My mix and match, multicultural Tobago wedding
Posted Dec 14, 2020
Why Tobago was this couple’s perfect choice to say 'I Do'
Toronto is now officially the most multicultural city in the world, with over 51% per cent of our population made up of visible minorities. We love this about our city. We are proud of it. It also means there are a lot of multicultural couples seeking to find a perfect destination wedding spot to honor sometimes vastly different traditions.
We were one of those couples.
I am Canadian of English/Irish descent. My husband was born and raised in Delhi, India. This was the second marriage for both us – I had already ticked the traditional WASP wedding off my list, he had done the big Indian wedding.
For our second time around, we sought something simpler: a warm-weather destination where the folks we love could celebrate with us – and escape winter. In our exhaustive search for the perfect spot, we discovered Tobago – an undiscovered, untouched Caribbean island with a cultural heritage that proudly includes Afro-Caribbean, Chinese, Indian, Lebanese, Jewish and European elements.
A lot like home, in other words.
Here is why Tobago turned out to be perfect for us
1. Price: Tobago uses the Trinidad and Tobago dollar, which has a fantastic exchange rate for Canadians.
2. Location: Tobago, located at the southern end of the Caribbean Sea, is well served by flights via Trinidad from Canada, the U.S., Europe, and South America. Our Indian family flew in via London. We had guests from Argentina and Mexico that came via Panama. The best part? No one (except the Canadians!) had to endure the rigors of our winter en route.
3. Mix and match traditions: Rather than a traditional Western white wedding, we kicked off the week with a “wear white” themed party. Our newly sun-kissed guests looked gorgeous their white linens and flowing white skirts. For the Indian ceremony, we rented an Asian inspired villa decorated with tropical flowers and bright colours, and people looked resplendent in jeweled Indian saris and kurtas. Our guests had the benefit of completely different experiences while we honoured both families.
4. The ceremony: We used a Hindu priest for our ceremony. The unique ethnic mix of Trinidad and Tobago means that couples can celebrate within the faith of their choosing.
5. Truly inclusive accommodations: Tobago has a wide range of options - everything from luxury hotels to rustic family-run guesthouses. Our guests were not limited to an expensive all-inclusive to be part of our celebrations.
6. Lots to do: When you ask folks to travel a long way to be part of your ceremony, you can expect they will stay for more than a few days. Tobago made it easy to keep 50 guests of all ages and nationalities entertained. We took them to Buccoo for Sunday School – a local street party with steel pan bands and dancing. Impromptu beach parties and barbeques became the norm, with coolers full of local beer and rotis. Some chose to tour the island and hike waterfalls while others did the awe-inspiring bio-luminescence tours and watched the water lit up at night from under the sea. The friendly, helpful, and accommodating people of Tobago – unjaded by mass tourism – made us feel welcome everywhere we went.
7. Local planners make everything easy: There are a number of excellent wedding planners in Tobago who can do everything to prepare for your arrival. For a list of local wedding resources, click here.
8. The “Tobago Factor”: Our guests did not know each other at the beginning of our wedding week. They came from different cultures, spoke different languages and had varying expectations of what a wedding should be. Yet within just a few days of arrival, our group had gelled, and people were made fast friends. Somehow, sharing in the untouched beauty of this incredible island, meeting people, and just relaxing in nature had an astonishing effect. We call it The Tobago Factor. Bring your friends and wait for the magic to happen. There is no place we would rather have had our wonderful wedding.
Post by Ann Layton
Editor's Note: This event took place before COVID-19 and social distancing protocols. Visit tobagobeyond.com for the latest travel advisory updates.