We were married on December 12, 2009 at Couples Swept Away. Our wedding celebration was absolutely magical. Our wedding party consisted of 20 people, who all stayed at the resort. Some of our guests had never been to Jamaica or stayed at an adult all-inclusive. Our guests had a great time and gave the resort rave reviews.
Our wedding took place at 4 p.m. in the tropical wedding Gazebo followed by a small cocktail reception. After the wedding we took pictures in the Gazebo and on the beach. Photos were followed by a private wedding dinner and reception on the beach at 6 p.m. For brides with a good-sized party, I would highly recommend the private reception. I think it's worth the additional cost. The service was great and food was exceptional. Overall, Couples has great food options, but my best meal was the food served at the wedding reception.
My husband and I often look back at the photos, wedding slide show, and video. We can't believe the day went so fast. In fact, to celebrate our one-year anniversary, we will be back at Couples this December. Our slide show is below with some lessons learned.
1) A Couples wedding is very cost-effective and stress free. Tamika is a good wedding planner - well-organized and puts you at ease. Upon arrival, you meet with her for an hour and hash out all the details - flowers, entertainment, food, etc... The wedding reception was a highlight for me. Normally, food in the U.S. is so expensive for a wedding reception. I received more options than I would have received in the U.S. and the food was exceptional. I paid $95 per person, which in the U.S. would have cost $150 per person or more, depending on the U.S. city.
2) The resort surroundings (tropical gardens/beach) provide a beautiful backdrop for a celebration and photos.
3) The day after the wedding you are automatically at your honeymoon venue.
Things to Know (not necessarily cons):
1) Photography. The quality of the resort photographers vary. I've stayed at couples three times (both Tower Isle and Swept Away). I took photos at each resort, and the quality just wasn't that great. I would suggest hiring an off-site photographer, such as Sungold Photography or Stacey Clarke. Sungold was our photographer for the big day and we love the photos. Every time I look back at the photos, I relive our special day.
There is $500 fee for an outside photographer to come on to the resort. Plus, you have to pay an additional fee for vendors (photographers) to eat at your private reception. The $500 fee covers the cost for the photographer to be on site and eat at one of the resort restaurants (not the private reception). Since I paid the fee (inclusive of food), it didn't register that I should add Sungold to my dinner count. I just assumed that they could partake in the wedding dinner, which was a mistake on my part.
Having my photographer leave in the middle of the reception to grab dinner was a bit unnerving and the service at the Palms was very slow that evening. Paula and Damian had to rush through their meal, so that they could rejoin the reception for photographs. FYI for future brides - pay the resort fee and include your photographer in your head count for the wedding dinner or reception. That way, your photographer is not forced to eat dinner at the resort restaurants after spending 8 or 9 hours with you.
2) Videography. Couples videotaped the wedding ceremony and again the quality was ok, but it met our needs. The photography was much more important to us, so that's where we made the investment. However, if videography is important to you, consider hiring an outside videographer.
3) Private Receptions. The resort only hosts two private receptions per day and some days (I think Friday), they will not host a private reception. If you would like a private event, book it in advance and get the confirmation in writing from Debbie Hall.
Good luck to all future Couples brides! It's a great place to get married!