Destination weddings at the Ritz

The destination wedding market has
undergone numerous changes over the last couple of years, and Cayman has
positioned itself to benefit from it. The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman has been
one of the on Island providers to benefit from new trends in the market,
bringing its signature style and attention to detail to destination weddings.

“We try to ensure that each bride and
groom have the lion’s share of the hotel’s attention on their day, that there
are no other weddings happening – it’s not a wedding factory,” says Melissa
Ladley, public relation director at The Ritz-Carlton.

A trend she has noticed is larger groups
of people staying for longer, where the entire group stays for the duration of
the wedding.

“We’re seeing 50 people staying for four
or five days rather than 200 staying for two days,” she says.

“Most of the time it’s people looking to
get away from the 200 person wedding at home to the 50 person wedding or 75
person wedding. It’s very rare that you will have a destination wedding that
numbers in the hundreds. That’s why they’re choosing the destination.”

It is important for these couples to
find the right balance in their wedding between combining a wedding weekend and
a holiday for the entire group.

“Of course the ceremony and reception or
after-party is always first and foremost in their minds, but again because
people are so sensitive to the fact that their guests are not only paying to
come to their wedding but they’re giving up their own holiday time to make sure
that it is the right balance of hosted wedding activities and unscheduled free
time so that guests can enjoy whatever the island has to offer and that the
hotel is going to make sure that they have every opportunity to enjoy that, so
that they’re not just cast adrift to go on their own,” says Melissa.

Quite often, brides and grooms do not even
come to the property for a site tour.

“They’ve chosen Cayman either because
they know it, they’ve been here before or they’ve stayed at the resort before,
or they may just now Ritz-Carlton has a level of comfort. Chances are they have
not met [the wedding planner] until they come down,” says Melissa.

One of the reasons the brides and grooms
are comfortable with this is because they don’t have to bring their own vendor.

“They know we have fantastic
photographers, they know we have an award-winning decor company in
Celebrations, they have seen a lot of the real weddings that have been taking
place in the Cayman Islands that have been featured in a lot of the magazines
and wedding blogs. They’ve got a comfort level that there will be the level of
professionalism here to deliver the wedding they want and then when they comes
to us they realise our wedding planners know all these people directly – they
don’t have to contract them themselves,” she says.

With numerous different locations
available for wedding ceremonies, including the beach for more casual weddings
or the Great Lawn for more formal events, as well as a selection of restaurants
on site, there are virtually endless options.

“We’ll do a sweetheart table for two on
the beach under a cabana if that’s what they want. We can take the offerings at
the restaurants here and tailor them to a wedding party. We have a large
private dining room in Blue that is perfect for wedding parties of up to 40. Of
course we’ll do the plated dinners in the ballroom for larger weddings, but
there’s also been a trend towards more food stations and action stations where
the chefs are working at the stations and cocktail receptions and a long party
that has different food opportunities throughout rather than one big meal,” says

Some weddings have incorporated a brunch
reception in 7, while other have made use of the dock at Periwinkle.

Of course, with outdoor ceremonies being
so popular, the weather is a constant concern, especially during the summer

“One of the benefits to working with the
Ritz-Carlton is we will not book a wedding unless we have confirmed reserved
backup space indoors. If we have a large wedding booked out on the beach for
sunset, there has to be a large enough space held in the hotel in case it rains
and that’s something that is a Ritz-Carlton standard that may not be available
at other locations,” says Melissa.

Every bridal couple also has a wedding
concierge on the wedding day who is physically on site to make sure all details
go through, to coordinate with the wedding officiant and to ensure that
everything is taken care of, so everyone can just enjoy their day.   WH


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