the ritz-carlton, san juan, puerto rico
A Caribbean wedding won’t get any easier than one held here, thanks to the no-passport advantage for U.S. citizens when they travel to Puerto Rico. Add to that the resort’s so-convenient location, by pretty and popular Isla Verde Beach, 10 minutes from Old San Juan and about half that time from the airport. And because we’re talking about The Ritz-Carlton, nuptials might not get more elegant than those held here, either.
If the convenience and tropical surroundings of this graceful property are not incentive enough, rooms and suites here are sure to sway. The hotel’s recent multi-million dollar renovation means accommodations have been spruced up with bright, yet warm colors celebrating the hues of the beach below. Its expert mix of fun and sophistication, with native touches added in, extends to its weddings—enter customized menus generous with local dishes, a sampling of local rums by the hotel’s own “Rummier” or the high-energy rhythms of local music and dancers. And if the couple chooses to say “I do” at one of Puerto Rico’s many historical sites, the hotel can provide off-site catering.
The resort’s current basic wedding package, priced at $3,500, includes the venue—either at the Grand Ballroom or on the beach—plus the non-denominational minister, bouquet and boutonniere and a photographer for one hour. Of course, couples can also pepper their special day with plenty of a-la-carte, more traditional extras, including a violinist or guitar player or a post-ceremony couple’s massage, with the able assistance of The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan’s dedicated wedding planners. Room rates start at $279 per night.
Why we chose it: Well-known elegant brand, convenient location and no passport required.
Contact: (800) 542-8680; ritzcarlton.com
curtain bluff resort, antigua
Flanked by two beaches and jutting off prettily from its location atop a promontory, this Antiguan retreat serves romance al fresco from practically every corner, with breezy sea-view rooms and suites offering soaking tubs, floor-to-ceiling windows and close proximity to the ocean.
Pre- or post-wedding, couples can indulge in an intimate tasting at Curtain Bluff’s wine cellar, said to be the largest in the Caribbean, or reserve the spa’s relaxation deck for a champagne-and-strawberries evening in the jacuzzi as they enjoy the views all the way to the island of Montserrat. They can then say “I do” right on the beach or at The Bluff House, a private home with what seems like endless ocean views. Each wedding is customized and there’s just one per day, with never more than one wedding group at a time—and a complete resort buy-out is always an option. Wedding prices start at $895 for a package that includes the marriage license and paperwork, the wedding officer’s fees, cake and cocktail reception after the ceremony.
Another plus to a stay at Curtain Bluff: all-inclusive rates that translate to all meals and drinks, room service, fitness classes and watersports activities such as snorkeling trips, windsurfing, deep-sea fishing and scuba diving. These start at $715 per night dbl. For added fees, couples or their guests can arrange a cooking or wine appreciation class, excursions around Antigua or a leisurely sail on a 50-ft. ketch.
Why we chose it: Family-friendly and ease of full buy-out.
spice island beach resort, grenada
There is nothing bland about a wedding at this family-owned property in the Isle of Spice. Grenada’s Grand Anse Beach is so pretty, it may take away some of the attention from the bride, but she won’t mind once she’s here. This stylish Caribbean paradise seems to have been exclusively designed for romance, with airy accommodations, gourmet cuisine and that stunning shoreline, but an attentive staff adds to the mix by offering beautiful and hassle-free ceremonies.
The resort’s basic wedding package, priced at just $500, includes the decor in their chosen beach or garden location, a wedding cake and bottle of champagne, bouquet and boutonniere, private en-suite dinner for two the night of the wedding, decorated honeymoon room, marriage license and embassy signing fees and other convenient perks. Here, too, they have plenty of options to add on, including a steel band, video shoot or a sunset cruise gliding along the coastline and harbor. Before or after the big day, there are plenty of watersports options to wile away the time, as well as a variety of sailing charters, tours and excursions to explore the island that are easily arranged.
Rates start at $618 per room with half-board accommodations and $860 per room for the all-inclusive program, although for bride and groom, the resort recommends a Private Pool Suite or signature Cinnamon & Saffron Suite, which sits right in front of the beach; the latter starts at $1,695 per night for an all-inclusive stay.
Why we chose it: Great reputation, scenic location and hands-on service.
Archived related article: Caribbean Uber-Luxe (February 2012)