If you can picture your feet in the warm white sand while the waves splash onto the shore as you get married, the Bahamas is the place for you.
Here we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know to plan your dream destination wedding in the Bahamas, from the legalities to the costs involved.
The best time to go: The rainy season in the Bahamas runs from the middle of May until the end of October. This is when there is high humidity and the possibility of showers most days. Hurricane season is from June until November and during this time the chance of rain increases further. The best time to tie the knot in the Bahamas and have the weather cooperate would be in April or early May.
The flight: Both WestJet and Air Canada offer daily service to Nassau from Toronto and the flight time is roughly three hours. Once in Nassau, it’s easy to travel on to other islands via a local carrier like Bahamasair. Most of the islands are a quick flight away from each other (ie. travel time from Nassau to North Eleuthra, the destination closest to Harbour Island, is 20 minutes!)
The legal paperwork: In order to legally be married in the Bahamas, it’s a good idea to ask for the help of a Bahamas wedding destination planner in order to forgo the headache of planning figuring out the paperwork yourself. If you choose to take on the task yourself you’ll need to start by applying for a marriage license. You will also need an Apostille, a special seal applied by the authority to certify that the marriage document is a copy of the original. Both parties must also present a valid passport, birth certificate, and photo identification. You must also show evidence of your arrival date in the Bahamas and have two witnesses over the age of 18 to sign your marriage license, whether it be family and friends, or two provided witnesses.
The local customs: The yellow elder is the national flower of the Bahamas and is very popular choice for bouquets and centrepieces. As for music, Junkanoo, a fun and expressive style of percussion with African influence, is the local music of the Bahamas and one that many couples enjoy working into their celebrations. Include a Junkanoo rush-out — a parade of musicians in masks with cowbells, whistles and drums, to add some traditional flair to your wedding day. Now that the music and flowers are taken care of, you can’t forget about the food. The Bahamas has a wide array of cuisines that feature spice and seafood. The most popular food in the Bahamas is conch, a large ocean mollusk, which is commonly eaten raw with spices and citrus. Rock lobster, coconut and rum are also featured at many Bahamian weddings.
The budget: The cost for a destination celebration in the Bahamas can cost as little as $5,000 (for an intimate daytime wedding) to $25,000 and up—it really depends on the size and scope of your celebration. Virtually all resorts offer destination wedding and honeymoon packages, which include on-site planners to help you execute each and every details of your day.
The venue: The newest and buzziest wedding venue in the Bahamas is at Atlantis Resort Paradise Island, which has recently opened Ocean’s Edge, a gorgeous new event space exclusively for weddings. This space includes a beautiful indoor pavilion, which can be used for ceremonies with up to 120 guests or receptions with up to 60 guests. Ocean’s Edge also features a beach deck and event lawn, which both can host up to 150 reception guests. All spaces can customized by the Love Atlantis weddings team. The team will work with you to plan catering, guest accommodations and your Atlantis honeymoon—we recommend the Cove Honeymoon Escape package for an amazing VIP experience. Also, happening for 2015, Atlantis is offering Canadians some amazing travel savings to help you make your dream honeymoon in paradise a reality.