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Wedding Help!

Old Dec 10th, 2013, 12:33 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 3
Wedding Help!

Basically, my fiancé and I would like to get married on a beach, somewhere a bit more exotic than a Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican, Cuba but are having trouble finding a place that has flights for 4 days, and fits our budget. Does anyone have any suggestions? I have recently been looking at Vieques in PR but not sure if it has accommodations that are more modern. I would love somewhere like Caracao or St. Maarten but obviously those are a bit high priced.

I am hoping someone out there is a travel whiz and can help me figure out this confusing travel plan! Sorry, don't mean to be a bridezilla but if anyone can provide a suggestion that at least has a unique location, within guest budget (max $1500 for 7 days), 4 day option and all inclusive is a bonus!

Some added details are: we have about 30 people from US coming and 35 from Canada, we need a 4 day option, preferably an all inclusive resort or somewhere where food is accessible and not too expensive, Desired budget for 7 day is around $1200 but willing to go up to $1500 for a more upscale resort- obviously less for ,require a newer/renovated resort, Hindu wedding ceremony, vegetarian/vegan options for dinner, Budget for wedding $5,000-$7000, Wedding ceremony on beach during day, Reception must have option of a campfire, smores, barefoot, Wedding Date: Summer 2014 (May- End of October) (do not want to hit hurricane season)
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Old Dec 10th, 2013, 01:08 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,695
It's not clear from your post - is your $1200 to $1500 budget per person or per couple? If it's per couple than I'm afraid that's a rather sparse number and will severely limit you resort choices. If it's $1500 per person your options expand a bit but even in summer, which is "Low Season" in the Caribbean, you won't have a lot of choices. Also, you'll need to let us know if those budget numbers also include airfare. If so than I'm afraid you are asking for champagne on a beer budget.

I'll also point out that the majority of All Inclusives are found in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico but you've ruled them out so again you are severely limiting your options.

While June 1 through November 30 is hurricane season in the Caribbean peak time for storms is usually from late August through the end of October so given your time frame perimeters you probably should look at May, June and July.

At that time of year you should not have any difficulty finding resorts that will accommodate guests for both 4 and 7 night stays so that's a plus.

Sorry can't help you with details concerning a Hindu ceremony but I'm sure if you tell the resort's concierge or wedding planner what you require they will be able to help you.

Having your resort food service people prepare vegan/vegetarian options should't be a problem - there are lots of vegans/vegetarians living on every island in the Caribbean and they are used to preparing those types of dishes.

You may have difficulty with a "campfire on the beach as many islands don't allow "open fires" on the beach. You'll have to discuss that with the resort staff and they will give you available options.

Since you've eliminated the obvious "All Inclusive" islands you might want to check out some of the resorts on Antigua - there are a number of AI's on that island - you'll have to see if they are in your price range.

Good luck finding a place for your wedding.
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Old Dec 10th, 2013, 01:37 PM
  #3  
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Join Date: Dec 2013
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yes, the $1500 includes airfare and is per person. Not too concerned about ceremony, we can fly in our own priest. It is challenging as you can see but thanks for your input!
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Old Dec 10th, 2013, 04:06 PM
  #4  
KVR
 
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So, you are stating the budget is $3,000 per couple for air and AI hotel? It is doable, but you are not going to find really nice AI hotels for that that budget in most of the Caribbean. Mexico, Jamaica and DR you will have more options.

We have been to 15+ AI resorts throughout the Caribbean and Mexico. What you are asking for and what is reality are 2 different things.

First, with only 4 days, you need flights that are very close to your departure point in order to keep costs and time down. Where in the US are you flying from? Look at destinations that can be reached by the less expensive airlines like Jet Blue, Spirit and Southwest.

Second, AI resorts in Mexico, Jamaica and the DR and quite different than AI resorts in other areas of the Caribbean. Those 3 destinations tend to have the more lux, better amenities and food options with lower prices.

Have you checked on the actual requirements it takes to be officially married in the Caribbean. Some require blood tests and 3 days on the Island before the ceremony can be performed. That's already a waste of your 4 days.

What type of AI are you wanting? There are adult only, couples only and family. Do you have any guests that are 15 or younger? That will rule out many AI resorts.

PR does not have any AI's. IMHO, the cost of food and drinks are pretty high at the resorts there. You have to go outside of the resort areas to find better prices.

Curacao is definitely difficult to get to from the US and is a long day. With just 4 days, you will waste 2 getting there and getting back. AI's resorts there are not abundant. I definitely would not recommend Breezes.

I would say with your restrictions on time and budget, that destinations closer to the US will be your best bet, which brings Mexico and Jamaica back into the picture. The AI resorts there have wedding coordinators that can help you with logistics of performing the type of ceremony you are wanting within your budget.

I understand that a destination wedding is exotic and romantic, but in reality they are much work to coordinate and quite expensive for everyone involved including your guests.

I agree, if Mexico or Jamaica is definitely out, look at Antigua. The next closest Island to get to with a variety of AI resorts. The only AI resort there that we could possible get for $3,000 for air and hotel only is Jolly Beach. I would not recommend for a wedding or honeymoon, but others have done so. You will have to check it out to see if it meets your criteria. We do pay higher air than most since we are stuck with AA or United, so you might find something else within that budget.

At this point, you may be better off sitting down with a travel agent in your area and checking prices. Sometimes they can find group rates and cash in some favors.

Good luck and congrats!
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Old Dec 10th, 2013, 05:18 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,695
Just so you know, $1,500 per person for airfare and a week's accommodations at an All Inclusive IS NOT a generous budget. Without knowing where in Canada and the US you and your guests are flying from it's difficult to give you specifics but you can pretty much figure R/T non-refundable airfare will be at least $500 per person, that leaves only about $1,000 (or $142/day) per person for 7 nights accommodations. This means you need to look at the islands that have the greatest number of AI's (more AI's means increased competition which translates into lower rates).

You have to really rethink your priorities - you'll find the lowest airfare to the bigger islands like the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico but even though you've ruled them out they may be your best options.

Also, as others have pointed out since some of your guests will only be coming for 4 nights you really want to look at the "closer" destinations that have - again they will be the DR, Jamaica and perhaps Mexico.

Heed KVR's advice, she is the "resident" All Inclusive expert on Fodors.
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