of course, we loved Jade Mountain but found out it was $13,000-something per couple for 4 nights! Are they serious? Who can afford that? (Pls don't tell me everyone here pays that kind of $$) Anyway, reading your responses makes me relax somewhat. I feel like FINALLY I am talking to HONEST guests that have nothing to gain or lose by their opinions.
Anyway, does anyone know of a place that feels like pure heaven but you don't have to pay with your appendages? I will be paying for the bride & groom, me and my husband, my two girls and my son and his girlfriend and my mother. So essentially, I need 5 rooms. The groom's family will be needing about the same. We have five non-family members that will be attending also. Would I be better off with all-inclusive packages? Do you think I could get a group rate. What questions do I need to be asking about wedding details, amenities, etc?


sassy_cat Oct 4th, 2010 06:58 AM

Well, first of all May is a good time to go as it's considered low season (or at least shoulder season).
You said 'destination wedding' but I presume you know 4 days isn't long enough to actually get married on St. Lucia...

Ti Kaye is a very romantic place for honeymooners but maybe not quite ideal for the whole family but would work if you could split your stay. Is 4 nights your total stay? It does seem short.

If 4 nights is your limit it might well be better to go with an all inclusive as you won't have time to be bored of the food options and it will be easier with such a large group.

Look into Stonefield villas. I've not stayed here but heard great things about it.
It also has details about weddings and minimum stay requirements of 3-5 working days after you have applied.

succeed Oct 4th, 2010 10:04 AM

My dad is in the wedding business, and hands down, the number one AFFORDABLE destination for weddings (amongst us Canadians anyway) seems to be the Dominican Republic. The price is right (even extended family members can afford to go), the various resorts have a wedding planner that you can correspond with in advance, they do it up really well with lots of decorative touches, the photos are gorgeous, and all the couples we've spoken to have said they were more than pleased. Of course, some resorts will be better than others, but you might want to take a look at the Dominican Republic and start comparing prices and what they have to offer.

frettingmom Oct 4th, 2010 11:46 AM

Sassy - My daughter and her fiance live in England. They had decided to actually wed at the registrar a couple of days before leaving for the destination to skirt the legalities. We would only be doing the ceremony, which his dad agreed to officiate.
The only reason we had planned for 4 days is because I was thinking that was all we could afford. I was working with a travel agent, who btw has only checked prices on the things I told them to look at and has not suggested much at all, and came back with that $13,000 price tag from Jade Mountain. I'm sure there are cheaper places on the island, but I really don't want to sacrifice and stay in a dive, if you know what I mean. I know that if the guests are comfortable, the wedding will go off without a hitch.
I will look into TiKaye and Stonefield. Have you stayed at TiKaye? All my kids are adults and love the water so if it's oceanfront, we're good. I have only heard about those two places through this thread. (Thank God for stumbling onto you guys!) Do you think it would be beneficial to try to get a group rate if we're a group of 20? Thanks for all your input!

frettingmom Oct 4th, 2010 11:50 AM

Hey, that sounds great! Of course, this means I will start this overwhelming process again as I have not, until this point, ever looked at DR.
Do you have any resorts in mind that provide a luxury setting at a reasonable rate?
Too bad your dad doesn't live in the DR as I COULD SURELY USE HIS EXPERTISE!! :)

virginia Oct 4th, 2010 11:54 AM

hi, welcome to fodors. i have not been on st. lucia but one of my best friends has timeshare at windjammer so have some 2nd hand knowledge...

i'm looking at jade mtn site and most $$ room in may is $2250/nt. so that's 9000 for 4 nights with least expensive $4200 for 4 nights. not that i consider that reasonable either but it's a far cry from $13000.
on st. lucia ai might be a good choice as the restaurants are spread out & roads not the best. many people use water taxis.

Anse Chastenet is a good option to jade and cost considerably less - most expensive is 785/nt, with 5 price tiers - lowest is 385/nt, thus allowing ppl more options in room price while still at the same resort.
sandals has 3 resorts on island but that would be a bit more ummm cookie cutter i think.

according to this site:
bride & groom need only to be on island 2 days before the wedding ceremony.

start now planning how to get the dress there. airlines used to hang them in those little closets but i don't believe they do that anymore.

if you're willing to consider other islands we can come up with all sorts of ideas for you to consider. for example on st. john, usvi, caneel bay is delightful. easy to get to and no prestay requirement.

sassy_cat Oct 4th, 2010 12:11 PM

OK, so no legal wedding requirements. Stop worrying there are a ton of places that fit your criteria for less than $13000.

If you're coming from England I can see why you hit upon St. Lucia as there are direct flights on Virgin.

DR will be quite a bit cheaper.

bakerstreet Oct 4th, 2010 02:00 PM

My husband and I stayed at Ti Kaye a few years ago - it was lovely and relaxing. Oceanfront, but up on a hillside so the views are absolutely lovely. You stay in private villas...private balconies overlooking the gorgeous view...outdoor garden bathrooms...some have private plunge pools....good snorkeling just off the beach....a dive shop if you want to dive....very romantic atmosphere. No children were around when we were there. Lots of honeymooners, people celebrating anniversaries, etc.

For more on Ti Kaye go to the website and type in Ti Kaye.

frettingmom Oct 4th, 2010 02:56 PM

Can I say again how glad I am to have stumbled upon you guys! I feel like I can breathe again! I was really, really getting very uptight, thus the screen name. So many good ideas that I don't know where to start.

Sassy- Thanks for the heads up on Stonefield. I called them and gave them my contact details and they promised to call with a group rate. Cross your fingers for that one. Some of the villas looked wonderful! Their website also has everything you might need or want for your wedding and the $$ associated with each. That was extremely helpful. Do you know anything about access to the beach? I guess since you haven't stayed there yourself, you wouldn't know. That is something the groom and the adult kids are looking forward to. Some people have said the roads are bad, but I'm wondering if you are just a 10-minute walk from water. Either way, it's beautiful!

frettingmom Oct 4th, 2010 03:25 PM

Virginia ~Thanks for your warm welcome~

Wow! I had not even thought of how to transport the wedding gown! Are you kidding me?&*^% They will not put the gown in the closet? That will seriously throw a wrench into things. I cannot see us waiting until we get to the destination to buy a gown. BUT first things first...

You are a wealth of information. I was glad to hear about the rates at Jade, although, it's still out of my ballpark, that is if I want to have anything left for the wedding (which I very much do!) I read somewhere on this site that Anse was in need of repair. Do you know if that's accurate? I do agree with you about Sandals. My daughter is kind of a nature girl and prefers to have a more secluded or quieter resort. I had also looked at Windjammer, but I think that may be too busy for her taste.

I am VERY willing to look at other islands that may be more affordable. DR has been suggested. I have not looked at it yet bc I've been exploring St. Lucia so much that I feel like a resident there. Do you have any suggestions about DR? Have you been to Caneel Bay? I did look briefly at USVI but I think that's the time I went on "overload" and shut completely down. I have never traveled to an island. We always go to colder climate. Don't ask me why! This will be a real treat for all of us IF WE CAN GET THERE! Of course, I would hate to have a bunch of unexpected hurdles on this very important occasion. That is the reason for all the nerves.

Thanks for all the info you can throw my way. I really appreciate it!

frettingmom Oct 4th, 2010 03:28 PM

Thank you bakerstreet. I will call them tomorrow! Do they sponsor activities for our younger adult guests, i.e. water sports or hikes, etc? Anything that will keep them busy! Or is this more a resort for couples?

Odin Oct 4th, 2010 03:50 PM

<<If you're coming from England I can see why you hit upon St. Lucia as there are direct flights on Virgin.>>

It's not something unusual to have direct flights to the Caribbean from England to all over the Caribbean inc St Kitts, Grenada, Tobago, Cuba, T&C, Bahamas & Bermuda pls the usuals eg Barbados Antigua St Lucia Jamaica. There are charter flights to other islands such as Aruba, Dominican Rep etc on Thomsonfly + Monarch Airlines. There are probably more options from Europe than from the US, esp if you include departure points such as Paris or Amsterdam then you can add the French and Dutch Antilles.

succeed Oct 4th, 2010 06:24 PM

Here is a website which gives details about destination weddings in the Dominican Republic. This website has been popular with Canadians for at least a decade because it gives good info about the Dominican Republic in general.
Anyway, there is a page on this website that lists the top 10 wedding resorts in the Dominican Republic, some descriptions of what is included in some of the wedding packages, and best of all, detailed reviews (a few hundred reviews, actually) by people who have gotten married in the DR:
This same website also has a page featuring wedding resorts in the Caribbean. The top Caribbean wedding destination right now seems to be Anguilla, based on ratings. You may want to have a look at one or both of these web pages if you think you might consider places other than St Lucia.
And at the bottom of the Caribbean wedding resort page, there are several great links about planning a destination wedding. Could be some really helpful info there.

sassy_cat Oct 4th, 2010 07:01 PM

Odin, I do think St. Lucia is a very popular destination for Brits right now. We met many more people from the UK in St. Lucia last February than Americans and that's unusual.

frettingmom Oct 4th, 2010 08:35 PM

Seriously! How in the world do you guys know all this? I am really astonished! I feel extremely sheltered!

I need to clear something up tho. My daughter and her fiance and his family are from England. The bride's family (ME and mine) are from the US. It's not really material bc at this point, if we find a suitable resort for the right price (and even a bit higher than the right price) and she likes it, we're sooo there.

Succeed- thank you for your link. I sent that to my daughter bc it's too late for me to get sucked into the black hole of destinations! I did that last night while I was trying to dye my hair, time got away from me and you should see me now! Frightening! :0

frettingmom Oct 4th, 2010 08:44 PM

Okay! Okay! I cheated. I had to have a glance at Debbie's DR travel. The info on the first page was great. It's right there for you. I've got my homework cut out for me. I'll report tomorrow afternoon. Thanks, guys!

frettingmom Oct 7th, 2010 07:34 AM

Okay Guys- I wanted to update you since you all have been so helpful. After MUCH research, I think we have decided to go to St. Lucia. This island seems to meet the criteria of my daughter's idea of the perfect day. The resorts are smaller and more secluded than say those of the DR. (Thank you, Succeed, for all your info there. We checked it out thoroughly. I think it was too commercial for her liking.)
We have called five resorts and it will just come down to numbers now. Those are: Ti Kaye Resort, Stonefield Villas, Ladera Resort, Jalouise Plantation and Anse Chastanet. We have asked for any group rates or special offers they may have for that time period, etc. They are emailing me all info requested.

Now, with ALL your experience, do any of you think I can go wrong here? Do you have any info about any of those places that I should know? Please advise!
Thanks again! You guys are great!!

virginia Oct 7th, 2010 08:41 AM

now that you've narrowed it down to specific resorts you should go to trip advisor. their site has reviews of resorts, restaurants, excursions, etc. you need to read with a grain of salt attitude as sometimes ppl get whiny. read at least 10-12 reviews of each resort to make sure you're getting an accurate picture.

sassy_cat Oct 7th, 2010 08:50 AM

I've only had lunch at Ti Kaye and Anse Chastenet. I liked both but Ti Kaye is more romantic and we liked the restaurant very much. Food at Anse Chastenet was good but quite a bit more expensive (almost double).

Both places have rooms set into the cliff/hillside but I think there are more steps at Ti Kaye.. we didn't see the pool at AC.

Here's my St. Lucia trip report from Feb 2010. You can search for more info on these resorts on this site and tripadvisor as virginia mentioned.
Good luck!

ivonnepmontijo Oct 7th, 2010 06:57 PM

checkout sandals and the beaches resorts. they have what they call wedding moons. Book a stay for a week and the basic wedding is free.

Guests also have discounted room rates and it's all inclusive.

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