Weddings in the Bahamas

A wedding in the Bahamas has appeal to nearly everyone

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Having a Wedding in the Bahamas
 

Close your eyes, and picture this: astounding beach side scenery, unique food, great weather and a built-in honeymoon. These are a mere sampling of the different reasons why couples choose to arrange their wedding in the Bahamas. 

If you have always dreamed of getting married on a sandy coastline in the Bahamas, but didn't know how to make it possible, read on. A little basic research and a lot of meticulous planning can help make your fantasy Bahamas wedding a reality.

Pros and Cons

Some people find that wedding planning can be quite stressful, particularly when you have to place all your confidence in people in a foreign nation.  But for many people, the negatives are nothing compared to the positives. The following collection of pros and cons should help you determine if having a wedding in the Bahamas is the best choice for your big day.

Pros

  • Cost. Although many people don't realize this, a destination wedding might actually save you money - with airfare included. This is because destination weddings commonly tend to be smaller affairs that fewer guests attend, therefore costing you less funds in table arrangements and food. Numerous lodging facilities also offer wedding and honeymoon package discounts, thus improving your savings even more.
Maps
  • Weather. While preparing for a destination wedding, many couples are enticed by the Bahamas because of its tropical weather conditions, where the average temperature ranges from between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year. Rainfall does happen, but the storms generally end before you know it.
  • Planning. If you are planning a destination wedding with numerous guests, you will probably want to hire an event planner (or one will be allocated to you by your resort, if you purchase a wedding package). It can be reassuring to know that an expert is helping with every aspect of your wedding event.
  • Friends and Family. Due to the fact that destination weddings are typically much smaller than nuptials celebrated in your home town, planning your big event in the Bahamas means you can trim down your guest list - you won't feel obligated to invite people you aren't very close to.


Cons

  • Cost. Given the traveling involved with a Caribbean wedding, many people believe that they are responsible for covering all expenses for their entire wedding party. If you decide to include all these expenses within your budget, a Caribbean wedding will undoubtedly require a larger budget.
  • Weather. Due to the Bahamas position within the hurricane belt, it is important to bear in mind that organizing a wedding during hurricane season (which extends from the beginning of June until the end of November) may raise some concerns.
  • Planning. Since you are not on location to personally see and decide on wedding supplies for much of the time leading up to your wedding, you may find yourself becoming stressed because you feel everything is out of your control.
  • Legal issues. Procedures concerning marriage licenses could be different than those you would deal with at home. You need to be certain you have everything you need before you fly to the islands!
  • Family and friends. All the people you hope to share your wedding memories with may not be able to attend a Caribbean wedding, due to various limitations such as work or other obligations.

Why Choose the Bahamas?

Because the Bahamas are so easily accessible from the United States, it is a very popular vacation destination.  This is also one of the reasons why destination weddings in the Bahamas are so common.  In turn, wedding planners and vendors on the islands are very experienced, and well-versed at handling and making arrangements with a couple who lives in another country.  If you dream of hosting a destination wedding, but dread the thought of planning your wedding from afar, the Bahamas could be an ideal choice for you.

One thing you should consider when planning a Bahamas wedding is keeping your guests happy during wedding downtime.  Activities and attractions on the islands are so varied that there is sure to be something to please each of your guests, no matter how different their personalities.  The main islands of the Bahamas (New Providence and Grand Bahama Island) offer a good mix of the metropolitan and the natural; while the Out Islands are where you want to go to get away from it all.  The availability of ferries between the islands makes it easy for guests to explore on their own.

Local Wedding Customs

If you are planning your wedding in the Bahamas, you might be interested in integrating a couple of the nation's customary practices into your big day.

Most couples find incorporating regional cuisine into their reception as a great way to merge their ideas of what a wedding should be with the traditions of the Bahamas.  In the Bahamas it is common to find seafood like rock lobster and conch, and dishes are often spicy, as is the norm on the islands.  Utilizing coconut as a part of your reception menu is another great way to honor the Bahamas through food, because coconut is a major part of the Bahamian diet.  Don't forget the beverages!  Fruity, rum based drinks are popular choices for weddings in the Bahamas, though it is also common to have an open bar.

A few other traditions you may consider adopting for your big day are the traditional carriage ride of the bride and groom to the ceremony, the distribution of party favors to wedding guests, and an oceanside ceremony at dusk to protect guests from the heat.  The island of Bimini has a fun tradition that the best man stays with the groom at all times for at least the 24 hours before the wedding to protect him from any jealous women that might come out of the wood works.

Types of Ceremonies

Though a ceremony of any kind is a possibility in the Bahamas, there are five in particular that seem to be particularly popular to couples planning a wedding in the Bahamas.

The Traditional

The traditional wedding is one that often pops into mind when someone says the word "wedding."  A traditional wedding usually takes place in a church, but sometimes in a historically significant location, or a building of some sort that the couple finds appealing. (Click here to review landmarks in the Bahamas.)  Guests sit in an orderly manner, standing as the bride makes her way towards her groom, accompanied by her father.  In the Bahamas, there are plenty of churches available to accommodate the couple who desires this type of wedding; but note that if it is your desire to be married in the Roman Catholic church, you must receive counseling over a six week period before your wedding with your local parish, and your parish must communicate this with the Chancery in Nassau.  Traditional weddings outside of the church might take place at a historic plantation or the Cloisters on Paradise Island.

Beach Side Ceremony

Many people who head to the Caribbean to have their destination wedding do so with the vision of sand between their toes as they say "I do."  With over 700 islands in the chain, the possibilities for beach locations are truly endless.  Some of the most popular beaches for weddings in the Bahamas include Pink Sand Beach on Harbour Island, Cable Beach on New Providence Island, and Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island.  Many resort hotels throughout the chain have private beaches on which their guests may wed if they purchase a wedding package.

Garden Party

Couples who don't like the idea of wedding on the beach, but still envision themselves in a tropical setting as they pledge their love to one another usually end up doing so at one of the island chains many gardens.  Many resort hotels have gardens set up specifically for their guests who are getting married on site, but there are other locales as well, including the Nassau Botanical Gardens and the Garden of the Groves in Freeport. 

Marriage at Sea

The stunningly blue waters that surround the Bahamas is a huge draw to the archipelago.  That is why so many couples choose to say their vows aboard a yacht or party boat, with the horizon serving as their backdrop.  There are numerous yacht charters and cruise lines that will help you pull this off, such as Bahamas Yacht Charter and Discovery Cruise Line.

Marriage in the Sea

For some, getting married at sea isn't enough - they want to get married directly in the sea, wearing bathing suites and all.  The best locations for these types of weddings are beaches and lagoons that are known for snorkeling, because this is where you will find the calmest waters.  Crystal Cay in Nassau and Love Beach on New Providence are perfect examples.

Budgeting

Despite the fact that a Caribbean wedding often carries a smaller price tag than an elaborate event hosted back home, it is still vital that you take a few moments to sit down and create a budget. To do this, sit down with your fiancée and generate a list of all the things you imagine you will find yourself investing funds in, based upon relevance to you. These items might include the food, location, photography, and dress, among countless other things. After a little bit of quick investigation, designate an estimated price to each item, and then total it up. This will offer you a ballpark figure of how much you can anticipate spending. Take into account that this total will alter as you plan your special day, and the organized list of important items will assist you in knowing immediately what you can trim back on and where you will be able to splurge.

Requirements

To be married in the Bahamas, the couple must appear together at the Office of the Registrar General in Nassau, after having been on the island for over 24 hours.  After presenting the registrar with the $100(USD) marriage license fee and all of the required documentation (notarized declaration that neither party has been married, divorce certificates, or death certificates; valid passport; and evidence of the couple's arrival on the island), you will be issued a marriage license that is good to use that very day. 

If the thought of getting married in a tropical location sounds like a dream come true, you can take the steps to make it a reality.  Saying "I do," to your loved one is one of the most tremendous moments of your life, and organizing a destination wedding in the Bahamas may be an opportunity for you to make your wedding all the more special. 

 

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