Jamaica's Half Moon resort offers alluring wedding plan

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JAM-HalfMoonGazeboThe five-star Half Moon resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, wants to attract prospective newlyweds with Allure, its latest all-inclusive wedding deal.

Described as "the ultimate affordable destination wedding package," the Allure package -- priced at $19,000 -- is available through Dec. 14 at the 398-unit, 400-acre property.

According to Romance Manager Andrea Smith, weddings bookings have held up as of late -- despite the shaky world economy -- at Half Moon, which hosts an average of 170 nuptials ceremonies per year. However, booking windows have tightened and brides- and grooms-to-be are being more selective.

"Weddings are usually booked up to a year in advance [but] lately we're getting requests just three or four months ahead," she said. "In fact, this month we've been getting a lot requests for July.

"I guess people are skeptical, are holding onto their money and are looking for the best deal before confirming," she added.

Half Moon is doing its best to woo choosy couples with the Allure deal, as well as discounted room rates and new group all-inclusive packages that earn newlyweds perks and freebies when family and friends book rooms for the wedding.

The Allure package covers wedding planning services, a ceremony and a reception for as many as 50 guests, as well as extra services. The deal -- which does not include accommodations -- is commissionable to travel agents at 10%.

Wedding planner service is a highlight at Half Moon, said Smith. "A wedding planner is assigned to a bride and will work with her right through the planning process -- up until the day and night of the wedding," she said. "It's all about us holding her hand and walking her through the entire process."

For the ceremony, guests booking the Allure package are provided a marriage officer; marriage license with certified copies; tropical bouquets for the bride and three bridesmaids; four tropical boutonnieres for groom and groomsmen; two corsages, for the mothers of the bride and groom; tropical flower decorations; and a violinist, guitarist or saxophonist.

Half Moon offers both indoor and outdoor ceremony sites -- a major consideration in a tropical destination such as Jamaica where rain can materialize unexpectedly.

"The first thing many brides ask when they call us is whether we have covered locations in case it rains, [and] we consider that when we're booking out the location," said Smith. "For example, our Oleander Terrace is right on the beach but it's also open so that if you have to come under the terrace due to rain, you can still see the ocean."

Allure receptions include six tropical table centerpieces; votive candles; four-hour open bar, including post-ceremony cocktail hour with hors d'oeuvres; buffet dinner or three-course plated dinner; disc jockey (four hours); and a three-tiered vanilla wedding cake.

JAM-HalfMoonSunsetIn addition, couples enjoy three hours of photography service, with 60 5x7 prints; professional make-up at the resort salon for the bride; the services of a wedding planner; and wedding location set-up to include chair ties and a public address system.

The $19,000 rate is inclusive of 15% service charge and 8.25% tax.

Couples can customize the Allure package with additional options to suit individual needs and tastes. "Some brides like an even more extravagant affair," noted Smith.

Newlyweds also benefit when their wedding guests book one of Half Moon's new group all-inclusive packaged stays. For example, wedding guests booking a $190 per person, per night stay get three meals daily plus activities -- while the bride and groom earn credit toward one free wedding-related event per day.

"That means they'll get a complete dinner with bar, and things like set-up fees," said Smith. "It is excellent for both the travel agents, because they'll get their commission off of the package, and for the bride and groom, as they benefit directly from the rate that their guest has paid."

Wedding guests on even tighter budgets who opt to stay at less expensive resorts near Half Moon still enjoy free access to the property on the day of the ceremony and reception, noted Smith.

For more on weddings at Half Moon, visit www.halfmoon.com.

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