Getting married at a resort???

Old Mar 13th, 2005, 03:16 PM
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Getting married at a resort???

We are considering eloping in the Caribbean. Does anyone have any suggestions or experiences to share? Hidden costs, specific resorts or hotels to avoid, tips etc?
Thanks Emily and Winston
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Old Mar 14th, 2005, 04:46 AM
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If you're comfortable with relinquishing the major planning associated with stateside weddings, eloping to the Caribbean can be a wonderful, stress-free way to get married. I should warn, however, that if you want to have your hand in every detail and decision, it might not be the best option for you.

Without knowing more information about what you're looking for, it's hard to make recommendations. I was married at a small hotel in Antigua in 2003. My husband and I rented the entire hotel for a long weekend for our 40 guests, comprised about half of family and half of friends. We knew we wanted an intimate and casual atmosphere where our friends and family could relax and get to know each other over the course of the days we were down there.

Will it be just you and your spouse-to-be? Will you have a large number of guests? Will any of them be under the age of 16-18? (The cut-off age for many adult-only resorts.)

What kind of island do you want to get married on? Do you want something lush anda covered with rainforest, dotted with waterfalls and smaller, cove-like beaches with darker sand? Or do you want an island with spectacular, miles-long white sand beaches with turquoise water, but with an arid and not very picturesque interior? There are a handful of islands that fit both the lush, picturesque natural beauty of the interior and have lovely white or light sand beaches--Jamaica, the British & US Virgin Islands, Puerto RIco come to mind.

In my experience there were no hidden costs. You may opt to pay extra for a wedding planner, but many places throw in a free wedding with a one-week stay. There is also the cost of the wedding license and the fee for the magistrate who performs the ceremony, and these differ from island to island. Most hotels will also include an extra 10% service charge for staff tips and an 8-10% hotel tax on top of their rates, so be sure to budget for that extra 18-20% on top of the final bill.

If you plan to stay mainly at the resort and not venture off to explore the island at all, you should put more energy into exploring specific resorts. If, however, you plan to explore the island, you should start looking at various islands first. Do you want nightlife? If so, moderate or heavy? Do you want to have casino access? Are you foodies who want to sample fine dining? Or would you be happy with mostly buffets? Do you want lots of watersports available? Do you want to go shopping? Island hopping? Do you want seclusion? Or would you rather have other couples to mingle and party with? Think more about what you're looking for and we can give you more information.

One last word--consider all of the pros and cons of AI resorts. They're a point of contention on here--seems like everybody loves 'em or loathes 'em. If you're truly looking for a memorable, one of a kind wedding, no matter if you choose an AI, I'd suggest you stay away from the Sandals chain. Others will certainly disagree me, however.
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 03:46 PM
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My daughter was married at Sandals Royal Bahamian and it was more perfect then we could have done. The staff at the resort treated us like royality. The staff was amazing and the resort set up was beautiful. We are renewing our wedding vows of(30 yrs)next Feb at Sandals St. Lucia Regency on our 9th time to Sandals.
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 04:51 PM
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We were married in 1992 at Young Island Resort, St Vincent and the Grenadines. The resort arranged everything for us except the witnesses so we asked a couple on the beach if they would be our witnesses. When we got back form our combo wedding/honeymoon trip, we had a party for friends and relatives.
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Old Mar 17th, 2005, 06:35 PM
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hello emily and winston, congratulations. my best friends daughter will be married 6/18 at wyndham sugar bay on st. thomas. 30 of us will be there. their wedding coordinator has been very helpful to jamie
almost any resort will arrange a wedding for you. so i agree with ej, that you should choose an island, then look at the resorts on it. if you are short for time you will loose almost a day traveling each way depending on the island. st.lucia is a long trip from everywhere. longer from say chicago..
also some islands require you to be on island for several days to a week before you can have the ceremony. going to usvi would avoid this. a few islands do ask for a fee for permission to pay all the regular fees (license, minister, etc)
jamaica is fairly easy, close and couples swept away is supposed to be wedding/honeymoon paradise.
anyway once you pick an island or give us some specifics on your island type we can be more specific on suggestions for you
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Old Mar 19th, 2005, 07:04 AM
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From where I was sitting, I can add a wedding story that I would not recommend. My husband and I were best man and matron-of-honor at a wedding at the Sandals in St. Lucia. Our friends spent WAY too much time everyday with the wedding coordinators,and never got to enjoy any down time. Because they married on the beach, you literally cannot hear any of the audio of the video that Sandals did. The minister was lousy and they didn't get the china they were promised, etc. etc. They were very unhappy.
My husband and I married in Hawaaii and never had those kinds of problems. Although I've heard better stories from people that married on other islands. I met the wedding coordinator at Wyndham Sugar Bay in STT and was really impressed with her, although we don't know anyone who married there.
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