4) $PLATFORM=1; else $PLATFORM=2; } elseif (preg_match("/MSIE (\d)/i",$HTTP_USER_AGENT,$v)) { $browser="msie"; if (($version=$v[1])>4) $PLATFORM=1; else $PLATFORM=2; } elseif (preg_match("/Mozilla(?:\/|\s)(\d)/i",$HTTP_USER_AGENT,$v)) { $browser="navigator"; if (($version=$v[1])>4) $PLATFORM=1; else $PLATFORM=2; } else { $browser="other"; $version="unknown"; $PLATFORM=2; } } ?> Caribbean Weddings

Caribbean Weddings: A Walk Down the Isle

by Paris Permenter & John Bigley

Powdery beaches, aquamarine waters, and balmy tropical breezes. For honeymooners, the Caribbean has long been a fertile region, sultry and rich, a place where love blooms and flourishes. Couples feel the pulse of life beat strongly here, dancing in crowded discos or arm-in-arm on secluded moonlight beaches. Inhibitions are artfully soothed away by languid island rhythms, the sea gently lapping at your toes, the sing-song of patois, the ardent piping of tree frogs in the night. You feel the sweet, slight intoxication which has little to do with rum, but rather with the thrill of new beginnings. Yes, you say, we have come to the right place.

For more and more couples, a walk down the aisle is now starting with a walking down the isle. More lovers are choosing to tie the knot in the sunny Caribbean. Recognizing this trend, islands are relaxing their marriage requirements. "We are pleased to see that many of the islands are meeting the current trend of destination weddings by enacting legislation making it easier for tourists to get married in the Caribbean," said Michael Youngman, director of marketing for the Caribbean Tourism Organization. "In addition, many hotels and resorts offer weddings and honeymoon packages making getting married in the Caribbean a memorable and affordable experience."

You'll find that island weddings are becoming increasingly easier to arrange, with shorter (or no) residency periods, simplified paperwork, andusually no required blood tests. Many resorts have full-time staff members to simplify paperwork.

Island weddings have caught on for several reasons. they're especially popular with couples on a budget who don't want the expense of an elaborate wedding and lovers who are seeking out a hassle free wedding where a ceremony, like the honeymoon itself, can be "no problem."

Planning an Island Wedding

The simplest way to plan an island wedding is to work through your resort's wedding coordinator. This staff member counsels guests before their stay so they bring all necessary papers. After arrival, the coordinator helps couples complete necessary paperwork, explains where to go if the country requires an in-person visit to obtain a marriage license, arranges for a minister or other officiating party, and helps with wedding extras such as photography and music.

Once you decide on a resort, call the local number and ask to speak with the wedding coordinator for information on how the resort assists in the process. Also, inquire about special wedding packages to make your special day that much more extraordinary.

Typically, most countries require you to send documents and complete paperwork before your stay. If this is the case, do NOT send documents by surface mail. Mail service throughout much of the Caribbean can be extremely slow. Rely on fax transmissions and courier services such as Federal Express for delivery of papers. Also, bring copies of all paperwork to the island with you, just in case.

Photo courtesy Sheraton Grand Paradise Island