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Friday, August 18, 2017

A Barbados Destination Wedding

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Gina Francesca Photography

Max and Amanda hadn’t given the idea of a destination wedding much thought until they attended one. Max grew up on Barbados and it was family there that initially brought the couple to the island. “Shortly after we got engaged, we attended the wedding of Max’s first cousin in Barbados,” says Amanda. “We were enchanted by the beauty and magic of it all and knew that we had to have our wedding there too.” The couple was quickly convinced that a Barbados destination wedding was the right decision for them and, thankfully, their family and friends heartily agreed. There was just one last thing to consider before signing on the dotted line – whether or not Amanda’s grandmother would be up for making the trip. “At 89 years of age, we knew that travelling would be a challenge for her. Before making our final decision to have the wedding in Barbados, we made sure that she would feel comfortable with the trip, since it was important to us that she was there,” says the couple. 

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Once grandma was officially on board, it was full steam ahead. With their destination chosen, the couple next had to conquer the task of finding a venue. Thankfully, the groom’s parents came to the rescue. “After mentioning to Max’s parents that we wanted to have our wedding on the island, they were generous enough to offer their gorgeous home and property for the venue,” says Amanda. “It was a no-brainer.” After all, is there a more meaningful place to get married than at the house you grew up in? Even with family on-island, the couple called-in reinforcements in the form of their wedding planner – Candice with A Jubilee Event.

“With Barbados being a small island in the Caribbean, there were certain limitations for décor and availability of resources,” says the bride. “Luckily, we had the help of our incredible wedding planner Candice, who lives on the island and has an excellent sense of what would and would not be available to us, and also has the creativity to come up with ideas to work around any limitations.

“We had the same ups and downs as any other wedding planning experience. We were lucky to have the help of many people living on the island such as Max’s family and our wedding planner. We certainly would have had a much more challenging experience if it weren’t for them.” Overall, there were only a few issues that arose that required some effort or understanding from the couple.

“[One] issue we ran into that was specific to Barbados was that the outbreak of the mosquito-borne zika virus prevented some of our guests from attending,” reflects the couple. “While we were sad that these guests could not attend, we wholeheartedly agreed that they should stay away from the virus and keep their families safe. The most challenging logistic was organizing transportation for all the guests to all of the events. Our wedding planner communicated with the drivers to pick up different groups at different locations and different times. We assigned one person to be in charge of guests for each van and do a head count, so no one was left behind. The lack of cell service added to the challenge, but overall everyone made it to where they needed to be.

“There was [also] the added stress of arranging accommodations for nearly the entire guest list, but overall we loved our destination wedding. We arranged blocks of rooms at a discounted rate at three different hotels, with varying price ranges in order to accommodate the different preferences of our guests. We recommended that our guests stay at one of these hotels so that we could easily arrange transportation between the hotels and the various wedding events. We also arranged for discounted car rentals.”

Come W-day, everyone had arrived safe and sound and ready to celebrate. Amanda and Max are quick to mention the handmade details contributed to the wedding by family members. “Since the wedding was on Max’s parents’ property, they put in a lot of work to make the space suitable for the wedding. Being a Jewish wedding, our chuppah (the traditional structure in place of an altar) was crafted and designed by Max’s mom. We also had a relative construct decorative chandeliers made out of palm tree parts and spray painted to look like coral reef.” 

While the couple admits they likely spent more on a Barbados destination wedding than a hometown wedding, they believe that it was absolutely worth it. The additional budget went toward pre and post-wedding events and a larger guest list than they originally expected. We asked Amanda what advice she would offer other couples considering or planning a destination wedding of their own and here’s what she had to say:

“Our best piece of advice when planning a destination wedding (or perhaps any wedding) is to have lots of help. If possible, we highly recommend having a wedding planner assist. This person will be familiar with all of the local vendors and situations that are unique to your destination. Additionally, if you are having a destination wedding, you must be flexible and realize that you may not be able to get everything that you would have if your wedding were at home. At the end of the day, you will be getting a magical wedding that you will remember forever!” 

Vendors: Photographer: Gina Francesca Photography, Wedding Planner: Candice Coppola with A Jubilee Event, Ceremony/Reception Site: Private Home, Florist: Events and Décor by Giselle, Stationery: Wooden Arrow Paperie, Cake: Annalise Cake Designer, Hair: Naomi Johnson with Krave Hair Studio Barbados, Makeup: Makeup Design by Brittany Tuleja, Gown Designer: Demetrios, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Banana Republic, Bridesmaids’ Clothing Designer: Bill Levkoff, Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: Banana Republic and The Tie Bar, Rentals: Milestone Events, Band: 2 Mile Hill, Lighting: Best Efex & Catering: Anna Went Catering

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