5 Chic Destination Wedding Venues in the Bahamas

Toes-in-the sand nuptials? Reception overlooking the Caribbean sea? These Bahamian venues have it all

Updated 06/24/17

Cody Hunter Photography / Courtesy of The Cove

Whether you choose Nassau Paradise Island (home to the famed Atlantis Paradise Island resort), the Exumas (home to the swimming pigs), Grand Bahama, or Bimini, there's no shortage of wedding-worthy venues in the 700-plus islands and cays that make up the Bahamas. And with vibrant landscapes, beyond friendly locals, and delicious fresh seafood everywhere from roadside conch shacks to restaurants by Michelin-starred chefs (Jean-Georges Vongerichten at the One&Only Ocean Club on Nassau Paradise Island), you're guaranteed more than just sun and sand—though the country's pink-sand beaches and crystal-blue waters are not without merit.

If you're looking for a truly unique Bahamas destination wedding venue, however, it pays to hone in on Eleuthera and Harbour Island, two ever-popular Out Islands. The former is famed for its 100 miles of undeveloped coastline and secluded coves, as well as insider resort destinations like the now-defunct Cotton Bay Club, a 1950s-era retreat at the southern end of the island, famed for its world-class golf course, chic boutique resort, and wealthy clientele like Pan American World Airways founder Juan Trippe.

Venture toward the middle and northern ends of the island and you'll find new properties that have all the makings of a picture-perfect destination wedding venue. Take a five-minute speedboat transfer from the island's northernmost tip and you'll find Harbour Island, a tony islet favored by models like Elle Macpherson and influencers like Julia Hengel. It may be tiny, but Harbour Island is filled with chic resort wear boutiques, organic cafes, beach bars, and of course, stunning resorts, many of which have seen recent renovations and expansions.

To find your perfect venue, read on for a spotlight on some of our faves:

A view of a welcome dinner on the beach at the Cove, Eleuthera
Cody Hunter Photography / Courtesy of The Cove

Set on a secluded stretch of white sand on the Caribbean side of North Eleuthera, the Cove has wedding-ready settings in spades. Guests can spread out on the 40-acre estate, housing 57 whitewashed rooms, suites, and bungalows. (Room blocks are available for bookings of 10 or more rooms.) Brides can post up in the three-bedroom villa with a private pool, ping-pong table, and spacious deck—the perfect set up for both a cocktail reception and quiet moments of solo R&R before the ceremony.

The ceremony: Sure, you could get married on the beach, but at the Cove, the place to say "I do" is surprisingly not on the sand. Rather, it's on the Pointe, a grassy spit of land that extends out into the ocean between the two beaches. Most couples plan a sunset ceremony—so hopefully your photographer can capture that elusive green flash as the sun sinks behind the horizon as you seal your nuptials with a kiss.

The reception: Most couples choose to host their post-nuptial dinner and dancing on the pool deck, combining the resort's outdoor wooden tables into one long banquet table. If you prefer to reserve that space for the D floor, opt for round tables on the grassy lawn surrounding the deck or on one of the two beaches for a toes-in-the-sand reception. You won't need much in the way of decorations at the Cove—the setting is so naturally lush and well manicured (each palm tree is perfectly lit by spotlight). The Cove's in-house food and beverage team can customize menus and cocktails to each couple (opt for the kale caesar as your starter) and facilitate additional catered events like a welcome-night beach barbecue. (Catering costs average $150 to $250 per head, plus tax and service.)

What makes it unique: Besides the impressive decor—which feels like the hip beach house of a big-name Hamptons interior designer—the Cove has an intimate vibe that makes it ideal for couples who want to spend tons of quality time with their wedding guests. Most people choose to just chill on-property, with occasional off-site excursions to Preacher's Cove or the Glass Bridge—so expect to find your crew hanging out on the two stretches of crescent sand, going for dips in the infinity pool, paddle-boarding in the ocean, and snoozing on perfectly placed hammocks.

The fine print: The Cove has a strict 11 p.m. curfew and there's no on-site event specialist, so couples are required to use a local wedding planner or fly in their own expert.

A destination wedding on the beach at Coral Sands Hotel, Harbour Island, Bahamas
Courtesy of Coral Sands Hotel

This eight-acre oceanfront resort melds open-air architecture with beachy accents for the perfect laid-back yet luxe "I do" environment. From the beach hats strung on a wall as you enter the resort to the comfy deep couches in the lobby and the blue-checkered-floor in the bar bar, your hip crowd will feel right at home. Guest rooms and cottages are spread out over multiple buildings, all done up in neutral tones with tropical pops of color, and many with balconies and ocean views. Brides should splurge on the Beach House, a two-bedroom cottage fronting the sand, or the three-bedroom Villa Carissa. Before your guests arrive, schedule a solo dinner with the future hubs at Latitude 25, the resort's flagship restaurant, serving classic Caribbean dishes with a French flair, on an open-air deck overlooking the beach and gardens.

The ceremony: Harbour Island's Pink Sands Beach is world famous—and you'll realize why once you sink your toes into the sugar-soft sand. Exchanging vows on Coral Sands' wide stretch, with miles of blue ocean in the background, is a no-brainer. Plus, you can make your grand entrance down a set of stairs surrounded by foliage.

The reception: Most couples choose to host their party at the Beach Bar, a spacious semi-covered deck overlooking the ocean that seats up to 150 guests. Couples can arrange their ideal farm- and/or ocean-to-table menu directly with Chef Ludovic Jarland—think coconut-crusted mahi mahi or pan-roasted grouper seafood alongside oven-roasted rack or lamb or braised wagyu short ribs. Meals can be served buffet-style ($140 per person) or as a plated dinner ($165 per person) with either a consumption-based bar or open bar ($30 to $40 per person per hour). And don't worry, the resort has Whispering Angel rosé, so we guarantee your #basic bridesmaids will be happy.

What makes it unique: During the day, Coral Sands is a see-and-be-seen spot that bustles with guests from the resort and elsewhere on the island, meaning your crew will have no shortage of social interactions. By night, the lights are dimmed and candles flicker, so you're guaranteed an intimate, ultra-romantic vibe.

The fine print: The standard wedding package, starting at $4,750, includes the following: An on-site wedding consultant, marriage license, officiant, bridal bouquet, set up and use of the arch for the ceremony, all rentals, in-house flower arranging, and a bottle of champagne. There's also a $1,500 site fee for receptions at the Beach Bar and a minimum booking of three rooms for three nights.

A tented reception on the beach at Ocean View Club, in Harbour Island, Bahamas.
Courtesy of Ocean View Club via Instagram

Tons of chic brides have chosen this hotel/venue for their Bahamas destination wedding, and not just because the resort's founders, Ben and Charlie, have an eye for upscale cuisine and clever event design. Mainly, the property has a certain cool-factor that photographs interestingly and beautifully and it's centrally located on Pink Sand Beach. Couples who choose the main resort can house their bridal party in the five cottages and seven rooms overlooking the beach. The other option is to go across the ocean, back to the island of Eleuthera, where Ben and Charlie just opened a seven-room hideout called The Other Side, complete with glamping-style accommodations and a gorgeous infinity pool that stretches out into the ocean.

The ceremony: Many brides who wed at Ocean View Club choose a religious house of worship for their ceremony (the island is home to a number of churches from different religious orders). However, Harbour Island's Pink Sand Beach is a worthy non-denominational option. Wedding arches can be customized according to your decor of choice and seating comes in the form of long wooden benches (with pillows), which make for clean (non-distracting) lines in photographs. Even better: Guests are invited to "check" their shoes in a cupboard upon arrival at the beach. (We recommend embracing the setting and going barefoot for your walk down the aisle.)

The reception: Ocean View Club has a number of reception options: the deck at the main resort, a tented set-up on Pink Sand Beach, and tables spread across a lawn at the Other Side. No matter which you choose, you are guaranteed chic decor at the hands of Charlie and her team and top-notch island flavors, thanks to Ben's gourmand palate. Tents can accommodate up to 200 guests for a seated reception, with a customizable dance floor in the middle and chandeliers or other lighting throughout.

What makes it unique: Few destination wedding resorts come with experts that have such high-design quality control as Ocean View Club. So not only do you get all the technical assistance when it comes to pulling off an on-budget affair, but also the event design services of a seasoned pro. Just look at images from the tented receptions, clever bean-bag cocktail-hour seating, and romantic beach bonfire after parties and you'll understand just what an asset the Ocean View Club team is to brides.

The fine print: Weddings at the Ocean View Club and the Other Side require a full buyout, which ranges from $300 to $525 per night per room, in low season (discounts are given depending on the number of nights booked, with a three-night minimum). Events held on Pink Sand Beach have an 11 p.m. curfew, but those at the Other Side can go all night long!

The pool at French Leave Eleuthera, a resort on Eleuthera, Bahamas
Courtesy of French Leave Eleuthera

The location alone—on Cupid’s Cay—is enough to land this boutique resort on our top five Bahamas destination wedding venues. (Too cute, right?!) But seriously, on one side of the resort, located in quaint Governor's Harbour, you get picture-perfect sunsets over a tiny harbor; on the other, just across Queen's Highway, you have miles of pink-sand beach. With just 12 bungalows, all of which have clean lines and modern amenities like an iPad for in-room dining and concierge requests (plus the most comfortable terry-cloth robes we've ever experienced), French Leave is a quiet haven for small destination weddings. Guests can hang by the infinity pool or take their souped-up, four-seater golf cart—each villa has its own one, complete with a cooler for picnics on the beach—across the road and down a small path to the Atlantic Ocean beachfront.

The ceremony: The resort has a special events lawn fronting the harbor as well as an events pavilion on a raised deck beside the pool that make perfect set-ups. But we prefer toes in the sand. Ask the resort to set up your ceremony on the beach before sunset, and guests can even transport themselves there in their golf carts!

The reception: Brides looking for open-air, non-tented outdoor ceremonies will love the events lawn, which can be decked out with a dance floor and tables surrounding the pool.

What makes it unique: The resort's on-site dining venue, 1648 An Island Restaurant, serves casual Caribbean fare (conch rangoon, pan seared ahi tuna), but it's also just a short drive from one of Governor Harbour's best beach bars: Tippy's Restaurant & Beach Bar. Since the resort's catering your reception, opt to have your welcome party at this low-key spot, oozing with island vibes—guests will love sipping cold Kalik beers to the tune of Caribbean-cool jams.

The fine print: French Leave is a boutique operation, so if you're looking for handheld wedding planning services or amenities aplenty to entertain your guests, you're probably best served elsewhere.

A view of Bahama House on Harbour Island
Courtesy of Bahama House

New openings on Harbour Island don't come around very often, so when this 11-room hideout debuted on the harbor side this past February, chic island-goers jumped with joy. As should brides, once they take a peek at the uberstylish decor: checkered floors, rattan furnishings, mirrored wall displays, adorable bar carts. Depending on the size of your wedding, you may be able to accommodate all of your friends and family at this boutique property, which fits up to 26 people, spread across four buildings and two cottages. If not, no worries, Bahama House allows events for parties as large as 50 guests. And don't expect a single guest to be bored on Harbour Island; days can be filled with bone fishing, deep sea fishing, paddle boarding, diving, kite surfing, snorkeling, and island tours. Plus, the grounds include a lap pool, hot tub, two on-site bars, indoor and outdoor lounge areas, a library, and all the gear you could ever need for island activities.

The ceremony: Bahama House has a stunning landscaped pool deck that would suit any boutique nuptials, especially with the couple standing on one side and guests seated in long rows on the other. Large parties, however, may want to see alternate venues.

The reception: The same patio can be used for everything from an intimate cocktail party, including cocktail service and passed appetizers for 50 guests, to a sit-down meal for parties of 22. If you're a more alternative bride, we recommend opting for a seated brunch reception, which really maximizes the beauty of the space.

What makes it unique: Besides its candy-pink exterior and stunning design throughout, Bahama House is a gem for intimate affairs. Not to mention, buyout groups get exclusive use of the property (including house spirits, beer, and wine) plus guided island adventures, use of the boat and a captain, a dedicated experience manager, on-island transportation, one day of professional photography, round-trip airport transfers, and more.

The fine print: Prices range from $8,750 to $12,650 per night for a full property buyout, based on a maximum capacity of 22 guests.

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