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The Bahamas boasts more than 700 beautiful islands that are perfect for a hosting a tropical destination wedding. With stunning weather, beautiful beaches, gorgeous landscapes, and some of the best seafood in the world, the Bahamas is an incredible choice if you’re looking to have an island wedding. But with so many beautiful options, it can be hard to choose where to have your Bahamian wedding. To help you narrow it down, check out this guide to tying the knot in the Bahamas, which includes ideas on where to book, when to go, how to embrace the local culture, etiquette tips, and some legal details you’ll need to know before getting hitched.
1. When and Where To Tie The Knot in the Bahamas
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Where To Have Your Wedding
Since the Bahamas has over 700 islands, you have plenty of options for your destination wedding. But to help you shorten your location wishlist, here are some popular islands for destination weddings: Nassau Paradise Island, Grand Bahama, Bimini, and Exumas (home to the famous swimming pigs).
You can also choose your wedding destination based on the venue you’re interested in. Of course, you can go with the latest hotspot, the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort (in Nassau Paradise Island), but there are many beautiful venues to choose from. Here are some of our favorites:
Coral Sands on Harbour Island: A gorgeous ocean-front venue located on the world-famous Pink Sands Beach.
Ocean View Club on Harbour Island: This venue has some particularly beautiful and unique decor, and is also located on Pink Sands Beach.
French Leave Resort on Eleuthera: Located on Cupid’s Cay (how romantic!), this stunning resort features just 12 bungalows, making it the perfect choice for an intimate destination wedding.
Bahama House on Harbour Island: This is another great option for small destination weddings. This beautiful 11 room home can hold up to 50 guests and the area boasts tons of oceanside activities for your guests to enjoy.
The Cove on Eleuthera: The Cove is a stunning 40-acre estate that features an incredible location for your wedding: the Pointe, a grassy spot that rests between the estate’s two beaches. This lovely estate is accustomed to hosting weddings and has some great package deals to help you simplify your planning.
Grand Isle Resort & Spa on Great Exuma: This upscale resort, which offers customizable wedding packages, features a private beach, a golf course, and a high-end spa.
The Best Time Of Year
The best time to head to the Bahamas is April or early May, as that’s when the islands usually have their best weather. It’s a good idea to avoid mid-May through October (that’s their rainy season) and you should definitely avoid planning your wedding during June through November (which is their hurricane season).
2. Legal Considerations
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If you want to get married in the Bahamas (we’re talking about your marriage certificate, not just your wedding), know that there are some legal things you need to keep in mind. According to the official Bahamas website, this is what you need to know if you plan to get legally married in the Bahamas:
- You must be in the country for at least 24 hours before getting married.
- It takes two full business days to get a marriage license (excluding Bahamian holidays).
- Your marriage license will be legal in your home country.
- You must apply for your marriage license in person (both the bride and groom must be present).
- Your Pastor or Rabbi cannot perform your ceremony alone but they can help a local Pastor with your ceremony
- You can only get married between sunrise and sunset.
- You can get married on the weekend, as long as you get your application by Thursday or Friday beforehand.
- You will want to have a certified copy of your marriage certificate for legal purposes in your home country and you may need a special certification depending on your home country’s unique laws.\
- Only a Bahamian marriage license is legal in the Bahamas (you cannot use one from your own country).
- The fee for a marriage license in the Bahamas is $120.
- You’ll need two witnesses over the age of 18 to sign your marriage license.
- You’ll need the following documents to get married in the Bahamas:
- Government-issued photo ID from your country of residence.
- Proof of your date of arrival in the Bahamas (commonly, people show the entry stamp in their passport).
- If you are single and have never been married before, you’ll need a declaration certifying this fact.
- If you’re divorced or widowed, you will need to provide official divorce documents (the original or a copy with a raised seal) or an official death certificate to be married in the Bahamas.
- Minors need written parental consent to be married in the Bahamas.
As you can see, there are quite a lot of legal considerations to keep in mind if you’re planning on getting married in the Bahamas. We’ve included these here for your reference but please always do your own research before planning your destination wedding. Do your research early so you can plan ahead to make sure you’ve got your documents (and your timeline!) in order for the big day.
Also, if you want to be totally sure you get all your legal needs in order, it’s a good idea to seek the help of a local wedding planner, who can help you avoid the annoyance and stress of researching everything yourself.
3. Local Wedding Traditions
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One of the best parts of having a destination wedding in the Bahamas is getting to incorporate some local wedding traditions. While you don’t have to incorporate them, it is a lot of fun and it will make your wedding especially memorable.
An easy way to incorporate some local flavor into your Bahamian wedding is to do so in your floral arrangements and food. The national flower of the Bahamas is the yellow elder, so try incorporating that into your floral arrangements for a vibrant pop of color. When it comes to food, there are many local seafood delicacies you can enjoy at your wedding, such as the conch, a mollusk commonly eaten with spices and citrus. Other local delicacies include rock lobster, coconut, and rum.
If you want to incorporate local traditions in your music, consider including a Junkanoo band or and a Junkanoo rush-out. Junkanoo is a lively percussive style of music that’s influenced by African music. If you get a Junkanoo band for your wedding, you can also ask them to include a Junkanoo rush-out, which is a parade in which mask-wearing musicians play cowbells, drums, and whistles.
If you want to really go big with including local culture, consider including the old Bahamian custom in which the bride and groom arrive at the ceremony on a horse and carriage.
4. Etiquette Tips for Your Destination Wedding
As with any destination wedding, having your wedding in a far away location like the Bahamas comes with some etiquette considerations. The most important of which is to send out your save the dates as soon as you have a confirmed date and location, in order to give your guests plenty of time to plan. As a general guideline, most couples planning a destination wedding send their save the dates 8 to 12 months in advance.
For a destination wedding in the Bahamas, it will make things much easier for your guests if you get a package room plan with your venue. When you send your official invitations (3 to 6 months before your wedding), include this hotel and group rate information along with travel info, wedding details, and information about any events you’re planning before or after the wedding.