Traveling to any Caribbean island is a treat in itself, as they each offer a unique, idyllic experience for adventure-thrillists and vacation-takers alike. It can also be the site of one of the most important days of your life. With its ever-welcoming warm weather and scenic vistas, the Caribbean seems like a fairytale place to hold a destination wedding – better yet, why not hold your wedding on one of the myriad of islands’ beautiful beaches?
Private Beach – Petit St. Vincent, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Kiss the modern world goodbye on this 113-acre, private-island resort ringed by two miles of perfect white sand. The water here is not a single blue but rather a shimmering mosaic of pale turquoise and deep sapphire. And, since it’s a private-island resort, beaches are quiet and empty (ideal for an intimate ceremony for two or with close family and friends).
You must be in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for a full day after your arrival before applying in person for a marriage license on St. Vincent, located 40 miles away. Then, you can pick whatever section of warm, unspoiled sand that strikes your fancy, kick off your shoes and quietly exchange, “I do,” to complete one of the best beach destination weddings.
Petit St. Vincent Resort, the island’s 22-cottage property, comes without modern distractions, like TVs and phones. Guests hoist yellow flags above their stone cottages for room service and act as contented castaways.
White Bay Beach, Peter Island, British Virgin Islands
Nothing ensures seclusion like a private island, and one of the loveliest — with five white-sand beaches — is this upscale meets laid-back enclave. For an intimate ceremony, you could choose tiny Honeymoon Beach, but for something larger, slender, curving White Bay Beach makes a seriously striking venue. After picking up a marriage license on nearby Tortola, you’ll need to wait three days to marry, which means nothing but 72 fabulous hours of relaxation on this carefree and picturesque isle. Island attractions include a popular marina, scuba and sailing excursions, a stellar spa and a lively outdoor bar at Deadman’s Beach.
Peter Island Resort, the island’s only accommodations, has 52 rooms and suites and three villas. It can accommodate receptions on the beach, in a hilltop villa or as part of a total island takeover. (Note: Peter Island Resort currently does not have a reopen date set.)
Shoal Bay East Beach – Shoal Bay Village, Anguilla
Consistently voted Anguilla’s best beach (of the 33 on the island), this pristine, powdery, two-mile strand cuts a wide and gentle curve past a smattering of small resorts, villa complexes and restaurants, while a reef just offshore attracts tropical fish (and snorkelers) galore. Popular with locals, it’s the place to chill while getting a true feel for the island, especially on Sundays when its sweeping beauty is enlivened by jaunty music from nearby beach-shack bars.
A marriage license takes two days to process, but, after that, being a barefoot bride on this picturesque beach truly is a breeze.
Check out the Manoah when you visit this beach and consider it as your wedding venue. The boutique hotel offers a presidential penthouse, two-bedroom suites, 25 rooms across five floors and a multitude of fine-dining options with vistas and photo ops abound.
Pink Sands Beach – Harbour Island, Bahamas
If you want to feel totally embraced by powdery-pink sand and salty azure sea, this Out Islands stunner is the spot for you. Not only is it three miles long, but it’s also 50 to 100 feet wide, giving you lots of space to spread out.
To get there, fly to Eleuthera, then ride the 10-minute ferry to tidy cottage-dotted Harbour Island, a favorite retreat for under-the-radar celebrities for its relaxed vibe and limited tourism. Once on-island, apply in person for a Bahamian wedding license two days before your ceremony.
Harbour Island’s largest hotel, Pink Sands Resort, takes its name from the beach on which it sits. Enjoy 25 posh cottages and a reception site at the Blue Bar overlooking the sand.
Seven Mile Beach – Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Weddings don’t get much easier than on this champagne-hued beach lined with arcing palms, feathery casuarina trees and a range of accommodations, from five-star hotels to convenient condo-style units facing the turquoise sea. Less than four hours by air from New York and an hour from Miami, the Cayman Islands are known for its genteel, sophisticated ambience.
Marriage licenses can be obtained in a day, leaving ample time for parasailing, jet-ski riding and windsurfing. Or arrange an excursion to Stingray City, where visitors don snorkels and fins to frolic with the friendly rays that congregate there. When it comes time to say, “I do,” you’ll be surrounded by guests who are refreshed and more than ready to celebrate.
The Caribbean Club caters to families with its 37 three-bedroom, condo-style “villas” with full kitchens, private balconies and master suites, plus an onsite planning and catering team to handle the details.
Eagle Beach – Aruba
Abundant daily flights make Aruba a popular playground for Americans, who flock to buzzing resort- and casino-lined Palm Beach. But, for amazing sand and a more romantic feel, make your seaside altar Eagle Beach, just to the south. This wide, flat and incredibly white strand is home to several smaller resorts – hence, its nickname “Low-Rise Beach.”
Pre-ceremony, you’ll need to file all the paperwork (required at least 30 days in advance of your wedding date) and hold a civil union in the capital, Oranjestad, 15-minute drive away. For late-night fun, hit the casino downtown or the nightclubs on Palm Beach (Eagle Beach is conveniently situated between the two).
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts, an atmospheric, adults-only boutique, can host weddings of up to 50 and has 104 rooms.
Sugar Beach – Saint Lucia
White sand and aquamarine sea are in plentiful supply in the Caribbean, but, if you want to add some punch to your setting, there’s no better place than at this small crescent on the southwest coast of St. Lucia. Secluded in tranquil Anse des Pitons, the beach is tucked demurely between the island’s landmark Gros Piton and Petit Piton, a pair of lush-green peaks jutting high into the deep-blue sky.
Walk a tropical blossom-strewn sandy aisle to the infectious sound of calypso music, and wed with two of the Caribbean’s most awesome natural creations as your witnesses.
Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, featuring luxury sugar-mill rooms, luxury villas, luxury beachfront bungalows and residences (some with plunge pools and four-poster beds), sits right on the sand and can accommodate weddings of up to 100.
Crane Beach – Barbados
A pair of Mother Nature-made elements – dusty pink sand and boulder-strewn cliffs – mix with rhythmic, blue-green surf to create this one-of-a-kind strand. Located on Barbados’ less-crowded southeast coast, Crane Beach is as historic as it is scenic: The Caribbean’s very first resort (opened in 1887) sits just atop its cliffs.
After securing a marriage license in Bridgetown, you’ll want to marry an hour or so before sunset to capture the sand at its glowing, rose-hued best. Afterward, famously hospitable Bajans will make sure your reception is full of island-fresh flavors and lots of potent local rum (Barbados has more rum shops per square mile than any other place on earth).
The Crane Residential Resort, which overlooks its namesake beach, may date back to 1887, but its newer luxury suites and villas are modern, and its reception venues can accommodate up to 100.
Seven Mile Beach – Negril, Jamaica
The sunsets in western-facing Negril are legendary – and so are the reggae- and rum-fueled after-dark celebrations. This is the beach for any bride and groom who want their guests to party late into the night. Long, narrow and lined with all-inclusive resorts located just steps from the sea, Seven Mile Beach possibly hosts more weddings than any other in the Caribbean.
Apply for a marriage license before you arrive, and you can wed 24 hours after you land. Negril’s top-notch reggae bands and DJs will guarantee every last guest gets on the dance floor – how long the celebration lasts will be entirely up to you.
Couples Swept Away, a 312-room, couples-only all-inclusive, has six restaurants and eight bars, so the festivities can continue uninterrupted in multiple venues.
Condado Beach – San Juan, Puerto Rico
Enjoy soothing sea breezes and a red-hot salsa beat at this popular beach located just minutes from historic Old San Juan. Lined with high-rise hotels, many with buzzing casinos, it’s the closest strand to the historic old city, and it’s now enjoying a revitalized nightlife scene.
Apply for a marriage license before traveling to the island, and you’ll be ready to say your vows as the sun sets. Then head to a beachfront reception where your guests can sip piña coladas (invented on the island) until the sun rises once again.
The San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino mixes comfort with high-tech touches (flat-screen high-def TVs) in its 525 rooms. Event venues – from the beach to the ballroom – are ideal for almost any size ceremony and reception. Bonus: Sunday-night salsa in the resort’s lobby lounge is a built-in scene with locals.
Trunk Bay Beach – St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
Perhaps the most photographed beach in the U.S. Virgin Islands, this unspoiled quarter-mile crescent of fine white sand is backed by swaying palms, shady sea-grape trees and historic stone ruins. But it’s the sparkling clarity of the sea – home to an underwater national park teeming with colorful coral and tropical fish – that gives it its wow factor.
A popular setting for weddings (no passports are required for U.S. citizens, but marriage-license paperwork and a $100 fee must be submitted at least eight business days before arrival), west-facing Trunk Bay Beach is especially stunning at sunset, when it shimmers with a 14-karat golden glow.
Caneel Bay, adjacent to Trunk Bay and scenic Virgin Islands National Park, is a 170-acre resort that features 166 rooms and suites. Atmospheric sugar-mill ruins can accommodate a dinner reception for up to 20; other onsite venues seat up to 250. (Note: There is no reopen date set for Caneel Bay, and they are not taking reservations through the end of 2020.)