White Weddings with a Caribbean Tan

Caribbean weddings and honeymoons are the way to tie the knot these days. Some dramatic outfits from the recent display at Harrods in London

  • Sandra Foster, Miss Jamaica 1992, won standing ovations for this "princess" gown, a grand extravaganza of hand-painted tulle with pink and gold bodice by Louise Hamlyn Wright
  • Gottex blue bikini, with pink chiffon shirt and floral shorts (£285)
  • Escada dress with gold belt (£678)
  • Ostrich feather cape by Tatters (£1,030)
  • Camilla by Catherine Rayner (a snip at £1,730)
  • MaxMara pink dress and jacket (£412)
  • C'est comme ça: sheer shirt and pleat skirt (£190)
  • Harrods by night
  • Harrod's elegant Georgian Restaurant
  • BWlA's display window at Harrods
  • Sacha by Helen Marina (£885)

Newly-weds long ago discovered the idea of Caribbean honeymoons. What better way to give married life a good start than with blue skies and white sand, sunset strolls and moonlit swims, easy living among people who live life with passion?

But the new idea is to have the wedding itself in the Caribbean too. Several Caribbean hotels have already developed attractive wedding packages to relieve the prospective couple of the hassles of wedding arrangements. All the happy couple has to do is show up and stay a few days to satisfy local residence requirements (which vary from island to island).

The most difficult decision is which island to exchange vows on. It depends if you want to supplement beautiful beaches and marvellous weather with peace and quiet and privacy, great scuba-diving, foot-stomping non-stop beach parties, colourful festivals, sailing or golfing, or natural beauty. You can tie the knot on a beach, in a tropical garden, on a yacht – even underwater – it saves on shoes!

Antigua, Barbados, Grenada and St Lucia already offer attractive packages, and several other countries including Trinidad and Tobago are busily developing them. Hawksbill Beach Resort in Antigua and Discovery Bay in Barbados, for example, have an all-inclusive wedding/honeymoon package (with all sorts of extras from free flowers and champagne to a best man if you haven’t got one!); Hawksbill married more than 200 couples last year. In St Lucia, hotels like Club St Lucia, Windjammer Landing, Anse Chastanet and Le Sport (which throws in a free massage) also have outstanding packages.

Inspired by all this amorous activity in the Caribbean, the famous Harrods department store in London turned tropical last February and March with a Caribbean festival of wedding fashions. With the support of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, Harrods devoted all its 19 display windows to different Caribbean islands (and one to BWIA), and showcased Caribbean food and entertainment inside. As guests enjoyed lavish meals in the Georgian Restaurant on the fourth floor, a team of leading models displayed wedding gowns ranging from the traditional classic look to the outrageously modern, snappy flirt skirts and jackets, sleek swim wear and drop-dead glamorous lingerie, all ushered in by sweet steelband music and island videos. Several Caribbean honeymoon trips were given away.