Wedding in Jamaica

Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life. Naturally, you want to make it memorable but what if you can’t afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars? You get married in Jamaica, of course! Weddings in Jamaica are romantic, exotic, and just plain beautiful.

Jamaica can provide the perfect surroundings to finalize your commitment to each other–beautiful beaches, breathtaking mountain views, and romantic lagoons and waterfalls as well as rivers to raft. Plus, Jamaica has a wide variety of accommodations ranging from bed and breakfasts to all inclusive resorts that are priced to fit any budget.

Less than a two hour flight from Miami, Jamaica is an ideal destination for a wedding you’ll never forget. It’s an exotic tropical paradise, yet most of the locals speak English. You’ll find the people extremely polite and considerate, for that is their way of life. In fact, if you are approached by a street salesman you’re expected to politely decline rather than ignore him or her. They will immediately extend you the same consideration and leave. Elders are called “sir” or “ma’am” and those in the service industry will make you feel like royalty.

You can bring your own clergy if you wish or choose from the many who specialize in marrying visitors to the island. It is advisable to choose flowers and other decorations around the same time you decide which chapel, beach, or mountain you’d like the ceremony held. You can take care of all the details yourself to customize your wedding or take advantage of one of the many all-inclusive packages that are available.

Ideally, your wedding guests can stay at least a few days and be able to enjoy all the activities Jamaica has to offer. There are water sports, zip lines, river rafting, snorkeling along the lovely coral reefs, and much more to entertain them. Shopping can be done in modern malls or in small village shops where all types of imaginable good can be found as well as native products made by hand. You and your guests can enjoy elegant restaurants, casual dining, street cafes, or you can buy from local vendors as you stroll the streets.

What could be more romantic than to say your vows on a white sand beach with crystal clear blue water stretching to the horizon, your hair ruffled gently by a warm tropical breeze? Perhaps your ideal is to be married in the rainforest with the chatter of parrots and cockatoos amid the indescribably beautiful plants and flowers. A giant Swallowtail butterfly might even alight on your shoulder. Being wed beside a roaring waterfall might be your preference or you may even want to be more traditional and be married in one of the elegant old churches that make themselves available for ceremonies.

However you prefer to start your lives together, weddings in Jamaica can make dreams come true. You’ll not find a friendlier or more beautiful place to get married than Jamaica!

honeymoon-tropical-destination

Why Choose a Honeymoon in Costa Rica

According to a national Costa Rican news weekly, El Financiero, about 10.7% or 166,000 tourists in 2012 came to honeymoon in Costa Rica. In 2011, Brides magazine and the Signature Travel Network ranked Costa Rica in the top 10 of honeymoon destinations. Furthermore, couples who come to honeymoon in Costa Rica stay on average twice as long as those going anywhere else. Why is Costa Rica on the short list of so many couples? One reason is that many choose to get married in Costa Rica and have their honeymoon at the same time. Combining the two, a Costa Rica wedding and honeymoon, has many benefits. The primary benefits being the savings in cost and a much more relaxed atmosphere. Imagine starting your honeymoon the night of your wedding. No need to make special arrangements, pay, pack and wait for a separate trip. Of course, you can do this at any destination wedding, right? So what makes Costa Rica so special and unique?

Unique Location and Size

Costa Rica has a unique position in Central America, located between Nicaragua and Panama. It’s natural wonders, such as the rainforest and active volcanoes, draw travelers from all over the globe. Costa Rica is a favorite destination for eco-tourism, surfing, and wildlife lovers. Many couples who choose to get married here already have visited the country at least on one occasion and fell in love with it, or have been convinced by someone they trust who has visited Costa Rica and fallen in love with it. In any case, someone has fallen in love with and/or in Costa Rica.

Because of the size of the country, you can visit any part of Costa Rica quite easily from the capital, San Jose. This makes transporting yourself and guests quite quick, no need for connecting local flights (although this is an option to some places). Additionally, if you want to have your wedding at one location and honeymoon at another, this can be easily accommodated. Some couples choose to break up their honeymoon even more by spending few days at different locations. You can have your wedding at the beach, spend first few days of your honeymoon there, then opt to go to a volcano for a dip in volcano-warmed hot springs, then visit a rainforest, come back to the beach, and finally head home. In Costa Rica, traveling between all of these spots is possible within a single visit and a short span of time.

Stability, Security and Friendly Locals

Costa Rica has a long history of having a stable democratic government and without a standing army. This has led the way for Costa Rica to avoid internal turmoils and civil battles that have sadly plagued other countries in Central and South America. Over the decades the tourism industry has flourished in Costa Rica as a result and has become its leading source of revenue. Many of its neighbors have taken note and are trying to copy Costa Rica by developing tourism within their own respective countries.

The destination wedding and honeymoon industry has also matured to a great extent and offers all the standard services and perks you can enjoy anywhere. From rustic boutique hotels to luxury all inclusive five star resorts, Costa Rica caters to every whim and preference. The Costa Rican people have a reputation of being happy and very warm to foreigners. Their famous saying, “Pura Vida”, is also an attitude toward life in general. “Pura vida” means “pure life” and is used synonymously with “hi” and “bye”.

When and Where to Go

You can travel to Costa Rica any time of the year. The best time for your Costa Rica honeymoon is during the dry season between December and May. If you are looking for better rates then you can look at November or June which are just before and just after the busy tourist season. Lowest prices are generally found in the off-season or the so-called Green Season. During this time there is more rain but the rain is tropical with heavy downpour but not lasting more than a few hours. This means that you can usually get half day of sunshine each day on average.

For beach and ocean lovers, the best honeymoon destinations in Costa Rica are on the Pacific Ocean side in Guanacaste or Puntarenas. However, if you choose just to stay near the beach then you are missing on some of Costa Rica’s most romantic honeymoon spots. These include places such as Volcano Arenal where you can enjoy a romantic dip in volcano-heated thermal springs, or Talamanca Mountains that drape with cloud forest, waterfalls and other natural wonders. For a truly romantic experience you can stay at one of the many fine boutique hotels in Costa Rica. These hotels are small and most integrate very well into the natural surroundings and offer much more privacy than the larger all inclusive hotels and resorts.

eco-weddings

Eco Weddings – Getting Spliced for a Mere Slice of the Price

The average cost of a wedding in the US now totals well over $20,000, representing serious big business for wedding service providers and a serious financial drain for the bride and groom. In fact, a significant proportion of newlyweds find they spend so much on their wedding day that they have little left to spend on their future together and unfortunately start married life with considerable debt. But everyone knows that getting married is not just about champagne toasts, voluminous silk organza gowns, a thousand smiley glossy photographs, emotional speeches or even the hotly-anticipated tropical honeymoon at the end. Any couple can spend a heap of cash on an extravagant ceremony, an exuberant reception and a frisky fortnight in Barbados. A wedding is all about the vows of course, and honouring them for the entire marriage. It’s about growing old together, and staying happily in love with each other, even when you’re shuffling off side by side down to the bingo hall many decades after the last lily in the bridal bouquet has wilted.

Clearly, for every starry-eyed bride and groom with big dreams, deep love and even deeper pockets, there is a lot to be said for drawing up a wedding budget – and sticking to it. Nevertheless, the average cost of a wedding has doubled in little over a decade. Couples in the US spend an astonishing $72 billion a year on their nuptials. In these economically shaky times, and with climate change at the forefront of many conscientious people’s minds, there is a greener low-cost alternative to the popular lavish, blow-the-budget weddings. And it doesn’t have to mean compromising on quality or sacrificing any of the things that traditionally make a wedding day so special. You can always make a positive impact on your guests without making a negative impact on the environment!

For an eco-wedding that won’t break your bank or your hearts, the following factors should be considered in the planning stages:

When?

May to August tend to be the priciest ‘peak’ months so if you get married off-season (typically November to March) you are more likely to get competitive rates. Of course you are also much more likely to get cold, grey, wet weather, but there’s no guarantee of glorious sunshine even in the middle of summer anyway. Some people are actually more tempted by the idea of a winter wedding – white furs, flowing velvet capes, open fires, the scent of pine cones, a starlit sky, candlelight and the purity of fresh snow can set the perfect scene for all those cosy wedding photos. Also, getting married in the morning and holding the reception at lunchtime will mean less alcohol is consumed compared to an evening reception. This alone could take as much as 10% off the final wedding bill. Choose flowers that are in season and available locally.

Who?

Look at your guest list and remember that for every person invited to the wedding, an extra $25 to $150 can be added to your overall spend (depending on venue and catering choices). On average, 50-75% of the overall wedding budget is spent on the reception – food, drinks, entertainment and venue hire. Most venues will stipulate minimum and maximum numbers, so it might be wise to try to steer more towards the ‘minimum’ – unless of course you have an extended family, in which case pruning the guest list can often become a rather stressful task. Stand firm – it’s your wedding, and if you are footing the bill, you should have the final say about who gets invited. Avoid food waste by meticulously planning the menu and checking dietary requirements well in advance, and use locally-grown produce where possible.

What?

What is really necessary to make your wedding day just how you want it? It is, after all, just one day, and it will pass remarkably quickly. Do you really need a wedding planner? Do you really need an expensive professional photographer? Do you really need hundreds of elaborate hand-tied bouquets? Or individually crafted invitations with pressed rose petals and professional calligraphy? Or a flock of white doves and a pair of peacocks? Or a huge, tiered cake? Or an hour of spectacular fireworks before the vintage champagne is uncorked? Prioritise your list of wedding day requirements – you certainly don’t need to spend a fortune to have a wedding that both of you will remember with great joy and affection for the rest of your lives, and one that your guests will also never forget. As delightful and impressive as some of these ‘finishing touches’ or luxurious extras are, they often make the difference between keeping within your budget and over-stretching it.

How?

How will you get to the venue? Some couples like to splash out on flashy limousines or even the fairytale pumpkin-shaped horse-drawn glass carriage. But there are huge savings to be made by choosing a wedding venue close to home (within a few miles) and selecting a mode of transport that offers comfort, prestige and good value.  If a Daimler, Bentley, Cadillac or Rolls Royce is a little too traditional, why not go for the more quirky option of a VW Beetle, a campervan or even a wedding bus? If the venue is close enough, you and your attendants could even walk there. It will certainly get people talking, and a little light exercise before the ceremony might help calm your nerves. Also try to arrange car shares between guests, which will not only cut down their collective carbon footprint but will also avoid parking problems at the venue. And how will you get to your honeymoon? A long-haul flight to a far-flung destination will obviously increase your own carbon footprint, so consider a local honeymoon destination, or at least avoid flying if you can. Couples spend, on average, three times more on a honeymoon than on a ‘regular’ holiday so it’s worth looking at ‘last minute’ deals to popular honeymoon destinations such as the Caribbean or the Maldives rather than booking a specialist honeymoon package (usually with hidden extras) in advance. You might also consider eco-tourism for your honeymoon.

Wear?

Does the bride have to wear a bespoke, pure silk, floor-length designer wedding gown? As dazzlingly beautiful as the designer wedding dresses are, they are invariably costly. These are made to measure from the finest fabrics and so will fit you perfectly and look sensational, but the price tag will be as breathtaking as the dress itself. It is not impossible to find a stunning dress that suits you and fits you for just a fraction of the price – there are thousands of ‘off the peg’ dresses available at department stores and bridal boutiques, and if your budget is tight you can check charity shops or eBay for an unexpected bridal bargain. It might even be possible to pick a dress up for free or borrow one from a friend and get it professionally altered or embellished to suit your own style.

Why? 

Why shell out hard-earned cash for specialised wedding services if you have friends with useful talents who are prepared to offer their services in lieu of a wedding gift? Perhaps you know someone with artistic flair who can design and create your wedding invitations, or a budding photographer who can provide you with a special wedding album? By calling on favours from talented acquaintances, you could save thousands and it will also help make your wedding feel more like a team effort with involvement and cooperation from people who care about you and want to do whatever they can to make it extra special.