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WEDDINGS & HONEYMOONS


FOCUS ON: WEDDINGS & HONEYMOONS A PERFECT START


There are thousands of special places to get wed or enjoy a romantic honeymoon in the islands and countries of the Caribbean. Take your vows surrounded by 20,000 beautiful flowers at the Orchid farm in Barbados – and the photographs will be stunning. Plunge 130 feet beneath the Caribbean Sea in a submarine in Barbados or the Cayman Islands, or how about saying your vows on a river raft trip in Jamaica? Barefoot couples in Anguilla can feel the sand


between their toes while strolling the thatched- covered conch-lined aisles of Scilly Cay. In St. Kitts, stand atop a lofty citadel at the UNESCO Brimstone Hill Fortress, while the The Bahamas offers Fort Charlotte, overlooking Nassau Harbour, The Cloister, a medieval arched walkway on Paradise Island, and Blue Lagoon, a privately-owned tropical island. In the British Virgin Islands, couples can wed on the water, on top of Sage Mountain at St Bernards Hill House or on the south side of Virgin Gorda, with the sun setting behind the US Virgin Islands.


PACKAGED TO PERFECTION It’s little surprise that the Caribbean is one of the most popular places in the world for overseas weddings with minimal or no residency requirements and prices much cheaper than a UK wedding equivalent. Free wedding packages are offered by many luxury hotels in the Caribbean. The boutique Nisbet Plantation Beach Club on unspoilt Nevis, the Caribbean’s only historic plantation inn located on a beach, offers free wedding ceremonies to couples booking a seven-night stay or more in a suite. Free wedding packages are also offered by the Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, Tobago, to guests staying seven nights in a one-bedroom ocean-front suite (14 nights in a deluxe room). The package includes the services of a coordinator, clergy, magistrate and registrar as well as a cake, rose-petal decorated room and gift. A ceremony beneath a centuries-old waterwheel and restored sugar mill are offered at the Half Moon in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Nice touches


include the


release of colourful butterflies into the sky and a candle lighting ceremony. The resort also caters for Jewish and Indian ceremonies and can arrange for a rabbi or Hindu priest to conduct the service, as well as setting up a traditional chuppah or mandap.


VILLA VOWS Villas are often favoured by small wedding parties for the luxury and intimacy they offer. James Bond fans can tie the knot on a private


beach or in the gardens at Golden Eye, the Jamaica retreat of the spy thriller author, Ian Fleming, and stay in the secluded Fleming villa. Or they can get jamming at the musical Geejam Hotel where wedding packages are available, as well as at Strawberry Hill in Jamaica and Rosewood Jumby Bay in Antigua. Anguilla’s abundance of luxury villas, many of them overlooking fabulous beaches, are ideal for couples looking for a quiet wedding – and uninterrupted honeymoon solitude once the wedding guests have left. Mullins Mill in Barbados, featured by Blue


Sky Luxury, has eight staff, including a chef, to ensure the celebrations run smoothly – and there are six bedrooms for guests. Say ‘I do’ in the circular rooms in the 17th century sugar mill, around which the main house was constructed, or from the gazebo on the cliff.


HONEYMOON HIDEAWAYS There are hotels all over the Caribbean catering for honeymooners’ every whim from luxury suites and jungle hideaways to outdoor massages à deux. Couples wanting to escape should head to Dominica, where Jungle Bay’s 35 elevated


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hardwood cottages have outdoor raindrop showers. Toast your union with a snorkel at ‘champagne’ beach, where underwater volcanic activity creates streams of tiny bubbles rising from the ocean floor and visit Morne Trois Pitons National Park, which is home to Boiling Lake (one of only two such lakes in the world). Can’t decide on mountains or beach? Ladera and Cap Maison’s Peak to Beach twin-centre honeymoon package in Saint Lucia offers three nights at Ladera in the UNESCO World Heritage Piton Mountains and a private yacht transfer to the boutique Cap Maison in the island’s north. For a charming alternative, the Paradors of Puerto Rico include a centuries-old hacienda and a family-run plantation. In Tobago, the Avatar Night Paddle Boarding experience around Pigeon Point under starry skies and phosphorescence of the sea is as romantic as it gets. For couples seeking some French flair, head to Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Martin or Haiti.


RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES Traditional Anglican services are offered on Barbados, Antigua and Jamaica, while followers of the Jewish faith can marry at the Mikve Israel Emanuel Synagogue in Curaçao, which was founded in 1732. In the US Virgin Islands weddings can be conducted at the Episcopal church in St. Croix, the oldest Episcopal church in the Caribbean, and in small chapels on St. John. Saint Lucia has some beautifully designed Catholic churches, where you can hold your wedding ceremony, as does Barbados, the US Virgin Islands and Jamaica.


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