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Sandals Resorts' New Generation of Destination Weddings

Use online tools to dream and plan a Caribbean wedding.

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Sandals Resorts' New Generation of Destination Weddings

Models pose at the Beautiful Beginnings structure used in free wedding ceremonies.

Sandals Resorts.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Sandals Resorts’ Director of Romance, Marsha-Ann Brown. Across its seventeen Sandals and Beaches properties, the resorts host an average of 10,000 destination weddings a year.

Brown was kind enough to answer my questions. She also described how the all-inclusive Caribbean beach hotel brand that coined the word weddingmoon has upped its game to offer a new generation of couples ways to customize a Sandals destination wedding online.

Q: What’s different about today’s destination couples?
The millennial bride wants a customized experience and the groom is much more involved. They’re tech-savvy and want information at their fingertips. They also want access to floral, décor, and other images that can illustrate their dream wedding come to life.

Q: How is Sandals serving their needs?
We have introduced “Your Wedding, Your Style” (visit site) so today’s bride can tailor her wedding to her taste and palate. It’s a new destination wedding concept that offers couples the customization options they crave online, resulting in a truly personalized Caribbean wedding experience.

Here’s how it works: Couples begin building their profile by selecting their wedding destination in Jamaica, Bahamas, Antigua, or St. Lucia. They then choose three from ten of the most popular wedding colors.

After selecting a palette, couples can browse some 1,000 wedding ideas for flowers, décor, wedding cakes, entertainment, and more. Traditional or tropical? Modern or romantic? Every design style has been included, so couples are sure to find what they’re looking for, down to the last detail.

It's a site where you can be a virtual wedding designer, play and dream. A lot of times a woman establishes her colors and designs her wedding and then says, “All I need is a groom.” That I do not provide!

Q: Is there a way to keep friends and family in the loop?
After a couple books a wedding with Sandals, they get a reference code they can share. The sharing functionality will also let couples send favorite designs and ideas to their parents, to the bridal party and guests via Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter, and to their own wedding website and blog.

Additional ideas can be found at "Love is All You Need," Sandals' Wedding blog. It is updated with style ideas, fashion and beauty advice, celebrity wedding news and more.

Q: What if a bride needs help choosing?
Over 80 percent of millennial brides are on Pinterest. Because of that, we also offer an inspirational tool (browse wedding items catalog) that allows our brides to view an array of options from the bouquet, cake, ceremony structures, table arrangements, and décor to create their own online inspiration board.

Q: What’s the next step?
Once a wedding is booked with Sandals, we provide a pre-wedding planner who will tailor the elements that a bride has identified online. Our pre-wedding planners are experienced and serve as coaches to further personalize the experience for the bride, work along with her for the journey of her planning, and make recommendations above and beyond what has been reviewed on the Wedding Designer and shared with the planner. Then an entire team works on property to deliver on the dream.

Note: Contact is made only after the booking — so if you’re just using the tools to daydream at this point, no one will call.

Q: What if you just want a nice wedding without stressing the details or breaking the bank? Does Sandals still offer a free basic wedding to couples who stay six nights or longer?
You have the option of choosing our free Beautiful Beginnings Wedding if you book six nights or longer in any room category (book online) and then taking the elements that physically go along with it, no frills.

Or opt for a $500 credit that can be applied to designing a customized destination wedding or personalize a pre-designed theme from Martha Stewart, where everything from the bouquet to the centerpieces to the ceremony structures has been selected. Couples can keep these as is or adapt as they wish. We find that over 98 percent of all brides want to customize some element of their wedding.

Q: What part is the groom playing in all this planning?
Grooms are becoming a part of the decision-making process, not necessarily the design, but in the experiences. The men are interested in the destination wedding activities that bring out the Tarzan in them. So we can accommodate their requests for things such as deep-sea fishing and ATV adventures.

Q: What if a couple wants a spectacular destination wedding?
Brides and grooms can enhance the experience with a variety of creative décor and entertainment options, including fire dancers, tiki torches, candy buffets and steel drum bands.

Q: Is someone at Sandals responsible for handling the legalities?
On the islands where we operate, we process all of the legal and administrative details for a couple including preparation of marriage documents, a certified marriage certificate and securing a marriage officiant. Jamaican weddings are technically the easiest from a paperwork standpoint. From the point of the first contact, we review the requirements very candidly with a couple.

Q: Can you tell me about how Sandals sets the mood for romance?
It's about appealing to the five senses. Whether it’s a private candlelight dinner under the stars or a couples spa massage with aromatherapy, Sandals specializes in activities for two people in love to enjoy.

Explore the Sandals Resorts in the Caribbean

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