Getting Married In The Bahamas
Getting Married In The Bahamas – Jamie Spain Jamie Spain The Knot Contributor Jamie contributes wedding content to The Knot on a variety of topics. You can also find her work in Good Housekeeping, BuzzFeed, and People. Jamie holds an MA and BA in Journalism from Northwestern University.
A short distance from the east coast, the Bahamas is a place known for its climate, beautiful Caribbean beaches and reasonable flight times. Weddings in the Bahamas often include a gorgeous backdrop of pink sand beaches or natural, windswept Bahamian landscapes that can only be found on aspiring postcards.
Getting Married In The Bahamas
The warm sun and beautiful atmosphere make the Bahamas a regular vacation spot for many couples, so most are naturally inclined to exchange their selves for an oceanfront wedding. In addition, guests will also enjoy the escape. Your friends and family will spend time snorkeling, boating or just relaxing on the beach.
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While a destination wedding may seem spontaneous, it takes a lot of planning to ensure your special day lives up to your expectations. Navigating the legal red tape and figuring out your location and suppliers can be a little tricky if you’re not on the island in person. We spoke with Lindsay Sims, Director and Master Planner at TOAST Events, to get the full scoop on the ins and outs of planning a wedding in the Bahamas.
From the beautiful beaches of the Bahamas to the fresh seafood, there is a lot to love about the collection of islands that make up the Bahamas. Endless boutique resorts, blue waters, sunny weather and tropical vacations are definitely great reasons to hop on a plane. “That crystal blue water is really hard to find,” notes Sims. “The landscape is what really draws people in.” Plus, it’s a close flight from the south and major cities like New York. Book your dream wedding in a tropical location just hours away.
While it will undoubtedly be beautiful to get married anywhere in the islands that make up the Bahamas, there are a few specific locations that are more popular than the rest because of their exceptional locations for weddings and romantic proposals. Whether you’re looking to hold your ceremony at a glamorous all-inclusive resort or hoping for something more private at a boutique hotel, you’re sure to find your perfect venue.
Nassau: You can’t go wrong with a tropical beach wedding in the capital of the Bahamas. Here, you’ll have a choice of local services and talent, as Sims notes that many popular wedding vendors are located in Nassau. Beautiful white sand beaches, ocean views and all-inclusive resorts will impress all guests. Most need to fly to Nassau anyway. Why not stay?
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Great Exuma: Great Exuma is a paradise of national parks, delicious places, fun shopping, sightseeing and unforgettable views. Spend your wedding day on this island where you will have a choice of luxury services at the best wedding resorts. You may have seen photos of people swimming with pigs in tropical turquoise water, and the nearby island of Big Major Cay is where they go to do just that. While you probably won’t be tying the knot surrounded by floating pigs (and we won’t judge you if you choose to go that route either), it’s a fun weekend wedding excursion for friends and family.
Paradise Island: For a true travel experience, head to Paradise Island where you can make your love official in the hidden city of Atlantis. Exchange your vows on the gorgeous white sand and party the night away at a party to remember forever. Having a big day at Atlantis means your celebration can easily turn into a vacation for everyone involved.
For couples interested in getting married in the Bahamas, the choice between a legal and symbolic ceremony comes down to a few key points. While legal marriages will be completely binding and recognized at home in the United States, token marriages will save money and time. Many choose to have an actual wedding in their hometown so that they can simply attend a symbolic ceremony in the Bahamas and avoid any legal red tape that may take up their time or distract them from their wedding. Whether you decide to do something legally in the Bahamas or contact them officially before you get on the plane, it is completely doable as long as you do your research and follow the right steps.
Legal marriage in the Bahamas consists of several steps. You and your partner will need to have a government-issued photo ID, such as your passport, with proof of your date of arrival in the Bahamas in the form of an immigration card or income stamp Future spouses must also share divorce papers or death certificates if they were previously married or widowed. Finally, you need a notarized document stating that you are single, which must be legally notarized in the Bahamas or at the US Embassy in the Bahamas.
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Before walking down the aisle, all couples must be in the Bahamas for 24 hours before they can apply for a marriage license. You will receive your marriage certificate 24 hours after applying, and you can then proceed with the ceremony. Once you’ve tied the knot in the presence of two witnesses, you can submit your signed marriage certificate for processing. “You need to plan ahead,” suggests Sims.
Be prepared to pay a few extra dollars if you want to make your marriage legal. A marriage license will cost you around $120, and you’ll have to pay additional fees depending on the officiant you want to secure. Sims encourages couples to find a good wedding planner or work with a hotel or resort representative to make sure everything goes smoothly. In some cases, legal fees will be included in the wedding package.
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Now that all the legal details are out of the way, it’s time to work out the logistics of your special day. “Hire a planner who has experience planning in the Bahamas,” says Sims. She also encourages couples to spend some time on earth before planning a wedding ceremony. “I suggest visiting the sights at least once, if not twice. Rely on your hotel representative or planner if you have one, that’s fine too,” he adds. You want to spend at least a little time looking at posts, signing up, and meeting with vendors.
“Travel adds a layer of complexity,” Sims admits. Although there are several international airports in the Bahamas, it is likely that the one you are flying into is located in Nassau. Flights from the US will take only a few hours, and if you fly from Miami, you can spend 45 minutes in the air. Once you land, the best way to get around is by taxi or car. When you stay at an all-inclusive resort, you don’t have to travel much. For additional connections, this adds another level of travel. “You may have to take another plane or boat [from Nassau], so the transportation component can be complicated and depend on the weather,” notes Sims.
Off-season in the Bahamas is from June to late November during hurricane season. Sims reminds couples to “be careful during hurricane season.” She clarifies, “Of course people get married all the time during hurricane season, but if you do, get wedding insurance.” It’s also a good idea to have a backup plan if you’re going to an outdoor wedding so that your special day doesn’t go down the drain.
Don’t overlook the local talent in the Bahamas. If you use suppliers and services from the United States, be prepared to pay for everything you bring into the country, says Sims. If you are working with a local wedding planner or hotel representative, they will have a “wealth of knowledge” about the talent and what is available between the islands.
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“What you can find or get locally is a big help,” she says. And if your contacts don’t get back to you right away, don’t worry. “Island time is a real thing, and the sense of urgency [in the Bahamas] is very different than [the United States],” he explains. “The hospitality here is great and they do a great job, but it can be a little nerve-wracking waiting on them.”
“Budgeting is one of the very important first steps, just to see what’s possible [for your wedding],” Sims says. For an elegant wedding in the Bahamas or for an iconic aesthetic on Harbor Island, you will pay a pretty penny, because the budget for such a wedding is usually quite high, he explains.
“If clients focus on all the details and end up taking care of the specifics of everything, the budget will be fine.
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