He may be renowned for his straight-talking on the X-Factor, but even Simon Cowell isn’t immune to the romantic allure of the Caribbean – and he could be the destination’s next celebrity groom.
Cowell, who is engaged to Mezhgan Hussainy, is known for his love of Barbados and his villa there could be the location for his wedding. If it is, he certainly won’t be the first celebrity to choose the Caribbean for their wedding. A-lister couples including Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon have tied the knot there, while others, such as Orlando Bloom and wife Miranda Kerr, have honeymooned in the destination.
The Caribbean’s appeal shows no signs of abating, which is why it is often top of a couple’s list of wedding destinations. Here’s our pick of some of the best offers on the market. All come with specific terms and conditions, so be sure to check the details with the operator.
What’s on offer: Unsurprisingly the couples-only, all-inclusive market is big in the Caribbean. Couples Resorts has several new wedding packages on offer, including the Celestial, which includes a couples massage and dinner on the beach.
The Sandals and Martha Stewart partnership continues with a time-limited complimentary wedding offer, whereby any couple that books a premium room category will receive a free Beautiful Beginnings wedding (previously, couples needed to book a concierge room or above for the free wedding).
If the bride and groom want a particularly pampered experience, check out Le Grand Courland Spa Resort in Tobago where the Wedding Experience package
gives the couple a free spa treatment each day.
For the happy couple: The recently renovated Rendezvous in Saint Lucia is a popular Caribbean wedding venue. It is opening a Laurent Perrier Champagne bar and is about to launch an online weddings service. It also has a special weddings parlour where the couple can meet the co-ordinator to plan their wedding, view photos, and the bride can store her dress.
Wedding locations at the hotel include the garden and the beach, or couples can even marry under a 150-year-old Saman tree. Up to 16 people are normally catered for in a wedding party.
Sample price: Caribtours offers seven nights at Rendezvous, Saint Lucia, from £1,788 per person staying in a Verandah Suite. The price includes return scheduled flights, private transfers and use of a private lounge at Gatwick (caribtours.co.uk, 020 7751 0660).
Who does it suit: Social couples who will enjoy their stay in an upbeat, upmarket, all-inclusive resort.
Need to know: Like most of the Caribbean islands, there is no residency period for weddings in Saint Lucia, as long as couples have the right documentation and have applied for a Special Marriage Licence. Work closely with the hotel’s wedding co-ordinator and there is no reason why everything won’t run smoothly.
The family too
What’s on offer: Virgin Holidays has a new offer at Sunset Jamaica Grande in Ocho Rios. The wedding couple will receive a complimentary cocktail party for groups of 10 or more. Virgin has also introduced weddings at Savannah Beach in Barbados.
For well-heeled customers, the Four Seasons Resort in Nevis, which reopened in December last year, offers a vast array of facilities for the whole family – from golf to a games room for teens. Its wedding packages aren’t cheap, but clients will receive first-class service.
Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort in Saint Lucia will please all the family and it has a kids’ club. It has launched a collection of themed packages based on the proverb ‘something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue’.
Some hotels, such as Almond Resorts, offer free weddings for certain room bookings. The price includes fees, taxes, co-ordinator services, flowers for the couple, a cake, champagne and decorated location.
For the happy couple: Jolly Beach in Antigua may be a three-star hotel, but it’s on a five-star beach and it’s a consistent best-seller for Hayes & Jarvis. The operator is currently offering a selection of free weddings for stays of a minimum of seven nights in a Superior room or above. It’s affordable and caters for all the family, with a kids’ club and a great pool.
Couples can marry anywhere on the property, but there are two gazebos – one overlooking the pool and a quieter one in the gardens near the beach. Up to 40 people can be catered for at the reception, held in a specially decorated dining room.
Sample price: Hayes & Jarvis has a one-week package at Jolly Beach from £1,081, based on two sharing a superior room, including flights and transfers, departing in October (hayesandjarvis.com/agents, 0871 200 2211).
Who does it suit: Couples looking for an affordable but beautiful Caribbean setting and the convenience of an all-inclusive.
Need to know: The paperwork for weddings in Antigua – together with most of the Caribbean – is relatively simple, but if it is a second marriage they need their divorce decree or marriage and death certificates if they are widows or widowers. In some cases, couples can marry the same morning they arrive on the island.
Chic and boutique
What’s on offer: From exquisite plantation houses to cliff-top hideaways, the Caribbean does boutique hotels very well. The understated but refined Treasure Beach in Barbados is currently offering a free wedding package for stays until the end of August.
The simple but pretty Cocos in Antigua is offering a discounted wedding package for this summer, and the stunning Jade Mountain in Saint Lucia is currently offering free wedding packages for stays in August and September this year.
The new Mediterranean-style Anacaona Boutique Hotel, on the island of Anguilla, has a free additional nights package when certain lengths of stay are booked, which will make the most of your client’s money.
For the happy couple: The Caves in Jamaica has a stunning location set in the cliffs at Negril. It has an authentic, hip and laid-back vibe. The property offers bespoke weddings with a five-course wedding breakfast served in a private cave strewn with bougainvillea petals and lit with tea lights. It currently has a special honeymoon package, which includes a couple’s massage, breakfast in bed and a private dinner.
Sample package: Couples can stay at The Caves with the five-night honeymoon package for £2,408, with CV Travel. The price is accommodation-only. Flights and transfers are extra and weddings are priced individually (cvtravel.co.uk, 020 7401 1010).
Who does it suit: Cool couples looking to chill out, travelling on their own or with a very small adults-only party who want a low-key, private wedding. Check they’re happy that the property isn’t directly on a beach.
Need to know: Visitors can marry just 24 hours after arriving in Jamaica, as long as they have already applied for a marriage licence. Relevant birth, divorce and death certificates are needed.
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