Are you thinking about planning a destination wedding? We chatted with Marsha-Ann, Sandals’ Director of Romance, to learn the ins and outs of planning a destination wedding during the pandemic at a Sandals.
Can you share any wedding trends you’ve seen at Sandals over the last year?
Sandals Montego Bay, our flagship resort, is where the world first fell in love with Sandals and couples continue to choose it as the perfect place for their “big day” with its expansive, private white-sand beach, lush tropical garden gazebos, and not one, but two on-site wedding chapels including the signature Over-the-Water Serenity Wedding Chapel.
We are seeing an uptick in elopement ceremonies because, as I often say, love conquers all. Couples do want to celebrate their love, perhaps even more so after the past year they’ve had, and know they can trust Sandals to make their dream wedding come true in a safe, intimate, luxurious, and above all, romantic setting.
Since Jamaica is close to home for so many in North America, we’re also noticing engaged couples opting for a smaller wedding gathering, travelling with family and friends, or as I like to call them “love bubbles” – those they trust and feel safe travelling with for their special day. These types of weddings are so much more intimate and personal, allowing for the bride and groom to create a truly magical experience for themselves and their guests.
How have destination weddings changed during the pandemic?
There’s no doubt that a lot has changed over this past year, but one thing that hasn’t is Sandals’ commitment to exceeding our guests’ expectations. As leaders in the all-inclusive industry, the health and safety of our guests have always been our top priority but we’ve enhanced them through our Sandals Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness to include several pre-emptive measures for cleaning and sanitation that encompass 18 key touchpoints – from the moment guests arrive at our airport lounges, through every element of their on-resort experience from dining to activities, and right up until we wave goodbye.
We’ve even gone one step further to develop specific protocols for our brides and grooms to make sure that no one’s plans to the altar will falter at Sandals Montego Bay or any one of our Luxury Included® resorts across the Caribbean. With our dedicated Weddings Platinum Protocols of Cleanliness, we want to ensure that weddings are worry-free and full of love, so couples can focus on what’s most important….each other! Whether a couple chooses our free tropical wedding, available to all guests with stays of three nights or longer, or a Sandals Customizable Wedding that’s a reflection of their personal style and taste, they can rest assured that we’ve covered all the bases, from reducing the capacity across all our wedding venues and smaller table settings from eight to six guests to allow for a bit more space and more. Now, wedding guests can expect more hyper-personalized service and will enjoy plated meals and all hors d’oeuvres served by warm and friendly Sandals staff, smiling with their eyes from behind their masks. Brides can also purchase personal makeup kits at our Red Lane® Spas if they so choose to have our team of professionals helps them with a picture-perfect look on their wedding day.
One of the things I’m probably most excited about is the Complimentary Wedding Ceremony Live Stream Service we introduced at Sandals Resorts. All couples who book a destination wedding or ReTie the Knot® vow renewal now through March 31, 2021 (for travel throughout 2021) will receive a free live stream service of their wedding ceremony, so families and friends that couldn’t be there in person can still share in the special moment when the “I Do’s” are exchanged. It’s been such a game-changer for weddings this past year!
A number of stress-free, real-time wedding planning solutions are also available for Sandals brides and grooms as we want the entire experience to be as seamless as possible, even during a pandemic. We offer virtually every wedding planning tool available so couples can dream up their perfect wedding day right from the comfort of their couch. From 360-degree digital resort tours and photos, so they can explore a resort virtually to pick the one that’s best for them to the Sandals Virtual Wedding Design Experience where they can “meet” one-on-one with their wedding planner to be electronically transported to a customizable wedding showroom and browse the endless décor options available for ceremonies and receptions, it’s all about an easy and effortless planning experience. We even have The Ultimate Digital Wedding Planning Tool which is a comprehensive online tool for all things weddings – from décor inspirations and venue locations, to hair & makeup services and photography & videography packages available….we even include highlights from some real Sandals weddings to help couples dream what their wedding could look like.
Does Sandals Montego Bay offer a wedding or honeymoon package?
Well, we’ve actually “unpackaged” the traditional destination wedding packages because, at Sandals, we understand that each couple is unique and special, so their wedding should be, too. No bride wants an exact replica of another bride’s wedding, instead of with our Sandals Customizable Weddings, it’s a completely personalized, completely customizable wedding experience. We do offer 10 décor inspirations for couples and the best part is, they can completely mix and match items between them if they’d like to….the possibilities are endless.
Of course, the honeymoon starts right after the couple says “I Do” at Sandals Resorts, so they’re able to celebrate their union with luxurious and romantic suites, 5-Star Global Gourmet™ dining that’s always included and always unlimited, personal pampering at the Red Lane® Spa, an array of land and water sports and so much more…..all with world-class service provided by our attentive staff, the finest in the Caribbean if I dare say, who all embrace a philosophy of unrivaled personalized service that is the hallmark of Sandals’ success.
We do also offer a free Honeymoon Package for those couples who get married at home but travel to our resorts within 30 days of their wedding date. A bottle of chilled sparkling wine elegantly arranged in their room so they can toast to their future together, romantic turndown service with flower petals on the bed on the first evening of their honeymoon and a delightful delivery of fresh flowers and breakfast in bed one morning of the couple’s choice are all perfect ways to start a perfect life together.