Post # 1
Hi, I just recently got engaged and we are starting the wedding planning process. We are thinking about getting married at the St. Lucia Sandals Grande Resort during their off season months (June or July) of 2018 or 2019 with about 50-75 guests. I have a few questions and I am really hoping one of you wonderful people can help me out. Here are my questions for those who have had a Sandals destination wedding or been to one:
What are their pre-designed wedding themes like, are they as pretty as the pictures? Is there anything else that needs to be added that is not included in the package (especially for 50-75 guests)?
What is the average cost for our guests going to be for an all-inclusive resort, including airfare from the midwest (MO, KS, IL, OH, KY)? I know each location will vary, I’m just looking for a rough estimate of what you think it will be.
What are some other expenses I need to consider? Dress, Suits, etc.
How much was the total cost for the wedding?
I am sorry for all the questions. I am stressed out and I have just started the process. Lol. Thank you in advance for all the help! I really, really appreciate any and all answers and opinions.
Post # 2
I’m not familiar with that resort, but I am a destination wedding photographer. Honestly so many of your questions pertaining to the resort and wedding details are probably best answered by just going ahead and contacting the resort and talking with one of thier wedding planners. Like any wedding, destination or at home, pricing and such will vary based on SO many different factors.
I’m pretty sure they base a lot of it on how many rooms your guests have rented, and so usually anything outside of the ceremony (ie: private reception/dinner) is extra even though it’s an all-inclusive resort.
Airfare varies based on the airport you fly out of and time of year. The best thing to do is just get online and do a search out of some of the airports you think your guests will fly out of. Use Expedia or something similar to show you multiple airlines. I’d consider working with a travel agent if you think you have a large group, one that might be able to negotiate lower resort or airline rates.
A lot of resort weddings do tend to be a little cookie cutter, because they do so many they are used to just busting them out. That’s not to say you can’t make requests but you also have to be very relaxed because often there is a need to substiutute things and you just have to roll with the punches. For the most part I think people are generally pretty happy. Resort photography is almost always pretty crappy (not just at Sandles, but across the board). Some people really don’t care, they’re happy with it, while others choose to bring someone in. It al depends on how important it is to you.
Usually the resort handles everything, things you need to think about on your end are : dress, suit, favors, spa services (like if you want to have your hair/makeup done, etc).
Post # 3
I agree in that you should contact the resort. They should have a dedicated wedding department to help with all this. Then I recommend contacting travel agents and getting quotes for the travel.
I’m having a destination wedding at Grand Palladium in Jamaica. The packages there only include up to 20 people, and each additional person is $20 US. So I’d check that for sure. My package also includes a semi-private dinner however if you have over 30 people you are required to do a private reception, and then you need to pay for each persons plate of food. So those are some questions you can ask the resort. Also check if they have a requirement for when the bride and groom need to arrive prior to the wedding.
As far as other expenses, that really depends on you. I have my dress and my FI’s wedding attire. We are also doing welcome bags for our guests. We are also paying for the photographer, and florist as we want to add more floral decor to the package.
We are paying for a steel pan band, and renting a sound system from the resort for the reception.
Post # 4
I looked into the Sandals Wedding in St Lucia and it has a lot of little charges that you have to add on. It cost extra for each additional person at the ceremony, then you have to pay extra for the cake cutting utensils and the candles. Air fare is usually around 500+depending on location. Most guest will have to purchase suits because of the location. When I looked it was almost 4,000 per family to come to my wedding so I settled for Florida
Post # 5
Basrd upon my honeymoon and a friend attending a wedding at another location of sandalsin the past year, if you stay a week it will be about $5k per couple. I also attended a wedding at sandals where the couple requested guests not stay at sandals with them…they paid for half day passes for eachieving guest.
Post # 6
I have not had a destination wedding through Sandals, but I just got back from my honeymoon at the Sandals Regency La Toc in St. Lucia. I will tell you that the Grande is absolutely beautiful – it is definitely much nicer and has a nicer view than either of the other two Sandals resorts in St Lucia.
We saw lots of weddings happening at our resort and they looked beautiful. We didn’t see any going on while we were at Grande, but I’m sure they would be just as beautiful, if not more beautiful (the beach at Grande is a lot better than La Toc or Halcyon).
The Sandals photographers are also awesome. We had one photographer at our resort that is actually a wedding photographer on the side. I wish I had gotten his last name! His first name is Randel and he worked at the La Toc resort. We did a sunset photo shoot with him and our pictures turned out great! (good enough that we ended up forking out more money to pay for the pictures).
I’m not sure if it will help – but our 7 day honeymoon at the La Toc resort was around $5,700 USD, which included a free night and airfare. Grande is more expensive than La Toc, though. We are in the Midwest and flew out of O’Hare. I would definitely reccomend looking into flying through Jet Blue instead of American if possible. And if you can arrange a helicopter ride from the airport to your resort, do it on the way there – it’s about $100 cheaper per person on the way there as opposed to the way back. It’s a pretty long bus ride to either resort otherwise.
Also, if yall decide on St. Lucia, you MUST go on the Joe Knows tour – it was SO fun.. and would be perfect for a bachelor/bachelorette party before your wedding.
Post # 7
Also, if you are set on June or July, go with June and as early as possible. June is the beginning of their off season, which means super hott temperatures and more rain (and possible hurricane weather). Hopefully early June wouldn’t be too bad. We went in mid May, and it was around 85-90 degrees every day, and rained a little bit each day (for 5-20 mins then stopped and was immediately sunny)
Post # 8
I just came back from a honeymoon at Sandals in the Bahamas. We’d hear weddings going on 3-4 times a day, and we noted that it was a like an assembly line. There wasn’t a lot you could change. Yes, it was always beautiful because the setting is gorgeous, but keep in mind while you’re pictures are so lovely, just out of the shot there are a few dozen people drinking heavily and sunbathing. Not a lot of privacy. Our first day we felt so awkward sitting there eating and drinking 15 feet away from people getting married. Like we’d all applaud after the pronouncement and it was fine. By our last day we’d hear Thinking out Loud over the speakers and be like “Goddamnit, another wedding, we can’t use the stairs over there for the next 20 minutes.”
We talked about it with another couple that had gotten married at a Sandals and they said it was upcharges for the smallest things, the main one I remember being that having it in the pretty wedding gazeebo or on a pier was a charge beyond having it on the beach. I’d give you all the things they told us, but we’d been drinking a lot and I don’t remember them all (sorry!) I do remember the photographery rates when we went to visit the photo shop were astronomical, like 3k for 50 unretouched photos.
Post # 9
If you go into the weddingmoon section on the Sandals website you should be able to see a lot of the pricing options. Sandals Negril did not upcharge us to get married in their gazebo, so I’d ask someone about that at your specific resort.
Another thing to to keep in mind with Sandals is that they are couples only and adults only. You might need special permission if you plan to have kids in your wedding and anyone traveling alone would need special permission to stay at the resort and they’d be charged at the couple rate. It may be better to look into another resort/hotel for some guests and then you can purchase day passes to Sandals for the wedding day.
Post # 10
Thats a good point about the kids thing. OP, there is another really nice resort in St. Lucia that has a family friendly section along with an adults only section. It’s the Royalton resort, if you do need to find a kid friendly resort for some of your guests. The adult only section just opened up a few months ago – we met some people that stayed there and really enjoyed it.
Post # 11
how is your planning going? i am also in the beginning stages of planning and we are leaning towards Sandals Grande St. Lucia in November of 2018 with 20- 30 people. i feel like i’ve been trying to read everyones experience and determine true cost of the weddingmoon with the Chic and Natural theme. i feel like i’m looking through everything but theres nothing like hearing the experience of others who have already gone through it.