Weddings

Bahamas Destination Weddings

Plan a beautiful wedding on an island paradise

By Jen Whitten

Seashell on white sand beach with palm trees
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Getting married on a tropical island is an exciting prospect. With more than 5,000 miles of beaches, the Bahamas boast plenty of sun and cultural diversity to make any wedding a special event you will always remember. Planning a Bahamas destination wedding is a bit of extra work compared to planning a wedding at home, but the beautiful views and honeymoon potential are well worth the effort.

  • What You Need to Know
  • Americans need passports or passport cards to enter the Bahamas. Allow at least 12 weeks to receive your passport.
  • Set a budget to help you decide how long you can stay in the Bahamas before and after your wedding.
  • Immunizations are suggested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for travel to the Bahamas. Get them at least six weeks before you travel.

Step 1:

Decide which of the islands is right for your destination wedding. Although the legal marriage requirements are the same for each island, you must apply for your license in a different place for each. The primary islands require you to apply in Office of the Register General in Nassau, the capital, while outer islands allow you to file the application on each island.

Step 2:

Choose a wedding date. Peak tourist seasons will be more expensive for you and your guests for airfare, lodging and wedding arrangements, but traveling during hurricane season (June 1 through Nov. 30) is potentially life-threatening. Learn about the weather in the Bahamas before selecting your date.

Step 3:

Contact resorts and churches on your chosen island. Find out about wedding packages at the resorts and check availability on your wedding date.

Step 4:

Notify family and friends of the wedding date as soon as you set it. Give loved ones as much time as possible to plan, obtain their passports and save.

Step 5:

Schedule travel arrangements to meet Bahamas marriage residency requirements. You must be in the Bahamas for one day before you may apply for your marriage license and you may not pick it up until the day after application; allow at least two days prior to the ceremony. The only exception is if you and your fiance arrive by cruise ship. In this case, ask the purser's office to supply a letter verifying you've been on the ship for 24 hours before island arrival. This allows you to apply for the license the moment you arrive on the island, but does not eliminate the one-day wait to receive it.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Send save-the-date cards with the wedding date and location, but you can send cards with only the date if you are undecided. Once you decide, spread the word about the location well in advance of sending invitations.
  • Get recommendations from your venue about vendors. Check recommendations before you sign the contract since you are unable to meet with each vendor in person before the wedding day.
  • Some resorts offer on-site coordinators for your ceremony and reception. If your hotel does, consider forgoing hiring a separate wedding planner for less elaborate weddings.

About the Author

Jen Whitten is a freelance writer and worked in the event and wedding planning fields.

Planning Reminder:

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Get that bridal gown

Set up an appointment with a bridal shop, then snag a friend or family member when it's time to don some dresses. Keep jewelry and makeup to a minimum when you go gown shopping -- you don’t want anything to catch or smear on those beautiful dresses.

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