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Caribbean Wedding
Paradise Found or Paradise Lost?
Itís Up To You!

A caribbean wedding story might go something like this:

A gentle breeze washes over you, infusing the essence of tropical flowers into your hair. The sound of distant waves, gently lapping at the shore invites you to stop thinking and just drink in the moment. Birds singing, the smell of orange juice and coffee, and the sight of palm trees swaying in the breeze will be the first memories of your caribbean wedding day...

Or it could go like this:

You wake up to the sound of people talking outside your room. You can't close the window because it's too hot and the air conditioner is broken (or there is no a/c at all). The door isn't fully closed because it's broken and will not close no matter how hard you try. When you turn the shower on, lukewarm brown water comes out...and never turns clear or hot. The television shows static on every channel and the carpet is soaked on one side of the room (no doubt with more brown water). You go outside to try to remember that you are in paradise. While you look at the ocean, strangers that haven't bathed recently come up and offer to sell you products and experiences you would never consider as a decent human being.

These two hotel experiences are as different as night and day aren't they? Yet for many of the islands (yes, that includes the big name islands) these two experiences can be found within very short distances of each other. The nightmare experience described above, happened to this author (thankfully not in a Caribbean wedding scenario) on an island renowned for its beauty and accommodations.

Perhaps the biggest problem is this: If you're like most people, you're considering having one of the most important days of your life at a place you've possibly never been to, won't go to before your wedding, and won't be able to change once you get there.

How can you avoid a bad experience?
Research and money.


Before you spend hard earned money on a vacation, and especially a Caribbean wedding, check lots of reviews. Every place that wants your money has a glossy brochure. They have good looking people "having the time of their lives" at their hotel.

Forget that. You're a savvy internet user. Go to, put "caribbean wedding" in the search bar, and read lots of reviews from actual people that have been there RECENTLY. If a normally expensive hotel is suddenly affordable, see if there's a reason. Often, there will be a renovation project going on. Recent reviews will help you decide if you can live with this. Even at the best hotels, things happen, mosquitoes take over, ownership changes, and individual properties that are associated with a good brand name may decline while other properties that are part of the same company thrive.

Once you get there it's too late. You can't just check out of a dumpy hotel and have your caribbean wedding at the resort next door. Good hotels sell out way in advance, and often have minimum stays with big deposits and no money back for cancellations - so people do not tend to cancel their reservations. And each island only has so many places that are of the quality you expect and can afford. So....DO YOUR HOMEWORK before making plans.

If, however, you don't like homework (we never did either), there are options -

You can get a caribbean villa rental and use a wedding coordinator.

You can save a lot of time by going to a site that's done the research for you.
Classic Vacations is a great starting point for your Caribbean hotel search. They visit the hotels that you're looking at every year to make sure they're still up to par. The hotels you'll see may be a little more expensive, but they'll deliver the dream environment you're looking for without unpleasant surprises.


Generally speaking, the caribbean is not a place where you can go to discount hotels and expect even average quality. There are times of the year (hurricane season and a few other off peak times) when you can find good discounts at quality hotels (particularly the all inclusives). However, if perfect weather (seasonal in the Caribbean, all year in Hawaii) and perfect location are important to you, be prepared to pay for it. Airfare can be more expensive because there is a little less competition down here with a lot of demand, especially during winter months.

Other Considerations

When flying to the island you've chosen for your caribbean wedding, try to get on the earliest flight of the day out of your origination city. Service to the Caribbean is more limited and will probably require at least one connection. Getting up early will give you some leeway if mechanical or weather problems occur. You'll likely still have backup options to get there in the same day.

Strongly consider a luxury villa rental, full featured resort, or all inclusive hotel for your caribbean wedding. You would be surprised at how quickly the landscape changes outside the grounds of the hotel. From paradise to downright scary, just by walking out of the hotel grounds. When the hotel recommends that you not leave the grounds, they are not trying to make you buy their food. They are trying to make sure you have a good time. Most good hotels will have everything you need in terms of activities and dining available right there. There are islands where this is not the rule. Come back soon for pages about those.

Avoid caribbean casinos. Spend your money on a great memory like a special cruise, hike, or dive instead of a bad one - losing your hard earned money.

If you can afford it, fly down and check the place out in advance if you're having a caribbean wedding there. After all, if you were having a wedding in your hometown, you'd check that place out. For a honeymoon, this is not necessary. You're married now, for better or for worse.

Know that there are absolute pieces of paradise and luxury hotels all over the caribbean. For more insight on your options for a caribbean wedding, check our pages that discuss:

All Inclusive Wedding Packages

Beach Wedding Packages at Luxury Resorts

Caribbean Villa Rentals

Beach Theme Wedding

Turn your beach wedding theme into reality with decorations and ideas from the Wedding Ideas Store.

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