The Mad Hatter

My first experience with Doctor Teitelbaum was at the Hub in the Correctional Treatment Center of the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego, California. I stood in front of the wrap-around desk that contained the daily sign-in sheets for the MTAs, chatting with the officer on duty, when I heard a voice behind me. The voice was a warbled mix of falsetto and feminine baritone.

“I wish to be escorted to the Facility One Clinic. I was told to meet MTA Taylor here.”

I turned to get a view of the speaker. She was a heavyset woman in her early fifties with a shocking amount of frizzy, dyed red hair, sticking crazily out from under a wide-brimmed, magenta hat. She was wearing what might have been a workout suit of a shiny material in two different shades of purple. Her shoes were yellow sneakers and she carried a large, red leather bag. Small, beady eyes peered back and forth between the officer on duty and me, through large glasses on her pale, moon-shaped face. Taken aback by the sharp disparity of her appearance among the uniformed officers and scrub-wearing medical staff, I would not have been entirely surprised if she had told me she was there to don a bright red nose and make balloon animals for the inmates. I was the MTA assigned to Facility one clinic. An MTA, or Medical Technical Assistant, was a position unique to the California Department of Corrections. It was both a medical position and a peace officer position. MTAs responded to all medical emergencies and ran the day to day of the clinics on the yard. The department would soon do away with the position, and we would be given the choice of being either nurses or correctional officers. I would later choose to become a correctional officer.

“I’m MTA Taylor,” I said, “I don’t believe we’ve met before. Can I ask what your business is at the clinic?”

She made a dramatic flourish with her left hand and raised her odd warble of a voice, affecting the style of a Shakespearian actor.

“I am Doctor Teitelbaum,” she announced not only to me, but to every person in the nearby area, “I am the new Psychiatrist.”

Five minutes later, I was escorting Dr. Teitelbaum across the plaza to the Facility One Clinic. We reached the Facility One gate, and the gate officer checked our identification.

“Are you new to the prison system, Dr. Teitelbaum?” I asked. I knew entering a prison yard for the first time could be an overwhelming and frightening experience.

“I am new to the prison system, Mr. Taylor, but not new to those imprisoned by mental illness.” Her eyes took on a fevered, dreamy, faraway look. “I am here to help men escape their prison.”

The gate officer, a black man in his late forties, looked at her, then looked questioningly at me. Talk of helping inmates escape was not something taken lightly. I assured the officer that Dr. Teitelbaum was using a euphemism.

“It’s Just talk,” I said. “Dr. Teitelbaum doesn’t mean escape from the actual prison, but the prison of mental illness.”

Dr. Teitelbaum looked wordlessly up at the officer through her large glasses. The gate officer frowned but opened the gate. He looked Dr. Teitelbaum up and down, taking in the full oddity of her attire. He grimaced and rolled his eyes.

“It’s on you, Taylor,” he said. “It’s all on you.”

We stepped onto Facility One Yard. The prison yard was a large, oval strip of land surrounded by a track a third of a mile long. Inmates wearing blue CDC uniforms walked around the track, returning to their housing units from morning chow. They walked counter clockwise in the same direction, with occasional reminders over the loudspeaker to “Keep moving on the track.” Prison is nothing if not redundant. Inmates see the same colors every day; blue and gray inmate uniforms, green and khaki officer uniforms, gray prison walls. You can imagine, then, the reaction among the inmates when they saw Dr. Teitelbaum entering the yard in her purple ensemble, magenta hat, red hair, yellow sneakers and a large red bag. Inmates stopped on the track, pointing. Inmates standing in the pill line in front of the clinic stared. Some appeared hopeful, no doubt thinking, as I had earlier, that she might be some form of entertainment. Others laughed, and I heard a few jeers.

Inmates were lining up in front of the clinic for pill line. They were allowed medicine in their cells, but psychiatric medicine had to be administered at the clinic. Much of what occurs inside a prison is in reaction to lawsuits filed by inmates. The California Department of Corrections had settled or lost several lawsuits filed by inmates who suffered due to poor medical standards and nonexistent or inadequate psychiatric treatment. The courts ordered the department to remedy the problem, and the department struggled to hire physicians, psychiatrists and other medical personnel. Because of this, hiring was the priority. Anyone with a medical license could obtain a contract position working in the prison. The standards were quite low. Over the years, I have worked with fine psychiatrists and physicians. I have known and respected dedicated psychologists. I have also known the ones who, in the departments rush to fill positions, fell through the cracks of the screening process. To meet the requirements ordered by the courts, Inmates were screened for mental health related issues. This was appropriate and necessary, but it also had a tremendous impact on prisons. Suddenly, inmates were being diagnosed with bipolar, schizophrenia, psychosis and antisocial behaviors. They were placed on psychiatric medications, which required follow-up appointments with the psychiatrists. Soon, thousands of inmates were on medication, and more psychiatrists were required to meet the need for follow-up appointments. The increased numbers of psychiatrists resulted in even more inmates being placed on medication, which required even more psychiatrists and psychologists. The day Dr. Teitelbaum first walked into Facility One Clinic, the cost of psychiatric medication at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility had exploded to well over one and a half million dollars per month. This did not include regular, physician-prescribed medication.

Psychiatric medication can be divided into three categories: Anti-seizure medication, uppers and downers. If you pull back the curtain of psychiatric and psychological jargon, you soon realize that psychiatric medications are drugs, plain and simple. I remember a conversation with one of the contract psychiatrists. He was a in his late forties, an agreeable man without the typical airs psychiatrists are known to have. We were having lunch in the MTA office in the clinic. The inmates were locked up in their cells for count, and we were alone.

“Do you know what I do for a living, Taylor?” He asked.

I smiled at him across the desk over my lunch.

“As far as I can tell,” I said, “you’re a psychiatrist.”

“Well, of course I’m a psychiatrist,” he said,” but I’m not talking about my title or license. I’m talking about what I actually do.”

“Well, Doc,” I said, swallowing a bite of a tuna sandwich, “I may be crazy, and you’re better suited than I am to make that determination, but it seems to me you talk to inmates about their issues, then come up with a diagnosis and a treatment plan. Does that about cover it?”

“Well, that’s certainly how we phrase it, but that’s not the heart of it,” he said. “What I really am is a licensed drug dealer.”

“Do I need to get my handcuffs out?” I said. “Is this a confession?”

He grinned.

“I did say licensed, Taylor. But licensed or not, that’s what I am. Have you ever really thought about what psychiatric medication is? Drugs, Taylor. That’s what they are. They’re uppers and downers, and I prescribe them to drug addicts in a correctional facility. If I wasn’t licensed to do it, I would be sitting in a cell instead of sitting here having lunch with you.”

“Now, Doc,” I said. “I think you might be selling yourself short. I’m sure you’re doing a lot of good. There’s a big difference between what you do and what drug dealers do.”

“A difference in motivation, I agree. But not in what I do. When I first started, I opened an office in the city, and advertised for clients. I wanted to help people, I really did. But you know what kind of clients I got?” I shook my head and motioned for him to continue. “People started coming into my office with memorized symptoms. I knew they were just telling me symptoms, so I would prescribe them specific medications. It was obvious. But I had a lease and bills to pay. You know what I did, Taylor? I prescribed the medications they wanted. After that, word spread, and clients kept making appointments. Over half were drug addicts wanting legal drugs.” He pointed to the nearby medication cart. “That’s what they are. Drugs, man, drugs.”

I had experienced the effects of the medication myself about a year before, when someone handed me a bottle of liquid risperidone, a medication prescribed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Some of the liquid had spilled and was on the side of the bottle. I touched the liquid with my bare hand. The medicine seeped through my skin and entered my bloodstream. For a good hour, I was euphoric, laughing and extremely talkative. Though the medication never touched my lips, part of my upper lip went numb. Even today, whenever I recall the incident, that part of my lip turns numb. Like the good doctor said, “Drugs, man, drugs.”

The pill line was very long, reaching from the pill line window to the track about fifty yards away. Close to a thousand inmates were incarcerated on Facility One Yard, and half of them were on psychiatric medication. An MTA stood inside the medication room window, handing inmates their medication through a rectangular slot. The MTA, a balding pale-skinned man by the name of Ford, looked at Doctor Teitelbaum as she passed by. He smiled at me and shook his head. Several inmates looked at the new psychiatrist, then looked questioningly at me. I ignored the questioning looks and made my way to the clinic. I opened the clinic door and led Dr. Teitelbaum to an office in the back.

“This is your office, Dr. Teitelbaum,” I said, opening the door and switching on the lights, illuminating a small office with two chairs facing each other across a wooden desk. Dr. Teitelbaum entered the office and sat heavily in the desk chair, plopping her large red bag down on the desktop. “I will bring a schedule of inmates and inmate medical charts in a little bit.”

“Patients, Mr. Taylor,” Dr. Teitelbaum said. “They are not just inmates. They are my patients, and I cannot wait to see them.” She looked up at me through her large glasses, the faraway gleam returning to her eyes. “I assure you they have never seen the likes of me.”

“Yes, Doctor. I believe that may be the case,” I said. Despite her decidedly odd appearance, I fully intended to give the new psychiatrist the benefit of any doubt. Part of my philosophy was, and still is, not to judge a book by its cover. “Would you like the door closed or open?”

“Please close it,” Dr. Teitelbaum said. “It is time for my calming ritual.”

I nodded and exited the office, closing the door behind me. I had a busy day in front of me and had to prepare for it. Leaving Dr. Teitelbaum alone in her office, I grabbed a cup of coffee from the already brewed pot in the treatment room, sat down at the desk, and began organizing the inmate medical charts, dividing them between medical and psychiatric patients, making sure each chart had fresh doctor’s notes to write new prescriptions on. I was absorbed in the ritual, when I heard Dr. Teitelbaum singing opera in what I thought might be Italian, as loud as she possibly could. I stepped out of the treatment room. MTA Ford was coming out of the medication room.

“What the heck is going on, Taylor?” He asked. I stood outside Dr. Teitelbaum’s office door. The opera continued in her warbled voice. Inmates peered through the clinic windows, wondering why the pill line had stopped, hearing the Italian opera coming from inside the clinic. I shook my head and knocked softly on the office door. The Italian opera continued inside. I knocked louder.

“Dr. Teitelbaum?” I called. The opera persisted. I shrugged at MTA Ford and opened the door. Dr. Teitelbaum was sitting behind her desk. Her eyes were closed, her hands lifted above her head, moving dramatically back and forth, conducting an orchestra which only she could hear. Seeming unaware of my presence, she continued her performance, her voice straining to reach soprano levels, then falling to baritone lows, all at the top of her lungs. All I could do was wait for her to stop. For several minutes, the opera continued. Then, with one final crescendo of screeching soprano and faltering baritone, the performance came to an abrupt end. Slowly, she lowered her hands and opened her eyes, blinking in the light of the office. She stared up at me through her large glasses, acknowledging me for the first time since I entered.

“Is there something I can help you with, Mr. Taylor?” She asked.

“Well… ” I said, “Uhm… What I mean is… ”

“My singing, Mr. Taylor. Is that why you are here?”

“Well, yes, Doctor,” I said. “It was a little surprising.”

“I find opera to be calming, Mr. Taylor. It is part of my morning ritual. It lowers my stress level and prepares me for the rest of the day. Now, if you will excuse me, my routine is not yet complete.”

“Will you be singing again?” I asked.

“No, Mr. Taylor,” she said, “I will be meditating. Close the door, please. Let me know when the first patient arrives.”

I left Dr. Teitelbaum alone in her office. MTA Ford had overheard the conversation.

“She’s crazy, man,” he said.

“What can we do about it?” I said.

“We need to tell somebody. I mean, she’s a real mad hatter.”

“I’m not in for telling,” I said, a phrase used by both inmates and officers. It meant you were not a snitch. Snitches were equally hated by inmates and officers.

“This is different, Taylor. Somebody has to know.”

“Let’s just see how it plays out,” I said. “What’s it going to hurt?”

Ford agreed reluctantly and returned to the pill line. I continued to get ready for the medical and psychiatric appointments. Dr. Wong, the physician, a diminutive Asian man with thinning hair, wearing a doctor’s smock over slacks and a dress shirt, arrived. He knocked on the clinic door and I opened it. He entered the clinic.

“Good morning, MTA Taylor,” he said.

“Good morning, Doctor,” I said.

“Is it a good morning?” He said. I opened the door to his office, letting him in. He asked me the same questions every morning.

“A fine morning, Doc.” I said.

“A fine American morning?”

“Yes, Doctor,” I said, “It’s a fine American morning. There’s coffee in the back. Want a cup?”

The doctor smiled, nodding.

“Is it American coffee?”

“It was purchased in America,” I said.

“Then yes,” he said. “I want an American cup of coffee.”

This routine had played out five days a week for nearly a year. Doctor Wong, a transplant from Asia, who had lived much of his childhood struggling to feed himself, who somehow not only made it to the United States, but became a medical doctor, loved America with a fervency bordering on insanity. It wasn’t a fine day unless it was an “American” day. He had a headache once, and I brought him a Motrin. He asked if it was “American” Motrin, taking it only after I assured him that it was.

“Good, Doc,” I said. “I will bring it to you.”

I returned to the treatment room to get the doctor a cup of coffee. I heard low humming coming from underneath Dr. Teitelbaum’s office door. I ignored it. She said she would be meditating, which was fine with me if she did it quietly. I made Dr. Wong a cup of coffee and brought it to him, placing a schedule of inmate patients on his desk. He took the cup of coffee from me and sipped it.

“Thank you, MTA Taylor,” he said. “That is a good American cup of coffee.”

“You’re welcome, Doc,” I said.

The pill line ended about half an hour later. Inmates began arriving for their medical and psychiatric appointments. I let them in, individually checking their identification and medical ducats to the schedule, patting them down for weapons and contraband. I checked their blood pressures and told them to stand on a scale to check their weight. Afterwards, they waited together on a long, wooden bench in the clinic area. I opened Dr. Wong’s desk and placed the first inmate’s medical file on his desk. I opened Dr. Teitelbaum’s office door to hand her the file of her first patient. She was still humming lowly to herself, her eyes closed.

“Your patients are arriving,” I said, placing the file on her desk.

“Five minutes more, Mr. Taylor. I am not quite done with my calming ritual.”

“Fine,” I said, “let me know when you’re ready.”

She closed her eyes again and began humming to herself. I left her there, closing the door behind me. Ten minutes later, her office door opened. She was holding the file I had given her. She looked at the inmates who were waiting on the bench.

“Mr. Williams?” She called. A black inmate in his mid-thirties stood up. He looked at the psychiatrist, then looked at me. He raised an eyebrow.

“For real, Taylor?” He said.

“This way, Mr. Williams,” Dr. Teitelbaum said.

The inmate shrugged and entered the office. Dr. Teitelbaum closed the door. I opened it again.

“Doctor” I said, “the door has to be open at least enough for me to hear what’s going on. For your protection.”

“That is unacceptable,” Dr. Teitelbaum said. “There is a such thing as patient confidentiality.”

“This is a prison,” I said. I motioned toward Inmate Williams. “He is an inmate, and I can’t leave you alone with him.”

Her face turned a bright shade of pink, but she took her seat behind the desk.

“Very well, then,” she said. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Let us continue.”

I exited the office, leaving the door open about a quarter of the way. More inmates were arriving for the medical and psychiatric lines, and some already seen by Dr. Wong were wanting to leave. I patted down a couple inmates to make sure they left with only what they had arrived with, and let a couple more inmates in. I entered the treatment room where MTA Ford was busy transcribing new orders from the medical charts.

“How’s the Mad Hatter doing?” He asked.

“Just seeing the first inmate now. I guess we have to wait and see,” I said.

It did not take long to learn how Dr. Teitelbaum was faring with the inmate. I heard Inmate Williams cussing loudly and Dr. Teitelbaum shouting in her unmistakable voice. The inmate shouted back. Dr. Teitelbaum released a hysterical scream. MTA Ford and I ran from the room, ordering the inmates in the clinic to get down. They lowered their selves to the floor. I pulled a canister of pepper spray from my duty belt and entered the office, shouting for Inmate Williams to get down. He complied, immediately leaving his chair and sitting on the office floor. Dr. Teitelbaum was standing behind her desk. Her face was red and glistening with perspiration. Her magenta hat was in her hand, and her red hair was in disarray.

“Are you alright, Doctor?” I asked.

Dr. Teitelbaum stared up at me. Her lips trembled. Her round face quivered with indignation.

“What is the meaning of this, Mr. Taylor?” She shouted. “I will not be interrupted during a therapy session!”

“You were screaming at each other,” I said.

“This is therapy, Mr. Taylor,” she said. Her entire body was shaking. “Do you not understand? This is therapy!”

Inmate Williams held up his hands.

“I didn’t do anything to her, Taylor. I swear it, man. She’s a crazy lady.”

Dr. Teitelbaum twisted her hat, staring angrily down at the inmate.

“I am not a crazy lady,” she shouted. “I am the psychiatrist!”

Leaving his office, Dr. Wong walked up behind me. He looked at Dr. Teitelbaum. He saw the inmate on the office floor and examined the psychiatrist, who stood, shaking visibly, clutching the magenta hat in both hands. Dr. Wong shook his head.

“This,” he announced gravely, “is simply unamerican.” He turned from us, entered his office and closed the door behind him.

Dr. Teitelbaum lasted a month or so longer, the need of the department to fill medical positions outweighing the need for competent providers. She never got any better, though her shouting “therapy” was ended by order of the chief psychiatrist. I was in the clinic on her last day. She was wearing her now infamous magenta hat and was attired in yellow and orange, rather than purple. We made it to the end of the shift without major incident, and I was sitting in the MTAs office. She stuck her head into my office.

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Why is Turmeric Good For You?

As you may already know, the bright yellow curry spice, turmeric (also a member of the ginger family), has been praised for its medicinal and healing qualities. Numerous research studies have pin-pointed Curcumin as the vital anti-oxidative element contained within the spice. Asian medicine has championed the health benefits of turmeric for a long time and the scientific research to date supports many of these beliefs. The super spice has hit the news headlines more than once for its ability to help in treating arthritis, dementia, and even skin problems (when used on the skin).

More positive evidence…

Turmeric is once again under the spotlight and this time is attracting more attention than ever before in Europe and America after scientists showed that the chemical curcumin can kill cancer cells. Reported in the British Journal of Cancer, a recent study undertaken in the lab by a team at the Cork Cancer Research Centre, has shown that curcumin can destroy oesophagus cancer cells. Curcumin caused the affected cells to die by triggering lethal cell death signals. Not only that, but the cells also began to digest themselves within 24 hours of being treated with the chemical!

Westerners are often reminded of the dangers of obesity and high alcohol intake. It is surely no coincidence that the occurrence of oesophageal cancer has more than doubled since the 1970s. With (oesophageal) cancer becoming an increasingly common cause of death, this latest research offers a potential lifeline, which could see the chemicals found in turmeric being developed into new cancer treatments.

How can you use Tumeric to your benefit?

Unfortunately it seems that it is not as simple as dowsing all of your meals with a generous portion of the yellow stuff (warning – it has a slightly taste bitter which can overpower a meal). Evidence suggests that consuming curcumin either as turmeric or in extract form, does not mean that we simply absorb all of its health related benefits. In fact, studies show that very little curcumin is absorbed during our digestion because it is unstable in the liver and intestinal wall. So what can we do about this limitation? Well, apparently its absorption can be increased by adding Piperine (black pepper extract), which can also increase the uptake of many other nutrients in foods and supplements by our bodies. For those who rather not sprinkle black pepper all over their food, it is available in supplement form which could be taken alongside meals.

The story does not end there. As is so often the case in life, moderation is the key. Whilst it seems that more is better than less when it comes to using turmeric (with black pepper), animal studies have shown excessive exposure to curcumin can cause negative side effects such as hair loss. Some human subjects taking high doses of curcumin in clinical studies have reported mild nausea, diarrhoea, and even iron deficiency in particularly vulnerable patients!

So go ahead, embrace the positive scientific results that promote curcumin (not forgetting the black pepper too) but as always, it’s best not to overdose!

To find out about more natural foods that can give your health a boost, read my article ‘Food For Your Mood [http://www.lmdfitness.com/nutrition/food-for-your-mood/].’

Luke M-Davies – A fitness enthusiast who has trained for over 12 years and believes everyone should take ownership of their health and achieve their fitness goals – no excuses! By making healthy living more realistic, and for me that means ‘rule free’, I know how to stay lean and fit for life not just for summer!

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Destination Weddings, Honeymoons – St Barts

Destination Weddings are weddings that take place away from where the bride and groom live. They happen in some of the most exotic and wonderful places in the world. These types of non-traditional weddings provide the bride and groom with dreamy settings, while doubling as an opportunity for guests to experience a place they have never been before.

“Today’s couples are more educated, sophisticated, and better traveled than couples of past generations. More affluent than past marrying couples, 27% of these Generation Y couples ( children of the baby boomers and twice the numbers ) will pay for their entire wedding, and they want something different for themselves and their guests; they want to be pampered and taken seriously.

In the year 2006, nine percent of weddings in the United States were destination
weddings, which is a 200% increase in the last ten years. Generation Y couples are tired of the “themed” weddings that became so prevalent and overused in the past. They want to experience different cultures and real settings rather than a “staged” wedding.” says Founder and President of June Wedding, Inc. ®, Robbi Ernst III and author of Great Wedding Tips From the Experts.

“Although women are still the primary decision makers of the wedding plans, men are more involved today than couples of the generation that preceded them, 83% of today’s couples are employed full time; they work hard (they are paying a mortgage and own one or two automobiles between them). Equally, they want to play hard; realizing that they are together rarely, they want to plan events that will bring them closer. As well, they want to create deep and meaningful memories for the family and friends. Since most couples are not getting married in the areas where they grew up, their time with family and friends is all the more precious and important to them. If they can do this in a unique or even an exotic setting, all the more enticing,” Ernst adds.

St Barthelemy, located in the French West Indies, is that exotic setting today’s bride is looking for. It is the Monte Carlo of the Caribbean, without the traffic jams but with the added advantage of flawless beaches. Shortened to Saint Barth in French and St Barts in English it is an exclusive eight square mile (21 sq km) embodiment of 24-carat French chic. It attracts millionaires on luxury yachts, movie stars and French expatriates fleeing the European winter. It is a Caribbean island where relaxation and Gallic style under a tropical sun have been refined to perfection.

Few islands worldwide, can match the unique blend of style, nature and history that is St. Barts. This tiny island has significant appeal where ‘quality’ is most certainly more important than ‘quantity’… an island far away from the normality of life, making it the perfect wedding destination.

St. Barts is surrounded with turquoise waters, situated near the northern end of the Lesser Antilles group in the French West Indies. At a distance of 200 kms from the island of Guadeloupe and 25 kms from Saint-Martin. It is a mountainous island whose only flat area is occupied by the airport’s runway. As the climate is rather dry, agriculture has never been developed, thus throughout history few slaves had ever been employed. For the most part, St. Bartians are descendants of Breton and Norman fisher folk. Many are of French and Swedish ancestry, the latter evident in their fair skin, blond hair, and blue eyes.

St. Barts’ beaches are renowned for being some of the most beautiful and pristine in the world. Many are found in small coves, which have been protected from development by strict environmentally friendly zoning. Unlike many of its neighboring Caribbean islands, it has not been overrun with prefab condos and large chain hotels. There are six 4 star hotels all featuring romance packages for the wedding or honeymoon couple. All are of single story design, some as one building and others as separate single bedroom villas. Four are located on the beach (perfect for reading-of-the-vows ceremony) the other two are high on the hills with magnificent views of the island and setting sun. Each hotel has been uniquely designed, blending into the surrounding terrain. Luxury and elegance is felt in each environment.

St. Barts features some of the best cuisine in the Caribbean. The island has over eighty restaurants featuring culinary styles ranging from classic French to Asian to West Indian.

Many of the restaurants attract gourmet chefs trained in France to oversee their kitchens. These chefs can also be reserved to serve guests in the intimate privacy of their own villa for any special event or treasured evening. Villas on the island offer breath taking views and the perfect setting for your reception, especially with your own private French chef.

Nightlife of St. Barts is diverse as well. Visitors looking for late-night pleasures can listen to live jazz at a café or dance the night away at one of the local discos or after hours clubs.

St. Barts is also a duty-free port, rated as one of the premier shopping destinations in the Caribbean. The capital Gustavia is the principal shopping area of the island. There are boutiques and emporiums for the most sophisticated shoppers, featuring luxury brands such as Cartier, Hermes, Dior to name a few. The island hosts numerous health and beauty clinics and fitness centers catering to the island’s upscale clientele.

It is important to realize that planning a wedding in a foreign country still has the usual concerns and worries of any home based event; there is the additional stress that something could go wrong in a different location. Aside from making travel reservations for the group, a couple needs to consider local legal issues. For instance, marriage in St Barts is not a legal ceremony, rather it is viewed as a spiritual ceremony. For this reason and others, travelers planning to marry in any foreign country should give serious consideration to hiring a local, home based Wedding Consultant for guidance and advice as well as an on-site Wedding Consultant at the particular destination. .The on-site Consultant will insure that the hosts of the event have all the required documentation, that every detail is planned long before arrival and that only the most competent, professional and expert wedding vendors with proper contracts will provide their services . These on-site Consultants can also provide any needed assistance if the couple chooses to bring along some of their own vendors (e.g. the photographer, floral designer, videographer, etc.). They will check that each client and guest is properly retrieved at the airport, that they are provided with the planned-for-accommodations, and that they are well rested from travel before beginning the schedule of any local tours and sightseeing prepared for in advance. Moreover, the on-site consultant can also suggest local customs that will make the wedding truly unique, one that family and friends alike will talk about for a very long time.

“Premium IV is truly one of the foremost on-site specialists. Located on St Barts they are members of AFWPI (Association for Wedding Professionals International) and JWI (June Wedding, Inc®). The management team of Premium IV is made up of three experts in service: a successful Canadian entrepreneur, an English expert in receptive tourism and a French restaurateur who have provided magnificent service in the best restaurants and hotels in France, the UK, USA, and St Barts. Additionally, the highly qualified and bilingual staff (French and English) have many years of experience in the island way of life.

They will provide the ultimate in V.I.P. services. Premium IV has brought together, under one umbrella, only the best that St Barts has to offer. With over 120 contracted partners providing approximately 450 products and services. There is virtually no request that Premium IV cannot arrange,” says International Travel Writer, Jesse Nash.

Any special event wedding, honeymoon or other special event that takes place on St. Barts is special and memorable simply due to the Island’s own enchanted ambiance and unique hospitality. The St. Barts experience is all the more enhanced when it is under the direction of a competent Consultant and Director, at home and on the Island. A Consultant or Director who leaves nothing to chance, who sees to it that not only is the St. Barts experience itself magical, but also one that will be treasured forever in the hearts and memories of the travelers. The staff of Premium IV takes the added steps of communicating with the client and/or their home-based Consultant before arrival on St. Barts so that every detail is discussed and decisions are determined and firmed up in writing. From the moment the client and guests set foot on St. Barts, they enter into a well-scripted, stress-free atmosphere in which they will be completely at ease and confident that all the planning will play out like as closely as possible to their dreams.

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