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Weddings and HoneymoonsSeptember 14, 2009 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent
Jamaica is a honeymoon haven as well as destination wedding center; here, a couple strolls along 7 Miles Beach in Negril
There really isn’t a bad place in the Caribbean for weddings or honeymoons, but in an attempt to help your clients shorten the list of possible destinations in the region, Travel Agent came up with three islands sure to satisfy clients looking for a romantic setting.
No matter what you are looking for—be it a luxury hotel, a beach resort or an all-inclusive—Jamaica has something for everyone, for every price point, for every age. This is why we, along with the tour operators we spoke with, think Jamaica is the best place for a destination wedding in the Caribbean.
With all the ingredients for a memorable wedding met—beaches, intimate accommodations and natural beauty—Jamaica is an ideal all-in-one wedding and honeymoon destination. In addition, families and friends who attend the wedding can extend the stay to a mini vacation or reunion while enjoying the nightlife, rainforest canopy tours, relaxing beaches and swimming with dolphins.
Romance and privacy are hallmarks of Parrot Cay in Turks & Caicos, where celebrities and ordinary couples alike come to tie the knot
Here are three new resorts, perfect for destination weddings and honeymoons:
Secrets Resorts & Spas, the luxury resort brand offering adults-only vacations, will officially open its first Jamaican properties in March.
The Secrets St. James Montego Bay and Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay—two new exclusive all-suite resorts—will be situated side by side at a beachfront location.
The Spanish Court Hotel opened in New Kingston in June and, often likened to the W Hotels brand, is for the urban sophisticate looking for tropical flair. Kingston’s newest hotel fills a need in Jamaica’s capital and thriving cultural center for a hotel with unabashed style, great dining and contemporary amenities.
Solis Palmyra opened to guests in March, and has been designed to appeal to discerning, well-traveled couples on the look-out for the ultimate in laidback luxury. The Palmyra, a Solis Resort & Spa, will be the brand’s premier Caribbean resort property. Set on 16 oceanfront acres in a former Jamaican plantation within the elite enclave of historic Rose Hall, the resort has 299 guestrooms plus one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom suites, Penthouses and private villas. The casually elegant resort also boasts Jamaica’s first branded 30,000-square-foot ESPA spa, which is perfect for couples’ treatments.
To learn more about weddings and honeymoons in Jamaica, contact the Jamaica Tourist Board (800-233-4582, www.visitjamaica.com).
Much like Jamaica, St. Lucia’s diverse products make the island a great place to tie the knot.
Great beaches and elegant old plantation houses are its specialty. The wonderful climate, beauty of the island and bustling nightlife near the Rodney Bay area don’t hurt either.
Experienced professional wedding planners at resorts and local tour operations will ensure that the entire process, including fulfilling legal requirements, is simple and stress-free.
“St. Lucia has long been a premier wedding destination,” says Feolla Chastanet, managing director, Coco Palm Resort. “When I was an SLTB [St. Lucia Tourism Board] sales rep in 1987, the island was considered ‘the wedding destination’ of the Caribbean. It has since become an increasingly competitive market and extremely lucrative with small groups traveling together—which makes it rewarding for travel agents and hoteliers, while very affordable for the bridal couple. Over the years, the ‘second wedding market’ has been particularly strong.
“Coco Palm has seen our wedding market grow over the years but like everything else, we personalize these as opposed to offering a conveyor belt of weddings. One will not see several brides walking around the property each day. Our gardens, which are in abundance in St Lucia’s lush tropical setting, has to be one of the most picturesque draws.
“This summer there was a wedding party of St. Lucians living overseas,”
recalls Chastanet. “They were here for three weeks with friends and family, occupying 10 rooms at Coco Palm. Vows were exchanged in a transformed conference room and a reception was held in the gardens.”
Travel agents can speak with Chastanet at 758-456-2800.
In December, Ladera in St. Lucia will unveil its new Paradise Pavilion—an open-air wedding venue that can host ceremonies and receptions for up to 100 guests.
The 1,200-square-foot Pavilion is crafted in Ladera’s signature rainforest style, with terra cotta flooring, columns from tropical greenheart wood, milled and richly polished, as well as cut stone and tiles by local St. Lucian masons.
Ladera’s Hilltop Dream Suite #X8 is connected to the Pavilion—through a stone archway—by a landscaped private pathway, flanked by fountains and a reflecting pool.
Turks & Caicos
The beaches, deserted cays, excellent hotels and the snorkeling and diving possibilities draw the marriage crowd here. The ceremony will be conducted by a local minister, Justice of Peace or Registrar; however, there is no provision for a marriage that takes place here to be registered in the couple’s country of origin as all records will remain in the Turks & Caicos Islands.
|The beaches and deserted cays of Turks & Caicos draw the wedding and honeymoon crowd to the islands’ resorts|
To obtain a copy of a marriage certificate, the couple will need to notify the marriage officer and fill out the required forms. A copy will then be sent to their home address.
The Regent Palms is perfect for couples who prefer a vigin setting for their wedding, as they will find peace and quiet on just about every inch of its 12 acres. Room #4203, a one-bedroom Oceanview Suite, is highly recommended. It has two balconies—one overlooks the property’s $1.8 million serpentine infinity pool and has partial views of the ocean. The room costs between $625 and $1,800.
Room #5504 is a three-bedroom Oceanfront Penthouse, which costs between $2,600 and $6,500 a night. It’s similar to the Oceanview Suite, only bigger, and has an outdoor Jacuzzi overlooking the ocean.
The property offers a 10 percent commission to travel agents. They can contact Reservations and Revenue Manager Scott Hagan (011-866-877-7256, reservations [email protected]).
Parrot Cay Resort & Spa has long been one of the most popular resorts in Turks & Caicos. Celebrity couples such as Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, and Eva Longoria and Tony Parker have stayed here. While it might clinch a sale, don’t rely solely on pitching this property as a celebrity hangout; it has so much more to offer.
Note that the property is not available for Christmas/New Year’s. Agents get a 10 percent commission. Contact Sales and Special Services Manager Richele Morgan (649-946-7788, [email protected]), or Reservations Manager Kiesha Meadows (649-946-7745, [email protected]).
Do's and Don'ts for a Caribbean Wedding
Couples can wed just 24 hours after arriving in Jamaica provided prior application has been made for a marriage license. The cost of a license is between $60 and $65. To apply for a license, call the Ministry of National Security & Justice at 876-906-4923. Unlike many countries, Jamaica does not require couples to get a blood test before getting married.
However, the following documentation is required: proof of citizenship; a certified copy of birth certificate, which should have the applicant’s father’s name; parent’s written consent if under 18 years of age; proof of divorce if applicable (original certificate of divorce); and a certified copy of death certificate of the spouse for widow or widower.
There are non-denominational marriage officers who can officiate either at their offices, in their homes or at a place chosen by the couple, and are able to provide witnesses.
Marriage officers charge anywhere from $50 to $250.
To get married in St. Lucia, clients need the following documentation: a passport and birth certificate; a Decree Absolute (if one of the parties is divorced); a widow/widower needs to produce a death certificate of first spouse; if a name has been changed, a deed poll is required; and if one of the parties is under 18, evidence of the consent of parents in the form of a sworn affidavit stamped by a notary public. If any of the required documents is not in English, an authenticated translation must be made available.
St. Lucia has a No Residency Policy and clients arriving on the island for a day can be married within hours. Application to be married in St. Lucia must be made by a local solicitor to the Attorney General or notary who prepares and signs the license.
In the case of Catholic Church weddings, your local parish priest would need to liaise with a priest on the island to ensure that you have undertaken the necessary counseling prior to the marriage and that you have met all the necessary criteria to enable you to be married in a Catholic Church.
Turks & Caicos
Requirements for obtaining a marriage license in the Turks & Caicos Islands include being in possession of a passport and birth certificate, and both parties’ presence in the Islands at the time of application. The persons wishing to be married may do so after one day (24 hours).
Proof of marital status is required: for singles, a sworn affidavit; if one of the parties is divorced, a divorce decree. These can be either the original or a notarized copy, sealed by a court clerk. In the case of a widow/widower, a death certificate of the previous spouse is required. In the case of a change of name by deed poll or adoption, written proof needs to be furnished.
If either party is a citizen or resident of a country other than the U.S., a declaration certifying this fact sworn before a notary public or another person authorized to administer oaths in that country must accompany the application.
If under the age of 21, the consent of one or both parents or guardian should be presented in the form of an affidavit stamped by the notary public.
The marriage parties must not be within the prohibited degree of relationship to each other. A letter must be included stating both parties’ occupations, marital status, age as of the last birthday, present address of residence and fathers’ names.
For church weddings, ministers may require proof of membership. The parties must produce evidence of the date of their arrival on the islands.
No blood test is necessary and the fee for the license is $100.
Marriage licenses are issued at the office of the Registrar in Providenciales, which is open to the public Mondays to Fridays from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.