Sandals Resorts got busy promoting weddings and honeymoons in the Caribbean during the recent Caribbean Travel and Cultural Fair which took place at the Vanderbilt Hall of Grand Central Terminal in New York City earlier this month.
During the event, Sandals launched a new interactive online wedding designer application for couples planning tailor-made Caribbean weddings at Sandals Resorts.
The new user-friendly app named, Your Wedding, Your Style, allows loved-up couples to customise their destination weddings with the help of an online wedding portal where more than 7,000 photographs have been uploaded. Users can then choose their flowers,colour scheme, decor, place cards, the wedding cake and much more.
Speaking at the Caribbean event, Sandals CEO Adam Stewart, said: “The new bride is tech-savvy so we were forced to move away from packaged weddings. Brides have the option to have their destination wedding, reception and honeymoon planned online or over the phone.”
The event also held a contest where military couples from the United States were invited to submit an essay stating why they deserved a Caribbean wedding at a Sandals Resort. The finalists gathered in Vanderbilt Hall for an official bouquet toss for the chance to win a WeddingMoon of their choice. Maria and Jason Yates from New Jersey caught the bouquet and they chose a Jamaica wedding worth $8,000.
Mr Stewart announced a surprise to the disappointed couples just after the bouquet toss that they would all receive free Caribbean honeymoons at a Sandals Resort.
Sandals Resorts offers plenty of idyllic spots for romantic Caribbean weddings and the hotel group has luxury resorts in tropical destinations including St Lucia, Antigua, Jamaica and the Bahamas.
Couples getting married abroad at Sandals Resorts can choose from a several settings for their island nuptials including soft sandy beaches for intimate beach weddings at sunset, nuptials within lush tropical gardens, or ceremonies in grand ballrooms.
The new interactive app is just one of the programmes that is available from the Sandals Resorts official website and hopeful brides and grooms will also be able to plan their destination weddings with the help of wedding guru, Martha Stewart. Wedding packages include including Flutter of Romance, Seaside Serenade, Island Paradise, Vision in White and Chic & Natural.
“I think we have another big hit on our hands. Our Martha Stewart wedding packages helped to put Sandals weddings on the global market. With this new product, I’m certain brides will find a Sandals wedding an attractive option. Every day at Sandals we go to work to make it better for two people in love, that’s what Sandals is about,” added Mr Stewart.
The days where couples would head to their local church, get married, and return to a village hall or someones house for a reception with homemade food seem to be a thing of the past.
Couples are now heading to exotic location such as the Caribbean, Hawaii or the Seychelles, as destination weddings become the latest trend.
Hundreds of companies are benefitting from the surge in bookings for weddings abroad, including travel agents, wedding planners, cruise lines and hotels and resorts.
Gary Sadler, the Vice-President of Sales for Unique Vacations, the worldwide representative of Sandals Resorts, explained: Personalisation and absolute flexibility is what couples want now; no cookie-cutter weddings.
He added that the destination wedding industry has evolved over the years and couples are expecting more on their special day.
If we offered weddings the way we did 30 years ago, wed be out of business, he said. When I started working at Sandals Ocho Rios in 1990, the bride and groom would get flowers, champagne and have their own homemade videos. That was the end of it.
Today, Sandals weddings include a wedding planner, a wedding butler, a two-tiered wedding cake, a professional photographer and videographer, flowers brought in from the area, champagne and hors doeuvres, the resort venue itself plus other features all of it personalised for each couple at each resort.
Sandals Resorts operates Caribbean resorts in St Lucia, Jamaica, Antigua and the Bahamas and the luxury all-inclusive properties are a favourite for romantic Caribbean weddings and honeymoons.
Cruise weddings are becoming increasingly popular and over the last ten years, cruise lines have developed marketing strategies to entice couples to book weddings at sea.
According to Mintel, a UK market research company, Carnival now carries out approximately 2,400 destination weddings a year; Royal Caribbean hosts 800 ceremonies and Norwegian Cruise Lines holds 300. The British company, Cunard, recently registered its ships in Bermuda so it could offer overseas weddings onboard its three ships and couples will be able to get married abroad on Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth or Queen Victoria from April, 2012.
A recent Mintel survey reveals that people aged between 25 and 44 years are likely to have chosen a wedding abroad over a traditional ceremony at home. And many 18 – 34-year-olds would choose nuptials in exotic foreign wedding destinations when the time comes to get married.
Overseas nuptials are also becoming increasingly popular among the older brides and grooms and those who are getting married for a second time. These couples often look for a quieter and more intimate event.
Sandals Resorts has launched a new incentive programme and competition for qualified travel agents to boost the sales of upgraded wedding packages at its Caribbean resorts.
The Sell and Celebrate incentive will see agents receive a 50 high street voucher for every upgraded package sold for destination weddings at Sandals Resorts.
Agents who sell the upgraded packages can send the information to their local Sandals Business Development Manager with details on the booking and any tips and advice for other travel agents. These entries will then be entered into a national draw with a fantastic prize of a seven-night break at any Sandals Resort up for grabs.
Sandals Resorts are a popular choice for couples getting married abroad and the company has a wide choice of properties that offer all inclusive, upscale accommodation and picturesque Caribbean settings.
Beach weddings are a favourite and these can be enjoyed at any Sandals Resorts across Jamaica, St. Lucia, The Bahamas and Antigua.
Brides and grooms who are looking to splash out for their weddings abroad can choose from a range of themed Sandals Weddings by Martha Stewart including Flutter of Romance, Seaside Serenade, Island Paradise, Vision in White and Chic & Natural.
Couples can also choose the customisable Sandals’ standard WeddingMoon package which offers the perfect excuse to extend the celebrations of Caribbean weddings and stay on for a romantic honeymoon while enjoying all inclusive programmes, luxury facilities and fu activities at Sandals Resorts.
Destination weddings can be tailor-made to suit the individual requirements of the bride and groom and with the help of the wedding guru Martha Stewart, they can choose everything from the resort destination, the idyllic setting for their ceremony, accommodation, wedding dcor, cake, flowers, and the colour scheme.
Travel agents have until 31st May, 2012 to take advantage of the incentive and in addition, Sandals Resorts will be launching the Catch the Bouquet competition where one beautiful floral arrangement will be given away each week between 29th March and 31st May, 2012.
All agents have to do is spot the wedding bouquet, which is hidden in a picture in the I DO magazine supplement that will be delivered to travel agencies from 2nd April, 2012.
Once every four years, women get the chance to get down on one knee and pop the question to their loved ones on Leap Day.
According to a recent survey carried out by Sandals Resorts, one in three women would consider proposing to their boyfriends on Leap Day, 29th February, and for a third of couples, the Caribbean would be the favourite choice for romantic destination weddings.
The survey revealed that 20 per cent of the women asked said they would be scared in case the proposal was rejected but it appears that 40 per cent of men would accept and two thirds of them would not be embarrassed.
It appears that the majority of women who would propose come from the East Midlands while women in Wales are the least likely to take the plunge. Ladies living in the North East might find they have more luck because half of the survey participants from the region say they would like their girlfriends to ask them to marry them.
The results of the survey have been revealed just as recent research shows that more couples in the UK are getting married and weddings abroad are on the increase.
Geoffrey Beattie, a Professor of Psychology and Relationship Expert, commented: This new research by Sandals Resorts shows that the Leap Year tradition of women taking the initiative in proposals of marriage is now chiming with the underlying attitudes of people in the UK today.
More and more women (and men) seem happy with the idea that it is perfectly acceptable for women to pop the question. This seems to reflect a more egalitarian society in terms of relationships and dating, with women no longer prepared to play second fiddle, and taking the initiative whenever it is necessary. Given that marriage is a key milestone in many people’s lives it is refreshing to see that things are changing.
A third of the respondents said that they would choose Caribbean weddings and honeymoons for their special occasion which is good news for Sandals Resorts.
Sandals Resorts owns and operates several luxury hotels and resorts across the Caribbean that offer the perfect venues for romantic destination weddings and relaxing honeymoons.
With properties in St Lucia, the Bahamas, Antigua, and Jamaica, engaged couples can choose beach weddings or elegant tropical ceremonies within lush fragrant tropical gardens.
Couples getting married abroad at any of Sandals’ resorts can take advantage of the complimentary Beautiful Beginnings WeddingMoon package at Sandals Resorts if they book a holidays for a minimum of six nights. Wedding packages are also available and can be tailor-made to suit individual requirements.
The Sandals Resorts brand has built itself a sterling reputation over the years and has long been synonymous with luxurious Caribbean holidays. Management at Sandals have proven that they are not satisfied to rest on their laurels as they continue to raise the standards they have set for themselves. Most notably, over the course of the past 12 months Sandals have been hard at work building an equally stellar reputation in the field of eco-friendly tourism.
A year ago Sandals announced the launch of their environmental management programme across all their Caribbean hotels and resorts with the Sandals Earthguard powered by EarthCheck.
Since then, the Sandals chain of resorts have reportedly come a long way with their flagship hotel the Sandals Royal Bahamian recently receiving a silver rating by EarthCheck while the Sandals Negril, one of the most popular with travellers booking luxury Caribbean holidays, has proudly maintained its platinum status previously acquired in 2008 under the groups former certification body, Green Globe.
Under the EarthCheck programme, Sandals have identified six key pillars necessary to reduce their environmental impact and improve their green credentials:
Control of Hazardous Substances
Social and Cultural Development
Sandals work in the area of water management and water conservation has been particularly impressive given the number of travellers who stay at the many Sandals resorts during their holidays in the Caribbean and the demands that such a high level of occupancy places on water supplies. Across all Sandals Resorts water from ice machines are recycled and used for irrigation, while the Sandals resorts in Ocho Rios, Jamaica has been harvesting well water to reduce its reliance on municipal supplies.
EarthCheck CEO Steward Moore stated the following of Sandals achievements, This achievement highlights the long term commitment that Sandals Resorts has shown to the communities and environment of the Caribbean. Theyre well ahead of most governments and industry players globally as a result of their efforts, and serve as a leader in the field of sustainable practices.”