|(You can read Ivona and Bob’s resort review on this site as well)
Bob first ‘popped the question’ in June 2003 during our vacation at the Copacabana, Mayan Riviera while dining cenote-side at their very romantic Italian a la carte restaurant. Needless to say, as ‘travel down south’ junkies, we knew that we would be having the ceremony on a beach somewhere warm. Since we had both been through a ‘traditional’ church wedding (this is the second marriage for each of us) we did not want to go through that again, and a simple destination wedding was exactly what we wanted. Once we made the initial decision of when, Bob more or less took over the planning. I mention this only because up until this trip, I do all the travel planning in our family. I was more than happy to delegate this very important job to him though! Straightaway, Bob gravitated towards St.Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) based on past sailing trips to this area, the fact that it is an English speaking country and there would be no legal issues. Our first choice was Palm Island, but for the dates we had chosen, it would have simply been too expensive. I was very disappointed at first, however, when Bob suggested Young Island, and I had a chance to see their website, I was immediately sold on the idea.
Contacting the Resort:
Bob contacted the booking agent mid July to find out how early we had to book if we were looking to go down in April. As it can get quite busy time this time of year, with Easter and the local Bequia regatta, and to be sure we were able to schedule the sailaway option on our terms, we booked shortly after that first contact. Again, this is not the norm with us, as we usually book our trips a month ahead at the most. Even this far in advance, we were not able to get our first room choice (number 10) but number 6 was available and we grabbed it immediately. Communication between the booking agent and the hotel were mostly done using email. During late August early September, Bob contacted the hotel’s wedding coordinator, Dawn John. The date of the ceremony was established, as was the colour scheme (ours was red and white). The subject of the officiant was also considered at this time. We had the option of a civil ceremony, but that required we get married at his or her offices in Kingstown (who the heck travels to an island down south to be married in a courtroom?). As an aside, in St. Vincent there is no option and Catholic and Anglican weddings must take place in a church. We turned that down, and that left us with an ordained minister. Neither of us has a specific religious affiliation, and our religious beliefs are a mixed bag, but we accepted that option hoping that a reasonable compromise was available. A few weeks before our departure, we received a confirmation that everything was arranged as requested and there was nothing else to do but wait for some seat sales and book those flights! We must admit to some trepidation during the intervening period. Planning something as important and special as this over long distance via e-mail and a couple telephone conversations requires an incredible amount of faith in those at the other end. Our concerns proved to be unjustified as you will see from what follows.
The Young Island Package
Email address for USA and Canada Reservations: email@example.com
Phone numbers: USA and Canada: 1-800-223-1108 UK : 0-800-894-057
The Wedding Package:
The Wedding Package costs $960.00USD. It includes the following: -Services of wedding coordinator -All registration fees and wedding license fees, two witnesses -Bride’s bouquet, groom’s boutonniere, flower-decorated wedding arch -Minister’s fees -Wedding cake (your choice of flavours) -2 bottles of sparkling wine -hors d’oeuvres -photographer, two dozen 4" by 6" prints in a small album as well as the negatives -Candlelit dinner (your choice of location, your room if you wish) -Champagne breakfast the next day (again, your choice where)
What you will need:
-Passport and birth certificates -Divorce decree absolute if married before -Death certificate and first original marriage license if widowed -Notarized parental consent if under 21 -Legal proof if name has been changed -Residency requirement is now 24 hours, excluding day of arrival
Extra Options ($$$):
-Steel band ($200.00usd for two hours) -One hour video ($150.00usd) -Extra bouquets ($30.00usd) -Rental of entire island (please inquire)
Decisions Before the Big Day:
Dawn, our coordinator was on holidays when we arrived, but Joselle Mofford, her understudy had our file and took good care of us. We were to be married on a Saturday, and we arrived on the island the Tuesday before. We never felt rushed or pushed to make decisions, I found the whole experience extremely laid back and stress-free. After a few days at the resort, Joselle contacted us to let us know when the minister was coming to see us (yes, he comes to see you!) and when we would be going to town to do all the paper work. As the week progressed, we were also asked to decide on the location of the ceremony. This can be a toughie, since there are lots of great spots (e.g: on the beach, Sunset Point, Blue Parrot lookout, at the cottage gazebo, and many, many more). We picked the beach, of course, but even that took some further thought as there are many suitable spots on the beach. In combination with the location, we had to pick a time of day. We checked out different spots (and one in particular) at different times of day to take into consideration things like the tide, the position of the sun, wind, rain options, lighting, etc. After a relatively short examination of possibilities we made our decision. Next task was dinner and cake preferences. A day or so before the wedding day, we were given the menu and cake options. You can pick whatever you wish from their menu, and can have it served just about anywhere you desire, including your cottage. Since it would be too windy to eat at our gazebo, and I did not wish to eat indoors (we prefer dining al fresco) we opted for one of the single table dining gazebos close to the beach. As our wedding day was Saturday, and this was buffet night, even though we had the option of a la carte, we chose the buffet. There were no lineups at the buffet, plus they were serving typical West Indian dishes, so we were very happy with our choice. The wait staff asked us several times if we wished to be served, but we declined. As for the wedding cake, there were no options given as they were prepared to make just about any flavour of cake you could imagine (e.g.: chocolate, banana, fruitcake, etc.). We chose rum cake and it was a very good choice. We met the minister, a Pastor of a Baptist Church, a couple of days before the ceremony and were very impressed with his warmth and sincerity. He was quite open to working with us and creating a ceremony that would meet our wishes and respect his commitments as a minister. We gave him a copy of our wedding vows, and much to our delight, he was very impressed with them. In fact, he mentioned this fact to us several times, including right after the ceremony. The day before the ceremony, Joselle took us, via cab, to Kingstown to take care of all the necessary paper work. If you plan on getting married in SVG, I strongly recommend you have a wedding coordinator to help you through this rather bureaucratic process. It didn’t take long, we were gone only about 2.5 hours, but there are several visits to different government offices involved, and unless you are familiar with this process, the services of a local coordinator are invaluable.
The Big Day:
Our ceremony was scheduled for 4:00pm, so we had plenty of time to relax. Joselle offered Bob a cottage for him to use to get ready which would allow me to have the bathroom to myself, and of course, for Bob not to see me before the ceremony. The photographer arrived first, followed by the minister and Joselle. Joselle had to make a quick run to collect the two witnesses. I of course, true to form, was running late. We all managed to gather on the beach only a few minutes past the appointed hour. I was very nervous and not at all impressed by the approaching grey clouds. Would we make it before we all got a good soaking! But Mother Nature was on our side, and it started to sprinkle only after the minister gave us the last blessing. Luckily, it lasted for 10 minutes or so, and stayed dry all through dinner and the rest of the evening. During the ceremony, the photographer was very discrete in taking pictures. Afterwards, he went with us to the dining gazebo where we had our champagne and hors d’oeurves followed by our beautiful cake and finished taking pictures. He told us that the pictures would be ready in a couple of days. I should mention that I am not really a fan of desserts. However seeing the cake decorated with ‘real’ whipped cream and fresh flowers and catching the aroma of rum, I did try some and it was delicious (and still a bit warm!). That done, Bob and I walked around taking more pictures with our own camera, and just relaxed before dinner sipping on the last of the Champagne. We enjoyed the buffet as well as the steel band, a good reason to have the ceremony on a Saturday!
At Young Island, their (unpublished) motto seems to be, ‘whatever you desire’. I have never stayed at a resort at which the staff were so accommodating and client-centered. Nowhere was this more apparent than when making the wedding plans. I was overwhelmed with their flexibility and attention to our wishes. Young Island Resort afforded us the opportunity to have the wedding we truly wanted and dreamed about. Having gone through the stress and hard work of planning a traditional wedding many years before, it was amazing how this time it was incredibly stress-free and easy. I cannot sing enough praises for the whole idea of a destination wedding, and Young Island is a perfect spot to create lasting memories.
If you have further questions, you can contact me at: Ivona_Lancaster@hotmail.com