When Hays travel agent Cathy Leverett and her husband Nick got married 30 years ago, they were unable to have their dream beach wedding abroad due to elderly relatives sadly being too poorly to travel.
Last month, the couple were finally able to have the romantic beach experience they’d dreamt of, when they renewed their vows for their 30th wedding anniversary at Sandals Royal Barbados, followed by a two-week holiday in our neighbouring resort Sandals Barbados.
Cathy has shared the details and the process behind personalising their special day, along with what it was like to travel to Barbados during the COVID protocols.
“It was also my birthday, so it was a double celebration,” says Cathy, who describes the experience as “just perfect.”
Having holidayed in many Sandals resorts over the years, including Sandals Royal Barbados, Cathy knew our vow renewal ceremony was the best fit for her. “I still felt like a nervous bride, so we wanted all the worry and stress taken out of the day. We’ve been to Sandals Royal Barbados a few times and love it – we remember the staff and always ask for the same butlers. The service is fabulous.”
Cathy and Nick opted for our standard Retie The Knot package, priced at $300. The customisable nature of the package ensured the day was extra-special, says Cathy: “You can go as standard or fancy with the package as you wish. We chose a beach location with a draped pagoda, and as a birthday present the resort gave me a wedding chariot. I cried when they did that, I was stunned!”
The day after Cathy and Nick arrived in Barbados, they were met by our Sandals’ in-resort wedding team, who talked them through the running of the day and added further personalised touches.
“You go into the office and talk through what you like. We tasted different wedding cakes and chose a vanilla one with vanilla cream filling. They also asked us what music we liked so they could have that ready and made an appointment for my wedding hair.”
“They then give you a sheet with everything that’s planned for the day on it, including timings and reminders, and there’s a number to call if you have any problems. All the stress is totally taken out,” says Cathy.
Travelling during the pandemic didn’t put any dampeners on Cathy and Nick’s special day. “It was all pretty straightforward, I went on the government website and made a list of all the things we needed to do, such as testing and filling out the fit-to-fly form for Barbados.”
We recommend checking the island protocols and confirming your flight details before you depart.
The in-destination tests were both taken on the property, which took the stress out, she adds. “Once you get your first set of results back you can go to the beach, spa and gym, and we got our results in 24 hours. I’d have no hesitation recommending clients get married or tie the knot now, I felt very happy with all the safety protocols in place,” she adds.
Since returning from the trip, Cathy plans to shout about her experience to both clients and staff at Hays Travel Norwich City, where she works as assistant manager. “I have two clients I’ve sold Sandals weddings to recently and I’m going to show them my wedding pictures and talk through my experience, as the wedding and retie the knot packages are almost identical.”
“You can have confidence in the brand and that your clients will be looked after. They want to be delighted on their special day, and they will be delighted.”