Weddings: Six ideas for group and couple-only bookings

Weddings: Six ideas for group and couple-only bookings

Overseas wedding options used to be pretty restricted – but not anymore. With the continuing boom in the business of getting married abroad, operators are expanding their product range to suit all tastes, budgets and size of guestlist.

It’s not uncommon for couples to invite friends and family to their overseas wedding, although many still prefer a simple ceremony for two.

As a result, the wedding couple have an array of choices. Too much choice can be baffling, though, which is where a knowledgeable agent comes in.

Travel Weekly has picked six overseas weddings to suit all requirements, from big group weddings of more than 30 people, to an exclusive, intimate ceremony for the bride and groom.


Group wedding for 10 guests

Regal elephant wedding in Northern Thailand

What? Anantara Golden Triangle Resort, Chiang Mai, is uniquely situated to allow couples to get married on a hilltop overlooking Laos and Burma.

Why? After the ceremony, the couple can ride off in traditional Thai wedding style on the back of an elephant from Anantara’s own elephant camp.

Thailand is a good choice for groups, as it has plenty of options, including a city stay in Bangkok, beach resorts, twin centres (with neighbouring destinations) and even Australia.

Who sells it? Jetlife

How much? It costs £4,800 per couple, including two nights at the Anantara in a suite; the wedding package (including candlelit dinner and massage for two); seven nights at the five-star Hilton Hua Hin, Koh Samui and flights.

For guests, Jetlife suggests two nights at the Anantara and eight nights at the Indigo Pearl Resort in Phuket from £1,350 per person, including flights (0871 902 7877,

Marry at sea with Celebrity Cruises

What? Since Celebrity Cruises registered its ships in Malta, the cruiseline has been able to offer weddings on board, carried out by the captain. In-port weddings are also available, which are carried out by local dignitaries.

Why? Cruise ships have options to suit all budgets, from inside cabins to suites. All meals are included in the price, which means guests will know upfront how much they will be paying.

Guests can easily do their own thing during the day, then opt to have dinner together one night, or eat separately and meet in the bar, theatre or nightclub later. The excellent kids’ clubs mean this is a good option for families, too.

Who sells it? Celebrity Cruises

How much? A suite on a 10-night eastern Mediterranean cruise from Rome costs £3,282 (based on two sharing). At-sea wedding packages start at $2,500; in-port packages start at $1,400.

For guests, an inside cabin on the same cruise starts at £1,157 (based on twin-share). Price includes flights. (0845 456 1520,


Large wedding party of 30-plus people

Florida’s floating chapel

What? Combine the outdoors with a traditional church wedding in the US’s first floating chapel, in Clearwater. The couple can invite up to 100 guests to join them as they sail up river to the reception.

Why? For couples looking to take a big group of family and friends away, Florida is a good option, as it has a wide range of charter flights – many from regional airports – activities to suit all age groups, including golf, wildlife and theme parks and accommodation to suit all budgets.

Car hire is cheap and the destination is easy for agents to dynamically package, adding the wedding option on to the booking.

The floating chapel has a dedicated weddings co-ordinator and there is a private bridal sanctuary on board where the bride can get ready for the wedding.

Who sells it? Weddings on Water

How much? A one-hour cruise, with a wedding party of up to 25 people starts at $795 for weekdays and $1,295 for Saturdays. (+727 483 9020,

Boutique luxury in Jersey

What? Cardington House, a new luxury boutique hotel

Why? Jersey is easy to get to from the UK, so is perfect for guests who are short on time.

Cardington House is a newly restored five-bedroom Victorian property, with beautiful views of the picturesque harbour of St Aubin, St Helier and beyond. The property has its own wedding organiser and can cater for up to 60 guests.

There are plenty of bed-and-breakfast properties nearby for guests. Cardington house has a large heated swimming pool, hot tub and is near to a secluded beach.

Who sells it? Cardington House

How much? £3,388 for the wedding including food, wine and champagne for 30 guests. Rooms start at £150 per night. The main suite costs £400 per night. 
(01534 748 000,


Just the wedding couple

‘Love trees’ in Grenada

What? Plant a ‘love tree’

Why? Rex Resorts is offering couples the chance to mark their special day with a tree-planting ceremony in the grounds of its Grenadian by Rex Resorts property, which will serve as a lasting reminder of their wedding.

The option is part of a range of Rex Resorts’ new Caribbean Seduction Honeymoon for 2009, which includes private car transfers, sunset cruise, romantic five-course dinner and personalised gifts. Other options include cooking lessons and private helicopter transfers.

Who sells it? Thomas Cook Signature offers a week at the Grenadian from £659 per person, room only, including flights.

How much? The wedding package costs an additional £271; the Caribbean Seduction Honeymoon, including planting a ‘love tree’ costs £508. (0844 871 6650,

A private chapel in the Seychelles

What? Private chapel on Denis Island – with giant tortoises for guests

Why? The Seychelles has long been known as one of the most romantic honeymoon destinations, and the four-star Denis Island is the perfect location for people seeking true escapism, total relaxation and tranquillity.

The privately owned coral island is a 30-minute flight from Mahe. Wedding couples can get married in the island’s tiny chapel, which is almost hidden in the lush foliage, a haven for the island’s giant tortoises.

Who sells it? Elite Vacations

How much? £2,989 per person for seven nights, including economy flights with Air Seychelles, full-board accommodation, marriage certificate, service, cake, champagne and candlelit dinner on the beach. (01707 371 000,


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