16 Weddings Abroad in the Bahamas

Sheraton Nassau
The 16 Couples
If you've ever dreamt of getting married under a tropical sun with the sea lapping at your feet, or exchanging vows on a catamaran, or tying the knot underwater, or even marrying at a lighthouse with the sun setting behind you, then perhaps you should have entered the Bahamas 16 Weddings competition last autumn? The prize for 16 lucky couples was to get married on one of 16 Bahamas islands.
The winning couples were chosen by a panel earlier in the year, and on 16 May 2012 they all married on their respective islands at 16.00 (4pm).
Here at Marry Abroad we were lucky enough to be invited to the wedding of Carla and Daniel at the lighthouse on Hope Island, part of the Abaco islands in the Bahamas. We travelled as a guest of the Bahamas Tourist Office to follow the competition winners and to discover the delights of this island chain. Here's what we discovered.

Days 1 and 2. New Providence Island and Nassau.
After taking the direct BA flight from London to Nassau, we arrived mid-afternoon and checked in to our hotel the Sheraton Nassau. Located on the beach a short drive from the capital, the Sheraton is popular for weddings (we saw two while we were there) especially if you're looking for a beach ceremony. One of the 16 couples, Clair and Jason, was going to have a Junkanoo (street party) wedding ceremony here, full of brightly coloured costumes and music to celebrate the start of their married life together. 
The beach here has that white powder sand that you see on “paradise” postcards, and the sea was warm, although the fairly strong wind did make the sea slightly choppy and took the edge off the temperatures, so you could forget how strong the sun is and burn if you're not careful. After arriving from a cold (but sunny) London the temperature of 27c was most pleasant!

An evening cocktail reception by the waterfall pool at the Sheraton was an excellent way to keep us awake and to meet the couples. Each one was going to have a truly unique wedding, each on a different island, so it was very interesting to hear their thoughts on why they entered the competition and chose their respective islands.

Day 2.
A relaxing start to the day allowed everyone to explore or sample the sea or pool at the Sheraton. Then at lunchtime we all went for lunch at the famous Graycliff restaurant, hotel and cigar factory, on West Hill street, which was allegedly built by a famous pirate in 1740. Our three course meal, served on the first floor terrace overlooking their magnificent gardens, was delicious and the couples got to know each other some more. Well known for its excellent food, the restaurant also boasts the third largest private wine collection in the world, which includes the oldest wine in the world (a sweet wine from Germany) and over 275,000 bottles in its cellar. You can take a tour around the cellar, and even dine in there if you feel inclined. Oh, and they also do weddings – take a look if you'd like a luxury wedding in a historical location.

An exploration of Nassau by foot was a good way to digest. It may be the capital of the Bahamas, but Nassau is a small city and easy to walk around. Colonial-style buildings line the main street, Bay Street, with a mixture of tourist souvenirs and luxury goods shops catering to the thousands of cruise passengers who visit the town throughout the year. There are plenty of smart restaurants too, although they don't all seem to be open every day, so if you're looking for a Gucci bag or Chanel clothes then you'll feel right at home here.

That evening we all went to another historical building in Nassau for dinner, the British Colonial Hilton hotel. The oldest hotel on the island, it was built in 1900, burnt down in 1921 and rebuilt in 1922. Opulent and located on the beach, the Hilton makes another fantastic location for a wedding and reception. As its gardens surround the pool and overlook the beach, you could relax in one of the many chill out cushions dotted around the grounds as you contemplate your ceremony! Dining in the gardens of this resort, while a rainstorm threatened to break out, but luckily held off, was magical. This evening the witnesses for the 16 couples who won the competition arrived, and this dinner was their first taste of Bahamian hospitality.

Visit us tomorrow for part 2 of our Bahamas blog!

See wedding providers in the Bahamas here

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