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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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