| Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Planning a destination wedding in the Caribbean


The Caribbean is the destination of choice for many brides and grooms planning a wedding abroad, and it is easy to see why.

With its silky soft beaches, year-round sunshine, turquoise waters, delicious food and vibrant atmosphere, the archipelago offers some of the best wedding destinations in the world.

So if you are hoping to tie the knot on a tropical island, take a look at our tips on how to plan a destination wedding in the Caribbean.

Choose a theme

The first thing that springs to mind when thinking about a Caribbean wedding is white sandy beaches, waves lapping on the shore and palm trees swaying in the breeze. But if you tie the knot here, you can choose from a wide variety of wedding themes which are offered as part of a range of wedding packages abroad, so do not feel restricted to pick a tropical beach wedding without taking a look at the choices.

For instance, you could opt for a classic, traditional wedding with a ballroom reception, a sit-down meal and four-piece quartet, typically available in British and ex-British territories such as Anguilla, Antigua, the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands.

Alternatively, you could opt for a wedding filled with native customs for cultural couples, so your guests can enjoy listening to steel drums, eating fried plantain, and dancing the night away to Reggae music.

The Caribbean is also a great option if you are a night owl, as many islands have a vibrant nightlife. You could get hitched in a private city villa before hitting the town’s bars and spending the evening doing the Conga line with your friends and family.

Pick an island carefully

While all Caribbean islands offer the same thing – an idyllic beach setting - they each have their own character and special features, so you might find yourself drawn to one more than others, as there are a variety of beach wedding ideas that you can explore.

For instance, if you would love to go on a jungle walk, Puerto Rico may be the destination for you, as it is home to El Yunqe National Rainforest spreading over 28,000 square acres. Grenada, Sada and the Dominican Republic are also famous for their foggy rainforests where you can find an abundance of flora, fauna and animals ranging from monkeys to lizards.

Jamaica is well-known for its history, so you might tie the knot here if you plan on doing lots of sightseeing, as well as beach hopping, during your wedding and honeymoon.

For surfing fans, Barbados, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic have several wind traps that are great for hitting the waves. Divers should head to the British Virgin Isles where they can swim around a 150-year-old HMS shipwreck near Salt Island, or Grand Cayman for Stingray City where they will find hundreds of southern stingrays.

Choose a good destination wedding package

Once you have decided on a theme and resort, make sure you select somewhere that offers a good wedding package abroad. Organising a wedding is hard enough when it is on your doorstep, but it is even more difficult thousands of miles away.

That is why it is wise to select a comprehensive package that includes a wedding co-ordinator who can arrange all the details for you, including your flowers, entertainment, menu and make-up.

You might also wish to choose a hotel that provides an all-inclusive option, so you can have your food, drink, entertainment and activities included in the fee, enabling you to really unwind on your tropical break.

Immerse yourself in Caribbean culture

Whether you want traditionally European nuptials at a five-star hotel with ballroom dancing, cricket on the lawns and a casino in the evening, or a relaxed tropical wedding, it is a good idea to incorporate some island traditions into your big day to make it unique – otherwise there is little point in opting to have your wedding abroad.

Typical Caribbean customs include placing a small cedar sapling on the top of the wedding cake that the couple will replant when they get home to represent growing love, and walking hand-in-hand under a moon gate for good luck.

In terms of serving local food, you are spoiled for choice in the Caribbean, with the likes of jerk chicken, grilled lobster, curry shrimp, conch fritters and a delicious selection of other fresh sea food readily available. Make sure to also give your guests local tipples to taste, including rum cocktails and tequila.

For entertainment, you could host a merengue class, and when it comes to flowers you could choose beautiful white orchids, or if you are tying the knot in Anguilla, you could use its local blooms – oleander, cedar and hibiscus – for your bouquet.

Give enough notice for guests

There are so many options when it comes to planning a beach wedding in the Caribbean that you will be able to have exactly what you want on your big day. You could invite everyone you love for a blowout occasion in a luxury resort or have an intimate wedding for just the two of you and host a celebration party when you land back in the UK.

Whatever you do and whichever island you choose, make sure you plan it carefully and ahead of time, sending save the date cards several months before the big day. That way, the friends and family you do want to come have plenty of notice to attend.

Consider how you will pay for getting married abroad

The cost of a destination wedding in the Caribbean is likely to be pretty steep, but choosing the right way to pay can ensure you have an affordable destination wedding. Most Caribbean destinations will accept US dollars as currency, but not all will so you must ensure you know what currency you need to send payments in.
By using a currency broker to deal with the payments, you are likely to be saving as much as 4% on the currency exchange rate alone compared to the banks, and that can add up once the cost of all aspects of your wedding abroad are taken into consideration.

But even currency exchange brokers offer different services and packages, so you should compare the cost of your exchange services to ensure you find yourself the best deal for you.

Compare the cost of currency transactions with our International Money Transfer comparison service to find the best rates today.

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