Just a quick trip from Washington, The Bahamas offers a picturesque wedding setting.
By Kelly Fisher
A Caribbean getaway may be in many couple’s post-wedding plans, but luxury travel doesn’t have to be reserved just for the honeymoon. While many shy away from the idea due to logistics, destination weddings are easier than people think — especially in The Bahamas. With direct flights from Reagan National Airport to Nassau each day, the happy couple and guests are just a few short hours away from paradise.
THE VENUE: Located on New Providence Island, the Wyndham Nassau Resort offers a ideal wedding setting – and also for a honeymoon after all of the festivities. The hotel, which is just a short cab ride from the airport and downtown attractions, is intimate enough to let guests feel at home, yet large enough to offer endless exploration.
The penthouse suites provide sweeping ocean views, large balconies, and practically room for practically the entire wedding party! While most people will spend their days in the island sun, there’s nothing better than waking up to the bright blue ocean water, or indulging in large Jacuzzi bath, perfect for post-sun soaking.
Down on the expansive beach, the large pool – complete with the requisite water slide for the kids and swim-up bar for the adults – offers fun in the sun, but it’s the soft sand and pristine shore that draws in guests. Put one foot in the water and it will be hard to leave, trust me.
When the sun beings to set, the wooden boardwalk provides a tranquil place to rewind after a busy day out on the water and enjoy a Bahama Mama at Da Daq Shack before heading over to dinner at one of the hotel’s several restaurants, including Seaside, Black Angus Grill, and Moso.
THE REHEARSAL DINNER: While fine dining before the big day inside a restaurant may do the job, nothing beats digging your toes into soft Caribbean sand while toasting the couple-to-be. From free-flowing cocktails on the boardwalk to elegant table arrangements, a steel drum band, and a full roasted pig, guests will find it hard to believe this ocean-side dinner is just a lead-up to the main event.
TIP: Showcase The Bahamas by incorporating the local culture into the event and serving freshly caught seafood.
THE CEREMONY: A sunset ceremony is a dream many brides have, and it’s certainly possible in Nassau. White chairs set up under the beach gazebo on the water’s edge make the ceremony unforgettable, especially as the bride walks down the boardwalk aisle to say “I do.”
TIP: There can be a bit of a Caribbean breeze by the water, so make sure your hairdo is secure!
THE RECEPTION: An ocean-side tent or elegant ballroom can be transformed into whatever wonderland a bride and groom can imagine, no matter the location. For a wedding at the Wyndham, guests can dance under the stars while enjoying a customized menu by personal resort chefs. Another option is utilizing one of the hotel’s ballrooms, which is useful for larger crowds.
THE HONEYMOON: Now that the ceremony is over, it’s finally time to switch in to “honeymoon mode.” After all the planning, it’s definitely well deserved, and luckily enough, no travel is necessary. Lay back, relax, turn off your Blackberry, and take in a slice of paradise in Nassau.
Make sure to explore The Bahamas in-between all the festivities.
Straw Market: Just a quick drive from the Wyndham is this historic open-air market, where local artisans display their handiwork, from woven bags and handcrafted jewelry to intricate wooden carvings. Get your bartering skills ready, because you certainly won’t leave empty-handed.
Paradise Island: Just a hop, skip, and a jump from Nassau, this is a great excursion for the whole family. Whether exploring the five-acre Ardastra Gardens is your thing or swimming with dolphins in Dolphin Cay at Atlantis is more up your alley, the opportunities are endless.
Casino: Located within the Wyndham is the Crystal Palace Casino. While it may be slow during the day, at night it feels like you’ve been transported to Las Vegas, with slot machines, black jack tables, and just about every game a gambler could want. When it’s time to take a break from the tables, head upstairs to the chic 22 Above lounge for a cool drink and dance the night away.
WHERE TO SPEND, WHERE TO SAVE
Celebrity wedding planner Samantha Goldberg helps guide couples on what’s really important on their big day
SPEND: The Dress. It’s the first thing the groom (and the rest of the guests) will see as the blushing bride walks down the aisle, and in all the wedding pictures, so it’s worth the cost.
SAVE: The Invitations. They can look expensive without having to shell out the big bucks. Look at places you’d least expect to find high-end wedding supplies, like Party City. They offer completely customizable invitations within 48 hours – perfect for last-minute events and weddings! The same goes for place cards, menu cards, and any other printed materials needed for the weekend.
SPEND: The Flowers. They can instantly up the “wow” factor for any wedding, and help setting the elegant mood many brides desire.
SAVE: The Arrangement Details. Adding flair with inexpensive accessories, such as decorative rocks or crystals will complete the chic look and save on cost.
SPEND: The Location. It’s important to pick a location and venue that’s right for you. In the end, it’s the entire weekend that everyone will remember, and that’s worth the money.
SAVE: The Location. No, that’s not a typo. Destination weddings don’t have to rack up a hefty bill, especially in The Bahamas where it’s easy to get to. Another way to save is to skip on the hotel rentals when it comes to decorations. Couples can buy the necessary details at home or order them online and have them shipped to the island in time for the weekend.