Get all the latest Aruba news in the Visit Aruba app for iOS and Android.

Rebecca delivers a most engaging concept

Michele & RebeccaWe organized 353 weddings last year, in our Jamaican property says director of sales Michele Olivier. Holiday Inn Sunspree Jamaica is apparently a popular wedding and honeymoon resort thanks to the efforts of that island’s ministry of tourism. The resort says Michele, employs a full time wedding coordinator which handles requests and makes all arrangements. Imagine she states, if we really promoted and nurtured this niche market here in Aruba, imagine what the results would be.

Michele who is director of sales for both Holiday Inn Sunsprees scoured the globe and found just the right dream-maker, Rebecca Grinnals, whose company Engaging Concepts helps destinations focus on and strategize around that impossibly romantic pivotal moment in our life, the just-perfect tying of the knot.

I was at the right time, Rebecca says, at the right place, when fresh out of school, fifteen years ago, she found herself at Disney, at the dawn of the wedding and honeymoon boom. During her ten year stint with the mouse she says, she helped orchestrate 18.000 weddings, with revenues in excess of 93 millions a year. The average Disney wedding, with one-hundred bright-eyed guests in attendance yielded $44.000, spent on anything from live web cam to rooms and banquets. With 18 partner-resorts and a multi-million dollar wedding chapel, brides could let their imagination fly. All fifty-five eager staff members, says Rebecca, were ready to summon Cinderella’s glass coach, the castle, or any other fantasy, including the ring in the glass slipper.


Rebecca has since then spread her wings becoming a full time consultant and wedding specialist. She writes for; she consults Island Magazine and Harley Davidson. Yes, believe it or not the bike-maker is organizing the largest ever Harley buffs’ renewal of vows in Orlando this spring with Rebecca as the ultimate maven on the subject. The idea landed Harley on the front page of US Today, which by itself is a huge bonanza. Anyway, here in Aruba, Rebecca is prepared to quantum leap the Holiday Inn into the future of that industry, and later on position the island to launch itself as a preferred wedding destination. It’s a natural extension of your One Happy Honeymoon national promotion, she says, don’t just honeymoon here, jump the broom, as well!

According to statistics, Destination Weddings is the biggest growing trend. It went from 3% in 1991 to 8% in 2001. The 80s mold of country club weddings for 500 assorted family members has been replaced by a thirst for adventure and romance. Brides are studying websites and exploring faraway possibilities with eager to please grooms, by their side.

With Aruba’s change of law last year, Michele thinks, the potential is unlimited. Couples can now get off the plane and head to city hall for a short, legally binding, ceremony. Consequently, Michele’s vision goes beyond the government official. Once she gets her resort’s wedding and honeymoon menu going, Michele would like the island of Aruba to pool resources and aggressively place itself in every bride’s face. Jamaica pioneered the trend, she explains and last year Sandals alone married 10.000 couples. Aruba, an island in possession of beauty and romance, could easily enter that race with an unbelievable arsenal of sunsets, boats, lighthouses, dunes, amazing cake makers, dress-makers, musicians, photographers and florists. The talents are abundant locally they just have to be assembled.



Read more news