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11 Tips for Planning a Sandals Destination Wedding
11 tips for planning a Sandals Destination wedding. Have you just said “YES” to your best friend? If you’re considering a Sandals destination wedding, I have two words: why not? Sandals has many things to offer, but I’ll let you check out the destination wedding brochure to learn more.
If you’ve already set on a Sandals destination wedding, I have all the tips for you today! There are so many things to keep in mind as you are planning this extraordinary day. As a travel advisor, I have discovered a few tips for planning a Sandals destination wedding.
Before we get to those tips, I want you to remember that your wedding is your day. So, you get to choose exactly what you want for this first day of the rest of your lives together. Keep this in mind as you peruse my list of tips for planning a Sandals destination wedding.
Tips for Planning a Sandals Destination Wedding
Before we get to the tips for planning a Sandals Destination wedding, let’s answer a few frequently asked questions about Sandals weddings.
Can you get married at Sandals Resorts for free?
Yes, kind of! Stay three nights or longer, and your wedding is free! Sandals Free Tropical Wedding has everything you need to celebrate your special day with elegance and simplicity. The free package includes:
- Picturesque Ceremony Location:
- Bouquet and Boutonniere:
- A bridal bouquet and a groom’s boutonniere of fuchsia Dendrobium orchids.
- White cushioned Chiavari chairs for all guests
- Pre-recorded musical accompaniment of your choice
- Complimentary 5”x7” wedding photo
- Wedding Cake
- Table setting with white linens, silverware, and crystal: Table setting of white china, sparkling crystal, crisp white linens, and shining silverware.
- Decorative centerpiece for the head table
- White cushioned Chiavari chairs for all guests
- Cocktail reception with sparkling wine and hors d’oeuvres
- Bride and Groom signature cocktail
After the wedding, you’ll receive the following honeymoon amenities:
- Breakfast in bed with mimosa on any morning of your choice
- Romantic turndown service with flower petals on the first evening of your honeymoon
- Honeymoon dinner with white-glove service in a specialty restaurant.
Which Sandals Resort is best for destination weddings?
You can’t go wrong with choosing a Sandals Resort for your destination wedding. All Sandals Resorts are all-inclusive, located on beautiful beaches, and have tropical weather all year. If budget is a concern for yourself or your guests, Sandals Ochi is the most economical Sandals Resort.
This stunning Butler suite with a private pool is located at Sandals Ochi!
I have a list of the least expensive Sandals Resorts. Choosing a resort with more economical options may work best for various guests. Don’t worry – these resorts also offer luxury suites with Butlers, private pools, and more if that is more your style!
When couples have a destination wedding, do they honeymoon somewhere else?
Generally, couples will stay in the destination for their honeymoon after a destination wedding. That said, it’s your wedding, and you can do it however you’d want!
If you’d like privacy with your new spouse, you can always switch to a different Sandals Resort if you’d rather spend some time away from everyone you know. Alternatively, many couples love spending time with friends and family during their honeymoon. You do you!
Let’s get to the 11 tips for planning a Sandals destination wedding.
1. Decide if you’ll get married at home or abroad
I know these are tips for planning a Sandals Destination wedding, but you may end up opting for a symbolic ceremony in paradise but legally getting married at home. You’ll need to examine the rules and legality of getting married in another country.
If this gets too confusing, you can always legally get married at home and have a symbolic ceremony at Sandals! This is very common with destination weddings.
2. Choose Your Wedding Destination Carefully
As you begin the wedding planning process, you must consider all your options for a destination wedding. There are sixteen Sandals Resorts, and they all offer destination weddings.
Currently, you can choose to have your wedding in the Bahamas, Barbados, Antigua, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Curacao, and Grenada. Each one offers an opportunity to experience paradise before, during, and after the wedding. Check out my Sandals Resorts locations post to learn about all of that!
You may choose a specific Sandals Resort simply due to its location. Or you may want a particular resort because of the different activities they offer for your guests.
Are you planning to invite children to your wedding? You’ll want to either opt for a Beaches Resorts wedding (Sandals family brand) or get married at a Sandals near a Beaches so that your guests with children have accommodations at the Beaches Resort.
Sound complicated? Make sure to work with a destination wedding Travel Agent – like me – to help you every step of the way! By the way, Beaches offers yet another destination, Turks and Caicos, for another option! Check out Beaches Resorts locations to learn more.
Only you know which of those sixteen locations (plus the three Beaches Resorts) will be perfect for your destination wedding.
3. Choose a Date and Book Your Room
Choosing a date for your wedding and booking your room in advance is a must for any Sandals destination wedding. As a travel advisor, I can help with this, so you don’t need to worry about adding one more thing to your checklist.
I encourage my clients to book early so they can get the best room for their wedding. Booking early also ensures the location of choice for the ceremony and reception.
If you want a particular room, like an overwater bungalow, you’ll need to book well in advance, maybe even over a year! Check out which Sandals Resorts have overwater bungalows if that is important to you.
Beyond your room, there’s the actual ceremony location at Sandals. All resorts have multiple wedding venues. If you prefer one over another, you don’t want to be disappointed that someone beat you to it.
If this is your destination wedding, I recommend choosing a Butler suite. This is your special day! Check out Sandals Resort Room Categories – Luxury vs. Club vs. Butler to learn everything about Butler suites.
4. Work with Your Wedding Planner
You may be tempted to take care of every little detail for your wedding. But part of the fun of planning a Sandals destination wedding is getting help from your wedding planner.
Simply tell your wedding planner how you envision your day. They will then fulfill your wishes by planning the day exactly as you want.
Your wedding planner can even arrange activities for your guests before or after the wedding.
Remember that everything you dream of will likely not be included in your Sandals wedding, so #5 is essential.
5. Create a Budget
This should probably be #1, but create a budget for your destination wedding. Destination weddings can be affordable (due to fewer guests), but they can also be quite expensive. I recommend creating a budget and sticking with it during the planning process.
You can discuss your budget with your wedding planner, so they know how much money you have to spend for your Sandals destination wedding. Your wedding planner can help you decide which items on your dream list are manageable on your budget and which need to be reconsidered.
The best thing about planning a destination wedding is that more of your wedding budget is allocated for you. After all, it is your wedding!
6. Work with a Travel Agent
You may think you have a wedding planner, so why use a Travel Agent? Well, most of my destination wedding clients choose me for themselves and their guests! Of course, I help plan all the travel details for couples, but you can also hand over all of your guest’s questions to a professional.
Trust me, getting married far from home is hard enough! You don’t need everyone texting and emailing you constantly with questions. That’s what I am here for! I can help guests create their vacations around your special day. There’s no need to create a one-size-fits-all approach for wedding guests when working with a destination wedding Travel Agent.
7. Choose Your Guests Carefully
Speaking of guests, choose them carefully. First, you must remember that all Sandals Resorts are adults-only. Therefore, as you are creating your guest list, you’ll need to ensure you don’t include children unless you are staying near a Beaches Resort.
As I mentioned, Sandals allows non-couples on the property for weddings only, but any non-couples or children must be staying at a Beaches Resort. Sandals Negril and Beaches Negril are close to each other, as are Beaches Ochos Rios and Sandals Ochi.
On the upside, having an “adults-only” wedding is very easy if you choose to get married at Sandals Resorts. Just ensure that your guests know children are not allowed up front.
Will you be paying for accommodations for any of your guests? These are the decisions that need to be made initially. Working with a destination wedding travel agent will also ensure that your guests know exactly what you will cover (if anything) and what you want.
I always recommend inviting the most important people in your life. Unless there are so many, you simply cannot accommodate them all on your wedding day.
It is important to remember that not everyone will want to travel to where you are having your wedding. They may not be able to take time off from work or can’t afford an extensive trip. Or they may be unable to find childcare for the time they will be away from home.
Remember that when planning a destination wedding, there will be a lot of “no” RSVPs, and try not to take it personally!
8. Send Out Invitations Early
One of the best tips for planning a Sandals destination wedding is to send your invitations (or save the dates) out early. Your guests will need time to make the necessary arrangements to take time off work and book a flight.
You should include resort information on the invitation. This information will be helpful to guests when they are reserving their accommodations.
Other helpful information can include a schedule of events, so your guests know when they will have some free time between the festivities.
If you want to give your guests more time to prepare, you can send out save the date cards. Your guests will love that you are giving them extra time to make arrangements to be there for your wedding day.
9. Get Your Documents in Order in Advance
Every Sandals Resort has different requirements regarding the documents needed for a wedding ceremony. It is all dependent on where the resort is located.
Your wedding planner can also assist you with this, as they are finalizing the details of your wedding day.
To get you started, a couple of the most common documents include:
- Birth certificate
- Proof of divorce or death certificate – for those getting married a second time
- Change of name documents
- Marriage license
10. Arrive Early
You may think you can arrive at your destination the day before your wedding and be ready to go. But something will always go wrong!
I recommend arriving at least two or three days before your wedding. There are times when flights are canceled or delayed. Having a few days as a buffer will allow you to have still time to breathe if this happens to you.
Arriving early will also allow you to check-in with your wedding planner and ensure everything is as you want. As you check things out, you may notice a detail was forgotten. It is always better to catch up before your wedding day than five minutes before walking down the aisle.
10. Pack Items Carefully
If there is anything you know you will want for your wedding day, you may want to pack it in your carry-on bag. Lost luggage happens; the last thing you want is not having grandma’s earrings or your blue garter.
I even recommend taking your wedding dress onto the plane with you. You don’t want that tossed around underneath the plane with the rest of the luggage! Arrangements can be made to have your dress steam-pressed before your ceremony if the wrinkles won’t come out.
You may want to turn your dress inside out as well. This way, if security decides they must inspect it, they won’t get dirt on the outside.
11. Keep the Weather in Mind
We all think about the Caribbean as this sunny warm destination. And while that all seems nice for a destination wedding, it does bring its problems!
A few things to keep in mind for your wedding day include:
- Choose lightweight fabric for dresses and suits
- Apply sunscreen (mineral powder sunscreen can work great in this scenario!)
- Consider wearing your hair up to avoid it getting messed up from the ocean’s breeze – take it from someone who got married on the beach with her hair down!
- Have a backup plan in case it rains
You may also want to avoid hurricane season. Although being affected by a hurricane is unlikely, it’s always a possibility.
Bonus tip! Hold your Sandals room for free
Check out How to hold a Sandals room FOR FREE to learn how to do this! The options can be overwhelming, so take a few days to decide!
Sandals Destination Wedding Tips
I hope these tips for planning a Sandals destination wedding gives you some ideas. If you need any help, you can contact me to get started. Not sure which resort you should choose? I can help with that too!
I am a Sandals Certified Travel Agent, and I would love to help you plan your destination wedding and any other romantic trip. Feel free to reach out via my contact form to learn more. I’d be happy to help you choose which type of Sandals room category is best for you.
Alternatively, you can go over to Sandals and check availability for your preferred dates.
If you have already booked a Sandals vacation in the last 14 days, I may still be able to help! Inquire ASAP to find out how I can add value to your Sandals vacation.
Sandals Vacation Ideas
Want even more Sandals vacation or Sandals honeymoon ideas? Check out some of my other blog posts:
- Are Sandals the best all-inclusive resorts for honeymoons?
- Everything You Need to Know About Tipping at Sandals Resorts
- Everything you need to know about Sandals Royal Curacao
- Two Amazing Sandals Resorts in the Bahamas
- The five best Sandals Resorts for honeymoons
- Sandals Resorts in St. Lucia
The best way to get travel tips and the most current travel information is to sign up for my email list. I send one weekly email with the latest news, travel deals, honeymoon tips, etc. Sign up below.
About Amy | A Sandals Travel Agent
Amy Fillinger is the owner of Luxe Aloha Destinations and Luxe Caribe Destinations. I am a honeymoon travel agent and destination wedding specialist for Hawaii, the Caribbean, and Mexico. I work with busy professionals who don’t have time to do all the research needed to pull off the perfect honeymoon or destination wedding. Did you know that I have over 12 years of experience in the wedding industry? Before starting my travel business, I was a wedding photographer for many years. I’d love to help make your honeymoon, destination wedding, or anniversary dream vacation come to life. Contact me for more.
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