Weddings: Beach brides

Weddings: Beach brides

Photo credit: Planet Holidays

Book some of the best beach weddings in the world with our guide to 10 of the hottest spots. Katie McGonagle reports

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Saying ‘I do’ with sun in the sky, sand between your toes and the person you love by your side – does it get any more romantic?

Many couples dream of a blissful beach wedding, but with such high expectations, it’s crucial to get every detail right.

Choosing the perfect setting is the first step, so Travel Weekly turned to those in the know – operators catering for the wedding market – to get their top picks for some of the best beach weddings in the world.

Accommodation prices are per person, but wedding packages are quoted per couple.

BEST FOR... PHOTOS


Close to home: Couples tying the knot at the new So White Boutique Suites in Cyprus face a dilemma: do they use the hotel’s modern, minimalist design as a stylish setting for their wedding album or its beautiful stretch of Ayia Napa beach? The five-star hotel boasts 45 suites, but price-conscious guests can also stay at four-star sister property, So Nice Boutique Suites. Fanoulla Spyrou, Olympic Holidays weddings executive, says: “Makronissos is one of the best beaches in Cyprus and a really lovely spot to get married. The luxurious surroundings give a beach ceremony special appeal.”

Book it: Olympic offers seven nights at So White Boutique Suites from £850 in June, including flights and transfers; a gold wedding package costs from £599.

olympicholidays.com
020 8492 6868

Farther afield: The golden sands, clear waters and cloudless skies of the Caribbean are a surefire way to guarantee gorgeous photos, but throw in the lush green peaks of the Pitons for the icing on the (wedding) cake. Views of the iconic Saint Lucian mountains don’t get better than those from Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, which sits in between the peaks. Previously The Jalousie Plantation, it was rebranded last year following a refurbishment.

Book it: Signature from Thomas Cook offers Just for Two wedding packages from £600, with a seven-night room-only stay from £1,579 including flights and transfers.

tcs4agents.com
0844 692 6866

BEST FOR... VALUE FOR MONEY


Close to home: Keeping costs down is a key consideration for couples, and often a prime reason for marrying abroad. Malta is well-suited to price-conscious travellers thanks to its short flight and budget-friendly hotels. Belleair Holidays highlights Paradise Bay as an ideal option for those on a lower budget: it’s one of a handful of hotels licensed to hold beachfront ceremonies, and is based on the northern tip of the island, with beautiful views over sister islands Gozo and Comino.

Book it: A seven-night B&B stay starts at £389, including flights and transfers. A standard wedding package costs £965, including the ceremony, marriage certificate, flowers, paperwork and wedding planner.

belleair.co.uk/agents
0845 365 3412

Farther afield: Sri Lanka is widely regarded as the Indian Ocean’s most affordable holiday destination, and its wedding product is no different. The island is Kuoni’s best-selling wedding destination for the second year running, with a choice of fly-and-flop or adventurous honeymoons. Kuoni highlights Mount Lavinia, south of Colombo, set on a stunning promontory overlooking the Indian Ocean and retaining the colonial style of its former resident, a British governor.

Book it: Seven nights’ B&B, Sri Lankan Airlines flights and transfers and a standard wedding package costs £1,229 per person. That includes a beach ceremony, flowers, hair and make-up, marriage certificate, DVD and photos, champagne breakfast, vintage car ride and boat trip.

kuoni.co.uk
01306 747008

BEST FOR... ROMANCE


Close to home: If they want a spot of seclusion, the Gambia is the perfect compromise. It’s near enough for close friends or family to attend (it’s just a six-hour flight), but far enough so that the pair don’t feel duty-bound to invite dozens of distant relatives. The Gambia Experience has a weddings brochure that includes Coco Ocean Resort & Spa, a large, hotel sweeping down towards a wide stretch of white sand. With a wedding coordinator to organise the ceremony, the bride and groom can concentrate on pampering in the impressive spa, where they get 10% off. It’s worth splashing out on the most romantic room type: an open-plan beach house with private terrace and garden overlooking the sea.

Book it: Seven nights’ B&B starts from £2,044 including the ceremony, registrar, arrangement fees and licence, plus flights from Gatwick and transfers.

gambia.co.uk/weddings
0845 330 2087

Farther afield: There’s no better way to ensure the happy couple get a private, intimate ceremony than by heading to a far-flung destination, and guests would have to be very keen to follow them as far as St Regis Bora Bora (pictured below). Travel 2 product manager Katrin Rummer says: “This is the perfect place for weddings due to its stunning setting, surrounded by crystal-clear waters, white sandy beach and breathtaking views. It is unbelievably romantic, offers a personalised five-star service, and caters for intimate ceremonies for two.” There is only one wedding per day at the hotel, although the couple must also have a legally-recognised ceremony at city hall. The hotel has also introduced an online gift registry service at stregisborabora.honeymoonwishes.com.

Book it: An eight-night B&B break in an overwater villa starts from £4,689 including Air New Zealand and Air Tahiti flights, before the end of June. Wedding ceremonies start from £482.

travel2.com

Weddings

BEST FOR... TRANQUILITY


Close to home: The water’s edge venue of Porto Azzuro in Vassilikos, Zante, is about as peaceful as it gets and is now featured exclusively by Planet Weddings in the UK. It guarantees only one wedding a day and holds the reception at the on-site restaurant.

Book it: Planet Weddings offers a ceremony at Porto Azzuro from £1,278 based on 20 guests, including wedding certificates, registrar fee, transport and chair covers, plus paperwork and translation of documents, and a wedding administration fee.

planetweddings.co.uk
0871 871 0405

Farther afield: Few settings could be more romantic than a private inlet on the Mauritian coast. That’s what Maritim Hotel offers, with the option of a gazebo styled to match the couple’s theme. Alternatives include getting hitched at sea, on the jetty, by the waterfalls of the Citron River, or at the historic Ruins of Balaclava.

Book it: Hayes & Jarvis offers 10 nights at the five-star hotel, staying all-inclusive with Air Mauritius flights and transfers, from £1,799 departing August 25. Wedding packages start at £559 for a coordinator, sparkling wine, flowers, dinner for two, licence and legal fees.

hayesandjarvis.co.uk/agents
0871 200 2211

BEST FOR... THE RECEPTION


Close to home: Ionian Weddings features a range of venues across the Greek islands, Cyprus, Malta and Italy, but its top reception spot is Sunset Beach Bar in Santorini. Not only will the bride’s white dress look spectacular against its black-sand beaches, but the couple can book this beachfront venue for the entire day. It holds 20 to 200 people, and is surrounded by spectacular cliffs.

Book it: Ionian Weddings’ package starts at €5,995 for the ceremony and reception, including: paperwork, fees, marriage licence, co-ordinator, covered chairs, bouquet, cake, photographer and CD, hair and make-up, exclusive venue hire, buffet, unlimited local drinks and an island guide.

ionianweddings.co.uk
020 8892 7556

Farther afield: Getting married on a private island might sound like the preserve of the rich and famous, but it doesn’t have to cost the earth – though it’s worth making sure your clients’ friends and family will jet out and join them first. Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort in Jamaica and Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort both have private offshore islands that can be hired from $5,000 and $7,500 respectively. The former can close its Royal Thai Restaurant to cater a sit-down dinner or serve a buffet for groups of more than 35. Once guests have satisfied their appetites, it’s time for the entertainment – book fire-dancers from $450 or a steel drum ensemble from $600.

Book it: Hiring the private offshore island at Sandals Royal Bahamian costs from $7,500 for the ceremony and reception. Extras such as a Bahamian ‘junkanoo’ band can be hired from $1,800 per hour.

sandals.co.uk/tas
0800 022 3030

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