If you've ever dreamed of marrying your sweetheart with the sun shining overhead, pristine sand beneath your feet & a gentle beach breeze in the air, a destination wedding in the Caribbean is ideal. While the tropical conditions on these islands are obviously conducive to a carefree big day, there are certain aspects of a wedding that require consideration & planning for a truly memorable celebration. Wondering what the top trends are for a ceremony in this exotic locale? These are just a few that brides- & grooms-to-be are buzzing about:
Location & decoration
The exact location of a destination wedding ceremony depends largely on the couple's tastes & preferences. After all, this special day should reflect the eccentricities & unique qualities of their relationship. However, certain islands are attracting a significant amount of attention for these events.
Aviva Samuels, founder of Kiss the Planner, reported that St. Lucia is one of the hottest destinations right now for weddings & honeymoons. According to Samuels, many couples are attracted to this island because the Piton Mountains & botanical gardens both provide a breathtaking background. She mentioned Sandals Grande St. Lucia Resort & Spa as a top pick.
She revealed that another popular location is Antigua, which boasts a bevy of pristine white & pink sand beaches as well as a highly unusual wall of coves, coral reef & other striking natural wonders. It's no surprise that Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa came highly recommended from Samuels: It has been named the "World's Most Romantic Resort."
As far as the ambience goes, Travel Age & West reported that according to research by Sandals, brides-to-be are opting for sea glass, soft sand & other neutral color palettes. Additionally, Wedding Republic revealed that patterns, from playful polka-dots to classic stripes, are becoming popular for decor.
In terms of flowers, Travel Age & West noted that the Dendrobium Orchid is the most chosen blossom for island weddings.
Food & fun
For guests, the food is one of the best parts of a wedding reception, so it definitely shouldn't be neglected. Many couples are choosing to incorporate local fare to support the region's economy while also giving the celebration an authentic vibe. According to Travel Age & West, Sandals' studies determined that the most popular flavor for wedding cakes is somewhat predictable: Caribbean Fruit. A considerable 40 percent of couples selected this flavor, while another 35 percent went with vanilla & 25 percent chose chocolate. Wedding Republic pointed to mini desserts as another alternative that many couples are turning to so that guests can sample a variety of treats.
Travel Age & West noted that another emerging trend is to have a live Caribbean band providing the soundtrack for dancing at the reception. Meanwhile, some couples are deciding to take a sunset cruise for an even more romantic celebration.
Attire & accessories
Brides just want to have fun, & a destination wedding in the Caribbean presents the perfect opportunity to do just that. There's no reason to stick with traditional dress styles – more brides are opting to don an unusual gown that's more tailored to fit to their personality. Wedding Republic revealed that many brides are going for two-in-one gowns so that they can change up their look instantly between the ceremony & reception without having to run off to the dressing room. Dresses with pockets are also big for practicality reasons. With this convenient feature, you can easily keep a lip gloss or other small necessity on hand for emergency touchups.
Couples are also getting more tech-savvy for their big day. Wedding Republic pointed out that social media is starting to play a prevalent role in these occasions, especially as brides look to share photos & other details with friends & family throughout the planning process.
If your friends have agreed to serve as your bridesmaids during your destination wedding in the Caribbean, they are probably psyched to spend time in a tropical paradise with you, your fiance & the rest of your family members & friends. As honored as your friends will be, they may be less than thrilled if you choose a bridesmaid dress for them that they hate. Between the hot sun, high humidity & variety of activities they may be involved in while wearing the gown, choosing just the right one takes careful consideration/
Here are some fashionable & practical tips to ensure you & your bridesmaids look stunning (& stay comfortable) during your tropical nuptials:
Consider color & cut
If you're planning destination weddings on a tropical island, of course you will want the color scheme of your wedding to match the scenery. Bridesmaid dresses are a great chance to infuse color into your ceremony, so consider the island's palette to choose a great color for these gowns. Maybe a leafy green will go well with the verdant rainforests that will act as a backdrop to your photos, or maybe you want to pull out the bright coral pink of the plumeria flowers on the bushes. Soft turquoise is another great hue that looks stunning in photos next to the Caribbean Sea.
The cut also matters. Beach weddings tend to be more casual than something you plan in a chapel or cathedral, so you might opt for short, cocktail-style dresses rather than something floor-length. This will also keep your bridesmaids cool in the warm weather – especially when the dancing starts later on!
Pick the best material
Just as you don't want to be weighed down with materials like satin or sweating through silk, your bridesmaids won't want to wear these fabrics, either. Instead, opt for breezy chiffon or rayon, or even choose a cotton or linen blend for a casual look. This will be the most comfortable during the ceremony & reception.
Kim Spradlin is no stranger to beaches, having won the million-dollar prize on "Survivor: One World" after living on the coastline of Samoa for 39 days during the show. However, when she stuck her toes in the sand recently, it was in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where she married her fiance Bryan Wolfe during an intimate beach wedding.
Spradlin said "I do" in front of about 30 guests who were invited to her boho-chic ceremony & reception. The relaxed style of the event may serve as inspiration for other brides who are planning destination weddings in Mexico or another tropical locale. Spradlin & her fiance chose to exchange vows on a private beach in a cove near their hotel, something many couples can opt for when they stay at a luxury hotel in Mexico. The bride told People magazine she wanted the ceremony to feel "very organic & natural."
Her dress perfectly matched the theme she was going for. Spradlin, the owner of a bridal shop in San Antonio, Texas, wore an ivory lace gown with tan ribbon details around the waist & a transparent lace halter top, along with simple necklaces & beachy shell bracelets. Her look seemed effortless, with her hair in a loose side braid. She & Wolfe, who wore a lilac linen Cuban button-down shirt & khakis, both went barefoot as they exchanges vows, a popular trend for island weddings.
Although the dress Spradlin ultimately chose was the perfect fit, she wasn't sure it would be when she set off to Cabo. The bride reportedly brought two island wedding dresses & chose which one she would wear on the day of the wedding. While many brides do not have such a luxury, Spradlin's preparation does indicate how difficult choosing the right dress can be, especially for a wedding on the beach.
The Knot recommends staying away from heavy beading on a beach wedding dress, since this tends to weigh the gown down. Instead, choose light, airy fabrics like silk chiffon or organza. Because beach weddings tend to be more casual than church weddings, wearing a less-formal halter-style dress, as Spradlin did, lends a laid-back vibe to the nuptials. Keep these tips in mind for bridesmaids, too. Even though you may choose shorter dresses for your best gals, materials like silk, satin & other heavy-weight fabrics may cause discomfort & may not match the easy-breezy style of the wedding.
For many couples, there are few wedding venues more romantic than a tropical beach in St. Lucia, Jamaica or Mexico. Destination weddings are a great option for couples hoping to tie the knot in a warm-weather paradise, but brides will need to make special considerations when choosing the gown they will wear to these beach weddings.
From sand and sun to suitcases and steam, destination weddings pose a few challenges for that classic white bridal gown. Fortunately, it's not impossible to choose a perfect dress. Simply consider these questions as you shop for your big day:
Will my preferred style work at this venue?
Some brides have dreamt of eight-foot trains or lacy sleeves, but a hot, sandy beach or uneven patch of grass overlooking the Caribbean Sea may not be conducive to these aspects of a wedding gown. Generally, it's best to choose a simple style of gown for destination weddings in the Caribbean, Tahiti, Hawaii or any other warm-weather paradise. The best island wedding dresses will be somewhat flowy, breathable and not too long, since a train can quickly become a train wreck on a beach or grassy alcove.
What material will work?
Classically, wedding gowns are made from some mixture of tulle, lace, silk, satin and other textiles, but not all of these fabrics are best when you are waiting to marry your loved one under the hot Mexican sun. Lace, satin and silk may become itchy or hot if you sweat – and you likely will during a Hawaii or Mexico beach wedding. Instead, choose fabrics like cotton, linen or rayon, which will breathe and not trap your sweat, and are lightweight enough for those warm tropical breezes to flow through.
Will it travel well?
No matter what type of dress or material you choose, the wedding dress still has to make it to the destination, and no wedding dress is going to come off the airplane unscathed. Remember that it may be difficult to find a professional cleaner if you're planning destination weddings in Tahiti or another isolated island, so choose a dress that travels somewhat well. You might also consider buying your dress its own seat on the airplane – that way, you can supervise and not have to worry about stashing it in an overhead compartment. You could also ask your airline whether they can hang your dress somewhere safe in the cabin for free. Once you have arrived at your hotel, you can steam out any wrinkles by hanging the dress in the bathroom and running hot water 15 to 20 minutes.
Wedding trends change every year, but one that's sticking around is destination weddings. Mexico beach weddings, particularly in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, are expected to be the most popular this year, followed closely by destination weddings in the Caribbean (Jamaica & Turks and Caicos), according to Wedding Wire. Whether couples want a blow-out bash or a private beach ceremony to celebrate their love, a tropical locale is the perfect place to tie the knot.
Because of the rise in popularity of these types of ceremonies, many resorts & travel concierge professionals, such as Beach Bum Vacations, offer or create special customized tropical wedding packages, making the process of wedding planning that much easier for the couple. These packages include fine details that make the ceremony & reception extra special & unique to the bride and groom, ironing out the specifics of lodging & airfare for guests, arranging the best spots for dining, organizing entertainment, facilitating airport shuttle services, & other excursions, tours & adventures in the destination so the bride and groom can focus on a stress-free, relaxing engagement.
Destination weddings are a fantastic solution for couples whose families are spread out. A destination wedding resolves the decision whether to have the ceremony at his home or hers. Many couples find that it's more convenient, less expensive, & that they would rather enjoy several days of memories with their friends and family, than just a few hours.