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bandcwed Dec 11th, 2013 01:41 PM

Destination Wedding Planning: DR, Jamaica, Virgin Islands, or Barbados
Hi everyone

My fiance and I are in the process of selecting a location for our wedding. We want a location that provides not only beautiful beaches but things to do outside of the resort. We want our guest to feel safe once they leave the resort as well. We are in our early 30s African American couple. We want a location with great nightlife (beach parties, night clubs, etc.), unique experiences, history, etc. Please share your thoughts on the following and AI resorts recommendations for these locations. Most importantly share your experience outside of the resort and your food at AI resorts.

If you have a location that we may be missing Caribbean, Europe, etc (non US) that we can get flight and hotel AI for under $1200 please recommend.

Thanks for your help!

tch912 Dec 12th, 2013 03:45 AM

Start with a travel agent and have your dates available.

tch912 Dec 12th, 2013 03:47 AM

Start with a travel agent and have your dates available.

KVR Dec 12th, 2013 06:58 AM

We need more info in order to help answer your question.

When are you going? Time of year really determines the cost of airfare and hotel.

Is the $1,200 per person, $2,400 per couple for air and AI hotel? If so, it might be rather difficult to find anything "nice" with that low of a budget. How many nights? I really can't see finding anything with that budget for more than 4 nights. We have been to well over 15 AI resorts throughout Mexico and the Caribbean. Finding good food in an AI resort usually means going with a lux, higher priced Couples only resort with multiple dining options on site. Sandals is a huge exception to that. Their food has been iffy on our vacations there.

Are there any people 15 or younger in your party? That will rule out adult only and couple only AI resorts.

You will not find any AI resorts in Barbados or the US Virgins islands, for that price. If you do, please let me know as we have been wanting to go to Barbados for years and all the "nice" AI hotels are well past $4,000 per couple for air and hotel.

Concentrate on Mexcio, Jamaica and the DR. However, you're really not going to find much nightlife outside of the resorts in Jamaica and the DR. In Mexico, you need to secure a hotel as close to 5th Avenue for nightlife. I've been to all 3. I wouldn't just walk off a resort in Jamaica or the DR. Stick with taxis, private drivers or sponsored tours. In Mexico it's not an issue.

Again time of year determines cost, so I would avoid high season; Dec 15 through May 1 and hurricane season August, Sept and Oct just because you don't want to have to worry about weather conditions. We have always found the best prices the 3rd week of May and the first 2 weeks of November and December.

I agree, you might be better off going with a TA in your area and checking prices. You'll find that your budget is probably not sufficient enough for what you want.

girlonthego Dec 12th, 2013 11:05 AM

Have you considered Aruba? There are several resorts that can be all inclusive or not. The island has nightlife, gambling, good food off resorts and is safe to go out of the resort area. They have a party bus called the kukukanku or something that will pick you up at the resort and take you from bar to bar all night. Plenty of party boat cruises and water sports on the island.

Puerto Rico would also offer nightlife, gambling, and be easy for people who don't have a passport to attend. I believe there are a couple of all inclusive resorts, but I don't think they are near nightlife. There are many hotel options that could be near one another and offer price differences.

KVR Dec 12th, 2013 11:45 AM

The only problem is they are not going to find an AI in Aruba with that low of a budget. If they are willing to up their budget to at least $3,000 to $4,000 per couple they might find something. AI is really not they way to go in Aruba anyway. There are too many really great restaurants and bars and part of the experience there is to try as many as you can.

There are no AI's in Puerto Rico. Food/drinks within the resort areas are exhoribantly priced. (IMHO)

WWK Dec 12th, 2013 01:09 PM

I think you're going to have a nearly impossible time finding an AI for $1200/person, unless you're only going for a few nights. Do what others have suggested and start with a travel agent, but don't be surprised if she/he can't find anything within that budget.

Just to give you an idea: We recently returned from another trip to Aruba. I booked the lowest category room at The Westin, and it was still $200/night off-season. As KVR said, it doesn't make sense to do AI in Aruba anyway, although food isn't as cheap as we remembered.

Good luck, and maybe think about a shorter trip, or cruise off-season?

eastenderusvi Dec 12th, 2013 01:11 PM

There are also no AIs in the British Virgins, unless you want to pop for Guana Island or Necker Island.:-)

suze Dec 12th, 2013 02:05 PM

Not the Dominican Republic (as far as people feeling safe and having lots to do outside the resorts).

Maybe Negril Jamaica.

but as already suggested I would first focus on the Caribbean coast of Mexico ("Mayan Riviera") because your money will go further there than any Caribbean island and there is the most to see and do off resort property. Safety is not a concern in that area.

bandcwed Dec 13th, 2013 06:30 AM

Hi everyone

Thanks for your help. My biggest concern is not cost here. I started this thread to get thoughts on those locations. Lets just take coast out and focus on what each of those islands have to offer. I am also not interested in Mexico. Thanks!

suze Dec 13th, 2013 07:46 AM

OK, let's start over :-) "cost not an issue" is VERY different than $1200 AI!!!

If price is not an issue I'd cross of entirely both the DR and Jamaica.

RoamsAround Dec 13th, 2013 08:22 AM

OK, if cost is no longer an issue then look at some of the more upscale resorts that offer food plans like Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda; Peter Island Resort, Peter Island, BVI's; Cap Juluca or Cusinart, Anguilla; Palm Island Resort or Petit St. Vincent Resort, Grenadines, Amanyara or Parrott Cay, Turks & Caicos and Sandy Lane, Barbados - all great but will probably cost you well in excess of 3 to 5 times the $1200 budget you originally set.

KVR Dec 13th, 2013 05:53 PM

There is no point in offering information on destinations/resorts that are clearly out of your budget. If you specially want AI that makes a big difference also as not all Islands offer it and some that do really aren't worth it.

suze Dec 14th, 2013 08:12 AM

You could also narrow down the choice of islands by looking first at what airline connections are available from your departure airport(s). Some are a lot easier to get to than others.

peterla61 Feb 7th, 2014 03:16 AM

DR, Jamaica is the best option for destination wedding(Mystical Moments).

Tabernash2 Feb 27th, 2014 08:46 AM

I'm looking for an AI in the Caribbean, too. This is one at the DR where my cousin just took her whole family, and they liked it a lot. It's pretty inexpensive, relatively speaking:

There's a wildlife refuge and a Marinarium (whatever that is!) adjacent to the property.

But there are so many AIs on the DR, I'm still investigating them.

eedee Oct 19th, 2014 05:58 PM

Have you considered having your destiantion wedding in The Philippines?

I'm from cebu and i went on website travel buddy (just curious!) and tried out LAX to Cebu Philippines and got 1100$ for roundtrip.

Its warm all year round and the beaches are pristine!
Everthing is cheap and 90% of the population speaks english.

Here are some of the pictures

suze Oct 20th, 2014 11:49 AM

This thread is from last year, probably topped by an advertisement that has been removed.

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