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Thursday, July 13, 2017

An Expert's St. Lucia Wedding Advice!

Words by The Weddings Genie


In continuation of our Destination: St. Lucia wedding week, we've asked an expert destination wedding planner to weigh-in on hosting your wedding away in this island paradise. The Weddings Genie has over 10 years of experience in event design and  planning destination weddings. Below, please find her insider tips on hosting a dream wedding in St. Lucia!

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1. What are the pros and cons of hosting a destination wedding on a Caribbean island like St. Lucia vs. a stateside beach destination like Florida? 

The immeasurable "social cred" a couple would achieve from hosting a destination wedding in St. Lucia is priceless. Don’t get me wrong, Florida is beautiful, but the wow factor of hosting one’s nuptials in St. Lucia is much greater. Granted the cost of a plane ticket is a bit higher, especially if you or your guests aren’t located in close proximity to an airport with direct flight to the island. Who wants travel to be a chore? However, the captivating views, world-class resorts and beaches of St. Lucia topple those of Florida on every front. Florida is a wonderful destination and has gorgeous locations. However, nature carved out St. Lucia in a magical way. A wedding is a once-in-lifetime event. Why not host it in a unique environment, producing exceptionally memorable moments? 

2. The Caribbean has so many beautiful islands to choose from. What sets St. Lucia apart?

Couples are looking for unique destinations and experiences for their guests. Nowadays so many couples are very well traveled. Hosting a destination wedding in an over-traveled location simply isn’t going to cut it. St. Lucia definitely is not one of those overly traveled, heavily tourist-laden islands. There is a romantic energy in the air in St. Lucia. Literally as soon as you depart the plane it encompasses you. To go one step further, if a couple has chosen one of the top luxury resort properties; as soon as they walk out of the customs area, a hotel concierge awaits you on the other side. Who doesn’t like being greeted with a refreshing island drink, cool towel and a seamless launch to destination wedding bliss? I have yet to see this welcoming experience replicated elsewhere in the Caribbean.

3. What time of year do you most recommend for weddings in St. Lucia? Is there a season/time of year you specifically wouldn’t recommend?

Caribbean destination weddings should be hosted during the traditional U.S. wedding season, in the months between June-October. St. Lucia is heavily traveled November-April by Europeans. During that time prices are higher and resorts are much more likely to be sold out. Note: some resorts do close for renovations during the months of September and October, which is traditionally low season. Couples need to check with their wedding planner or travel agent to ensure their dream location isn’t closed during their desired travel dates. 

4. Do you have a favorite spot on the island for wedding photos or a favorite wedding venue?

It really depends on where the couple ends up hosting their destination wedding on the island, as some locations take extra time and effort to get to. There is so much beauty and many dreamy locations in St. Lucia that it is hard say one location is better than another. However, there is an absolutely captivating area in Marigot Bay that will produce unmatched island wedding imagery. In the cove, there is a mixture of flora and fauna rolling down the hills leading to one of the most picturesque little sandy beaches I’ve seen this side of the equator. Beach weddings are wonderful, but I absolutely love the Marigot Bay Resort by Capella because of their approach to guest relations and the resort’s unique location. Its jungle-meets-sea vibe creates a heightened ambiance for those seeking to create an off-the-beaten-path wedding experience. And who doesn’t want to be whisked off to the beach via an authentic little island ferry boat for a their “trash the dress” photo session? The short, two minute ride is such an experience with photo ops to boot. The overall resort and wedding experience is simply majestic. 

5. What is the #1 piece of advice you would offer a couple considering a destination wedding in St. Lucia?

My #1 advice is to hire professional help. Destination weddings are no small feat. Managing your guests, their travel plans and payments is not good for you nor them unless you are a professional travel planner. Even if you are a professional travel planner, you should be looking for help, as weddings take on a life of their own and can become all-consuming. There are things and aspects about weddings that a newly engaged couple simply don’t know and having experienced help will go a long way to eliminating a tremendous amount of stress. 

6. Can you give an example or two of how a wedding planner might be especially necessary for a St. Lucia destination wedding?

St. Lucia is not like other big “wedding producing islands." Working with professionals adept in bringing cohesive experiences to life is definitely key. A couple will have a number of resort options across the spectrum to create a magnificent wedding. However, working with a planner who knows the landscape will go a long way to making the overall experience more seamless for the couple and their guests. With any wedding, planners help to manage a client’s budget from an unbiased perspective. We as planners are always looking for efficiencies and also keeping the overall picture in mind, not just one aspect of it. In my opinion, no resort or venue can ever replace a personal wedding planner. Any given resort property can host several hundred weddings/events a year and some several in a week. Destination wedding planners have experience working with the various resorts and vendors. We understand their inner workings, know the staff and can help navigate and steward the process. Creating unique, one-of-a-kind weddings requires numerous vendors and that selection process isn’t always intuitive. Expert destination planners have established relationships with vendors across the globe and can bring forth numerous options to our clients. A destination wedding planner is definitely an integral conduit in the planning of a successful destination wedding.

Claudine Winston, a.k.a. The Weddings Genie, is an expert destination wedding planner and event designer who has completed weddings and Slaymoons® throughout the Caribbean, South Pacific and across the globe. Claudine has over a decade of experience planning and organizing luxury events. She can be reached via social media on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook.

Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): Daniel Marcion from Belle Portwé Photography (1st, 3rd & 8th) and Charles Winston from CW II Photography (2nd & 4th-7th).

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