Couple kissing on the beach at Sandals Grande St Lucian

Real wedding: An idyllic, intimate Caribbean celebration with an illusion wedding dress

This couple said "I do" in Saint Lucia, a Caribbean island known for its beautiful scenery, making it the ideal location for a destination wedding

Saint Lucia is a magical setting for a wedding, with a tropical climate and a blissfully laidback atmosphere. The flight time is just under 9 hours, which is long enough to make you feel like you’re having a proper getaway, but not so long that you arrive feeling exhausted – just make sure you check out our guide to how to look good after a long-haul flight! And the powdery white sand is simply perfect for a beach wedding.

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This Caribbean island is also known for its luxury resorts, so couples can combine a dreamily romantic wedding day with a honeymoon in paradise. That’s exactly what Amy Thompson and Matthew Sandom did for their December celebration at Sandals Grande St Lucian. Set on its own peninsula, this stylish resort is surrounded by shimmering blue water and powder-soft sand.

Newlywed couple at their Caribbean wedding in St Lucia

Planning a wedding in another country can be a challenge – liaising with suppliers, making decisions over Skype and trying to bring everything together. For Matt and Amy, however, the planning process was a breeze, thanks to all the planning support they received from Sandals. “The only logistics for us were sorting out the transfers to the Heathrow Airport and the flights,” says Amy. “Our planner did everything from sorting my hair and make up to arranging dinner, the chapel and an over-the-water bungalow to get ready.”

A newlywed couple at Sandals overwater chapel in St Lucia

The couple chose December for their celebration for both practical and emotional reasons.”The winter months are best weather-wise over in the Caribbean, and it was close to the date we got engaged,” says Amy. Before you book your destination wedding or honeymoon, it’s crucial to check the best time of year to visit – our handy guide will help.

The beach at Sandals Grande St Lucian
Beach life at the stunning Sandals Grande St Lucian

Amy and Matt kept their guest list small: just the two of them and both sets of parents. Their ceremony was at the resort’s over-water chapel. “It was private, romantic and beautiful, says Amy. “The ceremony was exactly the way we pictured it, just us and our parents.”

A ceremony at the over-water chapel at Sandals Grande St Lucian

Afterwards, the couple and their parents had a private dinner in a gazebo. They chose from the menu of Toscanini’s – one of the resort’s 12 restaurants. “Sandals made the wedding cake – it was a two-tier chocolate sponge.” Given the natural beauty of the setting, the couple decided to keep the decor minimalist throughout, with plenty of white orchids and white table linen, as well as other tropical blooms providing pops of colour.

A bride at a Caribbean beach wedding

There’s quite a story behind Amy’s Dando London dress. “About three months before our big day I was up late one night and began watching an episode of Say Yes to the Dress. At the end of the episode, there was an advert to be on the next series, so I applied on a whim! Within 12 hour I was being asked to travel to Essex to be filmed,” she says. “The presenter, David Emanuel, brought down a dress and I knew it was the one! It was just what I had imagined wearing on the beach.” And if you’re thinking of getting married in sunnier climes, dive into our edit of the most beautiful beach wedding dresses.

Overwater wedding chapel at Sandals Grande St Lucian
“I do” with a view: Overwater wedding chapel at Sandals Grande St Lucian

So what would Amy and Matt change about their Caribbean beach wedding?

Newlywed couple on the beach at Sandals Grande St Lucian
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Nothing, by the sounds of it! “Jump on a plane and take advantage of the most beautiful places in the world,” says Amy. “You smile from the moment you arrive.”