If you are planning a breathtaking or exotic wedding, by now you should have considered a wedding in the Caribbean. There are many islands to choose from but none will be quite like a wedding in Barbados. There isn’t a place more beautiful than this magical island for your Caribbean destination wedding.
There are so many things you need to know to ensure that your wedding is not only stunning but runs smoothly as well. Here are a few do’s and don’ts when planning the ultimate destination wedding.
Let’s get started with all the things that you need to do.
Hire a Wedding Planner!
You are planning your wedding in an exciting location, but you must remember that it is also in a strange place. An island you know nothing about, consulting with a local destination wedding planner will not only get you the best in local deals but also the best locations.
Wedding planners can offer ideas about the best hotels for accommodations vs those that are perfect for weddings. Many hotels on the island including Accra Beach Hotel and the Hilton Hotel, facilitate weddings and therefore come with built-in wedding plans, which provide an opportunity to house everyone and the wedding in the same place. If you do decide to get a wedding planner to help you along your journey, there are many local, talented wedding organisers to choose from including Shalana Waterman Designs and Weddings by Leigh.
What Type of Wedding Will You Have?
Will it be indoors, a traditional church wedding? Or will you have a garden or beach wedding? You’re on a tropical island, and the options are endless.
There is nothing as timeless as a conventional church wedding… brides can have their ceremony at the oldest church on the island. Conveniently located in the parish of St. James, the St. James Parish Church is the ideal location for a wedding. The land it stands on is called, “God’s acre” by locals, imagine being married at a place such as that.
Conversely, Barbados has a plethora of magical beaches, with beautiful beachscapes to create the perfect backdrop for a magical wedding. The Crane Beach is one of the most beloved as a beach wedding venue, due to its stunning pink sand and its majestic clifftops - the location is breathtaking!
A garden wedding is yet another option; the flora found on Barbados is unique to the island. Many couples opt to have the natural topiary of the island as their setting. Andromeda Gardens, Flower Forest and Hunte's Garden offer the perfect locales for a green wedding.
Barbados is the home of many plantations. They have long been repurposed, and many of them now offer wedding packages. One such property is Sunbury Plantation House. Well known for hosting weddings in its beautiful gardens and on the sprawling lawns - another perfect location for a destination wedding.
Send Early Invitations
Send out your invitations as early as possible! Guests have to plan their finances and vacations ahead of time. They need to book flights, hotels and transportation - that's very difficult to do on a moment’s notice.
You should also include in your invitations a map of the island, to prepare your guests for their arrival, this along with possible information on taxis and rental cars will reduce the effort making attending the wedding as easy as possible. Some popular rental car agencies like Stoute’s Car Rentals and Voyager Rent a Car can all be booked beforehand, which means that the car will be awaiting you on your arrival!
Know the Marriage Laws in the Island
It is very important to know the legalities of your marriage. In Barbados, both bride and groom must apply for a marriage license at the Ministry of Home Affairs - with a birth certificate and passport. You also need to take along your return ticket, and the certificate will be granted to you. Of course, the wedding planner can assist with this by sending you all the information you need to ensure that your marriage will be legal and binding.
Visit the Island Beforehand
You could leave everything in the wedding planner’s hands. But, a trip to Barbados to be involved in the planning also makes lots of sense. Have an early honeymoon! Visit possible locations, meet potential vendors and add to your level of comfort. An early visit ensures that everything fits your needs. While on the island, you can even have a photoshoot or two, with local photographers to help you decide who is the best choice for you.
Create a Budget
A budget will guide you along your way. Without a clear budget, you may find yourself going way over what you can afford. Due to currency conversions, in some instances you may have twice or sometimes three times as much money to spend in Barbados than you would at home. Though this is an advantage of getting married in Barbados, you should still keep an eye on how much you are spending.
DESTINATION WEDDING DON'TS
Now let’s get into the don’ts, what are the things that you should not do when planning your destination wedding?
Don’t Leave it ALL up to the Wedding Planner
Don’t leave every detail in the hands of the planner. Though he or she may be knowledgeable about the locale, it is your wedding after all, you can make some of the decisions. The planner is there as a guide on your journey, but your personality must shine through, a wedding is a personal experience after all.
Don’t Expect All Guests to Attend
It’s your wedding, and it’s being held in a tropical paradise, it’s all planned and everything is perfect. Though all this may be true, don’t expect that everyone you invite will be there. Some guests may be unable to attend due to financial restrictions and others simply may not have the time.
Don’t Take the Weather for Granted
The weather in Barbados like weather around the world is unpredictable, and even our bright sunny days may come with lots of heat!
It is best to ask your wedding planner about the seasons, though Barbados does not experience weather patterns like other countries, it goes through a rainy and dry season. The dry season starts in December and ends in May which coincides with the winter season in most countries. So getting married during this time also allows you, family and friends a welcome retreat from the cold weather.
Bear in mind, that the weather may not always cooperate. Sunny weather may be something that you desire but you may end up with a rainy day, although it’s the dry season. Therefore, you may also want to consider a site that can accommodate additional seating if the weather suddenly becomes unaccommodating. As such, if you are having a lovely beachside wedding, you may want to arrange to have a beautifully decorated tent located nearby as needed.
Don’t Buy Everything you Need From the Island
There are many Barbadian touches that you can add to your wedding to make it an authentic experience. You can have a local snow cone vendor on-site, serving up one of the island’s most beloved treats, or you may even opt to have a coconut vendor serving customised coconuts, with your monogram branded into it. These small additions can add island flavour to your wedding, but you can consider sourcing some items externally . Many couples believe that all items must be bought from the location. That need not be you.. Several items can be easily imported, especially those that can be found cheaper at home - including wedding favours and other smaller lightweight items.
Don’t Travel Late
Arrive on the island well before the big day! See how plans are going, make any necessary last-minute changes and organise fun activities for your guests - island tours, cruises, beach excursions etc.
For many people, a wedding is a once in a lifetime experience, so making it memorable is truly important. A destination wedding in beautiful Barbados is what dreams are made of, and knowing what you should and shouldn’t do will ensure that your day is truly perfect.
Wedding Planners: http://www.barbadosweddings.net/
Car Rentals: https://www.stoutescar.com/
St. James Parish Church Telephone Number - 1 246-422-4117
Wedding Treats: https://www.picuki.com/profile/gococonutsbb