Spending Savvy Jamaican WeddingWords by Lauren Marshall
Photos courtesy of BearMoose&Fox Fine Art Photography
Having a destination wedding doesn’t always mean you have to break the bank. For this couple who longed to say “I do” on the beaches of Jamaica, finding a package deal seemed to be the best option. On a vacation to Jamaica, they encountered the deal of a lifetime they couldn't pass up: a free wedding.
You read that right, free! Katie and Paolo came about this deal when on vacation at the Sandals Inn Montego Bay. There they learned that as long as you stay at the resort for a minimum of three days, a wedding (with the officiant, location, flowers, cake, reception, food and beverages all included) was free.
“We decided if we were ever to get married we would take advantage of the free wedding and use the money we would have spent on the venue, cake, flowers and so on towards our guests staying at the resort,” bride Katie says.
Paolo, being in the military, it’s difficult for the couple to see dear friends and family often. They figured if guests have to fly anyways for a wedding, it might as well double as an all-out vacation. The hard part would come next: convincing weary guests that, yes, everything besides a flight to Jamaica would be completely free to attendees.
“We had a few family members who had never traveled outside of the US and were worried about getting passports and customs,” the couple says.
However, the pair truly felt they had an easy sell. In addition to the free wedding, Sandals Montego Bay offers access to all of the Sandals resorts on the island. Plus, the Inn is close to the airport, making it a quick shuttle ride to the resort paradise.
The wedding team at the resort made the planning process easy for Kaite and Paolo so they could focus on communicating with their guests. All it took for the couple was a bit of browsing through the options listed on the Sandals website.
“Our colors were blush and blue, which was not in their current color scheme. However, they accommodated all of our special requests and the entire wedding turned out beautifully,” the bride says.
With the resort taking care of the main elements, the couple got to focus on the details. They ended up falling in love with the stories behind each purchased item. For example, the stationery came from Black Thistle Co., whose owner was the spouse of a high school friend of Katie’s. Also, Rayno at BearMoose&Fox Fine Art Photography is a close friend to the couple as well and a fellow military spouse.
The entire total for the wedding turned out to be much less money than having a ceremony at home. The money spent was on the 13 rooms the couple booked and paid for as well as the upgrades and excursions they added to make the destination wedding experience extra special.
Katie and Paolo advise couples considering a destination wedding to take advantage of all-inclusive resort offerings and let the wedding team at those resorts assist. If you’re looking for a stress-free planning experience all at a low cost, it’s an option to heavily consider!
Vendors: Photographer: BearMoose&Fox Fine Art Photography; Wedding Planner: Sandals Weddings; Ceremony/Reception Site: Sandals Montego Bay; Stationery: Black Thistle Co.; Ceremony Dress: BHLDN; Reception Dress: Brides by Elizabeth; Groom’s Clothing Designer: Jos. A. Bank; Bridesmaids/Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: Morning Lavender Boutique; Makeup & Hair: Red Lane Spa
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