Post # 1
- Wedding: May 2015 - The beach.
My FI and I have decided to elope to St. Lucia Grande Sandals resort next May. (Well we’re pretty sure) Sandals would be really affordable for us and they do “weddingmoon” packages that combine your elopement ceremony and honeymoon for a great price. They have lots of things to do on the resort and I really REALLY want to go there….but one huge thing is bothering me. The photography! They don’t allow third party photographers to take pictures of your ceremony. So you have two options. First, you have the Snapshots Photography. Basically they had a camera set on “auto” to their staff and you get like 10 pictures that you have to pay a crapton of money for. Second, you can use their “professional” photographers at a much higher price. I looked at the photographer for St. Lucia and they are TERRIBLE. Mikael Lamber is the “better” of the two professionals they have there… but he’s still pretty awful from what I’ve seen in his portfolio. I mean he’s decent, but for being a photographer as long as he has, he sure hasn’t improved at all. I contacted Sandals and asked if I could have one of their photographers from another island come over, but they said it would cost almost double the price of Mikeal because I’d have to pay for their accomadations and flight. Which doesn’t make sense to me because they are apart of the Sandals Resorts so why can’t they just have the accomadations ready for them? I understand paying for the travel. I really want to just fly my friend out with us who is an amazing professional photographer but obviously, they wouldn’t let her shoot. I’m really disheartened! I guess I would be willing to go to a different resort, but Sandals seemed like the best place to go for the money.
Post # 2
Can they really stop you if your ‘friend’ took photos of your wedding? Maybe have photos with whatever standard photographer they have and have your friend come also?
Post # 3
Photography is our top priority for our wedding, so if it is the same for you I say go with a different resort. They might be better priced for your stay but if they are not going to work with you and get you what you want on your big day then Sandals is not worth it.
Post # 4
pixelpisces: I’d consider these options:
1) Have your friend come out as a witness and shoot photos as a guest. I can’t see how they’d stop you from doing this if she’s also a guest at the hotel.
2) Go have your vacation at Sandals, but elope off resort. You can probably plan an elopment ceremony elsewhere on the island pretty easily in a much more beautiful location than you could choose from at Sandals. If you still wanted the ease of a package elopment, I”m sure there are photographers and venues that offer this service apart from Sandals.
3) Go with the sandals package but hire a pro photog to do an after wedding photoshoot with you off-resort.
4) Choose another resort with a more flexible policy. I got married at an all inclusive in Mexico and wanted my own photorapher. I hired an incredible pro (from the local area) and only had to pay a $100 fee to allow her to come on site for the wedding.
Post # 5
pixelpisces: I’ve been to a wedding at a Sandals. They had camera people everywhere. I really don’t see how you could sneak your friend in as a professional photographer. They are very attentive. They have a photography staff that take pictures of everyone so that they can get you to buy packages. We turned down so many opportunities to take pictures. It was like the camera people near the entranice of a Six Flags. Your guests can take tons of pictures, and that’s fine. But they definitely know what a professional camera looks like. Sandals resort was great and we had a blast, I just don’t know how you will swing this photographer thing.
Post # 6
- Wedding: May 2015 - The beach.
Thanks for the input everyone! After reading everyone’s adivce, I think the best thing is to just have the ceremony at a different resort, and then spend the rest of the time at Sandals. It might cost more, but I’m not willing to give up great pictures on my wedding.
Post # 7
pixelpisces: Hi, I am actually in the same boat, we are doing our weddingmoon July 2015 at Sandals Montego Bay. The photograpy was the only downfall I have, only due to the cost of the packages vs the amount of photos you get back. We have narrowed down to getting the video package and picking out the ceremony photos that we want. We are having some friends come and one of them is actually a photographer so I’m pretty sure we will get some great photos from them and some ipad photos from everyone else LOL. Secondly from all the many coversations I have had with Sandals anyone that is a guest, people walking by ect can take pictures for you as long as they are not in the way of the Sandals “photographer” and as long as they do not have tripods or branding on their equipment.
We are still talking about doing an offsite photoshoot, we would pick the pictures from the ceremony that we wanted and then have a nice romatic shoot off the resort.
Wish you the best of luck
Post # 8
pixelpisces: This may have already been mentioned, and I don’t know if technically all all-inclusive resorts work this way, but I’m also having an all-inclusive DW and if my photographer also happens to be a guest (staying and paying for the minimum 3 nights, etc), our resort doesn’t charge an outside vendor fee.
I know it’s frustrating, these outside vendor fees are a scam. Like I’m already paying good money to have them come shoot my wedding…why am I having to pay the resort as well??