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.