Photo: Courtesy of Bahamas
Think you've got to fly all the way out to Greece to go island hopping? Take your wedding or honeymoon on the road somewhere much closer to home with sandy shores serving as the perfect backdrop for your beachfront ceremony. Just 50 miles off Florida's coast lies The Bahamas. Sure you know the big names like Nassau and Grand Bahama, but this archipelago is home to 700 islands scattered across 100,000 square miles of ocean — meaning endless choice when it comes to picturesque destination wedding locales. Say "I do" and go straight from the reception to your honeymoon suite while island hopping in one of these dreamy spots.
Stressed about all the ins and outs of planning a destination wedding? Let the experts do all the work so you only have to worry about where to head for the honeymoon. One of 16 wedding packages in The Bahamas, the Royal Bliss option on Paradise Island takes care of everything from the legal documents and marriage officiant to the bridal bouquet and ceremony. Tie the knot in the cloisters of the Versailles Gardens overlooking Nassau Harbour, followed by a reception under the stars. Prefer a wetsuit to a wedding dress? Take your vows underwater with a ceremony at Stuart's Cove.
You're familiar with toes-in-the-sand weddings, but what about those performed on a deserted island? Comprised of 365 islands and cays, The Exumas (known for their swimming pigs at sea) offers couples plenty of picture-perfect spots to choose from. Go more traditional with a church wedding at historic St. Andrew's (dating back to 1802) or say "I do" standing on a mile-long sandbar in the ocean.
With its rugged cliffs and vibrant coral reefs, the 80-mile Long Island is a dream for bohemian brides looking for that off-the-beaten-path beach wedding. After the ceremony comes to a close, stick around for a honeymoon veering on the adventurous side, exploring one of The Bahamas' largest caves and the world's deepest saltwater blue hole, sleeping in a luxurious beachfront bungalow at the secluded Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort.
Think of The Abacos as a Caribbean version of New England, with colonial-style homes, a red-and-white striped landmark lighthouse, and championship golf courses on Treasure Cay. The 120-mile-long island group is not only one of the boating capitals of the world, it's also home to some of the top beaches on the planet. Exchange vows in the garden gazebo sitting on the sand at Abaco Beach Resort or on Honeymooner's Lake at the Treasure Cay Golf Course, surrounded by the island's tropical foliage.
Dubbed "The New World" by Christopher Columbus in 1492, San Salvador serves up some of the most varied landscape in The Bahamas. Think rolling hills, saltwater lagoons and vertical coral reef walls that make for prime snorkel spots. The island is home to over 50 dive sites for couples to explore, from ruins and shipwrecks to the stingray- and shark-filled Devil's Claw.
Perch up in a villa at Guanahani Beach Club on deserted Snow Bay, where you'll have more than enough privacy since the resort only hosts up to seven guests at a time. Couples who want to go the all-inclusive route will also find great picks like the 216-room Club Med Columbus Isle on Bonefish Bay, where you can spend your days wakeboarding in summer or kitesurfing in the winter months.