A Good Thing – The Marriage Of Martha Stewart Weddings And Sandals Resorts
with Sarah Dawson

Butch Stewart, Chairman of Sandals

Martha Stewart, MSLO Founder,
Open Jaw’s Sarah Dawson &
Chris Jones from Wedding Essentials.

That icon of good living, Martha Stewart, has joined forces with Butch Stewart to create unique wedding packages at Sandals resorts. In true Sandals fashion, the engagement was announced to the trade press during a New York junket on board Lady Sandals to meet Martha in person.

As of January 2010, all weddings performed at any of the 18 Luxury Included® Sandals Resorts and Beaches Resorts across the Caribbean will be branded Sandals Weddings by Martha Stewart. The 4 year contract with wedding guru Preston Bailey ends at the end of December.

The two companies are a good match. Over the last 12 months or so, it has become less acceptable to spend money on more traditional extravagant weddings, and while Sandals still has a strong repeat client market (returning at least twice a year); it needs a steady new booking market with clients paying more than the average price of a Caribbean vacation. Darcy Miller, Senior V-P, Editorial Director for Martha Stewart Weddings commented to Open Jaw that in a climate where controlling wedding costs is more important to some clients, the all-inclusive destination option is being considered on a wider scale. Cost overruns in destination weddings are minimized, unlike traditional weddings where unpredictable items such as extra 30 minutes reception music can push the total cost upwards. As Martha Stewart herself said, “for what you pay, this really is the best valueâ€.

There are 6 themed Sandals Weddings by Martha Stewart packages – one of which, the new Beautiful Beginnings, is available at no additional charge. Your clients will be able to choose this or any of the five other exquisite wedding themes:

Flutter of Romance – pretty butterflies, a touch of whimsy to menus and place cards, and a pale pink cake or round mini-cakes make the look charming and sweet. Flowers used include pink and fuchsia roses, and magenta orchids. Priced at US$1500 in Jamaica; US$1700 in Bahamas, St. Lucia and Antigua; US$1900 in Turks & Caicos.
Vision in White– hints of eyelet and lace grace pillar candles, party favours, and white cake or cupcakes. Delicate white orchids and gladiolas make up the bouquet. Priced at US$2500 in Jamaica; US$2700 in Bahamas, St. Lucia and Antigua; US$2900 in Turks & Caicos.
Seaside Serenade – bamboo ceremony arch strung with strands of capiz shells, and tables set with seashell, coral, and sand accents. Aqua fondant cake with white coral accents or cupcakes topped with white sugar seashells. Priced at US$3000 in Jamaica; US$3200 in Bahamas, St. Lucia and Antigua; US$3400 in Turks & Caicos.
Chic & Natural – white and green orchids, polished black river stones, vibrant green moss, and touches of natural linen. Pale green cake topped with a white camellia or cupcakes topped with small green cymbidium orchids. Priced at US$3600 in Jamaica; US$3800 in Bahamas, St. Lucia and Antigua; US$4000 in Turks & Caicos.
Island Paradise – magenta, pink, orange, and yellow orchids. Bamboo ceremony arch embellished with lush banana leaves, and centerpieces of tropical fruits and bright blooms. Rattan pattern fondant cake or square mini-cakes, covered in fresh orchids. Priced at US$6000 in Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia, Bahamas and Turks & Caicos.
Beautiful Beginnings – sweet magenta dendrobium bouquet and boutonniere, table for four with crisp linens, a lovely centerpiece, and a charming white cake. For couples who book a minimum six-night wedding stay in a concierge category or higher at any Sandals resort or Beaches resort, the Beautiful Beginnings will be included at no additional cost.

The Martha Stewart Weddings team had the task of putting the themes together over the last 4 months. The process however, was not without its challenges, as Darcy Miller explained to Open Jaw. Flowers and other elements of the packages had to be refined based on island availability, butter cream recipes for the cupcakes revised, and treats such as chocolates replaced by more temperature resistant, pretty coloured hard candies in jars.

Sandals has a proven track record of working with the best, including Sesame Street for children’s entertainment, Beringer for wines, and now Butch Stewart acknowledges the Martha Stewart Weddings team as the best in their field. With their Weddings magazine outselling every other similar publication in the market and a 55% market share, this seems like a no-brainer.

Sandals also announced the acquisition (for an undisclosed sum) of the Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay in the Bahamas, which will reopen as the 183 room Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma in late January 2010. On a one-mile beach, all rooms will have Butler Service, and there will be a Marina, 18-hole Greg Norman-designed golf course, and tennis courts.

Video of Martha Stewart talking about the importance of weddings

Sandals CEO, Adam Stewart & MSLO Founder, Martha Stewart

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