Interested In A Destination Wedding?

As you may know, My Cruising Family comes as a result of a destination wedding in Jamaica, West Indies, in October 2009.  That is when Allan and I married, which is why I consider that moment the start of our family.  This year, as we approach our 10th anniversary, Allan and I attended a spectacular wedding at Beaches Negril, just steps away from where we became husband and wife.  Traveling to Jamaica in August of this year for a wedding so close to the location of our own, exactly two months before our 10th anniversary, was sentimental to me.  Having the luxury-included Sandals/Beaches experience again after 10 years was wonderful!  So, what’s the attraction to a destination wedding?  How does one begin to plan such an event in one of the world’s most popular wedding destinations, Jamaica? 

What’s The Attraction To A Destination Wedding?

After the experience of being a guest at a WeddingMoon at the former Beaches Boscobel (now called Beaches Ocho Rios), and realizing all that Sandals/Beaches resorts offer a truly all-inclusive experience to their guests, I had to look into what booking a Sandals/Beaches WeddingMoon entailed.  For starters, Allan and I reside in New York City, which is one of the most expensive cities in which to reside, and therefore, not surprisingly, is also one of the most expensive cities in which to hold a wedding.  Getting married in the Caribbean the way we envisioned it is much more affordable than having the sort of wedding we would’ve envisioned having in New York.  After attending my brother’s destination wedding at then Beaches Boscobel in October 2008, I was inspired to start looking at destination wedding options, specifically in Jamaica.  For us, having a wedding in Jamaica made perfect sense because Jamaica is my homeland and many of our guests would travel from across the island to attend.  Of our approximately 80 guests, about half traveled locally across the island while the other half flew in from various areas in the United States.  My husband’s family is Barbadian, but those who attended our wedding reside in New York, and they welcomed traveling to Jamaica for the occasion.  After getting married in Jamaica, it was only fair that we spent our first anniversary in Barbados 😊  So, some factors that attract couples to the idea of a destination wedding include cost, heritage, and family. 

How Does One Begin To Plan A Destination Wedding in Jamaica?

Of course, there are the basics that couples need to be aware of no matter where they get married, such as the license and residency requirements.  For weddings in Jamaica, the requirements are straightforward, including the following: proof of citizenship such as birth certificates must be submitted, and the couple needs to reside on the island for at least 24 hours prior to the wedding.  The Sandals/Beaches wedding team with whom I was in touch months ahead of our wedding coordinated all of the necessary paperwork. 

Now, to the fun part… at least, it was fun for me 😊 

It is no secret that Jamaica has a wide variety of hotels and resorts from which to choose.  Many resorts on the island offer wedding packages that range from having a simple ceremony with little-to-no guests to having a grand ceremony and reception with sit-down dinner and the works.  Pricing starts at FREE, meaning included with your resort stay, to prices in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, dependent on the size of the wedding.  As with any other wedding, the couple must decide on how big or small they would like the event to be.  Deciding the size of the wedding and having an estimated number of guests allows the couple to eliminate certain wedding package options, thereby eliminating certain resorts.  It is important to note that some resorts quote a very low wedding package price, but then add “per guest” fees to that price which quickly escalates the cost. 

When I researched Sandals/Beaches, as well as other well-known and well-rated resorts, Sandals/Beaches was easily the best choice for us.  From booking until departure from the property everything went smoothly.  The cost and the expectation for payments were clearly established at the start, and once payments were made in full, we truly had nothing else to do but to show up and have a great time.  My on-site wedding coordinator and I had communicated via email well in advance of the wedding.  I was able to request and receive a custom dinner buffet with items reflecting that our wedding was authentically Jamaican, as well as a Jamaican DJ to play songs that we requested in advance. 

Sandals/Beaches offers a wonderful basic wedding package that can be upgraded and personalized.  Our Beaches wedding in October 2009 and my friend’s Beaches wedding in August 2019 were both upgraded and personalized, each had a signature feel reflecting the respective couples.  Both weddings had the bride, groom, and guests on our feet, dancing through the night, making great memories. 

Planning a beach wedding in the Caribbean, or truly, any outdoor wedding, means being open to the idea that your plans may shift and the wedding and/or reception may be indoors depending on the weather.  That being said, plan and have fun doing so.  In my experience, it has consistently worked out well.  Our wedding was delayed by rain, but thanks to God and the advice of our on-site wedding coordinator, after the showers stopped, we had our outdoor wedding as planned in a gazebo with the beach as our backdrop.  We did, however, use the contingency plan for an indoor reception.  In August this year, my friend had a beautiful beach set up for the wedding and reception.  However, after delaying the ceremony, the rain then started again during the beginning of the outdoor ceremony.  After further delay, the ceremony moved indoors to what resulted in a much more intimate and warm wedding reflecting the bride’s heart.  Afterwards, the bride, groom, and us guests enjoyed a fantastic outdoor beach reception throughout the night.  Again, I cannot emphasize enough how much of a carefully personalized experience the Sandals/Beaches wedding team creates.  Rain or shine, it has consistently worked out well. 

There are many options for couples seeking to have a destination wedding.  However, my heart rejoiced at witnessing my friend’s Beaches nuptials and reception and hearing her rave about her experience with the Sandals/Beaches team, which is a different team than the one I worked with 10 years ago, yet they provided EXCELLENT service just the same as we had received a decade prior.  That is why I gladly recommend that couples seeking to have a destination wedding in the Caribbean consider a Sandals/Beaches WeddingMoon.  The luxury-included experience is consistent. 

Are you planning a destination wedding?  If so, how are your plans going? 

Have you attended a destination wedding?  If so, I’d love to hear about your experience.