Couples are combining Caribbean honeymoons with wedding ceremonies as Covid-19 restrictions limit nuptials in the UK.
So-called ‘reverse weddings’ have become a new trend for Sandals and Beaches Resorts due to the pandemic.
Many brides and grooms are turning what was originally their honeymoon into an elopement destination wedding followed by a bigger party for family and friends on their return, if UK lockdown rules allow.
A free ‘virtual wedding’ live streaming service to involve family and friends back home is also available for couples booking a 2020 or 2021 destination wedding ceremony before the end of the year.
Many couples have opted to add a wedding to their existing honeymoon booking, as their original wedding ceremonies are cancelled or postponed.
Current guidelines limit British brides and grooms to just 13 guests able to attend their wedding.
Travel corridors from the UK enabling returns without 14-day quarantine apply to parts of the Caribbean such as St Lucia, Antigua, Barbados and Grenada.
Couples who stay at one of the 18 all-inclusive Sandals or Beaches resorts for three nights or more can qualify a free wedding and reception celebration for two.
Karl Thompson, managing director of UK arm Unique Caribbean Holidays, said: “We have seen a noticeable increase in customers adding wedding celebrations to their bookings since the start of the Covid-19 crisis.
“Some of these customers originally had weddings planned at home in the UK and a honeymoon booked with us, but after their UK plans were cancelled, they have since decided to take advantage of our free wedding offer so that they can continue with their special plans.
“Others have simply decided that a destination wedding in the Caribbean is much easier to coordinate and saves a lot of stress, as our Sandals and Beaches Resorts wedding planners take care of everything from start to finish.
“Most of these couples will opt for an intimate ceremony at our resorts and then a bigger celebration with friends and family back at home afterwards, once the UK restrictions on large gatherings have been relaxed.”
Gillian Ashwood, owner of Scottish agency We Travel To, has helped several clients add a wedding to their original honeymoon booking.
She said: “A lot of our clients have had their home weddings moved around or cancelled and decided to tie the knot on holiday instead.
“This week, I spoke to a bride and groom who called up about their honeymoon – but ended up booking a wedding for them and four other guests with the Sandals free wedding offer.
“Sandals’ free virtual wedding live streaming offer is also really appealing for couples, as it means that their family and friends who can’t afford to join them in the Caribbean can be involved in the celebrations, even if they are thousands of miles away.”
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