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Eloping to Antigua - Looking to stay at Sandals

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Nashville, Tennessee
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Eloping to Antigua - Looking to stay at Sandals

Hello -

We are looking to elope mid August to Antigua. I've been researching and I'm pretty settled on Sandals. I'm wondering if anyone has any advise on the rooms? We like the Venetian Ocean View. Also, any suggestions for local photographers? Sandals does have a package, but I'm trying to price other options. In addition, any local makeup artists or florists? Just want to research all available options before I settle on the hotel providing everything.

Sandals seems to be quite popular, but if there's other nice hotels that have nice wedding options please feel free to share.

Thanks

London, United...
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1. Re: Eloping to Antigua - Looking to stay at Sandals

Tameka I'm not 100% certain but I don't think Sandals allow other photographers/Florist etc to be brought in, that only their own "on property" people can be used,you might want to check this out!!

Nashville, Tennessee
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2. Re: Eloping to Antigua - Looking to stay at Sandals

I think you're right the more I look. It seems they may have a approved listed.

Thank you

London, United...
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3. Re: Eloping to Antigua - Looking to stay at Sandals

No it's not an approved list, it's one photographic company and they are based at the resort, in fact it may be the same one at all the Sandals resorts sort of like a partnership. Regarding the flowers, this would be arranged by the wedding planners also in resort, Sandals own people.

Nashville, Tennessee
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4. Re: Eloping to Antigua - Looking to stay at Sandals

Hey Tameka--

Another Nashvillian here, travelling to Sandals Antigua in August (to celebrate our 10th anniversary)! We honeymooned there in 2003 and loved the resort. Since we were there, they added the Med Village, so we've decided to stay there this time in order to make it feel like a "new" experience. The new buildings are more of a modern hotel style. I think the Venetian suite will be a fabulous choice for you--it's in the new section, so all room décor will be new and fresh. However, if you want a more "authentic" Old Caribbean feel to your vacation, you could check into the Caribbean village. I think that there's a comparably priced ocean-view concierge room/suite available on that side as well. (Personally, we'll be going for the newer room. LOL).

As mentioned above, I don't think that Sandals allows any outside vendors. If you sign up for a wedding package with them, I think you'll be required to use their providers (planner, flowers, hair/makeup, photog). We've observed many weddings over the years at different Sandals resorts, even attended one a few years back. All were beautiful. Good luck!

Bromsgrove, United...
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5. Re: Eloping to Antigua - Looking to stay at Sandals

Tam - I don't want to put a downer on what shold be your most special of days but...

The weddings at Sandals are a bit of a procession at times, one after the other when the hotel is busy.

Often, according to reviews, something goes awry or is not as expected etc.

Be aware that the Sandals photographer will be a lot more expensive than you would have thought - typically is resort shots i.e one photo are $15....yes $15 each - Make sure you understand exactly what you get for the package you pay for.

The location of the wedding - if it is on a beach it will be a public beach. You will get a gazebo,some flowers etc but again understand what is going on around you.

I have read horror stories about all the guests not being accommodated ( I know you are eloping,but...)

If you work to the basis that everythng you need will be provided by Sandals (or partners) and that it will be a lot more expensive than if you sourced it yourself then you will be ok.

Would I get married at a Sandals - absolutely not.

Bear in mind this is only my opinion and I am not scaremongering just giving my opinion on what I have seen at several Sandals.

UK/Antigua
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6. Re: Eloping to Antigua - Looking to stay at Sandals

Thank you Steven - if I'd said most of that I'd be shot down for being anti-Sandals.

However, you're absolutely right - they are conveyor belt weddings, and designed to wring the last dollar out of the experience. For some people they're just right, and having everything run to a package works perfectly for them. For others, the romance in a box isn't right. It certainly isn't even approaching the real Caribbean (Mediterranean Village in the Leeward Islands??)

Antigua has some fabulous alternatives for a wedding - most of which are considerably cheaper and allow far more choice. The majority of resorts - even budget ones - have superb wedding coordinators, or you can just organise your own on any beach (or other location) you choose. You might want to look at Galley Bay, The Inn at English Harbour, Cocobay, Cocos or even Sugar Ridge to see what else is out there. Most offer great wedding packages, and as it's off season, there are some excellent deals to be had. There are also some great photographers and florists on the island, and it's nice to be able to have some input into your own special day rather than picking a package from a list.

Like Steven, I'm not trying to be offputting as I know there are lots of people who absolutely love the whole Sandals experience, but it's worth knowing that there are some very realistic alternatives.

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding - whatever you choose, Antigua is a fabulous place to get married :)

Royal Tunbridge...
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7. Re: Eloping to Antigua - Looking to stay at Sandals

Like George and Steven what I perceive as the general conveyor belt atmosphere for all things at Sandals is not the sort of experience I would have wanted for the most important day in my life. I am well aware that many people thrive on it but ........well I, and most people I know, don't

Most of the other 4* hotels on the island will give you a much more intimate and personal experience. I would add Carlisle Bay and Blue Waters to those listed previously.

In particular I know that Sugar Ridge has spent a large sum of money building a dedicated wedding pavilion at the top of the hill above Carmichael's. We went around it last month and it really is something that no other hotel on the Island has with fantastic views over Jolly Harbour.

Nashville, Tennessee
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8. Re: Eloping to Antigua - Looking to stay at Sandals

This is all very helpful information and I sincerely thank you. I'm going to check out the other resorts.

Stotfold, United...
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9. Re: Eloping to Antigua - Looking to stay at Sandals

We just recently got married at Cocobay & had an amazing day! Our wedding was very personal & intimate & their wedding planner Tameka is brilliant! Cocobay is a lovely resort!

London, United...
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10. Re: Eloping to Antigua - Looking to stay at Sandals

Hi,

Me and my husband are looking to visite the grand pinapple Antigua end of sep beginning of October, has anyone stayed during this period? I am reading lots of mixed reviews regarding the weather and rain fall?

Many thanks

Tracy

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