The Caribbean makes for the perfect dream destination wedding location with its white-sand beaches, clear waters, and warm, sunny weather. While planning a destination wedding may seem stressful, we’ve got you covered. We sought out the advice of Caribbean destination wedding planners Tara Hildabrand, Jen Avey, and Jamie Chang, to get the lowdown on tips, tricks, and wedding planning advice.
Meet the Expert
Average Cost of a Caribbean Destination Wedding
"Weddings can vary from a private elopement, intimate ceremony with 10 guests, all the way up to a multi-day wedding with several events," says Hildabrand, adding that a good rule of thumb is to budget $500 to $600 per guest, though she notes that each wedding is different.
For the best bang for your buck, Avey recommends opting for an all-inclusive package. She tells Brides: "Don't forget to look for complimentary honeymoon packages too (which many resorts offer to couples who get married on-site), so you can tack on a few extra days of newlywed bliss after the big day!"
Best Time For a Caribbean Destination Wedding
"The winter months around the holidays are always the most popular because the weather is so nice and warm in comparison to almost everywhere else," explains Chang. However, the winter months are also the most expensive, which can be cost-prohibitive. "A good time to go that balances weather and price is the spring," she says.
With this in mind, Chang recommends steering clear of hurricane season (June through November). "While hurricane season is cheaper, you’ll be taking a big risk with your wedding and the weather isn’t quite as nice."
Caribbean Destination Wedding Planning Tips
"With so many Caribbean islands and venue options to choose from, it can seem overwhelming with where to start," Avey admits. To help alleviate additional stress, Avey recommends sitting down with your future spouse and making a prioritization list. What’s more, this will help you and your partner get—and stay—on the same page to "help guide you through certain decisions that need to be made along the way." In order to come up with your ideal vision, you need to decide on what type of venue to look for (family-friendly or adults-only). Then, figure out where you’d like your ceremony and reception to be held. On the beach? A rooftop? A lush waterfall? "All of these details will help you narrow down the perfect setting," she tells Brides.
From the beautiful Bahamas to the dreamy Dominican Republic, read on for a few of our favorite Caribbean destination wedding locations.
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Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands are comprised of Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas, the latter of which is the easiest to get to since there are direct flights from almost all major U.S. cities. Saint Thomas is also famous for its beaches and snorkeling opportunities. As such, this idyllic island makes the perfect backdrop for your Caribbean destination wedding. When it comes to selecting your dream venue, you can’t go wrong with a beachfront wedding at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas or Secret Harbour Beach Resort. The best part? There’s no passport required to enter (assuming you’re traveling from the States).
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico’s capital city is teeming with stunning sights, from the serene stretches of sand to the colorful architecture to the cobblestone-lined streets. Before you get ready for your impending nuptials, spend some time strolling through Old San Juan with your S.O. When it comes time to say "I do," couples can choose from an array of options, including Condado Ocean Club (which offers a handful of packages for any budget!) and La Concha Resort (which features three on-site wedding venues).
La Romana, Dominican Republic
Sure, Punta Cana is pretty, but those in search of somewhere more secluded—and off-the-beaten-path—should consider getting married in La Romana. The coastal city, which is about an hour’s drive from Punta Cana, boasts everything from sugar-sand beaches to tropical flora. While the destination tends to fly under the radar, you’ll still find a handful of pristine wedding venues, including the oceanfront Dreams Dominicus La Romana, which has tranquil gardens and plenty of beautiful scenery. Here, couples can choose from five wedding packages to best suit their style and budget (from $999). La Romana is also home to the uber-luxe Casa de Campo Resort & Villas, which offers customized event packages for a truly special soirée.
Simpson Bay, St. Maarten
Simpson Bay is the hub of St. Maarten, and visitors here can choose from an array of restaurants, experiences, attractions, and accommodations. The village has so much to see and do, making it a popular spot for weddings. Consider getting hitched on the rooftop observation deck at The Morgan Resort & Spa, which overlooks the world-famous Maho Beach (where the airplanes land insanely close to the shore, drawing travelers from all over). The property, which is built on a cliff and surrounded by the sea, offers several venues to choose from.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Jamaica is home to several dream wedding destinations, including the popular resort town of Montego Bay. This former fishing village draws soon-to-be-married couples for its gorgeous natural beauty. (Think: beaches, rainforests, rivers, and waterfalls). Since the destination is so popular amongst soon-to-be-wed couples, you’ll find an abundance of wedding venue options. A few of our favorite options include Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay (an idyllic adults-only oasis with packages from $999), Half Moon (a luxury resort with customizable packages starting at $1,002), and Sandals Montego Bay (which is offering free weddings for couples staying three nights or longer!).
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
The largest of the Cayman Islands (which is part of the British West Indies), Grand Cayman is especially famous for its calm waters, colorful coral reefs, and pristine coastline. If you want to exchange vows here, you can’t go wrong with a celebration at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, where all packages include a wedding planner and concierge to help facilitate every step of the wedding planning process. Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, which boasts a whopping 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, is another excellent option. Both properties are situated along the world-famous Seven Mile Beach, which serves as a beautiful backdrop.
Harbour Island, Bahamas
For a truly dreamy destination wedding location, consider Harbour Island. This small Bahamian island—which is just three miles long and a half-mile wide—is best known for its pink sand beaches. Dunmore Town is dotted with New England-inspired architecture, pastel-hued buildings, and quaint mom-and-pop shops. When it comes time to select a wedding venue, the aptly named Pink Sands Resort is your best bet. Whether you prefer a beachfront ceremony or an intimate garden party, the property’s picturesque venues set the scene for a memorable celebration.
Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
Providenciales is one of the six principal islands that make up the Turks & Caicos. This awe-inspiring island is renowned for its turquoise waters and soft, sandy beaches, which are ranked among the Caribbean’s best and most beautiful. While it can be tricky to narrow down the best wedding locations in Providenciales, The Shore Club, which is set along the incredible Long Bay Beach, is an excellent choice for its romantic ambiance and four on-site venues. Couples looking to splurge even more can check out Amanyara, which hosts exclusive wedding celebrations in sprawling private villas and pavilions. (Alternatively, opt to rent out the entire property.)
Druif Beach, Aruba
Druif Beach is often overlooked in favor of the more popular Eagle Beach, but don’t let that deter you from exchanging vows here. The oval-shaped stretch of sand and calm blue waters serve as the perfect setting for your beachfront nuptials. When it comes to selecting a venue, consider Divi Aruba All Inclusive Resort or Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive Resort. The sister properties, which bookend over a mile of Druif Beach, offer several wedding packages and a la carte enhancements to help you bring your wedding vision to life—sans any stress. Besides, it’s called "One Happy Island" for a reason!