Read on to discover a few of their essential do’s and don’ts for planning the perfect destination wedding or honeymoon.
DO: Research the Destination
Aruba? Jamaica? Where will your wedding take you? One of the first and most important questions you should decide before you plan a destination wedding is where you want to get married. This may sound obvious, but even if you’ve settled on a picturesque beach somewhere in the Caribbean, you’ve still got to narrow it down to the best island for your goals, your budget and the ultimate “vibe” of your wedding. Looking for somewhere easily accessible for your guests? Try the Bahamas. Would you rather escape to an island surrounded in secluded coves and islets perfect for getting lost in? That’s Antigua. Adventurous couples will find plenty of rainforest trails and soaring volcanic peaks in Saint Lucia while Jamaica has a great mix of everything for foodies and nightlife-seekers alike. Depending on what you’re looking for, we can recommend the perfect destination to fit your personality.
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DO: Opt for All-Inclusive
Once we’ve chosen an island, next comes the fun part: Choosing the venue. We recommend an all-inclusive resort. Not only do these resorts employ expert wedding planners, they’re already outfitted with breathtaking natural backdrops and all the essential infrastructure to build the perfect destination wedding, from luxury accommodation for you and your guests to five-star catered meals, unlimited premium spirits (open bar, anyone?) and the wedding venue itself.
With an all-inclusive resort, you won’t have to worry about piecing together things like florists, caterers and entertainment on your own, which will save you a huge headache when it comes to your wedding day. Need a recommendation? Opt for the world’s only 5-star luxury-included resorts. Marketing lingo aside, Sandals Resorts truly are the best option for a destination wedding or honeymoon. In fact, they’ve been voted the world’s leading all-inclusive for 24 years in a row at the World Travel Awards. With 15 different resorts located on the most celebrated beaches in the Caribbean, you’ll have plenty of locations to choose from.
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DON’T: Settle for Standard
Let’s be real. Nobody wants a cookie-cutter destination wedding. Even if you opt for an “easy” all-inclusive package, chances are you’ll still want the freedom to personalize at least part of it. Make sure you choose a resort that will allow it. Unlike most all-inclusive resorts, Sandals Resorts offers fully customizable weddings and your level of involvement is totally up to you. Choose from designer-created themes inspired by the latest wedding trends, like garden-party, English royalty, authentic island décor and more. Or, you can build your wedding theme entirely from scratch, hand-selecting every single detail from bouquets to place settings, centerpieces and even napkin rings. The options are endless and anything but vanilla. Slice into a three-tiered cake topped with fresh Dendrobium orchids. Walk down the aisle to a live cellist or a steel drum duet. Step in front of a photo backdrop made from a blooming boxwood hedge and dance beneath breezy, twinkle-lit structure linen. There’s no other all-inclusive resort that offers the ability to make your wedding your own to this extent.
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DO: Plan a Site Visit
Even budget hotels look luxurious in photos. If you want reassurance that your destination wedding will be everything you’re hoping for, you need to see it in person. With Sandals Resorts, you can relax with a low-pressure mini-trip to preview your dream wedding on-location, with the opportunity to chat one-on-one with a wedding planner, sample dining options and see wedding props in person. Not only is it the perfect excuse for an extra vacation before the big day, but also it’s an opportunity to see the venue options live and in action before making a decision — which is more important than you think, since Sandals Resorts offers nearly a dozen on-resort locations for your ceremony and reception.
There’s the essential beachfront wedding, of course, but there are also over-the-water wedding chapels with 360-degree ocean views and stunning glass floors, oceanfront and over-the-water gazebos, secluded wedding chapels, European manicured gardens bursting with colorful flowers, panoramic rooftop terraces, tropical gardens graced by roaming peacocks ... The options are so breathtakingly stunning that you might suffer analysis paralysis trying to compare them all. Oh, darn. You’ll have to go see them in person. And if you’re staying in Jamaica or Saint Lucia, make sure to take a tour of the dream-worthy overwater bungalows while you’re there.