Date of visit: November 2010
A summary of our wedding and honeymoon, almost 10 years ago in Jamaica!
This post was written towards the end of August 2020, the lost year of travel… this is now the third published within the last week where we have delved back into the distant past and resurrected wonderful memories of more exotic times.
Please note that I am not complaining! While I adore travelling and seeing awesome places, I am always thankful to have had, and also to have taken opportunities to travel widely. We were both humbled in 2016 when we met many people who have not had the opportunity to travel even outside their own towns or villages. Travel is a privilege that is denied to millions.
I reflected on our travel plans post on 1st January 2020, where I stated “nothing is certain in life and things can change in an instant”. But never in my wildest dreams did I expect that instant to be the huge Covid-19 pin, ramming in with such aggression and bursting the massive global tourism bubble.
We had to move our Italy trip from May to October so I am still cautiously hopeful that it will take place… with restrictions changing every day it is impossible to know what is going to happen next week, let alone in two months time!
We also have a week in Pembrokeshire in Wales, booked for September. I am more optimistic about that one but with local lockdowns and other random restrictions who knows??? I’ve always wanted to visit the Pembrokeshire Coast so I really do hope we can!
Anyway… enough about coronavirus restrictions and onto the post…
Getting married abroad
Firstly why do people get married abroad? I had to ponder this question for a bit, thinking back to our own reasons. We were both in our 40’s and had both been married before. We were looking for a simple wedding without a great deal of fuss… somewhere a little different and of course, there was always the allure of luxury tropical paradise…
Getting married abroad is also surprisingly cost effective! Our wedding package was actually ‘free’ although we had to book a certain room grade to get this. And we had a honeymoon all-in-one 🙂
We choose Sandals who offered ‘wedding-moons’ with the advantage that everything is organised by them! This made things very easy. We had a wedding co-ordinator in the UK who spoke to us by phone to ensure we had everything necessary, meaning the paperwork. We didn’t have to do very much at all, other than to buy our wedding clothes… oh and organise the low-key post-wedding evening reception we had for close family and friends when we returned.
We also had a wedding co-ordinator (the lovely Natalie) when we arrived at the resort. Once we had settled into our room, the following morning we had a meeting with her to discuss some options such as the time of the wedding, a visit to the salon, the music, the food and the photographer. All sorted!
The wedding was perfect with some little treats throughout the day. The ceremony took place in the morning in the tropical gardens. We did have the choice of the beach pagoda but this seemed a little impersonal. The gardens were quiet and peaceful whereas we wouldn’t have felt comfortable saying our vows with people sauntering past in bikini’s and shorts!
Following the ceremony where we exchanged rings and cut the cake, we then had champagne and canapés before wandering around the resort with the photographer for a range of wedding photos.
In the evening we had a ‘special’ table in a Sandals restaurant called ‘Eleanors’ where we were given more champagne, a bottle of wine and a wonderful meal.
Our wedding cake was included as part of the Sandals package and it was huge! Above is the top part of the delicious two tier fruit cake made with Jamaica rum 🙂
The following morning breakfast was served in our room by a lady who arrived with a large tray with hot food and a chilled bottle of sparkling wine! This boozy start to the morning was the last of the wedding treats but it was all really lovely.
Later that day we went to look at the wedding photographs – over 100 had been taken but we chose 22 before wandering off to the pool bar for a cocktail.
Sandals Whitehouse (now called Sandals South Coast) was a fantastic wedding location stretching along a wide sandy beach on the south coast of Jamaica. We had a wonderful room facing the beach which was well stocked with sparkling, white and red wine , spirits and fruit and even a welcome cheeseboard!
The resort too was wonderful with several pools and hot tubs and beach activities. Each of the pools had a different feel, the ‘Riviera’, the large central pool was lively with volleyball, aerobics and suchlike whereas other pools around the resort were quieter and more relaxed.
There was a large expansive white sandy beach with trips in a glass-bottomed boat, pedalos and kayaks being available. These were all complimentary and so didn’t cost any extra.
The resort had a ‘Europe’ theme and we stayed in the Italian Village (with Dutch and French villages being further along). There has been a big addition in that it is now possible to stay in an over-water bungalow… there wasn’t any sign of these in 2010!
There were several restaurants with different cuisines; Guiseppe’s served pastas and pizzas; Neptunes was an open-air fish restaurant on the beach; Jasmines served lovely oriental food and there was a French cafe which served delicious coffee and cake at any time of the day. I’ve just checked and even nearly 10 years later, the restaurants seem to remain the same.
There was always plenty of entertainment in the evenings which ranged from a beach party to cabaret shows to live bands. We became friends with Linda and Alan from the UK, they had arrived with us on the mini bus and it was lovely to have drinks with them from time to time throughout the week.
One memorable evening was spent in the Bayside restaurant where we had a wonderful meal as we sat outside in the warm Jamaican evening with excellent food as we listened to a live local band. We then wandered to the beach where a large bonfire had been lit; we sat on loungers with our cocktails listening to another live band.
Black River and YS Falls trip
As the main purpose of the trip was of course to get married, we treated the week as an extended week-long wedding and in contrast to our usual trips we spent most of it being quite lazy and chilled. However we didn’t want to travel to Jamaica without seeing anything at all of the island so we went on an excursion to the Black River and YS Falls.
This began with a boat trip along the Black River where we saw crocodiles and we then visited the lush YS Falls with wooden walkways that take you through the tropical rainforest to the falls.
From the moment we landed in Montego Bay airport we had special treatment (as did all guests) as we were led to the Sandals airport lounge, given a cold refreshing drink and shown to the mini bus that would take us to the resort. This continued throughout the week where we were thoroughly spoiled and where we enjoyed every second.
If you are looking for a special and fully indulgent wedding experience we would certainly recommend Sandals.
Eight years later, in November 2018 we celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary in Sandals Grenada.