7 Top Places to Get Married in The Bahamas
Warm gin clear ocean + tropical heat + fresh seafood = Will you marry me?
There’s more to planning the perfect wedding in The Bahamas than sticking a driftwood arch on a pink-sand beach…as my wife kept telling me as “we” planned our wedding on the beautiful island of Eleuthera. That’s why, in 7 Secrets to Choosing your Island Wedding Venue, I spoke with wedding design guru Shawn Sawyer of Cacique International (a full service event, production and design company here in The Bahamas) to give you some tips for what to look for in the perfect island wedding venue.
Now that you’re better equipped for the wedding venue hunt, you’re still going to be spoiled for choice – here in The Bahamas we’ve got over 700 islands with everything from luxury resorts to boutique hotels and eco lodges to choose from.
So, to help you narrow down your choices, I’ve combined the collective wisdom of Shawn Sawyer and Bahamian Photographer Sabrina Lightbourn with my own hard-earned local experience, to bring you …steel drum roll…. 7 Top Spots to Get Married in The Bahamas!
WEDDING DESIGN GURU SHAWN SAWYER’S TOP PICKS:
A wonderful location for a wedding! This beautiful beachfront resort on ultra-chic Harbour Island has long attracted celebrities such as Martha Stewart, Nicole Kidman and Brooke Shields, as well as wedding parties and honeymooners to its 25 private cottages scattered over 26 secluded acres.
From a wedding perspective, the great thing about the Pink Sands is that it allows for multiple locations for ceremonies and receptions – the iconic Pink Sands Beach, the Blue Bar overlooking the sea, as well as the Garden Terrace which provides a romantic setting among lush tropical foliage. With so many possibilities, it’s a highly creative location for a wedding designer to work with. The architecture, flora and fauna at Pink Sands is stunning and already allows for great backdrops and pictures.
Who can resist this location when you have the famous Red and White Striped Lighthouse (one of the last manual lighthouses in the world) just a few yards away?
Flanked by the harbour and a white sandy beach, Hopetown Harbour Lodge allows for a large group or family to take over the space, renting out the rooms of the entire lodge or just portions, depending on your guest count. Imagine 4 days of wedding celebrations on this charming island, surrounded by family and friends.
The Lodge has a very warm, family style feel to it already, so by adding a large joyous group, celebrating your nuptials just adds to the existing environment. The layout of the Lodge is perfect for a ceremony on the beach, having the guests graduate to the poolside pavilion for cocktails, dinner and of course dancing under the stars.
The One and Only Ocean Club is one of our favourite hotels here in The Bahamas. Not only does it offer guests seclusion, beachfront views and top restaurants, it is also the home of the elegant Versailles Gardens. These gardens stretch from the hotel to the harbour side of Paradise Island. This gorgeous stretch of property is indicative of a traditional English garden but with a tropical twist.
This site makes a great venue for weddings. Due to its size and layout, you are able to have the ceremony, cocktails and reception all on property keeping each unique and separate. The Cloisters, imported from France where they were part of a 12th Century Augustine Monastery, are a historical landmark in The Bahamas. This is the location most brides choose to have the ceremony as the ancient stone arches and statues make for such a magnificent backdrop. The Cloisters are impactful enough to stand on their own or for a more dramatic look, dressed up with an arbour drenched in flowers.
From here your guests can cross over into the many tiers of the garden, admiring the manicured landscape and statues that are dispersed around the grounds. Greeted with drinks by the lily pond for cocktails, and then onto the next garden tier under a tent or poolside terrace for dinner and dancing.
BATTLE-SCARRED GROOM & BLOGGER DAVID LEE’S TOP PICKS:
This is where my wife Devonnia and I got married in October 2010. I’m sure that our wedding photographer Sabrina Lightbourn would agree that Governor’s Harbour provides the perfect backdrop for an Out Island wedding – miles of empty pink sand beaches combined with the fading splendour of the historical harbour side town.
Although planning for the classic barefoot ceremony, my soon-to-be wife and I fell in love with the ancient St Patricks Church in town. The reception that followed was held at Tippy’s beachside restaurant (part of Pineapple Fields boutique resort) with modern Bahamian cuisine and dancing under the stars.
This option is a little more DIY than the others. David Barlyn, the Manager at Pineapple Fields can help you to plan your special day with his repertoire of florists, bakers, musicians, clergymen etc. but the decisions and coordination will come down to you! Of course, there’s always the stress-free option of choosing a great wedding planner such as Cacique or the Eleuthera-based Boy Meets Girl Weddings, which specializes in “unique handmade celebrations that are beautiful and fun.”
Voted in the Top Five Best Eco Lodges in the Caribbean, this is a stunning venue on the southern shores of “The Big Yard,” the Bahamas wildest and most unexplored island.
Note to Brides: Don’t worry! In Tiamo’s case, eco-lodge does not mean slapping at bugs in a sweltering hut and eating local grains for every meal. This is an intimate, secluded luxury resort with an emphasis on blending into the incredible natural beauty of the island.
With a full range of outdoor activities such as fishing trips, snorkelling, scuba diving and water-skiing, it’s a great choice for active wedding parties. A dedicated wedding team is there to ensure that everything goes according to plan, with the piece de resistance being a Michelin-trained Chef:
“The sophisticated, natural approach that defines our resort’s philosophy is applied to the food we serve in our restaurant,” says CEO Mr Vincent. “Savour the flavours of carefully crafted Caribbean and fusion cuisine, made using the freshest local and organic ingredients, and complemented by an excellent selection of wines from some of the world’s best vineyards.”
BAHAMIAN WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER SABRINA LIGHTBOURN’S TOP PICKS:
As a photographer I am looking for locations which offer dramatic images with beautiful light and Old Fort has it all. A 17th Century Colonial Fort filled with ancient details like a magical staircase, rustic archways, old world tiles, antique cannons, a dazzling garden and the most beautiful beach in Nassau. All of which accommodate a wedding in any kind of weather – what more could you ask for in a venue?
As a photographer I love the many available locations for dramatic images and the relaxed environment for the bride and groom. There is the coconut lane which feels as though you are in a jungle of coconuts, the endless beach, the exquisitely designed cottages and old world feel of the main house. This is a destination wedding location so the bride and groom are instantly relaxed and there is always a sense of old world glamour and play that ensues.