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Why We Chose a Destination Wedding in Grand Cayman
If you've ever planned a wedding, or are in the midst of such a task you know how daunting it can be. Trying to find a venue, a cake, a photographer, a florist, a caterer, and a DJ who are all available on the same day requires extensive planning. I think that's why most books and websites recommend the couple begin planning their special day at least a year in advance. When I looked into planning a big wedding I couldn't believe how quickly the bill adds up. Then I realized we'd spend our budget of $10,000 in four hours and still have to figure out a honeymoon. Some couples love big weddings and the celebration that follows. In our case we lived on one side of the country and our families were spread out on the other side. We felt that any location we chose would not work well for everyone involved.
A friend of mine who was married in St. John highly recommended we do it. When she told me that all she had to do was contact the wedding coordinator, pay for half of the wedding, and everything was taken care of, it sounded like a dream come true. I began on- line research of destination weddings in the Caribbean. Initially I looked into the Virgin Islands since we wouldn't need a passport. Most of the resort reviews I read on TripAdvisor were good, but there were occasional reviews that had me worried. I'm not talking about dirty bathrooms. There were stories of items that were stolen. Another couple was charged twice for their vacation. The last thing I wanted was to worry about my destination.
After quite a bit of research I learned that the Cayman islands are some of the safest in the Caribbean. Then I learned a high school classmate was married there. He recommended the Reef resort on the east end, the quiet end, of the island.
After deciding on a wedding package I spoke with Linda, the wedding coordinator. I sent her the deposit for the wedding and she took care of everything else. We couldn't have asked for a better wedding planner. She answered every concern telling us not to worry because everything would be taken care of. Linda sent a few e-mails with photos of bouquets and cakes. I always thought I go with calla lilies, but I didn't think it would be right to have a tropical wedding without a tropical bouquet.
Once the arrangements were made I began searching for a photographer. We decided on Courtney Platt because we liked the portfolio and he's also worked for National Geographic. I thought, "If National Geographic trusts him, I probably can too". We absolutely love the photos of our wedding. I would definitely recommend him to anyone who ever needs any kind of photograph taken. I'd have to say the picture of our reception is one of my favorites.
Although we didn't have many of our own guests the visitors at the resort stopped to watch the ceremony. In the short week we stayed at the reef there was a wedding every night for us to watch from a distance. I loved it.
The north end of the island was quiet. There wasn't much to do within walking distance, but there was a small grocery store across the street we used often. The water was calm and there was a reef, go figure, just under the surface. We snorkeled a few days and even rented kayak's. A portable charcoal grill was also available for use. My husband and his brother took every opportunity to enjoy a Cuban cigar. After a week,our family left and we moved to the Westin on Seven Mile Beach at the busy end of the island.
The west end of the island looked like a postcard. White sand stretched as far as we could see. Although there wasn't a reef right off shore to snorkel around standing on the bottom was easy without shoes. And we didn't have to constantly confirm where we were standing to make sure we weren't damaging a reef. The resort and beach were nice but not nearly as quiet as the east end. I wouldn't say one end was better than the other, they were just different experiences.
If you're ever in Cayman there are a few things one must do. A sunset dinner on the deck at The Grand Old House. We sat by the water and watched the waves carry tarpin up and down. An occasional wave would splash on the rocks near our table. They were close enough to hear, but far enough to stay dry. The food and wine were excellent; I don't think I'll ever forget that night.
Looking for 7 years of good luck? Head over to Stingray City. Most hotel packages on the island include a free trip. The city is a sandbar located a short boat trip from the island. Legend has it that fisherman would drop off their scraps daily and the stingray became accustomed to this tradition. When you get off the boat and onto the sandbar the water is about waist deep. The guide has a container of fish pieces he dips in the water and you can watch the stingray swim in from all directions. We were lucky I guess, we were the only boat there. Typically they say there can be a hundred or more boats anchored at at once. We were each given a piece of fish to feed to the stingray. I simply held it in my clenched fist under the water and one came along and sucked it right out of my hand. I was surprised at how strong the suction was. They were more like wet puppy dogs circling around our legs. Sure, I was afraid of the barb, but I never felt one. After holding one my next task was to kiss a stingray for 7 years of good luck. So far it seems to be working.
Our total cost of our wedding package, airfare, and two weeks in Cayman: $6,000.
How to Obtain a Copy of Your Marriage Certificate from Grand Cayman
After a few years of wedded bliss I discovered a needed an official copy of my marriage certificate. I searched for various wordings of "how to get a copy of a marriage license from Grand Cayman" but seemed to only come up with websites telling me how to get married. Placing a call to the governors office I learned it was really very simple. Simply visit www.vitals.ky and follow the instructions online. At this time it is $18.30 US per copy of marriage license.