It was made clear that 2022 was going to be an unprecedented year for weddings after two years of postponements by so many couples. And boy did that come to fruition. We continue to see countless weddings taking place. We have even seen more weddings taking place during the middle of the week! Folks are excited to finally tie the knot and celebrate with their loved ones.
But this surge has brought a different set of challenges—particularly a lack of venue availability for the type of weddings and settings that some couples envision, on their desired dates. So, for our readers and fans, we noticed more and more destination weddings on the rise. You, our couples, have always been avid travelers, but we have increasingly heard from you all that you are open to destination weddings.
These challenges do not discriminate, whether you are wealthy or a celebrity, the availability issue has impacted all couples. One couple whose wedding we’ve had the honor of covering was legendary R&B singer, Multi-platinum executive producer, A&R, Artist, Grammy Award Winner & Nominee, Soul Train Award Winner, and entrepreneur, Jeffrey Redd, who married his friend, life partner, and lover, the beautiful and brilliantly talented, Theresa O’Neal, a Public Relations guru and celebrated executive and entrepreneur in her own right.
With all their success and the amount of resources available to them, you would think they would be set. Well, they were! Theresa reached out to her contact at the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Board, Carolyn Punter, which proved to be a blessing. Carolyn was able to facilitate the production of this love escapade on the island of her heritage, Antigua and Barbuda. Joining the celebration of this love story were Dean Fenton, ABTA Director of Tourism For The USA, Shermain Jeremy, ABTA Special Projects and Events Manager, and Carolyn Punter, ABTA Marketing Officer for the NYC office. Talk about star power!
Antigua and Barbuda provides the ultimate setting for any dream wedding and honeymoon, let alone a celebrity wedding. They are equipped to assist you with epic venues, expert planners, and awesome vendors that stand ready and available to ensure your wedding takes place without a hitch. These amazing, qualified vendors are here to assist you plan your nuptials from start to finish.
Theresa had a history with the island and was very comfortable choosing this beautiful oasis to say, “I do” to her beloved, Jeff Redd. With their “no waiting period or residency requirements” for a wedding license to be issued, it was a no brainer for them to tie the knot on here. The venue location was the beautiful Carlisle Bay Antigua, a private oasis tucked away between the beautiful mountains and a beautiful body of clear blue beachy waters. This beautiful gated piece of paradise is filled with greenery and exotic flowers, and that is just some of the beauty you get to enjoy after you get past the gorgeous fish-filled pond that makes for a picturesque backdrop. Let the instagram moments begin.
Like any couple, they wanted to make sure that the island could accommodate not only their wedding, but that it also had activities for their traveling guests. There were countless excursions created for guests, and plenty of downtime for them to relax, since this would be a two-for-one for all traveling—celebrating the love of two wonderful people as well as making this a much-needed vacation after two years of restrictions.
Theresa and Jeff did better than just packing a bag and bringing outside vendors to get married on the island. It was important to them that they supported the local businesses on the beautiful island. So upon learning of their upcoming nuptial, Abbott’s Jewellry graciously provided them with their wedding bands and, as expected, the boutique was honored to celebrate their upcoming union by hosting a little soiree for them.
Next came the wedding attire. Theresa’s gorgeous dress was made by the island’s fashion power house: internationally-recognized couturier, Noreen Phillips. The dress was designed and fitted virtually, and was only tried and fitted days before the wedding, upon the bride’s arrival to the island. Being the consummate professional that Noreen Phillips is, she took this task extremely seriously. She was very conscious of the risk and concerns a bride might have of not being able to fit your dress prior to the wedding. This can be a recipe for disaster for both the bride and the designer, but when you are dealing with professionals, and good spirits, you must choose to exercise trust and let the experts do what they do. Both the bride and groom put their trust in the recommendation of Carolyn Punter and both had their wedding attire made and purchased from Noreen’s Phillips’ boutique. They were not disappointed. The couple looked perfect for their dream wedding. Her dress, veil, and shoes were appropriate for this beach wedding. Jeff wore a three-piece tuxedo, light in color, but a perfect fit for this very special occasion.
They chose to do it in the latter part of the day, when the weather would be cooler and the sun would not be beaming, having their guests unnecessarily uncomfortable or too hot to make their fashion statements for such an illustrious occasion.
The properties general manager, Brian Murphy, oversaw the planning with his very capable team, lead by Food and Beverage Manager, Nicky Sheard. Every detail of this wedding was perfectly planned and executed, from my viewpoint as a producer. The challenge is always making sure that what was agreed upon on paper comes to life, as seamlessly as possible.
The on premises, Wedding and Events Manager, Jodie Hastings and Nicky Sheard, could be seen during the early part of the day putting together the details for the upcoming soiree.
Leading-Up To The Big Day
Our days leading-up to the wedding were filled with perfectly planned activities that allowed guests to meet each other and engage with one another—things that would allow guests to take in the beauty and rich history of the island in a relaxed way. Upon landing, I was picked-up by Baptiste Rental and Taxi Transportation, who took us directly to our hotel, Carlisle Bay Antigua, where the bellmen portered our bags while we were greeted with a cooling towel, hand sanitizers, and a refreshing drink—all before even checking in! The lobby seating area, which has a beautiful baby grand piano and bar, is beautiful and spacious, giving you views of paths to the pool, the restaurant, the beach, Cara Spa, and to your room and suites.
I quickly freshened-up to be taken to our afternoon tea at the stunning Antigua Vintage Tea House, owned and operated by Tracy Guerrero, who showered us with the wonderful offerings that satisfied our hunger without overwhelming us. Tracy and her staff were gracious hosts that provided us with a simple setup that was beautifully matched with the scenic views. The bites were yummy and filled us up nicely after the four-hour-plus flight, which didn’t provide us much in the way of food, which has become a modern norm for airlines. I thought it was thoughtful for the couple to provide such a warm welcome to their guests that were sure to be hungry. The remainder of the afternoon proved to be pleasant and relaxing. Later, we drove through the town, watching the adults sell their local goods alongside the roads, and the children playing amongst each other, made me realize how much I missed the simplicity of a quiet life as a child.
We later gathered with the group for dinner at Catherine’s Garden Grill at English Harbour and watched the sunset and instantly realized how sweet life can really be, and was, in that exact moment. After dinner, we gathered back in the van, fully satisfied and ready for bed.
Carlisle Bay Antigua Experience
Walking into my air conditioned room, bed having been turned over, slippers out, could make a girl feel spoiled. The suite was steps from the ocean, with a patio, and the size of the bathroom was that of a small New York studio apartment. I was floored. The living area was a perfect size to lounge around and watch TV, or work at the desk provided in the suite.
The property is fully-equipped to feed you with their four on-site restaurants. They can satisfy the most demanding of foodies with their first class staff, lead by Executive Chef, Prabhakar Kumar—his Indian heritage, mixed with the Caribbean flavors, are the very reason why everything we ate during our stay was divine. If it is healthy living you are seeking, then Antigua and Barbuda are a perfect location for you to enjoy great cuisine. The food is fresh and the living is good.
The hotel is also a great place to stay because they offer you morning meditation, yoga, pilates, and hiking on the grounds. And if that is not your thing, they have what seems to me like an olympic-size pool for your enjoyment, as well as the beach. Safe grounds to relax and enjoy nature and a quiet environment away from the fast-paced hustle of city life are what you can expect when you visit Antigua.
The property was a perfect setting for the wedding—the weather was perfect, and once the wedding was over, the couple ended the festivities with fireworks. Although the fireworks and music were at perfect sound level for our enjoyment, it was located away from where it could disturb the other hotel guests, which I found to be brilliant.
After The Wedding
While the wedding of Jeff Redd and Theresa O’Neal may have been the main event of the trip, the activities they planned were nothing short of perfection. The next day was just as epic as the wedding itself. After having a leisurely morning, with time to enjoy a wonderful breakfast on property, we had a brief history tour of the island and its gorgeous views. We swooped away to A & B National Park and got a private tour of the mountain view. It was breathtaking.
We ended our last evening by going to Shirley Heights Lookout, where live music and a fabulous, finger-licking good barbecue, awaited us. It felt like the combination of a family reunion and a Caribbean concert with all the treats curated just for us and the countless visitors from all over the world. It was EPIC! Yet another night where I fell asleep fully-satisfied and feeling joy.
The next day, I ended my trip by having a 60-minute, full-body message by one of their gifted massage therapists, Sharla. Her hands felt healing. It was so relaxing, I felt my stress being rolled away with every touch. Coming to Antigua was like visiting your favorite aunt, uncle, or grandparent’s home, knowing, for those days, you would be safe and stress-free.
While I knew I had to go, I also knew I didn’t want to leave! I am sure I’ll come back.
In conclusion, if you are overwhelmed with planning your wedding and need some place calming and relaxing to tie the knot, seriously consider Antigua and Barbuda. Allow their locals to do what they do, and leave you stress-free. You can be legally wed, and the local businesses will take care of the rest. At the Ministry of Legal Affairs – Queen Elizabeth Highway, an interview will be conducted with the Marriage Coordinator. After the successful completion of this interview, the license will be issued. Once you have possession of this license, you must visit the Registrar General’s office, which is close by. The Registrar General’s office number is (268) 462-0609.
Thank you, Jeffrey and Theresa Redd, for including World Bride Magazine in this wonderful celebration of love.
All wedding images are courtesy of Watkins Multimedia Group, a local photography and video family owned business.