Advance planning ensures island weddings will be idyllic

Whether it’s a gentle tropical breeze and the swaying of palm trees that provide the allure or just jetting away to somewhere exotic, destination weddings have become the marriage celebration of choice for many couples. Today, almost two in 10 weddings are destination events, with Caribbean islands leading the list.

It’s no surprise why. Tropical destinations have increasingly attracted celebrity couples — golf icon Tiger Woods and his bride Elin Nordegren, and Hollywood’s Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner have made Caribbean islands their wedding venues. But island nuptials are not just the domain of the rich and famous.

Thanks to package deals and seasoned wedding planners, destination weddings are becoming more attainable for many, and they’re easier than ever to achieve.

To ensure a perfect outcome with the desired personal touch, it is helpful to find an experienced wedding guru who can, with an excellent support staff, watch every detail and relieve the pressure. With that assistance, the bride and groom can totally enjoy their dream wedding ceremony.

Beverly King of Jolly Beach Resort on the Caribbean island of Antigua has been planning island weddings for almost 20 years. She has many suggestions, but to begin with, she says, “Do your homework.”

“It’s important to remember that marriage requirements vary among destinations. And if you have your heart set on a particular date, make arrangements well in advance if possible, as certain times of the year tend to book quickly. For instance, we find that the peak months for weddings are February, April, May, June and November.”

Couples who decide on a destination wedding “might also want to break free from traditional wedding attire,” adds King. “I tell my brides and grooms to consider the climate and look for pieces that not only look great but travel well, like a cocktail dress in a light fabric and color.

“And while an island breeze helps set the tropical mood, it makes a veil difficult to control. As an alternative, I suggest wearing a small tiara or using fresh flowers as accents.”

Grooms should also dress with comfort in mind, she says, A light linen suit, or dress pants paired with a shirt and vest or a classic guayabera, provide “a true island feel,” says King.

Brides and grooms desiring a sun-kissed destination wedding shouldn’t have trouble finding a wedding package to fit any budget. At Jolly Beach Resort, for instance, amenities and choices range from cake and champagne to photos and bouquets to fulfilling the legal requirements. Moreover, engaged couples can choose to have their ceremony at any location on the 40-acre beachfront property.

An experienced wedding planner will take care of all the details — from before the wedding to after the party.

King, for example, not only handles the particulars of the wedding ceremony and reception, but schedules the appointment to apply for the marriage license — to which she, or a member of her team, escorts the couple to ensure that everything goes smoothly. “There is no residency requirement to be married in Antigua,” she explains, “but we need couples to be here one working day prior to the ceremony to process the necessary documents.”

With all of the preparations completed and the license obtained, couples can then relax and be certain that they have chosen a stunning backdrop for their celebration, guaranteeing a wedding album full of joyous memories.