When we got engaged, we almost immediately knew we wanted to have a destination wedding, and began the grueling process of researching various locations in the Caribbean. We wanted a place that was fairly easy to get to from where we live (New York) and would provide a really authentic Caribbean vibe for our guests. We decided Barbados was the perfect match, but given our busy work schedules, knew we needed a wedding planner to help us with all of the arrangements on the ground. I researched a few planners and blindly reached out to them via email. Lisa St John from Island Bliss was the only planner that responded to me in a timely fashion, and given some of the reviews online, I immediately knew we were in good hands.
My mom, sisters and then fiance flew to Barbados to meet with Lisa to scout venues for the wedding weekend about a year prior to the wedding. We both have large families, and knew we needed to plan for about 175 guests, which is not an easy task on the small island! There were only a handful of venues that could manage our party size. Lisa spent two full days driving us around from venue to venue and we ultimately decided that Codrington College was the perfect setup for what we envisioned – the ability to customize all of the wedding details, from decor to food to music to lighting. Not only did Lisa help us choose the wedding venue, but also recommended only the best caterer and DJ to ensure the two things that mattered to us most (food and music) were well taken care of.
Since everyone was planning to travel to Barbados for the wedding, we really wanted to ensure that our guests 1) could see a lot of the island during their stay 2) were well taken care of throughout their weekend stay. We knew that most guests were planning to arrive on Thursday, so we planned to have both a Welcome Dinner and Rehearsal Dinner for all guests before the wedding day. I originally planned to take care of the details of these events myself, however, Lisa offered to take on the planning at an extremely reasonable cost.
Throughout the planning process, Lisa not only remained professional despite my type A personality and often times indecisive nature, but also provided really critical feedback and opinions on every detail of our wedding weekend. She suggested and incorporated details for each event that I could not think of myself (for example, adding cooling units at a restaurant with no A/C, crafting really cute name card setups for the welcome dinner and wedding and countless others). There were times when I wanted responses for my several emails per day immediately (which was unrealistic given the various vendors she had to manage for our wedding), but I always knew that she was more than on top of every request that I asked of her.
Once we arrived in Barbados for the wedding week, mostly all of our wedding details were already finalized that we actually got to relax with our family and friends and just be in the moment of our wedding week. During our final planning meeting the Wednesday before the wedding, my then fiance asked if we could get a smoke machine to go off during our wedding reception entrance. While I thought this was completely unnecessary and ridiculous, somehow Lisa (and her partner Jean) made it happen. It was one of the most memorable moments of our wedding.
Overall, you will be in excellent hands working with Island Bliss. Both Lisa and Jean are genuinely warm people and took the time to get to know our families while we were on the island. They are extremely organized, professional, and fun and will make your wedding the best day (or in our case, weekend) of your life.