October 28, 2014
When you imagine a wedding in paradise, what springs to mind? Sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, a warm breeze and delicious, fresh food? That’s Barbados, and it’s easier to plan a wedding there than you might think. Whether you’d like a ceremony by the beach, on a private Catamaran, surrounded by lush plant life or deep in an underground cave, there are lots of venues in Barbados that deliver.
We have Kimberley and Melanie from Loop Barbados on board with us for this post. Let’s take a tour of some of their favourite spots”¦
The beaches in this part of the world are fantastic, so what better way to spend your wedding day than bathing in the glorious sun? Dreaming away the day was never so glamourous.
The very first hotel resort to spring up in Barbados, The Crane sits on the beach of the same name – known as one of the best in the world. The resort – which we reviewed in our previous post on where to stay in Barbados – holds the perfect mix of serenity, natural beauty and modern luxury.
The resort itself is huge, and offers a wide range of venues for those about to get married. There are four wedding packages available, and a wedding coordinator will work closely with you to make sure your day is exactly how you imagined. Bear in mind that non-religious services incur additional costs.
When it comes to accommodation, choosing a room will be the biggest decision to make since saying “˜yes’! Choose from a wide selection of historic, seafront and park residences. Expect 19th century elegance; with stone or hardwood flooring, 12-foot ceilings, wood furnishings and antique furniture”¦and did we mention the four-poster mahogany beds? If it’s a luxurious wedding and honeymoon you’re after, this haute resort ticks all the boxes.
For a gorgeous backdrop, head to Harrismith Beach; which is perched beneath towering coral cliffs. Dramatic views of the coastline are complimented by the Harrismith House ruin, which adds a definite element of character to this location. This is a secluded spot, and perfect for those who would like an intimate ceremony.
Harrismith Beach is often described as a “˜hidden gem’, so makes for a really unique place to take some wedding photos on your big day – chances are, you’ll get the whole place to yourself.
Located just around the corner from Harrismith Beach and bordered by 30-foot coconut trees; Bottom Bay is tropical eye candy. You’ll benefit from an unspoilt panoramic view of the south shore, swaying palms and towering coral cliffs. Keep an eye out for turtles and whales which can often be seen in the waters around the rocks. Bathing is not recommended around here, but if you do decide to take a dip in the ocean, take extra care – the waves can be quite strong.
This is also a great secluded spot, so it’s ideal if you’d like a truly private ceremony. You may see a couple of lonely beach vendors selling cocktails – try one – they’re second to none.
For a wedding spot with some natural drama there is Parlour, a beach that’s bashed by the Atlantic Ocean, dotted with massive limestone boulders and lined with crystalline rock pools. All of the above makes for a seriously impressive set of wedding photos!
This beach is well-known as a surfing hotspot. For all newlyweds who love to ride the waves, bring your surfboards and prepare for a day of fun (or, sit back and watch the waves instead)!
There’s plenty of natural beauty on show in Barbados, but an abundance of architectural wonder is also waiting for you. Locations and buildings steeped in history promise the tropical wedding or honeymoon of a lifetime.
With a beach a few feet North of the restaurant, a boardwalk just outside lining the ocean and the perfect mix of eclectic Caribbean food, this venue is perfect for that classic tropical wedding! The wedding menu is extensive and varied (the Thai Jumbo Shrimp Curry comes highly recommended), and the venue can be hired exclusively for your special occasion. The sunset is also beautiful from this spot, making The Tides the ideal setting for the idyllic wedding you always dreamed of.
To make things even simpler, this venue has an in-house wedding coordinator. Photographers and videographers are also available, as well as a florist.
A beguiling survivor of our colonial past, St. Nicholas Abbey is ideal for a culturally inspired wedding, not only for its isolated beauty and fascinating history, but also the fact that this mansion is one of just three Jacobean style houses in the entire Western Hemisphere.
Rum is bottled at the abbey, and not only can you discover secrets about the rum-making process, but you can also buy a bottle engraved with your names – the perfect honeymoon memento.
Visit Oistins for a true hit of Barbadian culture. For honeymooning couples who appreciate fantastic seafood, this major fishing community is the perfect place to spend some time. Every Friday and Saturday night, there is a chance to try some delicious local food at the Fish Fry. It’s popular with both locals and visitors, and you can try everything from fish cakes and sweet potato to fried fish and chicken dishes. Sip on a rum punch as you soak up the lively atmosphere.
If you’d like to avoid the crowds, steer clear of Oistins on a Friday night. Trust us, the fish is just as delicious on any other day of the week! However, Fridays are fantastic if you enjoy a bit of hustle and bustle.
The island holds a natural beauty that can’t be replicated, so the only tricky part about being subjected to it is deciding where to start! Prepare to spend your honeymoon exploring hidden coves, secret pathways and lush gardens”¦
Glistening natural cave formations and crystal clean underground water streams undoubtedly make Harrison’s Cave one of the most romantic naturally inspired wedding venues. Visitors are transported through the intricate cave system in an electric tram and given the opportunity to look at stalagmites and stalactites more closely than ever before.
The highlight? The waterfall. Atmospheric, exciting and completely wondrous – it truly is a sight to behold and makes for an extraordinary place to say your vows. It’s worth noting that Harrison’s Cave is closed on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, the 1st Monday in August (Kadooment Day) and Christmas day.
If you’d like to experience breathtaking views of the East Coast and tranquil breezes, Lush Life is simply a sanctuary. This nature resort nestled in the Barbadian countryside holds 22 acres of virgin forests. If you’re searching for a seriously serene honeymoon, you can stay in their cottage-style accommodation. Bliss.
Keep an eye out for the African Green Monkeys that take a wander every dawn and dusk. Nature is truly on your doorstep in this secluded resort.
This off the beaten track, unexpected Eden is hands down Barbados’ most beautiful garden. Its multi-dimensional experience, exotic flora and weathered statues allow for stunning photos and interesting views. A bohemian dining area is located inside the garden itself, providing a surreal, fantastic spot to make memories. We promise that the magical rainforest location of Hunte’s Gardens will beguile you from the moment you arrive.
The gardens were created by the eccentric Mr Hunte, who will greet you upon arrival. If you’re just visiting for the day and are there early enough to be the only guests, he will most likely invite you for a drink of rum on the terrace, where he will reveal the story behind his creation.
Another national treasure of Barbados is Orchid World. The landscaped six-acre gardens are home to more than 30,000 exquisite orchid species, alongside other tropical favourites like bourgainvillea, helicon, palms, ferns and succulents, all of which creates a vibrant fusion of colour and texture.
Brides can wander pathways that wind through the orchid houses, and with a bespoke Barbados Wedding by Sanojah’s, Orchid World can also match any bride’s colour palette for a chic and co-ordinated wedding photo backdrop. The gazebo, multipurpose deck and flawless lawns can entertain a variety of events, including wedding receptions, birthday and anniversary celebrations, book launches and tea parties.
When it comes to dining out, a union of local produce and traditional recipes ensure that you’ll have a truly magical Bajan experience.
Flying fish has become somewhat of a staple in Barbadian cuisine, but it’s not the only delicious seafood available from the warm Caribbean waters in this area. Salt fish, shark, barracuda and even dolphin can be locally sourced, along with favourites like salmon, mackerel and tuna.
If fish isn’t your thing, don’t worry – there are plenty of traditional meat dishes too. We recommend Pudding and Souse. Similar to black and white pudding; it’s made with sweet potato, herbs, spices and soused pig heads and feet. It can be a little on the spicy side, and is widely available in rum shops across Barbados, so give it a go!
A myriad of restaurants also lie in wait. Stop by Champers in Christ Church Parish, known to some as the best restaurant on the south coast. Expect spectacular views of crashing waves and generous portions. To celebrate in style, try a Christini Martini. This luxurious cocktail fuses Champagne and Chambord with sophisticated Grey Goose Vodka”¦the perfect drink to toast to your marriage!
For a really romantic dinner date, head to Café Luna. Placed within the Little Arches boutique hotel, its name alone evokes images of starry views and a tranquil ambience, and that’s exactly what it offers. Save this one for the evening for a dimly-lit, intimate environment.
There are plenty of ways to add a Bajan twist to your ceremony. Hiring local musicians to play traditional island music will bring some true authenticity to your Barbados wedding. For a more subtle homage, why not include the national flower of Barbados in the bride’s bouquet? The Pride of Barbados is a beautiful tropical flower with striking colours that resemble the sunset. It blooms all year round.
Getting married in Barbados is incredibly simple, as there’s no required waiting period or minimum length of stay. In essence, you could hop off your plane, apply for your license and get married that very same day! Both parties need to apply for a marriage license in person at the office of the Ministry of Home Affairs. You’ll need to take certain identification with you, depending on the type of ceremony you would like. It goes without saying that researching before you leave is absolutely vital. For further inspiration and to make sure you’re fully prepared, be sure to look into Barbadian wedding customs and requirements.
Header photo © Andrew O’dell
Virgin Atlantic operates affordable flights to Barbados from London Gatwick . Book your flight today.