THE BLOG

How to Get a Free Wedding in Paradise

17/09/2014 11:27 BST | Updated 16/11/2014 10:59 GMT

Many couples dream of getting married on a tropical beach. It's an increasingly popular way to tie the knot, particularly for those that want a discreet ceremony without hundreds of guests in tow.

And it's not as expensive as you might think. In fact, some resort hotels now offer free wedding packages if you stay for a minimum number of nights.

Here are 10 of the best free wedding packages in exotic locations around the world.

Nisbet Plantation, Nevis

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Nisbet Plantation is both a boutique Caribbean hotel with just 36 rooms and a historic plantation inn dating from 1778. It was here that Fanny Nisbet fell in love with Horatio Nelson. There's no more majestic setting than the great lawns rolling down to the beach, with its Avenue of Palms. The staff are incredibly attentive too.

Couples booking a minimum seven-night stay in a suite until 19 December 2014 get a free wedding ceremony that includes a decorated venue at the resort (ruins of a Sugar Mill, historic Great House, lush tropical gardens, beach at sunset), bride's bouquet and buttonhole for the groom, a two-tier wedding cake, champagne for the wedding toast and a champagne breakfast the following day.

What it costs: Caribtours has seven nights from £2,249 per person, based on two adults sharing a Deluxe Garden Suite with breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner each day, and the free wedding. The price includes return scheduled flights from London Gatwick, use of a lounge at Gatwick and return airport transfers.

Raffles Praslin, Seychelles

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Located on the beautiful island of Praslin, home to the Vallee de Mai, said to be the original Garden of Eden, the five-star deluxe Raffles Praslin Seychelles offers a selection of luxury villas - all with a private pool -a butler service and award-winning spa.

Stay seven nights and you can book a free wedding which includes registrar fees, marriage certificate, champagne and tropical fruits on arrival, wedding gift, after-ceremony champagne, wedding cake, romantic dinner under the stars, in-villa breakfast the following and a 90-minute couples spa treatment. The couple will also be able to plant a 'tree of love' in the tropical gardens at the resort.

What it costs: Seven nights in a Bayview Pool Villa cost from £2,298 per person with breakfast including return economy class flights from London, inter-island flights and private car transfers with Just Seychelles.

Heritance Ahungalla, Sri Lanka

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The Heritance Ahungalla beach resort, located on the southwest coast approximately half way between Colombo and Galle, is the perfect base from which to explore many of the incredible sights of Sri Lanka - assuming you can tear yourselves away from the infinity pool, spa, beach and restaurants.

Stay for 14 nights at the Heritance Ahungalla and enjoy a free Classic Wedding package worth £500 that includes your choice of location, a two-tier wedding cake, sparkling wine, dinner, photographs, two witnesses (if required) and your marriage certificate. For an additional cost, the hotel can arrange your "going away" on an elephant.

What it costs: Fourteen nights B&B at the Heritance Ahungalla costs from £1,449 per person sharing a Deluxe Room including flights and transfers with Tropical Sky.

Tokoriki Island Resort, Fiji

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Arrive at Tokoriki Island Resort to be met with a chorus of Fijian song, a lei of fragrant flowers and a resounding bula, the local welcome greeting. You'll be shown to your "bure" (villa), with its uninterrupted ocean views, and your own private sun deck and pool. By night, soak up the island culture, legends and cuisine with the resort's traditional barbecues, storytelling and music. There's also an opportunity to explore the nearby uninhabited island of Monuriki, made famous by the movie Castaway starring Tom Hanks.

Stay seven nights and get a Paradise Wedding package which includes the marriage licence fee, ceremony, floral welcome, flower leis and tiara, decorated beach canopy, traditional Fijian warrior escorts for the bride, a wedding cake, bottle of sparkling wine and three-course candlelit dinner with a bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne.

What it costs: £3,655 per person including seven nights with breakfast in a Beach Front Bure, private return helicopter transfers, international flights and the Paradise Wedding Package with Exsus.

Pacific Resort Aitutaki, The Cook Islands

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For desert island bliss, it doesn't get much better than Aitutaki, a spectacular atoll in The Cook Islands. Pacific Resort Aitutaki is one of the world's most secluded and romantic boutique island resorts with just 27 luxurious beachfront suites, villas and bungalows surrounded by the clear waters of Aitutaki lagoon.

Stay seven nights or more and enjoy a free Pacific Wedding. Choose your own wedding location - a dream beach on the lagoon or a charming village church, for example. Your wedding licence, transport to obtain wedding licence, services of a celebrant, floral centrepiece for ceremony table, personal wedding planner and flowers are all included.

What it costs: Seven nights from £3,459 per person with breakfast including flights, transfers and the Pacific Wedding Ceremony package with Turquoise Holidays.

On board a tall ship cruise

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Star Clippers runs fully-crewed sailing voyages on board the world's largest tall ships - choose from the Mediterranean, Central America, the Caribbean and Cuba. Couples enjoy all the romance of a sailing ship and five-star service.

Wedding blessings, by the uniformed captain and officers, take place by the wheel, usually in a romantic setting late afternoon or at sunset. The couple make their vows witnessed by the crew, and then are toasted with champagne and a cake. It's a complimentary service for a blessing or vow renewals but it is not a formal wedding licence. Couples can also climb the rigging up to the crow's nest, 50ft above deck.

What it costs: A three-night Mediterranean sailing on board the flagship Royal Clipper costs from £695 per person or from £1,470 per person for a week's Mediterranean sailing on board the four-masted Star Clipper (both excluding flights) with Star Clippers. Caribbean sailings cost from £1,240pp. All meals are included.

Rendezvous Resort, St Lucia

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Rendezvous Resort is a boutique, couples-only all-inclusive on the beautiful Caribbean island of St Lucia which has carved out a niche for itself as an island for romance, and has everything you need for a relaxing and value for money honeymoon.

Stay for seven nights or more in any room category to enjoy the free Rendezvous Romance wedding. It includes the services of a wedding specialist who will handle all of the arrangements from obtaining the marriage licence to booking a manicure. Also included are sparkling wine reception for up to eight people, service of witnesses (if required), preparation of marriage documents, decorated wedding location, bridal bouquet, boutonniere, wedding cake, dinner table for the bride and groom, breakfast in bed the following morning, couple's massage and a gift. All weddings are subject to mandatory government fees of US$220.

What it costs: Seven nights in a Premium Garden View Room (with a free upgrade to a Verandah Room) from £1,559 per person all-inclusive including flights and private transfers with Western & Oriental. This is a special offer, saving £2,518 per couple, and must be booked by 30 November 2014.

Dreams Riviera Cancun, Mexico

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The five-star Dreams Riviera Cancun is close enough to the attractions of vibrant Cancun but tucked away peacefully on its own vast white sand beach. It's for adults only, so it's a total getaway from everyday life.

Opt for a Preferred Club Premium Ocean View room (or higher category) for a free wedding package. It includes a symbolic ceremony, a wedding coordinator on site, preparation and ironing of the couple's wedding day outfits, free room for the groom the night before the wedding (based on availability), bouquet and boutonniere, wedding cake and sparkling wine toast (for up to 10 guests), special turn-down service at night and 15% discount on all spa treatments. Note: a legal marriage certificate costs extra, payable locally.

What it costs: Seven nights in a Preferred Club Premium Ocean View room costs from £1,349 per person all-inclusive, including flights and transfers, with Kenwood Travel.

Spice Island Beach Resort, Grenada

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Spice Island has a long history of offering couples a romantic Caribbean getaway. Named after the spices that grow on Grenada, this resort has won many awards for its hospitality. Located right on Grand Anse, 32 beachfront suites are a beach-lover's dream.

The resort has a free wedding offer valid year round though ceremonies are restricted to once a week to ensure that brides are not bumping into each other during their stay. The free wedding package, for parties of five or more, includes room upgrade (subject to availability), transfers for signing documents, marriage licence, embassy signing and priest or magistrate fees, certified marriage certificate, decorated wedding location on the beach or gazebo, a witness (if required), bouquet and boutonniere, framed photograph, bottle of champagne, wedding cake, hors d'oeuvres, decorated room and private dinner on your patio or terrace.

What it costs: Seven nights all-inclusive costs from £2,430 per person in an Oleander Garden View Suite including British Airways flights, private transfers and access to airport lounge on departure from Gatwick with The Ultimate Travel Company.

The Club Barbados Resort & Spa, Barbados

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One of only a handful of adult-only resorts in Barbados, The Club is located on the prestigious west coast. The atmosphere here is laid back and there's even an authentic Bajan rum shop amongst the three bars. As well as three freshwater swimming pools, all non-motorised watersports like snorkelling and kayaking are included in the price and there's a great spa too.

A free wedding package includes a decorated site for the ceremony, fresh local flowers for the bride and groom, magistrate fees, witness (if required), a bottle of champagne, wedding coordinator and a wedding cake. The wedding licence fee (approximately £210) is not included and is payable locally.

What it costs: Seven nights all inclusive cost from £1,716 per person based on a Superior Garden View room, including the Classic Wedding package as well as flights and transfers with Tropical Sky.

* Jane Anderson is editor of 101 Honeymoons