Sandals, Martha Stewart team up to offer wedding packages

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Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and Sandals Resorts International have entered into a partnership to market and brand the resorts' destination wedding product under the Martha Stewart Weddings name.

The deal marks the first time Martha Stewart Weddings is putting its name on a destination wedding product.

Starting Oct. 1, agents and guests will be able to book a Martha Stewart Wedding at any of the 12 Sandals or four Beaches properties in the Caribbean for all weddings scheduled on or after Jan. 1.

The website for the new wedding product will also launch on Oct. 1.

Sandals and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia plan to finalize how the Martha Stewart Weddings and Sandals names will be officially incorporated together, branded and marketed, in the near future.

"Weddings is an extraordinary franchise for our company," said Robin Morino, president and CEO of merchandising for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

She added that Sandals "came to us because they really wanted us to brand the weddings."

The Martha Stewart Weddings will replace Sandals' existing weddings offering, including the optional Preston Bailey wedding packages; the four-year contract with Bailey ends this year.

The Martha Stewart deal, good for three-and-a-half years, has been in the works for the last several months, according to Sandals CEO Adam Stewart.

"Martha Stewart herself was the one who did the first inspection of the hotel," he said. "She has a team that is so on the cutting edge of what brides want today. ... Every single detail that has anything to do with the weddings has been completely reinvented."

Unlike the Preston Bailey wedding packages, for which guests pay an additional fee, starting Jan. 1, all Sandals weddings will carry the Martha Stewart Weddings brand name, including Sandals' most basic, free wedding package. There will be add-ons for an additional cost, ranging from place cards to private bonfires. The weddings are commissionable.

The weddings will fall under one of five themes, which haven't been finalized, Morino said.

Adam Stewart said that the investment in the new product is "massive" and that everything, ranging from table settings to flowers, from service to co-branded Martha Stewart/Sandals product, is being bought or created from scratch.

He would not give an exact amount for how much Sandals is investing in the new wedding product, but Kevin Froemming, president of Unique Vacations, the marketing, sales and advertising company for Sandals and Beaches resorts, said it was a multimillion-dollar investment.

Martha Stewart Weddings will provide wedding consultancy to Sandals, and the two entities will cooperate on the creative side as well as on co-branded merchandise.

Sandals did not give details on how profits from the Martha Stewart Weddings business at Sandals would be divided.

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