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Not All Wedding Packages are Created Equal

Atlanta, Georgia
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15 posts
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Not All Wedding Packages are Created Equal

We have been looking into destination weddings in Jamaica at all-inclusive resorts. Obviously one of our main factors has been the price of the wedding packages at the various resorts. Many of the resorts offer low cost or even FREE basic wedding packages. But the farther I dug, the more I realized that price isn't the only factor for these weddings packages. They are NOT all created equally. Here are some examples:

Sandals Resorts - In my opinion, the best FREE wedding package available.

Cost: FREE

Room Upgrade for B&G: Included

Cake: Included

Reception: While only for B&G, it is Included

Room: Special Decor and Breakfast in Bed for B&G

Time Restrictions: None

Number of Guests: Package is for B&G + 6 guests. Each additional guest is $20.

Requirements: 1 room for 6 nights or more to qualify (no minimum room type, no large group requirement)

Other: Additionally Sandals give you a $500 credit to use at the resort for things like the SPA, CATAMARAN CRUISES, ETC

RIU Resorts

Cost: FREE

Room Upgrade for B&G: NOT Included

Cake: Included

Reception: Semi-Private for All

Room: Special Decor for B&G

Time Restrictions: None

Number of Guests: Package is for B&G + 10 guests. Each additional guest is $20.

Requirements: 5 rooms for 3 nights or more in any room type

Other: B&G Receive 10% Off All Spa Services

Sunset Resorts

Cost: FREE

Room Upgrade for B&G: NOT Included

Cake: Included

Reception: While only for B&G, it is Included

Room: NO Special Room Treatment

Time Restrictions: Sunset Charge of $500!

Number of Guests: Package is for B&G + 4 guests. Each additional guest is $20.

Requirements: 1 room for 7 nights in an Ocean Front or higher

Grand Bahia Principe

Cost: FREE

Room Upgrade for B&G: Included

Cake: Included

Reception: Semi-Private Reception for the Whole Group

Room: Special Decor and a Bottle of Wine for the B&G

Time Restrictions: 10am - 1:30pm (sunset is unavailable for the free package)

Number of Guests: Did Not State

Requirements: Did Not State

Other: B&G Receive 10% Off All Spa Services

Grand Pineapple Beach

Cost: FREE

Room Upgrade for B&G: NOT Included

Cake: Included

Reception: NOT Included

Room: NO Special Treatment

Time Restrictions: None

Number of Guests: Package is for B&G + 6 guests. Each additional guest is $20.

Requirements: 1 room for 7 nights or more to qualify (no minimum room type, no large group requirement)

Holiday Inn Sunspree

Cost: FREE

Room Upgrade for B&G: NOT Included

Cake: Included

Reception: NOT Included

Room: NO Special Treatment

Time Restrictions: 11am-5pm

Number of Guests: Package is for B&G + 6 guests. Each additional guest is $20.

Requirements: 1 room for 7 nights or more in a Deluxe Ocean Front or higher to Qualify

Some of these FREE wedding packages actually offer more then some of the resorts which you'd pay for even the most basic wedding packages. For example:

Grand Palladium Resorts

Cost: $1000

Room Upgrade for B&G: NOT Included

Cake: NOT Included

Reception: NOT Included

Room: NO Special Treatment

Time Restrictions: None

Number of Guests: Package is for B&G + 6 guests. Each additional guest is $20.

Requirements: None

So what DO YOU GET for your $1000 at the Grand Palladium?

Marriage Officiant and All Administrative Costs

Ceremony Site (Choose from 3)

Bride's Bouquet

Groom's Boutonniere

Copy of your Vows

Toast for B&G

2 Tiffany Chairs for Signing Table

Signing Table with White Overlay and White Blossoms

Sounds like at least you get something right? Well, almost ALL OF THESE things are also included in the FREE wedding packages listed above! Every FREE package I have found come with the ceremony site, bride's bouquet, groom's boutonniere, and a toast for the B&G. So why pay $1000 for something that you can get for FREE? The reason that the Grand Palladium charges such an extravagant amount for so little is because their wedding packages are designed by Karen Bussen, a Manhattan based wedding designer. Now what does that mean for you, absolutely nothing. All she did was design an over priced wedding. Now this is not a reflection on the resort itself. I have family who has stayed there and said that it was a great resort, but for the purpose of a destination wedding, you certainly aren't going to get what you paid for.

All of this information is from my personal research of simply going to the websites and pulling the information from their wedding packages information. I'd love to hear where you had your destination wedding and what you thought of it!

Bodega, California
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1. Re: Not All Wedding Packages are Created Equal

Great research, valuable info for others planning as you are...good work!

This though:

"their wedding packages are designed by Karen Bussen, a Manhattan based wedding designer"

Sorry, I find that inappropriate. There are plenty of Jamaica based wedding planners that do an awesome job, can't see why this would be a "selling" point. If you want your wedding designed by a Manhattan wedding "designer", get married in Manhattan - no?

Atlanta, Georgia
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2. Re: Not All Wedding Packages are Created Equal

RastaGirl777

I'm not sure you read my post thoroughly. I agree with you about Karen Bussen and the Grand Palladium.

If you read my sentence following the sentence that you posted you'll see

"Now what does that mean for you, absolutely nothing. All she did was design an over priced wedding."

My point was that, in my opinion, it does not add any value to have had a Manhattan based wedding planner design their wedding packages. So, yes I agree that its not a selling feature.

Orlando, Florida
Destination Expert
for Jamaica
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4,414 posts
25 reviews
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3. Re: Not All Wedding Packages are Created Equal

Couples also has a good wedding package, very comparble to Sandals. This is the basic package -

"Our Carefree One Love Package Includes:

- Your choice of spectacular wedding locations on the beach or in the tropical gardens

- Sparkling wine for two

- Fresh bridal bouquet and groom's boutonniere of your choice of purple or white dendrobium orchids

- Wedding cake decorated with Dendrobium orchids

- Exclusive Wedding/Honeymoon registry

- Professional photo shoot:

- One 8 x 10 printed photograph

- Exclusive use of the resort’s sound system for MP3 Player/iPod

- Automated Online Wedding Calendar

- On Property Wedding Coordinator

- Wedding Officiant

- Marriage Certificate

- Celebratory T-shirts for Bride & Groom

When we were married at CN, we had 5 other couples that were with us and there was no additional charge for the reception (sparkling wine) and of course the cake. They had a lovely table set for us near the gazebo.

The catamran cruise is included in your stay whether you are getting married or not.

Bodega, California
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14,309 posts
2 reviews
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4. Re: Not All Wedding Packages are Created Equal

Gibson, sorry I didn't make myself clear - I was commenting on their policy/"selling point" about the Manhattan wedding designer - I agree 1000% with your assessment.

Georgia
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2,735 posts
30 reviews
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5. Re: Not All Wedding Packages are Created Equal

Got married at CSA and did the basic package and loved it! No complaints whatsoever:) My hubby & I thought it was a great deal & met all our needs:)

Edited: 16 August 2013, 16:02
Atlanta, Georgia
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15 posts
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6. Re: Not All Wedding Packages are Created Equal

Blondie9093,

I believe that Sandals and Couples are actually owned by the same company.

Sandals does give you some things the Couples does not. Sandals gives you all of the things that you listed above PLUS

B&G Room Upgrade

Private Dinner for B&G

Special Room Decor and Breakfast in Bed for B&G

Plus a $500 Resort Credit

Atlanta, Georgia
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15 posts
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7. Re: Not All Wedding Packages are Created Equal

rastagirl777,

Gotcha! Misunderstood :)

Ocala, Florida
Destination Expert
for Ocho Rios, Negril, Montego Bay
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8. Re: Not All Wedding Packages are Created Equal

Sandals and Couples are not owned by the same company.

Orlando, Florida
Destination Expert
for Jamaica
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9. Re: Not All Wedding Packages are Created Equal

Gibson, no Sandals is owned by Gordon "Butch" Stewart and Couples was founded by Abe Issa.

Sandals was founded in 1981. Abe Issa founded what is now Couples in 1949 when he purchase what is now Couples Tower Isle. And in 1978 he turned it into the first all-inclusive in Jamaica. Butch had a good model to fashion Sandals after. (ok, let the hating begin)

Atlanta, Georgia
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10. Re: Not All Wedding Packages are Created Equal

blondie9093

You're right. I'm thinking of Beaches that is owned by the same company.