Caribbean Weddings and Mini-Moons

I have a prediction:  in the not too distant future you will be invited to a destination wedding at Divi Resorts. I have it on good authority.  Today, nearly one in four weddings (24%) is now a destination wedding.  A favorite locale?  The Caribbean, of course.  Who can argue with the décor  – white sand met by turquoise water toped by brilliant blue sky?  And, balmy weather just makes stress melt away.  (You’ve had it happen.)  And another feel good is the hospitality of the region.  The people of the Caribbean just love hosting weddings.

The reasons for the rising popularity of a destination wedding are as plentiful as the items on a wedding registry.  A destination wedding offers adventure, it’s just more fun, and the couple can incorporate the honeymoon – or mini-moon, as the trend now is – into the wedding trip.  What is a minimoon? That is a brief vacation immediately following the ceremony with the extended, just-the-two-of-us vacation coming later.

“The idea of having a destination wedding is growing among our brides, and it goes hand in hand with the fact that most people no longer live where they grew up,” said Carley Roney, co-founder of XO Group Inc., whose brands include The Knot and Wedding Channel.

XO Group figures show that 66% of international destination wedding brides cite wanting a “special, fun, or exotic locale,” as a main factor for choosing to go abroad.  Other reasons include a desire to host fewer guests in a more intimate occasion and to celebrate at a location special to the couple.  And, we have a hunch it’s also because there are expert wedding planners at the ready in places like Aruba just waiting to take care of all the details.

You can also add deals and discounts to the reasons to do a destination wedding in the Caribbean.  Divi Resorts’ launched a very enticing deal for wedding couples. The special treatment includes free accommodations for the betrothed, an amenity-laden vacation for them and their wedding party and a free seven-night anniversary stay.  Plus massages, champagne and flowers, too.  The special promotion gives the happy couple the option to try a different Divi resort for their anniversary.

Spread the word and you soon could be on some couple’s guest list for their destination wedding at Divi Resorts. We hope so.

Starry, Starry Night

St. Maarten is part of The Netherlands, but it is home to over 100 nationalities.  And, you know what that means:  lots of good food choices.  No wonder it’s called the culinary melting pot of the Caribbean.  It’s also known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean, not only for the variety, but the number of fine dining experiences.  That calls for a celebration, which is what went on during the recent Fete de Cuisine across St. Maarten.  If you were at Divi Little Bay early in November, you sensed the coming excitement.  Toucan’s Restaurant was host to one of the festival’s star attractions and grandest dinners.

It was indeed a starry, starry night with Michelin-starred Dutch chef Paul van Staveren coming from The Netherlands to orchestrate the culinary pyrotechnics. Van Staveren is a food celebrity in Europe, with his award-winning restaurant and a hit TV show.  (Netherlands is mad for cooking shows just like us.)

In the world of food, there isn’t anything better than attaining a Michelin Star. Michelin inspectors analyze a restaurant multiple times under a clandestine cloak, using an evaluation process honed over more than 100 years. Inspectors judge only what’s on the plate, meaning the quality of products, the mastering of flavors, mastering of cooking, personality of the cuisine, value for the money and the consistency of what the restaurant offers to its customers both throughout the menu and the year.  Van Staveren earned his first star in 2006.

“It was an honor and an inspiration to have Chef Paul Van Staveren in our kitchen,” said Celine Van Meer, general manager of Divi Little Bay.  We know that all 120 people gathered at Toucan’s that night already plan to eat at Van Staveren’s Sonoy restaurant when in The Netherlands.

The Fete de Cuisine menu included lasagna consisting of lobster, coquilles Saint-Jacques with mackerel followed by the super delicious Anjou pigeon that made Van Staveren famous.  The evening started with cocktails and amuse bouches, which from all reports, did amuse every mouth.

The five-course dinner served up at Toucan’s during Fete de Cuisine was a splendid example of Staveren’s motto: “Life is too short to eat and drink mediocre.”   To that we add:  “Life is too short not to vacation in St. Maarten.”   Good food and good drink – and a good time – will be had by all.

Divi Family Day

Think about this:  all the Divi staff you see when you’re at a Divi Resort in the beautiful Caribbean – they are busy working.  Guests are relaxing and having fun, which is exactly what is supposed to be happening, thanks to the hard work of the Divi employees. Wouldn’t it be nice if the resort’s employees could enjoy the resort in the same way too?  No work. Just fun with their families. Well, that was the idea behind Family Day at Divi Little Bay recently.

The tables were turned that day in several ways. Not only was the staff having loads of fun at the resort, the Divi management team were the ones who were setting up, serving the food and drinks and organizing the activities so that every staff person could take a real break that day and relax and enjoy the resort with their families.

Management planned plenty of beach games, including the always-favorite water balloon toss, fill the bucket race, egg and spoon race, plus hula-hoop contests, nut stacker challenge and the crazy waiter dash. But, because it was a day for the staff to be treated like guests, staff deemed it too hot for many of the races. It was, after all, their prerogative that day.  But with the announcement of some nice prizes – game on.

Keeping with the theme, the prizes allowed the staff to come back and enjoy more of Divi Little Bay Resort. Two winners will be relaxing at Indulgence by the Sea spa.  So, don’t be surprised, if one day soon, you see Victoria Nelson or Sandra Rogers, both managers at Divi Little Bay, kicking off their work shoes and heading into the spa for a Sea Escape massage or a mani-pedi. That Citrus-C Manicure and Pedicure sounds pretty indulgent.  Organic sugar crystals with peppermint leaves, fresh lime juice and pure essential oils smooth the skin. Then, happy hands and feet are wrapped in a peppermint mask, followed with steaming warm towels and a paraffin dip. I’ll have what she’s having.

The guy winners decided to eat instead. They will be starting one of their days with breakfast at Toucan’s, which is a pretty good way to start any day. There is always that big, beautiful display of fresh tropical fruit and pastries.  And, then you can mosey over to the as-you like-it egg station for a scrambled egg or two or three.   Then, you can enjoy it on the balcony overlooking the Caribbean Sea.  But, maybe best, best, best of all is that the prizewinners of Divi Family Day get to share the experience with a friend or family member.

You know what they say about happy employees. Happy employees make a happy place.   And that’s good for all of us.