Destination Weddings In St. Lucia: Your Planning Guide

  |   By Jen O'Brien

Photo courtesy Jade Mountain.

St. Lucia is a nation built on the concept of togetherness; this is evident in everything from the social fabric -- a tapestry of French, English and African cultures -- through to the dramatic landscape. In fact, even the country's crowning jewels, The Pitons, tower side-by-side over the Caribbean Sea. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that St. Lucia has become a pilgrimage site for lovers – especially those looking to tie the knot. In fact, honeymoons and destination weddings in St. Lucia account for roughly 12 percent of all visitors to the island each year. Knowing this, St. Lucians have made marrying in their lovely island paradise a seamless experience for travelers.

Whether you’re looking to say your “I dos” at a cocoa plantation, a historical site, on a cliff overlooking The Pitons or on the sand, we’ll give you all the facts you need to know about destination weddings in St. Lucia, from the laws and customs to the best time to plan a wedding and the costs involved with doing so.

The best time to go: St. Lucia is blessed with sunshine and warm weather year round but if you're looking to save a few bucks avoid booking your destination wedding between December and March (the island's high season) and look to the spring and summer months instead. May, especially, can be a great time to host a destination wedding in St. Lucia. Hurricane season runs from June through November, but a touchdown is rare so this time of year is still a good bet for great weather and lower room rates.

The flight: For east coast couples, getting to St. Lucia is a breeze. Both Westjet and Air Transat offer direct flights from Toronto and Air Transat also offers direct flights from Montreal during the winter months. The flight is roughly five and a half hours from both cities. Couples from the western part of the country can expect a bit of a longer commute with flights from Vancouver and Calgary lasting about 10 hours. Connections are typically in Toronto.

The legal paperwork: To apply for a marriage license in St. Lucia you’ll be asked to provide passports, birth certificates as well as a decree absolute if either you or your betrothed are divorced. You’ll also be asked to supply the immigration form you receive upon arrival in the country. Travelers are asked to submit these documents along with their marriage application to the attorney general’s office at least two full working days before their intended ceremony day. The cost for processing is $125USD. For travelers requiring a quick turnaround the country also offers same-day marriage licenses, which are issued for a slightly higher fee of $200USD. Weddings must be conducted after sunrise and before sunset in order to be considered legally valid.

The local customs: Music is an important part of life in St. Lucia and, surprisingly, the island is especially smitten with the country genre. St. Lucian singer and saxophone virtuoso Barbara Cadet is a popular contemporary choice for weddings but if you're looking for something a bit more traditionally Caribbean, consider opting for a steel or calypso band for your reception or, for something entirely unique, book a local shak shak band.

The budget: The cost of hosting a destination wedding in St. Lucia will depend entirely on how elaborate the celebration is, as is the case almost everywhere in the world. Costs range from free (with a seven-night stay in a verandah suite at Rendevous, The Boutique Hotel for Couples) to tens of thousands of dollars for a luxe celebration at one of the island's top resorts. A typical elopement package including an officiant, paperwork, a wedding coordinator, decorated ceremony venue, bouquet, cake, champagne and dinner costs roughly $1000.

The venue: For a truly breathtaking destination wedding in St. Lucia we recommend a celebration at Jade Mountain, located about a mile and a half from the town of Soufriere. Carved into the side of a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea and the iconic Pitons, this property offers a view like no other. Opt for a late afternoon ceremony on the property's Celestial Terrace (Bachelor fans will remember this location from the season 14 finale episode) or marry on the secluded sands of a nearby private beach then start your honeymoon in one of the property's jaw-dropping open-air infinity pool sanctuaries.

This article was originally published on Oct 08, 2013

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