If you are potentially planning a Destination Wedding, I would strongly urge you to consider the Bahamas. And more specifically with Sandals Emerald Bay in the Exumas Bahamas. In this travel blog, I am going to break down our destination wedding cost, the pros & cons of a destination wedding, and much more!
Before I begin describing the whole destination wedding & process of getting married in the Bahamas, I have to say this first... Sandals should be your #1 choice for your destination wedding! Sandals not only goes above and beyond with their customer service, but they also do their absolute best at making your stay, one that you will never forget.
While being situated in a dream destination (plus multiple other locations), giving top-notch service & incredible hospitality, it all makes sense why they have earned their SOLID 6 star awards, year after year.
When you arrive, you get an amazing 'Welcome' into the resort, and I'll be honest... it kind of makes you feel like you are a movie star (cue the rolling of the red carpet). Oh, and you get a little 'Welcome' surprise (no, I won't ruin it for you... you will just have to wait and see for yourself!).
Also, if you have kids that will be attending, you will need to switch your resort to Beaches instead. Still amazing & exactly the same concept, but for the whole family, not just adults only.
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When I talk about intimacy, I'm not only talking about you & your spouse (to be)... I'm also talking about you and the guests you invited, and how everyone is treated at Sandals (actually all of the Bahamas to be honest). That's what it's all about, right... the connection?! ❤
Take it from us, destination wedding or not, smaller is better when it comes to truly embracing the 'intimacy' piece of your wedding, and having a destination wedding, makes this a little more simple. Not only did we get to focus on our guests as a whole, but Nate and I truly got to experience this 'new beginning', in sync with one another (cue the mushy feelings).
We only had to think about ourselves for those moments, never worrying about what was supposed to happen next, all because our wedding planners were on top of everything! It's incredibly easy to lose sight of this #1 priority when you have a million other things pulling you in different directions (food, cake, DJ, after party, etc), which brings me to our next reason of 'why' we chose a destination wedding... the wedding planner.
Knowing what I know now... it's incredibly exciting AND incredibly overwhelming at the same time, to plan your wedding... let alone a destination wedding! I'm certain this is where the term 'bridezilla' comes into play, and now I understand how & why. I can personally attest to this because I planned 2 weddings 😬.
With a combination of wanting everything to be perfect, plus depending on other people to do their jobs and follow through... it's a lot to handle and can end up putting a huge damper on the sweetness of marrying your best friend.
Take my advice and don't do that to yourself!
This is another reason why we chose Sandals, they literally did nearly EVERYTHING for us. We chose the specifics (colors, bouquet, food, cake, specific songs we wanted, ceremony location, the dreaded clean) and they ran with it and planned everything perfectly to a T. They even arranged the (mandatory) meeting with the Registrar General of the Bahamas, so we could be 'officially' married in the Bahamas. Let me tell you, this was one of the coolest moments of getting our ceremony prepared. Not only did we get to meet the Registrar General of the Great Exumas Bahamas, but we got to meet some of the other locals in the area too.
Y'all... take it from us, the Bahamians are truly some of the most amazing people you will EVER meet! Not only that, they were extremely excited to host our wedding in their hometown! They are truly some of the most grateful, incredibly kind people, you will ever lay eyes on!
Yes!! Y'all... again, this destination wedding is about YOU. YOU AND YOUR FOREVER. So, why not combine the honeymoon and the wedding to create, what Sandals calls, a WeddingMoon? Not only will you be throwing your special day in an incredibly beautiful tropical oasis, but you will already be on your honeymoon as soon as you say 'I DO' (well.. technically before it too)!
Let's be honest.... and let's talk about the cost comparison of a destination wedding vs an at-home wedding. When you consider all costs involved (rings, dress, suit, bridal party, photographer, ceremony & reception), you are in the range of about $10k to $30k+ (depending on your taste & style). And remember, this is a rough estimate of your home-based wedding. Ok, now let's add the honeymoon cost into the mix. This is assuming you are catching a flight to an International destination for 5-7 days, it will most likely range from $5k-$15k (includes flight, room, meals, excursions, etc). Add those two together... you got yourself a whopping $15k-$45k in expenses for your home-based wedding & honeymoon.
Now swap over to a destination wedding and let's give you an 'estimated' cost for this. Again, these numbers can change drastically depending upon what your taste and style are, but let's dive in. Considering all the same items from above - rings, dress, suit, bridal party, ceremony, photographer, reception & honeymoon (plus a wedding planner) - you could potentially end up spending roughly the same amount. It cost less for us (in Exuma) because we didn't exactly follow the standard wedding traditions when it came to our guests (I will dive more into that in our next section of 'who & what'). When all was said and done, we spent roughly $17k (this included everything). I'm sure I don't need to say it again, but Sandals made this incredibly seamless and they took care of EVERYTHING!
When we booked our room at Sandals (Emerald Bay Exuma Bahamas), they were doing an offer for a free wedding if we stayed a certain amount of days ( I believe it was 3 or 4 days)... legit a win-win, and once again this was a huge incentive for us.
Now... I know what you're thinking... "Free Wedding? This can't be good...", oh yes, but it is! When you book your room, essentially you are paying for your wedding (does this make sense now?). Once you book your room and mention that you are getting married on sight, they will have a wedding planner get in contact with you and essentially touch base about wedding documents needed, and then you can start choosing your wedding day specifics. Looks like they are still offering the same incentive when you stay for longer than 3 days (whoop whoop!).
Here is the website to see what other items you can add for your special day if you want to (additional fees can apply depending on your taste & style). ❤
Whether you're interested in a Cruise, guided tour, group trip, independent international travel or just a weekend get-away, and even that bucket list adventure... we can assist you with that!
Click 'Lets Go!' & lets start this adventure together!
Now... I'll be honest, the biggest and hardest decision about planning this Bahamas destination wedding... we knew A LOT of our guests that we wanted to come, would not be able to make it. But, if you truly are worried about this, you could throw a get-together in your hometown and invite those who didn't get to come and celebrate the 'actual' wedding (a win-win situation... just some food for thought).
PROS OF HAVING A DESTINATION WEDDING
CONS OF HAVING A DESTINATION WEDDING
So we got married in February and the weather was perfect! Technically the high season (aka the busier season for the Bahamas) is from December to May and then shortly to follow is hurricane season (June- November). Now, I was just talking about this in one of my Instagram posts and how the Bahamas generally don't get hurricanes that hit land. But on occasion, they do (sadly).
Check out that post HERE.
If you are worried about rainfall, that typically happens from May to October, but they are more like quick tropical downpours vs a continuous wet drizzle, and the sun is back out in short order. And if you are worried about the 'coldest' months, you will typically find those in January...which when I say 'cold', I mean high 60's to low 70's.
Who's ready for a 'winter vacation' in the Bahamas?! WE ARE!!!!
Check out our Bahamas Packing List and see what we suggest before you depart to this incredible little island (I guess technically there are multiple...but you know what I mean). We hope our insight helps a little bit on your vacation!
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Thank you for your trust & Happy Adventures!
- Ashley, (Nate & Blake)
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