Nevis is a tiny, 32-square mile Caribbean island southeast of Puerto Rico — and it's one of the most romantic undiscovered wedding destinations. Considered one of the most romantic islands in the world, it's got white sand beaches, aquamarine waters, a tropical rain forest, incredible native flowers, monkeys on the golf greens, and donkeys in the road. It also has about 50 historic landmarks that would make fabulous destination wedding venues, in addition to exquisite beaches.
Nevis Island, in the West Indies, is where Princess Diana vacationed with her little princes, and a bodyguard, many years ago, at the Montpelier Plantation — an historic plantation that was converted into a hotel after the sugar cane industry disappeared from the island in the 1950s. Locals say that Princess Di's visit is one of the major events that put Nevis on the map as a tourist destination.
At Montpelier Plantation, couples may host their guests for a welcome cocktail inside a perfectly preserved sugar mill, or have their own romantic fine dining experience on their honeymoon, while staying where royalty has been before them — quite literally.
In 2016, our friends at Condé Nast Traveler named Nevis one of "the most romantic islands" in the world. But it isn't just beaches and beautiful views that make a place famously romantic, so we set out to explore.
A former part of the United Kingdom, Nevis, and its sister-island of St. Kitts (two miles across the turquoise water), are an independent, two-island country. They are extremely visitor-friendly, and they accept US currency as readily as their own Eastern Caribbean dollars. The island has a rich history — in fact, it is the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton — yes, THAT Hamilton. The island community, with a population of approximately 13,000 people, is working to preserve and restore a number of significant landmarks, some of which are very popular for weddings.
Despite an earthquake and hurricanes, the foundation of the Cottle Church has stood. Many brides and grooms choose this location because of its beauty, views, and history. It's not difficult to get a permit for your wedding, and the proceeds go to the preservation of the church. In fact, getting your marriage license in Nevis isn't difficult either, because the island enthusiastically welcomes destination weddings. The paperwork costs $100.
Touring the island feels like traveling through time. In tiny Bath Village, the Bath Hotel was once a playground for the rich and famous. The Bath Stream that runs by it is reputed to have healing, medicinal properties. Interestingly, this is considered the first spa in the Caribbean, although it's fallen apart over the years. There's an effort to restore it to its former glory, but right now it makes for an interesting 10 minute pit stop on your tour of the island. There's a little gift shop with local honey and coconut oil, and a charming woman named Ella handing out clean washcloths for visitors who'd like a splash in the restorative waters.
After seeing the historic spa, it seems as if a visit to the luxury Caribbean Spa at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis is more than appropriate. Located on famous Pinney's Beach, the five-diamond hotel is the biggest resort on the island, and has 196 posh rooms, and another 80 private villas, most of which are available as wedding venues and guest accommodations. Hopping on the Broadway craze stateside, the Four Seasons offers a creative "Hamilton's Perfect Union" romance package for couples.
A sunset stroll down Pinney's Beach, with Nevis Peak on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other, is enough to confirm all the hype about the island's romantic setting. It has a certain energy — a feeling that settles in your chest once you've spent some time there. The kind of thing that makes you dread leaving the place almost as soon as you've arrived. Experiencing it with the one you love — or all of your family and friends for your wedding — definitely puts it on our list of must-see honeymoon and wedding spots.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.