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Posted in All Inclusive Caribbean Weddings

There’s an All-Inclusive Resort Destination Wedding Option for Everyone!

If you’re considering a destination wedding, but have an idea in your head that they’re all the same- think again! All-inclusive resorts have stepped up their game and have surprisingly diverse options that would make any bride happy. Whether you have your heart set on a certain look, need to incorporate religious traditions, or don’t want to do much planning at all- there’s an all-inclusive resort wedding option for you!

Basic (But Still Beautiful) Packages

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Many people choose a destination wedding to avoid the planning and stress (and cost) of a typical wedding- and it’s a great option! For my wedding, my husband chose the resort in St. Lucia, and once we arrived, all I had to do was pick the location, flowers, setup, cake, and dinner. I was a VERY lazy bride, and was more concerned with having fun with my husband than my bouquet or dress. Most resorts have a base package that is extremely affordable or even free with a certain number of nights or rooms booked. You get the expertise of the resort’s professional wedding planner to make everything look perfect and go smoothly. You can even add items to the base package if you want upgraded flowers or a private reception.  Make sure to read what’s included in your package- some resorts have separate fees for legal ceremonies vs. symbolic. The resorts’ websites make it very easy to see what’s included in your package and what legal fees are required, so as long as you pay attention, you’ll be fine! (Sandals Beautiful Beginnings Package Pics Above)

Pinterest-worthy Pre-designed Themes

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For the bride who wants her wedding to be Instaglam, has some room in the budget, but still wants low-stress planning, pre-designed wedding themes and packages are the way to go. All-inclusive resorts have stepped their game up, and are offering amazing, professionally designed wedding packages in a variety of styles to suit almost any taste. Sandals has several packages available, and Hard Rock even has collections designed by the famous event planner Colin Cowie. The shining-star, however, is Karisma Resorts (brands include El Dorado, Generations, and Azul). They have 6 seriously gorgeous wedding themes in their Memorable Moments collection- with names like Coastal Bliss and Majestic Flair (pictured above)- there’s a style to suit any bride. They may seem expensive (for a destination wedding) at $2950 each, but you get a beautiful ceremony and reception with full décor for up to 24 guests, a wedding planner, a wedding concierge, and a honeymoon package. Our destination wedding guru, Lian, chose Karisma’s packages as the best deal around- so you know they’re good!

Customized Weddings

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If you are the bride who can’t wait to start planning and wants to choose every detail- you can have a completely customized destination wedding! The resort’s wedding planner will walk you through every option, from color palettes and ceremony décor, to reception options and photography. Sandals has an online tool that lets you design your wedding and share it with your resort wedding planner. You start by choosing your color theme, then get to pick your wedding décor items to match. Secrets has a wedding guide for each of their locations, with a list of customized options and prices – flowers, décor, table arrangements, photography, music, you name it!

Religious Ceremonies

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If you couldn’t imagine getting married without incorporating your faith or culture, you can still have a destination wedding! Most resorts have experience with Catholic, Non-denominational Christian, Jewish, Hindu, and Sikh weddings! The resorts’ wedding webpages give information about what type of religious ceremonies they can conduct (sometimes in the FAQ section), or you can contact our Destination Wedding Expert Lian. Since Catholic weddings must occur inside of a church, only resorts that have chapels can host them- and there are plenty that do (try Palace, Karisma, Iberostar, and Riu Palace Resorts). For Jewish ceremonies, Palace Resorts specifies that they can do traditional, modern, and interfaith ceremonies, and we’ve personally had AM brand resorts (Secrets & Dreams) help Orthodox guests observe Shabbat. Karisma Resorts is also a great option for Jewish weddings. One of the fastest growing categories of all-inclusive destination weddings is Shaadi Weddings! Karisma, AM Resorts, and Palace all have gorgeous packages available for IndianHindu, and South Asian weddings, and even have separate brochures for these elaborate events! Palace says they host over 300 Indian weddings per year, so they have plenty of experience. Karisma resorts and Lomas Travel also have a Sikh wedding minister package available, which I didn’t see mentioned on other resorts’ websites. Overall, all-inclusive resorts are very accommodating, and they’ll do whatever they can to make sure your religious beliefs are honored during your big day!

Unusual Ceremonies

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If all of the options so far seem too typical or cookie-cutter, there’s more! Jungle weddings- you bet! If you and your partner are scuba-holics, you can get married underwater! If you’re fascinated by foreign or ancient cultures, specifically the Maya- Mayan ceremonies are available! A Shaman will bless the couple and the four elements before performing the ceremony. If you’re a dolphin-lover, you can marry a dolphin! Not really, but you can get married while swimming with them, while your guests watch safely (and dryly) from shore. Even adventurous couples have offbeat options for all-inclusive destination weddings!

Same Sex Weddings

     Although it’s not our specialty, we are happy to help you arrange a same-sex destination wedding! Mexico is a great destination, with tons of resorts offering symbolic same-sex wedding ceremonies. Contact Kim@Honeymoonsinc.com for more information!

Destination Weddings at all-inclusive resorts have come a long way, and there are truly options for everyone. If you’re interested in having your wedding at an all-inclusive resort, contact our destination wedding expert,
Lian Alston- Lian@Honeymoonsinc.com.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.secretsresorts.com/aura-cozumel/dive

http://www.amresorts.com/wedding_guides/indian-wedding-guide-drerc.pdf

http://weddingdesigner.sandals.com/

http://weddings.palaceresorts.com/en?interna=1&interna=1#weddings

http://www.weddingsbylomastravel.com/planning/Wedding-Officiants

http://www.weddingsbylomastravel.com/dolphin/

Posted in All Inclusive Caribbean Weddings

Top Excursion Tours in St Lucia

If you’re heading down to St. Lucia for your destination wedding or honeymoon, are you planning on getting out and doing an excursion? We think you should! Last year I was in St. Lucia, eloping with my sweetie, and I kept hearing our fellow guests talk about the same thing- their excursions! Zip lining, boat tours, buggy rides, whatever they did, it was the #1 topic of conversation. Since we stayed at 4 resorts in 10 days, we didn’t have time to do any, and I still regret it. To make up for it, I grabbed as many brochures as I could, and am presenting to you some of the most popular excursions offered in St. Lucia, along with a customer review from Trip Advisor. Don’t make the same mistake we did- get out, see the country, and do something! You’ll get to have some fun, learn about the history and culture, and make a few friends along the way!

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SNUBA- A guided underwater tour that combines scuba diving with snorkeling. This shallow water diving system allows you to breathe oxygen while you explore underwater, up to 20 feet deep. The equipment is located in a Snuba raft, which floats on the surface while swim below. No intensive training or carrying heavy equipment! Ages 8-80+. SNUBA Doo program for ages 4-7. Underwater portion approx. 25 minutes.

                “This was by far my favorite activity on vacation. Dragon Fish was our instructor and I had a blast. He is very knowledgeable and entertaining. I got to see all kinds of marine life and enjoy a good laugh too. I highly recommend this to anyone thinking about it.”

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SeaTrek- This guided underwater walking tour doesn’t even require swimming- you literally walk underwater, wearing a helmet that lets you breathe. Your hair and face remain dry, so you can even wear glasses or contact lenses inside the helmet. The tour depth varies by location, up to 30 feet. Ages 8-80+. Underwater portion approx. 20 minutes.

                “SeaTrek in St Lucia was one of the best experiences of my life – (Our guide) Sting Ray and his colleagues made it safe and enjoyable. Would recommend it to anyone who can breathe and walk!! Would recommend you take your own reef shoes although these are provided. Underwater camera would also be a bonus.”

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Joe Knows Tour- Take a half-day cruise around the island in a speed boat, and see Marigot Bay, the town of Soufriere, the Pitons, a drive-through volcano, natural mud baths, and the Toraille Waterfall. You’ll also get to enjoy an authentic Creole lunch and plenty of rum punch! Guests rave about this tour, so keep it in mind!

“My husband and I have traveled quite a bit and have done tours in the past. This was, by far, the best tour we have ever done! Big Al and Snoop were awesome! We had the best boat and the best group! Very entertaining! We did the mud bath, waterfall, lunch and snorkeling. You get to spend ample time at each of the spots. Lunch was authentic creole food (I loved the bread fruit!). Be prepared to party ALL THE WAY BACK!! It was truly a memorable experience. Thanks for making our ten year anniversary special!”

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St Lucia Segway- See St. Lucia up-close on this Segway tour around Rodney Bay. After orientation and some practice, guests are led on a nature trail to learn about the lush flora of the island. Next is Pebble Beach, followed by going up Mount Primard to see a “volcanic masterpiece and experience ‘StoneFace Fish Pond’”. On the descent, guests can enjoy panoramic views of Pigeon Island, The Rodney Bay Marina, and the Caribbean Sea.

“From the moment you get on the bus to go to the location of the tour, Chad (guide) is explaining the Island culture, buildings and sites every step of the way. Once you get to your destination you meet the other guides, Sammy & Devon. They teach you how to ride, take you up and down the mountain and make this experience really great. Afterwards, they take you to a local bar and beach. This was an all day tour with the best guides of my two week vacation. Chad, Sammy and Devon are the best. Don’t miss it.“

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Island Adventures Jeep Tours- There are several tours to choose from, with half or full-day options. Hiking through the rainforest, zip-lining through the trees, and soaking in the famous mud baths are just a few options! These tours go off-road on rough trails, so if you get carsick or can’t handle bumpy rides, it’s not for you. You’ll get to see and learn about the island while experiencing some culture.

“This was an amazing day of fun and adventure! We started off early (we were the first pickup of the day) and our guide, Wayne, was awesome from the start. He really knew his island and I thoroughly enjoyed the historical and local information that he shared with us along the way throughout the day’s trip.”

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Soufriere Safari- Take a tour around the town of Soufriere while driving your own buggy! Cruise through the drive-through volcano, then to a gorgeous waterfall and natural mineral baths. You even get to stop at a local restaurant, set on a hill, to enjoy local food while enjoying the view of the famous Piton Mountains. If your partner is a gearhead, this is perfect. They get to drive an awesome buggy while you enjoy seeing the sights of St Lucia and learning about the history and culture.

“This was a great day, with our leader/guide Gregg doing a great job to make the day memorable. This is a guided drive-yourself fun day. Timing to all places was perfect and all crowds avoided. This is a must do and is far more fun, in our opinion, than some of the other ways of seeing the island. Every minute detail was planned and handled superbly. Thanks to all involved!”

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ATV Adventures- Perfect for people who love the outdoors, adventure, or all things motorized- this guided tour takes you off the beaten path, literally. Drive or ride an all-terrain vehicle off-road through the jungle and along the coastline for an adventure you’ll never forget. This tour takes you to an uninhabited part of the island on the Atlantic coast, which most tours don’t do. Enjoy the breathtaking landscape while getting dirty on the trails, and you may even see some wildlife!

“We took the ATV tour that takes you up country up some really fun rocky and puddle laden trails. We stopped at the top of a hill for a lesson on some island history and how they make charcoal and then down to the Atlantic side beach for a snack and to play in the turquoise and deep blue water. It was gorgeous and a blast.”

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Climbing the Pitons- If you love hiking and nature, this tour is for you! Nearly 3,000 feet above sea level, the Pitons are the two most famous mountains in St Lucia, formed by volcanic activity. They’re actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site- if that tells you how important these mountains are. From a distance, they appear side-by-side, but they’re actually a few miles apart. You’ll climb the larger (and safer) of the two mountains, called the Gros Piton. While it’s technically only a hike- it’s a rough one. You’ll need to be in shape to get up the stairs and inclines on the 2+ hour hike up, but it’s worth it. You’re legally required to have a guide, and you’ll find them at the visitors’ center at the base of the mountain. It’s also best to start in the morning, when it’s cooler, because the hike can take anywhere from 3-6 hours total. Although it’s a challenge, it’s worth it!

“My husband and I visited St Lucia for our honeymoon. We wanted to do something other than sit at the resort, and when we talked to the tour desk and she advised us that it would be quite strenuous. When the taxi picked us up to take us there, he advised he hiked it once and wouldn’t do it again. Once we got there he actually joined us. The hike was a challenge at times, but also add humidity and the heat which can add to any activity. We did the hike in 3 hours, 2 up and 1 down. It was absolutely amazing! From the top we were able to see clouds rolling in for rain that happened at the resort but didn’t affect us at all. I think it a must if you are visiting St Lucia, bring water, some fruit, and good sneakers! Worth every minute!”

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Treetop Adventure Park- Fly through the jungle on a series of zip lines- up to 150 feet above the ground! 12 zip lines take you on a tour of the jungle, letting you see the gorgeous greenery up-close, and maybe even some creatures. You’ll have plenty of air time, with the longest zip line being 800 feet long. This is an exhilarating adventure, but definitely not if you’re afraid of heights. The experience takes approx. 2 hours.

“The Zip lining was so much! 12 lines through the jungle, picked up at the resort and dropped right back off. Simple, our tour guide, made the ride so much fun and we got to know the other people on our tour. He gave us all a shot of local coconut rum on the way back. Book this way ahead of your trip, we almost didn’t get on the tour booking the week before.”

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We recommend booking your excursion on-property, which is rare for a travel agency, but we think it works better for clients. We find it easier to decide on your schedule after you arrive at the resort, allowing you more freedom and flexibility. Sometimes you meet people at the resort and want to do an excursion with them, or you may hear great things about an excursion you didn’t consider before, but want to do now.  We’ve had people book in advance that ended up cancelling after arriving on-property because they overindulged or decided to do something else. All these reasons have made us realize you’re better off planning your all-inclusive vacation schedule once you’re there. Most resorts have a desk in the lobby where you can look at all the options, get questions answered, and book when you’re ready- so why not take advantage of that?

Other companies insist you need to book in advance, claiming the excursions fill up fast- but that rarely happens- it’s a ploy to upsell you, getting the agency more commission. I’ve heard it from their own mouths! I polled our agents, and it’s very rare that a guest can’t do an excursion because it’s completely booked their whole trip. If you’re with a group and want to do an activity together, or you’re 100% certain you want to go ziplining on Tuesday, we’ll be happy to book it for you- but even in both of those situations, you’ll still be fine booking at the resort.

Posted in All Inclusive Caribbean Weddings

Guestzillas- A Guest Post from the Honeymoons, Inc. Blog

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We’ve all heard of bridezillas, but we encountered something different with a client in August…her guests almost ruined her destination wedding!

… read more at the Honeymoons Inc Blog!

Posted in All Inclusive Caribbean Weddings

6 DIY Beach Destination Wedding Keepsakes

At a typical wedding there are endless centerpieces and mementos you can take home to remember your big day- but destination weddings are different. It’s hard to fit a centerpiece in your luggage! Sure, you could buy a bunch of souvenirs- but the regular tourist items don’t make great wedding mementos. Why not create something beautiful instead, using items found during your destination wedding and honeymoon? If you’re anything like us, you love crafting and DIY projects too- so we spent the day hunting down the 6 best DIY beach destination wedding keepsakes. You left home to get married in paradise, so why not take a little paradise back home?

1)      Sand & shell photo jar
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2)      Sand & shell Christmas ornament
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3)      Shell ring holder or soap dish
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4)      Shell flowers
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5)      Shell photo frame
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6)      Gilded sea shells
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Posted in All Inclusive Caribbean Weddings

6 Destination Wedding Don’ts!

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We’ve been planning all inclusive Caribbean destination weddings for 17 years. Here is a list of top 6 mistakes you can make when planning your big day.

1)      Don’t forget sunscreen! Remind yourself that the Caribbean sun doesn’t care if you have on a wedding gown instead of a bathing suit. The sun will still continue to give you vitamin D and worse if you aren’t careful. I learned this one first hand when I was married at Couples Swept Away. Aloe Vera was not in my original wedding night plans.

2)      Don’t forget to dress for the tropics! Make sure you choose your wedding clothes to fit your destination. First, consider light colors which are cooler. I attended a destination wedding in Jamaica, where the groom and groomsmen wore beautiful black wool tuxedos. I can still see the sweating. For men, think light-colored fabric that breathes, like linen. For brides, dresses with long trains are okay in the gardens, chapels and gazebos, but don’t try them in the sand. The same goes with high heels- they don’t work so well on the beach, but are fine for walking around the resort.

3)      Don’t let your guests arrive at the last minute! Encourage everyone to come in 2 days prior to the wedding. Often guests come in 1 day prior due to their schedules. Sometimes, one very recently, 1 day is not enough. The bride’s father was scheduled to arrive in the islands on Friday for his daughter’s wedding on Saturday. His flight was cancelled last minute due to a terrible storm on the east coast. Every single seat on every single flight was booked the next morning and he missed the wedding.

4)      Don’t compromise! Make sure you pick a resort that fits you. We often have couples that try to pick a resort that they think will please the most guests. This is your day and you shouldn’t make that compromise. Brides and grooms that make this mistake enjoy the planning process less and are robbed of the fantastic anticipation they should have. If you insist on this mistake, you have to be able to “Let It Go”. Historically speaking from what we see, when you make this mistake, you will regret it.

5)      Don’t micromanage your guests! We will take good care of them. We had one bride that made all of the arrangements for her guests. She made sure everyone had given her exact passport names, birthdates, arrival dates, departure dates, room categories and special requests. She even made everyone send her checks and made all the payments to us by herself. She got really stressed out. Her guests were stressed out. Caribbean destination weddings should not be stressful. Why do the work yourself when we’ll do it for you?

6)      Don’t leave guests free to book how, when or wherever they want. We do ask that you make it clear to guests that they all need to book with Honeymoons, Inc. Most guests will understand this. Guests that book outside of the group will not be accounted for with any special events like the ceremony, dinners, cocktails parties and excursions. If your group is 5 rooms or more, the resort usually starts making concessions for your ceremony. Guests that book outside the group will not be counted. Often a resort will even charge a guest to attend your ceremony if they don’t book as part of the group. We recently had a lady call us from Jamaica. She was having to pay $100 to attend her niece’s wedding. She wasn’t our client. Her best friend was a travel agent and she had already paid more than we would have charged her. All we could tell her was “Sorry, you made a mistake.”

We want your day to be perfect, and we hope this small list helps you avoid some easy mistakes.

 

 

 

Posted in All Inclusive Caribbean Weddings

7 Award-Winning Resorts For Your Destination Wedding!

Imagine a resort with “the ultimate in luxury and sophistication. Extraordinary physical attributes, meticulous personalized service, extensive amenities and impeccable standards of excellence.” Sound good?? These are the requirements for AAA’s 5 Diamond award, only given to a few worthy hotels and resorts in the world. If you want the ultimate honeymoon, destination wedding, or vacation- you’ve come to the right place! Here are 7 all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico that won AAA’s top recommendation. (If you want a 5 diamond resort AND a 5 diamond restaurant, check out #5)

1)     Jumby Bay- Antigua

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“Accessible only by boat, Jumby Bay Island, originally called Long Island, took its name from the Antiguan word “Jumbie” meaning playful spirit. It is an ancient coral reef, a rocky outpost, situated a few miles off the North East coast of Antigua… Today, Jumby Bay, with its rich wildlife, lush and abundant landscape and its pristine beaches, presents itself as a peerless and secluded hideaway for the sophisticated and discerning traveler. Rosewood Jumby Bay is a rarefied, perfect world of quiet and relaxed luxury, the quintessential “private island dream” come true, with its natural richness, enchanting beaches, and its most private of settings. ” – Jumby Bay

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2)     Jade Mountain- St. Lucia

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“Architect owner Nick Troubetzkoy has expanded upon his philosophy of building in harmony with Caribbean nature… The bold architectural design – individual bridges leading to exceptional infinity pool sanctuaries and rugged stoned-faced columns reaching towards the sky – makes Jade Mountain St.Lucia one of the Caribbean’s most mesmerizing resort experiences. Expect grand sweeping spaces where bedroom, living area and an extravagant private infinity pool glide into one another…With the fourth wall entirely absent, Jade Mountain’s sanctuaries are stage-like settings from which to embrace the full glory of St Lucia’s Pitons World Heritage Site, and of course, the eternal Caribbean Sea.”- Jade Mountain

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3)     Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit- Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

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“Discover the most luxurious all-inclusive resort in the Puerto Vallarta area; a retreat of lavish beauty and comfort that is sure to exceed your expectations… with exceptional gourmet dining, world-class hospitality, and luxurious accommodations in a spectacular setting on Mexico’s golden coast… Feast your eyes on beauty in every direction from the moment you arrive; from our tranquil lobby with its soaring ceilings, bubbling fountains and ocean breeze to our gently flowing architecture, Mexican contemporary design and lush tropical landscaping. We welcome you to our peaceful refuge, where your spirit will be refreshed by Five Diamond service and the best accommodations and gourmet dining.”- Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit

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4)     Le Blanc Spa Resort- Cancun, Mexico

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“With the lapping Caribbean waves and the warm tropical breeze beckoning you to relax, unwind and let go. You’re lucky, because our adults only all-inclusive resort overflows with some of the most enticing activities in Cancun… Minimalistic decor and a marvelous ocean view are the backdrop for an array of culinary delights from around the world… From the moment you step into your luxurious suite at Le Blanc Spa Resort, you know you’re in a world-class property… When not enjoying the spa, guests will be able to lounge by one of the 3 outdoor pools, including 2 infinity pools and an outdoor Jacuzzi.”- Le Blanc Spa Resort

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5)     Grand Velas Riviera Maya- Playa del Carmen, Mexico**

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“Set on over 80 acres of protected mangroves, jungle and natural freshwater wells locally known as cenotes, Grand Velas enjoys over 1,000 feet of pristine white sand beach that we carefully preserve. Diverse luxury accommodation options include uniquely exotic garden suites, oceanview suites around the central infinity pool, and oceanfront suites for guests age 12 and up with private plunge pools overlooking the azure Mexican Caribbean. The only resort in the area to offer a culinary tour, our restaurants span the globe in eight venues including our internationally-acclaimed Cocina de Autor signature restaurant.” – Grand Velas Riviera Maya

**This is the only resort on the list that also has an AAA 5 diamond restaurant- Cocina de Autor

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6)     Secrets Maroma Beach- Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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“Tucked away on one of the most pristine and famous beaches in all of Mexico, this AAA Five Diamond Resort is the perfect setting for adult adventure, relaxation, romance and Unlimited-Luxury®. Indulge in an expansive array of international cuisine. Choose from seven á la carte gourmet restaurants, a buffet venue, a café and more – reservations are never required. Or sneak away for a romantic meal in your suite or on the beach. From the moment you wake in your sun-soaked suite, your days and nights are filled with nearly endless opportunities. Tennis anyone? Perhaps deep-sea fishing? Or stargazing and a bonfire show beneath the warm glow of a Caribbean moon. The choices are all yours.” – Secrets Maroma Beach

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7)     Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita- Puerto Morelos, Mexico

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“Indulge yourself in The Art of Life® at Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya, a luxurious, secluded retreat combining Endless Privileges® with holistic wellness, tranquility, and romance. Perfectly situated along Cancun’s famed Riviera Maya, this AAA Five Diamond resort offers magnificent ocean views, graciously appointed suites, gourmet dining, Bvlgari® bath amenities and more. All of our 90 oceanfront suites are individually appointed with hand-selected art and sculpture and offer elegant Bvlgari® bath amenities, fine quality linens, large private terrace, recharge station for digital devices, an ocean front view and more.”- Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita

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Posted in All Inclusive Caribbean Weddings

Sandals Resort & Beaches Resort Wedding Group Special

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For a limited time, book 35 rooms or more for your all inclusive Caribbean destination wedding group at Sandals or Beaches Resorts and get a complimentary catamaran cruise.

Sailabration includes:

  • Appetizers
  • Open bar
  • DJ playing Caribbean beats
  • Fun crew
  • Snorkeling

This is in addition to the great group amenities Sandals Resort and Beaches Resorts always offer.

Group amenities based on 35 rooms or more:

  • Complimentary Beautiful Beginnings wedding
  • Complimentary room category upgrade for bride & groom
  • Private group check-in based on arrival time
  • Private pre-wedding celebration dinner for the wedding group
  • Manicure and pedicure for the bride
  • 35 minute massage for the groom
  • 1 hour classic cocktail reception with open bar, sparkling wine, hot & cold hors d’oeuvres, and signature cocktail for the wedding group
  • 2 hour splendid wedding dinner reception

Restrictions apply. Must be a new wedding group of 35 rooms or more with a stay of 5 nights or longer at a Sandals Resort in Jamaica, excluding Sandals Carlyle. Must be a new wedding group of 35 rooms or more with a stay of 4 nights or longer at any of the 3 Beaches Resorts in Jamaica or Turks and Caicos. Book now until 12/31/15. Travel dates at Beaches Resorts are restricted to 8/20/14 to 10/31/14, january 2015, may 2015, and 8/20/15 to 10/31/15. Duration of the cruise is 2 hours in Jamaica and 3 hours in Turks and Caicos, which includes snorkeling. Cruise has a maximum occupancy of 100 in Turks and Caicos and 110 guests in Jamaica, with the exception of Sandals Whitehouse, where the maximum is 70. Catamaran cruise is subject to availability based on the days of operation and due to sailing weather conditions. Subject to change at any time. The cruise has no cash value and can’t be exchanged for other excursions. Only applicable for guests that are part of the group contract or group code. Any fees are subject to change at any time. Other restrictions and black out dates may apply. Upgrades exclude butler categories and are subject to availability and other restrictions. Free wedding requires a 6 nights stay for bride and groom. Additional fees apply. Pre-wedding dinner must be scheduled before wedding day. Offer is not combinable with certain promotions and price reductions and is subject to change without notice.

 

Posted in All Inclusive Caribbean Weddings

Iberostar Resorts Wedding Special

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Iberostar Resorts are offering a great promotion for all Caribbean weddings at any of their 10 resorts in Mexico. Wedding couples will receive a free 3 night anniversary stay.

The wedding has to be in 2014. The couple and 80% of the wedding guests must stay a minimum of 3 nights at the resort where the wedding takes place. The free anniversary stay must be within 90 days of the wedding couples 1st anniversary date. Additional restrictions apply.

Iberostar Resorts are one of our favorite resort chains for destination weddings, even though they do not offer a free wedding package, like most of our featured resorts. The special offer that Iberostar always has is that you don’t have to share your wedding day. Only 1 wedding is allowed per day. They have 3 wedding packages that start a $999 and of course, you can totally customize your wedding also. Iberostar Grand Paraiso is adults only and one of the most luxurious all inclusive resorts in the Caribbean.

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Star Caribbean Destination Wedding Package is $999

Yes, you still have to pay for your all inclusive stay.

The All Inclusive Caribbean Wedding Package Includes:

  • Professional services of an onsite wedding specialist
  • Minister, judge or priest
  • Witnesses if needed
  • Setup of wedding venue (canopy, chairs and table with white linen)
  • Champagne toast after the ceremony
  • Bride’s fresh floral bouquet and matching groom’s boutonniere
  • Traditional white frosting cake decorated with fresh flowers
  • Wedding dinner in a specialty restaurant

A non-refundable $250 deposit is required to reserve your wedding date. The wedding package and complimentary cocktail reception is for bride, groom and up to 8 additional guests staying at the resort. All fees subject to change at any time. Iberostar Grand Paraiso wedding package does not include blood tests, translation or apostille fees.

Iberostar-wedding-cake

Silver Riviera Maya Destination Wedding Package is $1699

  • Fresh floral Centerpiece for the head wedding table during the ceremony
  • Sound system and CD player for the ceremony
  • 10% discount on spa services for wedding guests
  • Professional services of an onsite wedding specialist
  • Minister, judge or priest
  • Witnesses if needed
  • Setup of wedding venue (canopy, chairs and table with white linen)
  • Champagne toast after the ceremony
  • Bride’s fresh floral bouquet and matching groom’s boutonniere
  • Traditional white frosting cake decorated with fresh flowers
  • Wedding dinner in a specialty restaurant

A non-refundable $250 deposit is required to reserve your wedding date. The wedding package and complimentary cocktail reception is for bride, groom and up to 8 additional guests staying at the resort. All fees subject to change at any time. Iberostar Grand Paraiso wedding package does not include blood tests, translation or apostille fees.

Iberostar-wedding-couple

Gold Riviera Maya Destination Wedding Package is $2499

  • Live Music, Jamaican trio, violinist or saxophonist, 45 minutes
  • Cocktails with cold appetizers for an hour
  • A gift from Iberostar Grand Paraiso
  • Upgrade to the next best category of room for the bride and groom, subject to availability
  • Late check-out for the bride and groom, subject to availability
  • Hair test and hairstyle for the bride
  • 30 minute couples massage
  • Romantic dinner on the beach for the couple
  • Fresh floral Centerpiece for the head wedding table during the ceremony
  • Sound system and CD player for the ceremony
  • 10% discount on spa services for wedding guests
  • Professional services of an onsite wedding specialist
  • Minister, judge or priest
  • Witnesses if needed
  • Setup of wedding venue (canopy, chairs and table with white linen)
  • Champagne toast after the ceremony
  • Bride’s fresh floral bouquet and matching groom’s boutonniere
  • Traditional white frosting cake decorated with fresh flowers
  • Wedding dinner in a specialty restaurant

A non-refundable $250 deposit is required to reserve your wedding date. The wedding package and complimentary cocktail reception is for bride, groom and up to 8 additional guests staying at the resort. All fees subject to change at any time. Iberostar Grand Paraiso wedding package does not include blood tests, translation or apostille fees.

Posted in All Inclusive Caribbean Weddings

Honeymoon Registry- Tacky or Tasteful?

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In the early 20
th century, the average age for first marriages was 25.9 for men and 21.9 for women. Fast forward over 100 years, and the ages have shifted to 29.8 for men and 26.9 for women. This means more couples are establishing lives, careers, and homes prior to marriage- and traditions like wedding registries are changing to keep up. Traditionally, gift registries helped a new couple start their household with items they’d need, like linens, tableware, and kitchen appliances. So what happens when a couple already has a stocked house?

Honeymoon registries are a relatively new concept where wedding guests contribute towards your honeymoon trip- private candlelight dinners on the beach, spa services, horseback riding- you name it! There are several different services to use, and different ways to do it. Some honeymoon registries allow guests to pay via credit card and Paypal, and others encourage giving a check directly to the couple along with a certificate that shows which registry item the money is meant for. Instead of signing up for blenders and china, the couple signs up for experiences and extras to enhance their trip- and guests simply browse online to choose what they want to give. It’s a very simple and progressive idea-but it has sparked a lot of controversy. On one side you have people who think it is extremely tacky, and the other side sees it as a harmless alternative to a traditional registry. I agree with the latter!

This post was inspired by a specific discussion on The Knot where one girl was repeatedly and harshly berated for having the nerve to choose a honeymoon registry. She was told that honeymoon registries are tasteless and she should immediately cancel the registry and apologize to everyone for being so rude! It was truly ironic how cruel these women were while trying to enforce their opinion of “etiquette”. They argued that it was a thinly veiled request for cash and that she shouldn’t expect any gifts. They thought the bride and groom shouldn’t take a honeymoon if they can’t afford one, and that it’s awful to expect guests to fund it. They said it was tacky that the wedding registry website takes a percentage of the gifts as a fee. Many argued that the couple will miss out on being reminded of the recipient every time they use a physical gift, and that cash or an experience just doesn’t give the same memories. And some thought it selfish to register at all because people want to give gifts that they think are special because it’s about the giver, not the receiver.

Those of us who support honeymoon registries just want to give the bride and groom and gift they’ll enjoy. In my research, I found far more people accepting of honeymoon registries than against it. Some people simply treasure memories above possessions- and for them, a honeymoon registry is perfect. If I’m spending money on a gift, I’d rather give something that the couple wants- not inconvenience them with something useless. Planning a wedding is already stressful- the couple shouldn’t be scared to be honest about gift preferences, bullied into doing something they don’t want, or forced to return gifts they can’t use. If a couple provides gift suggestions in a registry, they’re still just suggestions. Every guest has the right to choose if and what they give. Guests shouldn’t get themselves in a tizzy over how “greedy” and “selfish” it is to include registry information in an invitation because in the end, giving a gift is entirely up to the guest’s discretion. The bride and groom are only tacky if they aren’t grateful for their guests’ presence and presents.

All this being said- we have some suggestions for making guests more comfortable with the concept of a honeymoon registry. As one online commenter said “the entire point of etiquette is common courtesy, and even a honeymoon registry can be done correctly.”

1)      Since many people think registry information in invitations is tasteless, instead, make a wedding website and include the URL in the invitations. Then, include the registry information on the website. It will get the word out without offending any sensitive guests. You can also give more information about how you two met, details on honeymoon plans, and links to your registries.
2)      For more traditional guests, include a traditional registry with a few items along with your honeymoon registry. This lets guests choose if they want to give you a physical gift or a honeymoon experience. However, if there is truly nothing you need domestically, just stick with the honeymoon registry.
3)      Always make sure to include registry items in different price ranges so that guests of every budget have choices. No guest should feel pressured to spend more than they can afford. Don’t set a minimum donation or gift amount for your honeymoon registry. If the registry is itemized, again, make sure to include less expensive items. If your registry is just general donations to your trip, make sure guests can give whatever amount they choose.
4)      Make sure you can afford your honeymoon without the honeymoon registry. After all, there’s no guarantee you will get anything. You can then use the honeymoon registry funds to pay for fun extras like horseback riding or a fancy dinner, or simply pay yourself back for the trip. Alternatively, you can wait to plan your honeymoon until you have received all gift funds- that way, you know the budget and can plan accordingly.
5)      Make sure to take photos of you enjoying the experiences your guests paid for. Then, when you send out the thank-you notes, include the photo. This way, your guests can see how much you enjoyed their contribution and that it actually went towards that zip-line rainforest tour.
6)      Thank-you notes are required! The tackiest thing a couple can do is not be grateful for whatever they receive!

If you’re a bride, I hope this helps you with one of the many decisions you have to make. When it comes to weddings, everyone has an opinion- and it can create a lot of pressure to do the right thing. Be true to yourself- this day is about you and your love!

 

If you’re considering using a honeymoon registry- check out ours from Honeymoon Wishes.

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Posted in All Inclusive Caribbean Weddings