Wedding and Family Vacations
Fun Wedding Destinations With Kids
Walk down the aisle and bring the kids, too, at these fun island and United States wedding destinations.
Many couples who already have children opt to walk down a different aisle when tying the knot, such as on a sultry Caribbean island that can double as a family beach vacation. If the islands don’t float your boat, there are United States destinations where you can blend your new families with a wedding ceremony and honeymoon plus family getaway. Getting married in a vacation destination closer to home can be far easier than than far-flung locales such as in Europe—because of the lack of complicated legalities that require residence requirements and strict documentation.
Here are some wedding destinations where bride, groom and children can celebrate with ease—and joy.
Sandy Strands in the Caribbean
The Caribbean’s Beaches resorts, the kid-friendly version of the adults-only Sandals Resorts, offer FamilyMoons, a package that incorporates the entire family into the wedding ceremony, the after-party and, yes, the honeymoon. The package includes the ceremony venue (in a gazebo, wedding chapel, tropical garden or seaside at sunset) and a personal wedding consultant. As a bonus, the package is complimentary for groups of 10 or more. There are four Beaches resorts: three in Jamaica (the Beaches Boscobel Resort and Golf Club, Beaches Negril Resort and Spa, and Beaches Sandy Bay) and one in the Turks & Caicos (Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort and Spa). Call 888-BEACHES for more information.
A FamilyMoon package is also featured at the Elite Island Resorts in the Caribbean, which also offer kids’ programs and clubs. The chain has also introduced a personal destination wedding Web site service where couples can post their photos, wedding plans, and can even invite guests to book all of their hotel and air travel plans. Elite Resorts include Galley Bay, St. James’s Club and Villas and The Verandah Resort and Spa on Antigua; Long Bay on Tortola; Palm Island Resort in the Grenadines; and Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort on St. Lucia. The wedding package is complimentary for couples who book the premium luxury category honeymoon of seven nights or more; the package starts at $899. Call 800-345-0356 or contact Janine Ellis, director of wedding planning, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Editor’s Note: To cut down on the stress, one good resource to learn about a particular destination’s marriage requirements and Caribbean wedding planning is www.marrycaribbean.com. The site also lists various Caribbean Tourist Boards, should you have further questions once you learn about what you need to make your marriage legal. Read other planning tips in our Destination Wedding Do’s and Don’ts article.)
Branching Out in Oregon
As your family tree grows, Vertical Horizons Tree House Paradise, a bed and breakfast in Oregon, which features high-end tree house accommodations, is an over-the-top option. Kid and adult activities include technical tree climbing, night climbs with glow sticks, tree surfing, disc golf, fishing, swimming, treasure hunts and campfires. Kids can even blow bubbles from the treetops during the ceremony, says owner Jodie Cowan Moskios. Contact www.treehouseparadise.com.
Maine’s Sunny Ceremonies
Sebasco Harbor Resort in Sebasco Estates along Maine’s mid-coast is the setting for many family vacations and intimate weddings. Dating to 1930 and located an hour from Portland, the 133-room resort is home base for family activities like golf, sailing, kayaking, cycling, fishing and tennis.
Maine lobster bakes and blueberry pancake breakfasts are popular wedding fare, Camp Merritt day camp woos kids with fun activities and there’s even a VIP (Very Important Pet) program so you can include your favorite pooch in your wedding celebration. Note: Open May through October. Call 800-225-3819 or visit www.sebasco.com.
Cape Cod Nuptials
Many beach-loving couples and kids exchange vows in seaside style on Cape Cod, the quintessential New England family destination about an hour south of Boston. It’s easy to find a sunny stretch of beach here: The Cape Cod National Seashore boasts 40 miles of beaches.
The Ocean Edge Resort & Club will unveil the Bayside Ballroom in mid-2009. The best part of an Ocean Edge wedding is that guests can kick off their dancing shoes and head to the beach for a bonfire celebration, complete with s’mores and beverages. Ocean Edge offers tennis, golf and many swimming pools. Call 800-811-3457 for group reservations. Bayzo’s Pub at the Ocean Edge is the perfect spot to watch a Red Sox game while playing a game of pool and sipping Cape Codders (virgin and alcoholic). Call 800-343-6074 for room reservations.
Also on the Cape, Chatham Bars Inn in Chatham is a special place to marry with kids, thanks to an ambitious kid’s program. You can get married on the property or on one of the resort’s luxury yachts out at sea. There are rooms in the historic Inn, but families usually opt for one of the chic cottages. Bonus: A spa for pre-wedding massages and pedicures (kid treatments, too). www.chathambarsinn.com