For couples planning a destination wedding, the Caribbean offers some of the best life has to offer: stunning sunsets, relaxing beaches and azure waters. But with so many islands to choose from, selecting one spot for your big day can be difficult. Here are some tips on the best places to tie the knot in paradise
With 365 beaches – one for every day of the year! – Antigua is a popular yachting destination. As a result, the area has scores of high-end luxury resorts. Even though most are all-inclusive, getting out to experience local food is highly encouraged – especially traditional West Indian cuisine at Home Restaurant in Gamble Terrace. Some of the best spots for a wedding include secluded and picturesque Jumby Bay, a private 300 acre island off Antigua’s coast. Another (less remote) option is Jolly Beach Resort, which offers all-inclusive beachfront stays. Keep in mind that the hotel is generous with the freebies, especially if you bring a large number of guests. High season in Antigua runs from mid-December through April. After April, rates can drop as much as 40%.
Puerto Rico offers a vast suite of properties and wedding venue locations and is perfect for a destination wedding. In addition to over 350 beaches, there are a number of unique locations in the rainforest and country regions. On the east coast, consider getting married on Palomino Island at the El Conquistador (where Caribbean Trading Co is located!) or at the new St. Regis Bahia Beach. Or get married in historic Old San Juan with its Spanish Colonial Architecture.
There are no passports required for travelling to Puerto Rico and airlift from the US to PR is very good, so it will be easy for your guests to travel with you.
The Bahamas – a collection of 700 islands – have something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking the complete seclusion of a private island or the bustling crowd of a megaresort, the Bahamas has dozens of options that run the gamut. Activities include excellent scuba at the third largest barrier reef in the world and breathtaking white-sand beaches. High season begins in mid-December and runs through mid-April. One thing to keep in mind is that hurricane season lasts from June through November. Though infrequent, storms do happen and can ruin a wedding.
Some of the best options for weddings in the Bahamas include One&Only Ocean Club (Paradise Island), one of the most luxurious (and pricey!) resort options. Not surprisingly, the One&Only Ocean Club hosts a number of celebrity nuptials every year. Over on Grand Bahama Island, the Pelican Bay at Lucaya can host wedding parties of up to 80 guests.
While any of the island’s 33 beaches would serve as an unforgettable setting for a wedding ceremony, Shoal Bay East Beach is undeniably one of the best beaches on the island – and maybe in the Caribbean. Low-key and relatively uncrowded, the two-mile beach includes a few small resorts, villas, and restaurants. Marriage licenses take two days to process, but you shouldn’t have any trouble filling the hours at the resorts, beaches and nearby coral reefs. The only drawback to the Shoal Bay beach is that, given its direction, the beach doesn’t have a direct sunset view. But the seclusion and tropical beauty more than compensate for this minor complaint.
Grand Cayman Island
It’s always tricky to organize weddings, but the highly accessible Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman Island makes getting to the big day easy for your guests. An hour by air from Miami – and less than four hours from New York – Grand Cayman is world famous for its beaches and luxurious comforts. Nearby attractions include Stingray City, offering a chance to experience a hands-on encounter with the friendly Caribbean rays. The Caribbean Club is one of the highest-rated resorts in the area, with an excellent planning and catering team to handle all of your wedding needs.
The Caribbean is an excellent location for a destination wedding, but these five spots are especially worth considering for your big day. They’ll be great for you and for your guests. Congratulations, and good luck with the rest of your planning!
Angie Picardo is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a finance and travel site dedicated to helping couples make informed financial decisions, whether it’s planning a wedding or debating the pros and cons of prenuptial agreement.