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Love Blooms in the Caribbean:
Antigua and Barbuda Destination Weddings

by Melanie Reffes

There’s plenty of passion on the beach-blessed islands of Antigua and Barbuda with three hundred sixty five beaches – one for each day of the year. Gentle trade winds and pink-tinged sand has earned the sister sandy islands Best Wedding Islands at the International Caribbean Travel Awards and a coveted spot on Modern Bride’s list of Best Honeymoon destinations. Ringed with coral and studded with green canopies, Antigua is a cornucopia of couple-friendly activities. A former garrison, Shirley Heights commands spectacular views of Montserrat and Guadeloupe and on Sunday afternoons the view is served with a barbecue, the pulsating sounds of steel pan and plenty of rum punch. After shopping at the market, Hemingway’s Café, the favourite haunt of the celebrated author, is sublime for sharing a slice of refreshing key lime pie.

Less than a year old, Hodges Bay Club sits on its own coral sand beach and has transformed the bay with striking seaside houses, a luxury hotel, restaurants and a swishy spa. The Honeymoon package includes rose petals scattered on the uber-big bed, a bathtub overflowing with tropical fragrances, champagne breakfast en-suite and a candlelit dinner at the Taboo restaurant where temptations are tantalizingly served on a plate.

Ocean views from every room are the stand-out features at the Jolly Beach Resort sitting pretty on its own stretch of uninterrupted white sand beach. With romance down to a fine art, the King Superior room perched in a secluded enclave is the hands-down honeymoon choice. From mornings that start with a choir of sweet bird songs to an afternoon siesta in a hammock, the biggest decision couples will have to make is whether to order a Wadadli Cuddle at the Quiet Pool bar or a Kiss cocktail at the swim-up bar. The Palms Wellness Spa shines with the Scents of the Caribbean Cinnamon Sugar Scrub for two. A candle-lit beachside dinner at Lydia's at Crab Hole Village is heavenly with seafood grilled in an open-air kitchen and dancing under the stars.

The Gold Ribbon Dream Wedding Package includes the reception and a DJ spinning tunes till the last person leaves. After a thousand weddings, coordinator Beverly King stopped counting but continues to delight with her creativity. “The day before a wedding, one bride requested a choir to sing at the ceremony. I told her there wasn't enough notice but then I put my magic cap on and found a choir which ended her day beautifully.”

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