This summer, Jade Pilgrim will be marrying the love of her life, Brandon Pardy.
And while she's focusing on her wedding day, she's also stressed about her honeymoon.
In October, Jade and Brandon spent thousands of dollars to book their honeymoon at the Majestic Mirage resort in the Dominican Republic. At the time, there were no international headlines about tourists being assaulted or visitors becoming ill. Hearing the news reports made Jade question how safe such a trip would be.
Jade was especially frightened to hear the story of a woman from Delaware who claimed to have been brutally attacked not far from where Jade and Brandon would be staying.
“When the news first came out about the woman who was assaulted… I was really nervous because she claimed that the person who assaulted her was wearing a hotel uniform and had a name tag on. So, I didn’t feel safe really going there, especially since it’s just two of us going there. We’re not in a large group or anything like that.”
Jade tried to cancel her trip and book elsewhere, but her travel agent didn’t have good news for her.
"I didn’t feel safe really going there, especially since it’s just two of us going there. We’re not in a large group or anything like that." — Jade Pilgrim
“We booked through a travel agent. She said that, as of right now, Air Canada doesn’t feel passengers are in danger and cancellation policy still applies. And where we’re leaving so soon, I would lose 100 per cent of my money,” said Jade.
“(The travel agent) said the only way I could do it was to cancel my trip that I currently have booked and paid off and then rebook somewhere else, but I’d still lose my money and I would have to submit a claim through my travel insurance, which could take a couple of months to get the money back, if the claim was approved.”
Jade doesn’t understand why Air Canada won’t refund her money, given the level of fear a lot of tourists are having about the Dominican Republic right now. She said she would be more than willing to just exchange the tickets for a new destination.
“It makes me scared to go and after spending so much money… I don’t feel you should be forced to go if you don’t feel safe,” said Jade.
“I would 100 per cent use the same amount of money and use the same dates and just go somewhere else.”
Jade and Brandon decided to go on their honeymoon to the Dominican Republic anyway, despite the risk involved. At this point, however, she is more worried about falling ill than being assaulted.
“You’re staying at an all-inclusive, so you can’t control what you’re eating or drinking. You don’t know how it’s going to be prepared or whatever. I think I’m a bit more worried about that than the assault.”
Jade and Brandon’s decision to carry on with their honeymoon plans is a controversial one among family and friends. Some believe it’s not worth the risk.
“There’s mixed reactions; my aunt is dead set against us going. She said no amount of money is worth your life… but I have a friend who just got back from the Dominican Republic and she said she felt completely safe and she feels that it’s all been blown out of proportion.”