An event manager at a busy resort has plenty to keep on her plate. When many of those events are weddings, the job gets even more complicated. We recently chatted with Patricia Fiske, Catering Sales Manager and Wedding Coordinator for Divi Carina Bay All-Inclusive Beach Resort on St. Croix, to learn more about what she does and what makes it all so rewarding.
How long have you been working for Divi?
I started with Divi back in 1999, when we first opened, as a bartender, a job I really loved. Meeting our guests on a daily basis was a great experience. I left the island after the events of 9/11 because, as you can imagine, we had virtually no tourists here for a long time. I moved back in 2006 after my first grandchild was born – nothing could have kept me away! The position of Catering Sales Manager was open, and seemed like a great fit for me, I’m highly organized and love working with people and that is definitely a requirement for this job!
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Weddings are the most challenging aspect of what I do, because they have to be perfect – no room at all for error! We do a lot of destination weddings, but I have to say we’re also among the favorite locations to get married for the local brides and grooms of St. Croix and the USVI. Building trust is so important for destination brides trying to plan their dream wedding when they’re so far away, so keeping the lines of communication going is crucial. For our St. Croix and USVI locals, they know our beach is picture-perfect, and we can accommodate large and small groups.
We’re also popular for business groups, special honeymoons and anniversaries. People simply love the convenience and price point of an all-inclusive resort, plus our banqueting facilities are the largest on the island.
Is planning a local wedding much different than planning a destination wedding?
The local weddings require much less input from me. The local couples usually have their own friends and family to fill the roles that I typically fill with a destination couple. They often have their own photographer and their family minister, and they may choose to bring their own flowers, cake, DJ and so on. For those couples, who know the island well, the resort’s East End location offers a spectacular beach setting for the ceremony and convenient banquet rooms for the reception. Local wedding couples appreciate the air-conditioning in the banquet rooms, and don’t care that much for an outdoor reception, whereas Stateside couples enjoy a tented poolside location or receptions on the beach.
What does Divi Carina Bay offer for weddings that no one else on the island can deliver?
We offer a truly affordable wedding package that starts at $530. Couples can customize with several add-ons, but the most popular addition, one hour of professional photographer, brings the total to just $1,056. When you consider the high cost of airfare, our price point makes Divi Carina Bay a very desirable destination wedding option for couples on a budget. Of course, St. Croix is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, so American family members don’t need passports to attend. When you consider that we’re also the only all-inclusive resort on the island, and one price really means all the food and beverage and entertainment is taken care of for their guests during their stay, it really makes sense that we’re such a popular destination wedding venue.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
When we put on a perfect event – especially a wedding – it’s really satisfying. I also became a minister of the Universal Life Church about five years ago, and performing wedding ceremonies is very moving for me. I become so attached to my brides that I miss our emails when the wedding is over. Vow renewals are also really special – I did one recently for a couple celebrating their 50th anniversary, and their son organized the whole thing as a surprise. Mom cried like a baby!