Renewing my vows thanks to American Express
by Stefanie Michaels
When American Express came to me last year and asked me to come on and work with them on their Platinum For A Year program, I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I’ve been a Platinum cardholder since 1994 and rely heavily on the card for all my purchases, business needs, travel adventures and then some.
Being on the road more than 150 days a year, means that I use my card a lot. It’s my go to card for everything travel—booking airfare, hotels, and one of my favorite perks, pulling it out overseas because it saves me on any foreign transaction fees.
However, when it comes to personal travel, I really need the help from AMEX’s Platinum travel services. I just don’t always have the time to utilize the Internet to grab deals and put a trip together.
Enter, Curtis, a Travel Consultant for American Express Travel & Lifestyle Services, who came to my rescue this past December.
With only a few weeks away from Christmas and the New Year, which is also my wedding anniversary, I hadn’t had the chance to think about where my husband and I would head to celebrate. (Each year we travel somewhere in the world and renew our vows on New Years Eve).
This year was not only a milestone year, but an important one at that. Last year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and my husband had surgery to remove a brain tumor a few years ago. So, this time we had a lot to celebrate and to be thankful for having each other around to love.
I hopped onto the AMEX Platinum travel area on the americanexpress.com website and picked up the phone to call Curtis.
We perused different options for the island of St. Lucia. It was important that I traveled there since my fans from @adventuregirl on Twitter had picked the destination for this year’s renewal.
I was so happy St. Lucia was the chosen destination for me. The island is gorgeous, the people are sincere and friendly, and the ambiance for romance is perfection.
The problem I faced with it being only a few weeks out from the holidays was that pretty much everything was booked.
Thank goodness I had Curtis working on my travels, because he found the last room at Sandals Grande St. Lucian, which I had my eye on from the start.
He secured the reservation for me with my Platinum Card, contacted the hotel, and followed up with me and the hotel several times to make sure my travels would go smoothly.
We opted for the butler service. Our butlers (guests get two) greeted us as soon as we got to our room. A quick introduction making sure our travels had been easy; then our daytime Butler, Immer (pronounced Imma) handed us a red cell phone. “This is how you get a hold of me at any time you need anything,” she said.
Butlers do everything from unpacking and packing your clothes, booking spa appointments, securing cabanas, arrange restaurant reservations, activities, island tours, and even set up breakfast in bed.
Even though we chose this amenity, at first having butlers and the phone to call the butlers with seemed uncomfortable. I talked to several other guests who said the same thing. Then, after a couple of days of not “wanting to trouble them” and being assured this was their job, we began to utilize the service.
Our butlers, Bailey and Immer, were like personal assistants and indispensable, especially the day of our event. If you can and want to, book this service.
For soon-to-be brides and grooms, upon arrival at the resort, a scheduled meeting with the exceptional wedding team of planners will commence. Monica, Shanna & Rohan were assigned to us. They helped navigate through the bevy of choices for our on-the-sand renewal, set up our wedding cake tasting and went over some details for the look of the photos we wanted. We also got their thumbs up for our wedding song, Gwen Stefani’s Underneath It All, which I would be walking down the aisle to.
The wedding team then set up a meeting with the onsite photographers, SnapShots. We were assigned Brent, who was super easy to work with and understood the shots we were going for. (Don’t be afraid to share your ideas with the photography team. We ended up adding in shots around the cabanas).
With everything set into place, we renewed our vows on the beach at 4:00pm at Sandals Grande St. Lucian on our anniversary, followed by a stunning sunset photo shoot to end our perfect day.
Well, almost the end of our perfect day. The wedding team arranged for a romantic dinner on the beach complete with candlelight and white-glove service under the stars.
There are more surprises around each and every turn for those getting married or renewing their vows. I don’t want to share what they are, it would spoil the surprises, but it’s all simply magical.
Destination: Sandals Grande St. Lucian
Room to request: Room 2303/Perfectly situated near the entrance, restaurants & private cabanas
Butlers: Immer & Bailey
Best time to book a wedding: Either early morning (soft lighting) or late afternoon (sunsets)
Sandals Grande St. Lucian Wedding Team: Monica, Shanna & Rohan
What is included in wedding & renewals:
Personal pre-travel wedding planner, Personal resort wedding planner and dedicated resort wedding team, Picturesque Wedding Location, Preparation of marriage documents, Chiavari Chairs, Musical Accompaniment (pre-recorded), Witnesses upon request, 30 minute Sparkling Wine & Cold Hors d’oeuvres Delightful Reception for Bride, Groom and up to 6 guests, Wedding gift from Sandals Resorts, Free Wedding Website and Gift Registry, 35 Minute Massage for the Groom, Manicure for the Bride, Decorated Honeymoon Room for Bride & Groom, Mimosa Breakfast-in-Bed for Bride & Groom any Morning of Choice, Honeymoon dinner for bride and groom at a resort specialty restaurant with white-glove service and a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine, Complimentary 5″x7″ Honeymoon Photo for Bride & Groom
Photography: SnapShots Photo & Video Creations/Sandals