Stacey and Rob's Destination Wedding for April 2018 Looking at the Keys and Abroad

Every island has different marriage laws. Most of them require a residency of one to three business days and weekends don't count. So we just have to plan accordingly.

Everyone in your party must have a passport to travel international, even the children. All passports must not expire within 6 months of date of travel. Also some countries require some sort of Tourist Visa/Card and we just want to remember that. In the Dominican Republic the Tourist Visa is $10 per person.

These are just a few of the things to keep in mind as we are looking at an international destination. These are things either I take care of for you or the wedding staff at the resort facilitate.

Note that all pricing, special booking incentives, and availability is subject to change per the vendor. Once deposits are received, those items are confirmed.

Hawks Cay Resort in Duck Key

Located halfway between Miami and Key West, Duck Key is a beautiful, secluded, yet accessible. Duck Key has a few telltale Florida Keys features: Aquamarine water all around. Glorious sunrises and sunsets. An island sensibility that lulls you into a state of total relaxation – except for when you’re out fishing, snorkeling, paddleboarding or flying around on a waverunner. The best of the Keys is waiting for you at Hawks Cay Resort.

The area is know for dining - fine dining and casual, fishing, diving, and water sports. There is also a nearby bottlenose dolphin facility, five pools on the property, saltwater lagoon, marina and so much more. But this is a place to relax. In the Keys, there is a different pace to life.

With the Keys, people would fly into Miami or Fort Lauderdale and then have to rent a car and drive. It is a 90 miles from Miami and 130 from Fort Lauderdale. There is also car service and bus service that we can contract. I will take care of all of this for you and your guests.


There are a huge variety of room options at this resort including villas that will allow you to have full kitchens. There are hotel type rooms, rooms for families, and suites.

There are 177 guest rooms and 250 villas on the property.

The resort has been a bit slow in giving me information. But basically the resort rooms (like a regular hotel room) are about $275-$350 a night and the villas are about $370-$500 a night. Some of the villas are large enough that people could easily share them if they wanted. A four bedroom villa that sleeps 8 is about $675 a night. If this resort makes your final list, we will secure firm pricing.

Weddings at Hawks Cay

Wedding at Hawks Cay can be anything you want it to be. They have a beautiful gazebo or right along the waters edge. You can do a sunrise ceremony or a sunsetting. You can even get celebrate on their 65 foot catamaran

At Hawks Cay Resort, we strive to make your special day as romantic and sublime as it was in your dreams. Our easy-to-reach tropical island resort is perfect for Florida Keys weddings and an ideal site to hold your ceremony. Presenting you with charming indoor and outdoor banquet facilities, and professional event staff dedicated to giving your Hawks Cay wedding the personal attention it deserves.


This wedding package booklet is the has the best description of the reception packages. I am presenting this to you as an option. I honestly think their packages are a bit high (ok, a lot of bit), but for higher end resort in the Keys, it's how it is.

They also have this Experiences packages which are things you can add on like Welcome Reception, Rehearsal dinner, Pool Party, etc.

Beyond the Wedding & Resort

The Keys are amazing and you will certainly want to have cars. Day trips to Key West and all of the Keys provide for great fun. There is something for everyone. Plus we can plan out excursions with the resort or on our own.

How to Secure This

I didn't get into the details on this with this particular resort. I think the place is amazing, but felt like the cost might be a bit prohibitive. If it makes it to your final list, I will certainly get those details.

Islander Resort - Islamorada

This is a part of the same people who own Tradewinds in St. Pete Beach. The resort is however, comprised of villas and townhomes which is par for the course in the Keys. This gives you the options for having your own kitchens, a bit more space and has a cottage beach town feel to it. With a beach, pool, and again halfway down on the Keys, it is a great location for a destination wedding. They have a nice restaurant on site, but you'll want to explore the Keys for some wonderful dining options. Watersports are available to rent right on property.

20 acre property about an hour from the mainland. It does offer a complimentary Continental breakfast, two pools, a 1300 foot beach and fishing pier. This brochure describes the property very well.


Like most places in the Keys you have a combo of villas, townhouses, and more traditional hotel style rooms. Prices vary depending on availability and what we are looking for. Pricing is very similar from $275 a night up to about $700 a night, again depending on what we want.


Everything is all about what you want. Here are the three package options:

  • Seaside Ceremony for up to 50 people - white folding chairs with center asile lined with conch shells and tiki torches - $750.
  • Ocean View Vows package for up to 100 people - white folding chairs with center aisle lined with conch shells, tiki torches, recorded music. - $1250
  • Atlantic Dreams package for up to 200 people same as above package - $2500.
  • They also have options for additional services, that can add to your base package.


For your reception you will need to pay a rental fee for the space, your set up fee, then your food. They have a variety of spaces both indoors and outdoors. The venues and the rental fees are found at the end of this document that also has the catering menus on it. And, here is the bar menu.

Beyond the Wedding and Resort

In the Keys there is no shortage of water fun. Watersports are amazing because the water goes forever. There are on site rentals that can take care of snorkeling trips, boat rentals, guided tours, paddle boats, sailboats, sailing lessons, kayaks, aqua cycles, waver runners, bicycles, fishing rods, umbrellas and private charters.

How to Secure This

I am awaiting updated details from this resort. I feel like this is a great option for the Keys. If it makes the finals, I will share the details.

Beaches Resort in Ocho Rios Jamaica

Beaches Ocho Rios has something for everyone in the family. If you're game for "surf & turf," from a huge action-adventure waterpark to championship golf for the whole family, look no further than Beaches Ocho Rios all-inclusive resort, voted among the Top 10 Best Beach Resorts by Parents magazine. Twenty-two acres of lush tropical gardens, a gorgeous private white-sand beach, seven gourmet restaurants, three fantastic swimming pools, a dedicated scuba practice pool and an entire ocean of watersports are just a few of the places & things to explore. Flip through this video book to see all about this amazing resort.

Beaches is truly an all inclusive resort. Leave your wallet behind and enjoy:

  • Gourmet dining in 6 restaurants
  • Complimentary transportation to and from the airport (approximately 1.5 hours away) and a complimentary airport lounge to grab a snack and beverage before transferring to the resort.
  • Top shelf alcohol
  • Entertainment every day with themed nights every night
  • Welcome cocktail party
  • Fitness Center
  • All land sports like basketball, board games, shuffle board, table tennis, tennis, outdoor chess, pool tables, and croquet.
  • Watersports: kayaks, hobie cats, windsurfing, scuba diving, glass bottom boat, banana boat rides, snorkeling, paddle boats, and aqua-trikes. Unlimited diving is for certified divers only.
  • 5 pools and two whirlpools, suana, steamrooms
  • Kids Camp Nestled on the hillside above the entrance of the hotel, is the Kids‟ Kamp. This area is specially designed to accommodate our guests 17 years and under. Activities are varied to ensure that every child who vacations with us has a fun filled and memorable holiday. Our facilities are manned by efficient and enthusiastic co-coordinators between the hours of 9:00 am to 9:00 pm daily. Separate facilities are divided by age.
  • The Pirates Island Water Park provides guests with a splash-tastic vacation experience. The Water Park sits on an expansive 27,000 sq ft. area. There are six kiddie slides, allowing for Beaches youngest guests to slip n‟ slide their way into a memorable Caribbean vacation. A treasure trove of wet and wild fun, the Water Park also includes a Treasure Isle Aqua-Play area, complete with water cannons and a treasure chest. For the resort‟s tiniest Water Park enthusiast, Pirates Island unveils a kid‟s zone and zero entry kiddie pool complete with a misting crab, a squirting sea turtle and a splashing seahorse. For the not-so-young but young at heart, the Water Park features a tube slide, a body slide and a speed slide, all perfect for a day of coolin‟ down beneath the Caribbean sun. The Water Park also has a Water Crawl Cargo Net Aqua-Play Structure, complete with sea creature-themed stepping-stones including a starfish, an oyster shell and a nautilus shell, made from soft-play resilient foam.
  • XBox Play lounge
  • Strict no tipping policy! Except for spa services.
  • Free basic wi-fi


All rooms and suites include a king-size bed or two double beds, A/C, telephone, cable T.V, Clock-radio, X-Box, safe, iron/ ironing board, coffee maker, microwave, refrigerator, private bath with tub and shower, amenity kit and hair dryer.

There are many different room categories at Beaches Ocho Rios. For the sake of planning right now, I priced a basic and a concierge level room for two people for 7 nights and for 5 nights. Remember this does cover your food, alcohol, and all the inclusions listed above.

Caribbean Deluxe Room with a king bed and a pull put sofa. With their location on the upper floors of the resort's main building, providing easy access to some of the resort's best amenities, these large accommodations feature traditional mahogany and marble furnishings, the choice of a king-sized bed or two double beds, flat screen television, and en-suite bathroom. The living area boasts a large, relaxing sitting space complete with a sofa bed. Many feature views of the spectacular St. Anne Mountains and resort grounds

  • 7 nights is normally $11,054.00, with the current specials it is $3,889.90
  • 5 nights is normally $8060.00, with the current specials it is $3,467.00.

Beachfront Concierge Terrace Suite. Arranged across two floors of the resort's oceanfront Greek Village, these substantial suites are beautifully decorated to offer an abundance of light, space and luxury for the entire family. These concierge suites comprise a generously proportioned bedroom boasting the choice of a mahogany king-sized bed or two double beds, flat screen television and are completed by a well appointed en-suite bathroom. The suites' relaxing lounge area includes a double pull-out sofa and leads to a large terrace where magnificent vistas of the Caribbean Sea await.

  • 7 nights is normally $16,196.00, with the current specials it is $5,173.60
  • 5 nights is normally $11,810.00, with the current specials it is $4,564.00

Weddings at Beaches Ocho Rios

In Jamaica, you must have a 48 hour residency period in order to get married. All documents must be notarized and sent into their Miami office 60 days prior to the wedding. We will walk you through everything. Their onsite wedding staff are PROFESSIONALS and the most gracious helpful people in the world! There is a $95 fee to the government to get married in Jamaica.

The most romantic place on earth for Caribbean destination weddings. With stunning beaches, endless expanses of white sand and lush gardens, romantic sunsets and exquisite turquoise waters, Beaches offers the perfect backdrop for your dream destination wedding. All Bride and Groom staying three (3) nights or longer in any room category will also receive the Beautiful Beginnings Wedding Theme FREE which includes the following:

The Beautiful Beginnings Wedding Theme

  • Personal Pre-Wedding Planner
  • Personal Resort Wedding Planner and Dedicated Resort Wedding Team
  • Preparation of Marriage Documents
  • Picturesque Wedding Location
  • Chiavari Chairs
  • Ceremony Musical Accompaniment (pre-recorded)
  • Thirty (30) Minute Delightful Reception with sparkling wine & cold hors d' oeuvres for bride, groom and six guests
  • Free Personal Wedding Website
  • Free Wedding and Honeymoon Gift Registry
  • Wedding Gift From Resort
  • Complimentary One (1) 5"x7" Honeymoon Photo for Bride and Groom
  • Honeymoon Dinner for Bride and Groom at a Resort Specialty Restaurant with White-glove service and a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine
  • Decorated Honeymoon Room for Bride and Groom
  • Mimosa Breakfast-in-Bed For Bride and Groom on any Morning of Choice
  • Manicure for the Bride
  • Massage for the Groom
  • Magenta dendrobium orchid bouquet for the bride and magenta dendrobium boutonniere for the group
  • Round reception tables
  • Two tiered white fondant cake with magenta dendrobium topper
  • Each additional table is $100 for the reception on this package.

If you want a sunset ceremony it is $500 additional.

If you book 10-19 rooms then you can also get:

  • Complimentary room upgrade for bride and groom
  • Group pre-registration and check in upon arrival
  • Private pre-wedding celebration dinner for the group the day before the wedding
  • 1 hour classic reception with hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, sparkling wine and signature cocktail for the group
  • Pedicure for the Bride

If you want to do a full sit down dinner reception, beyond what is in the complimentary package, they have a number of packages available ranging from $45-$60 per person. The more rooms you book, we can get these dinners as complimentary.

  • 20 or more rooms in group contract – private reception for three hours, wedding toast, hot and cold hors’doeuvres, plated dinner and full open bar

Below is the beach wedding venue:


Because this is an all inclusive resort and all your meals are included, we often recommend that you simply do a cocktail reception, rather than an complete dinner reception. It saves you money, allows you to still gather to celebrate, then everyone heads to dinner and afterwards join in the fun at the resort.

Reception Information

Beaches is pleased to offer you and your family a wide variety of menu options that will enhance your wedding experience starting with “Private” Welcome Cocktail Reception, Rehearsal Dinners, Bridal Luncheon, Buffet or Plated Dinners and ending with Farewell Brunches.

Delightful Reception for $15 per person

  • Private Resort Reception Area for 30 Minutes
  • Wedding Toast
  • A Selection of Chef Inspired Cold Hors d’oeuvres
  • This option is a complimentary inclusion for Bride and Groom and up to 6 guests; this menu price is applicable to additional guests, and exclusive of day pass fees. This option is a complimentary inclusion for all guests under wedding group contract or group code with 5-9 rooms and the duration is extended to 1 Hour. Sparkling Wine provided for wedding toast; food and beverage upgrades available at an additional cost.

Classic Reception for $20 per person

  • Private Resort Reception Area for 1 Hour
  • Wedding Toast
  • A Selection of Chef Inspired Hot & Cold Hors d’oeuvres
  • This option is a complimentary inclusion for all guests under a group contract or group code with 10 rooms or more. This menu price will be applicable to the Bride & Groom and all wedding guests, exclusive of day pass fees; Sparkling Wine provided for wedding toast; food and beverage upgrades available at an additional cost. Minimum 8 persons required.

Splendid Wedding Dinner for $45 per person

  • Private Resort Dinner Area for Two Hours
  • Wedding Toast
  • Full Open Bar (2 hours)
  • This menu price will be applicable to the Bride & Groom and all wedding guests, exclusive of day pass fees; Sparkling Wine provided for wedding toast; food and beverage upgrades available at an additional cost. Minimum 8 persons required.

Exquisite Wedding Reception & Dinner for $60 per person

  • Private Resort Cocktail and Dinner Reception Area for Three Hours
  • Wedding Toast
  • Selection of Hot and Cold Hors d’oeuvres
  • Splendid Plated Wedding Dinner
  • Full Open Bar (3 hours)
  • This menu price is applicable to the Bride & Groom and all guests. This option is a complimentary inclusion for all guests under a group contract or group code with 20 rooms or more.

Beyond the Wedding

With so much to do and so much already included at the resort, you'll want to limit your excursions. You want to get the full value out of the resort. However, I do recommend you consider doing at least one excursion to help give you the flavor of the island and get you immersed in the culture of Jamaica.

There are so many options for excursions from Beaches Ocho Rios. You can hike the waterfalls, go on a Rum Tour, play with dolphins, ziplining - you dream it, it can happen. I work with a variety of vendors to set those up for you and we preschedule to make it easier. Here is one of my favorite vendors and the options from Ocho Rios.

How to Secure This

This wedding package would be secured in two ways - the wedding package with a $500 deposit and the $400 deposit on the room. I would then set up a group code to have secure pricing on the other rooms. That does not guarantee availability only pricing. Air typically from Chicago to Jamaica runs averages about $400-500 per person. We can only purchase air 330 days before arrival, so we won't even be able to look at pricing until summer.

Please note that this is VERY popular and if you feel like this is your choice, we need to move on it right away.

Now Larimar Punta Cana Dominican Republic

Located on a palm-studded white-sand beach overlooking the turquoise Caribbean Sea, combining understated sophistication with Unlimited-Luxury® amenities, Now Larimar Punta Cana redefines all-inclusive and offers the perfect escape for couples, families and friends. Plus, enjoy complete access to the three bars, four restaurants, entertainment, and amenities with Exchange Privileges, right next door at Now Garden!

In Punta Cana, every person needs to purchase a Tourist Card, which I can facilitate. The cost is $10 per person.

Our Unlimited-Luxury® experience at Now Larimar Punta Cana, where everything is included, is redefining all-inclusive. Spacious rooms and suites are graciously appointed and luxuriously equipped with amenities. Active and lively settings provide entertainment for guests of all ages, including kids, teens and tweens with the supervised Explorer’s Club for Kids with Red Cross certified staff and Core Zone Teens Club. It’s all wristband-free!

Here is what is included:

  • Limitless access to gourmet à la carte dining options without reservations required
  • Unlimited international and domestic top shelf spirits
  • Unlimited international & domestic top-shelf spirits
  • Unlimited natural fruit juices and soft drinks
  • 24-hour room & concierge service
  • Pool and beach wait service
  • Daily refreshed mini-bar with soft drinks, juice, bottled water & beer
  • Endless daytime activities and live nightly entertainment – all lands and water sports
  • No wristbands required
  • All transfers are included to and from the airport
  • All taxes and gratuities included


With this, we book everyone with a group code, meaning if each booking meets the criteria, then they get a discount on their package and then you also get a rebate just before travel. That amount depends on the number of people, nights booked, etc. We would not have any of those numbers until just before travel, so count it as a bonus, not something to plan into your budget.

Group Benefits - how it works for all the Now Properties:

  • Your choose your destination and resort accommodations and I book your room, then we can get a group code
  • It takes 48 hours to get a group code
  • Please understand, the Group Ease program requires a minimum of 10 passengers to qualify for a discount. If the minimum of 10 passengers is not met, all discounts, rebates, and complimentary offers will no longer apply. Discounts will be removed from the existing bookings at approximately 30 days prior to departure.
  • When a qualifying promo code is applied to the bookings for friends and family they will receive a discount.
  • Packages with a per person price (before taxes & fees) from: $499.99 pp – Save $20 per person, $1499.99 pp – Save $40 per person

Group-Ease Terms & Conditions

  • Booking period starts based on date shown on promo code verification letter.
  • Friends & family departure date must start within 7 days prior to the bride & groom's wedding date for destination wedding groups.
  • Varied lengths of stays will qualify for discount (minimum of 3 nights are required)
  • Discount is determined on a package price scale before taxes & fees
  • Standard payment and cancel fees apply
  • Standard change fees apply
  • Promo code discount can be used for an unlimited number of Friends & Family
  • Discount is based on per person rate. If minimum dollar amount of $499.99 is not met, passenger will not qualify for Friends and Family discount.
  • Availability and Rates are subject to change.

Promo Code Terms and Conditions:

  • Offer is not retroactive. Promo code cannot be applied after the booking is made. Promo code must be applied at the time of booking.
  • All packages are subject to availability and pricing at time of booking
  • If a booking qualifies for a discount per the promo code criteria but the promo code is not input at the time of booking, in order for a discount to apply, you will need to cancel and rebook the reservation.

Pricing, based upon 2 people in the room and the prices that are available today. With this resort, pricing for rooms is based upon price of booking date, then we apply the savings promo code. Price does include transfers from the airport to the resort and back and the same airfare rules apply. The advantage of this destination is that often we can get chartered flights through Frontier Airlines out of O'Hare for a very good price as an add on, often about $300 per person.

  • 7 nights checking in on April 25 and checking out May 2 a deluxe tropical view room is $2,240.00
  • 7 nights checking in on April 25 and checking out on May 2 in a club level with ocean view is $3556.00
  • 5 nights checking in on April 26 and checking out on May 1 in a tropical view room is $1610.00
  • 5 nights checking in on April 26 and checking out on May 1 in a club level with ocean view is $2550.00

Weddings at Now Lamiar

Beach wedding are a specialty at Now Lamiar. In Punta Cana the wedding requirements are:

  • Birth certificate of bride and groom or certified copy of the birth certificate. If parents’ names are not shown on the certificates, please indicate them separately.
  • Notarized Declaration of Single status for the Bride and Groom. If previously married, submit two copies of the Divorce Decree or Death Certificate. There is a mandatory waiting period for women, 10 months before they are legally allowed to remarry.
  • A photocopy of Bride and Groom’s Passport (or documents used to enter the DR).
  • Photocopies of all Witnesses Passports. Cannot be family members. If necessary, resort will provide witnesses.
  • Bride & Groom must be in the country 3 business days prior to the wedding.

Now offers a complimentary wedding if you book at least 7 nights in the Preferred Club Deluxe partial ocean view or higher or if 5 rooms are reserved for a minimum of 3 nights at any room category. That wedding includes:

  • Legal ceremony (this has a $60 government fee and a $540 judge fee)
  • Dedicated wedding coordinator
  • Dedicated wedding coordinator
  • Bouquet for the bride
  • Boutonniere for the groom
  • Preparation of the bride’s gown and groom’s tuxedo/suit
  • Wedding cake (for up to 10 guests)
  • Sparkling wine toast (for up to 10 guests)
  • Romantic turndown service that evening: rose petal drawn Jacuzzi bath, bottle of sparkling wine and chocolate covered strawberries
  • Late check-out for the bride and groom (upon request and subject to availability)
  • 20% off spa treatments (boutique purchases not included)

There are a variety of other packages available that include dinners and a variety of extras. They can be found in this document.

Reception Package

You can hold your reception at a variety of venues on the property included the beach, the preferred pool, or a ballroom. When we make the wedding request we also include the reception request. The information on receptions is in that pack linked above. They also have the different options and pricing for the beach set up and the reception in the document.

Beyond the Wedding and Resort

Tons of excursions are available. Anything you can think of from a booze cruise, snorkeling, zip-lining, cultural tours, and everything in between. We schedule those ahead of time to ensure space and make everything run smoothly.

How to Secure This Package

This requires a deposit on two elements - the room and the wedding. The room requires a $150 per person deposit, then we can add air when it becomes available.

The wedding package requires a $300 deposit to secure the date. The deposit is non refundable if you fail to comply with the cancellation policy. The wedding can be canceled six or more months prior to the confirmed date without penalties. If the wedding is canceled with less than 6 months notice, the non-refundable deposit will be kept as a penalty.

Other Extras

We you book your destination wedding with me, we have a couple of complimentary items to help with your wedding:

  • Free wedding/honeymoon registry. We'll set up a special website link so that people can send you gifts of money that are applied directly to your wedding/honeymoon. 100% of the money goes to you, no fees.
  • We'll set up a private Facebook group so that everyone stays in communication and gets all of the information at the same time.
  • I serve as your liaison - so your guests do not have to bother you with details and pricing on their rooms. I take care of all questions and deal directly with them on their booking, making it less stressful for you.
  • I maintain a spreadsheet to share with you so you always know who has deposited and the running tally of the number of guests.


If you are looking at a destination wedding, time is of the essence, particularity for those places like the resorts I have listed. International dates go very very quickly. When I looked at options for 2018, I was surprised how many dates were all ready booked.

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