The Bahamas has quite a reputation for being a hot spot for weddings, honeymoons, and pretty much any kind of romantic getaway. Aside from its postcard-worthy beaches, The Bahamas is known for its cultural diversity, pristine weather, and the almost 700 islands that make up its tropical archipelago, in addition to over 2,000 surrounding cays.
Couples dreaming of exchanging vows in The Bahamas will be pleased to know it takes around 30 minutes to get there from the southernmost region of Florida. As for the wedding itself, brides and grooms will have plenty of venue options and expert wedding planners at their disposal, especially at the all-inclusive Sandals Resorts.
To put those dream wedding plans into action, this article will fill you in on everything you need to know about getting married in The Bahamas.
Insider tip: When costs are factored in, some people choose the Caribbean over the U.S. for their dream wedding. The average cost of a wedding in the U.S. can range from $20,000- $40,000 USD or more, while the average cost for a Caribbean wedding is around $2,000 USD.
● You don’t need to be a citizen of The Bahamas to get married there. Blood tests are not required to get married in The Bahamas either. You will, however, need to provide all the required documentation to get your marriage license.
● Your marriage in The Bahamas will also be legal in the United States as a legal marriage, as per Bahamian law.
● The main attraction for couples wanting to get married in The Bahamas is the beauty of the islands, the amazing culture and weather, and the diverse wedding locations.
In this article on the Sandals Blog:
Why get married in The Bahamas?
How to complete the paperwork for your marriage license?
How to plan a wedding in The Bahamas in 12 steps
Getting married with a wedding planner
Amazing wedding venues in The Bahamas
Getting married at Sandals
Getting married in The Bahamas FAQs
Let’s get to it!
The Bahamas is one of the few places that live up to the amazing promotions associated with it. Once you’re there, you’ll truly feel like you’re in paradise! Need more convincing? Here’s why The Bahamas could be perfect for your destination wedding:
The islands that make up The Bahamas are developed and accommodating, while also being serene and secluded. You can choose the type of experience you want to have and expect that you’ll be able to find a resort to suit you in The Bahamas.
The islands truly are an amazing wedding escape where you can find an experienced wedding planner to guide your way, particularly at Sandals resorts in The Bahamas. You can have your dream wedding, customized just the way you’d like it.
You can even have a honeymoon and wedding in one! This will save time and money and allow you to skip across to a different island if you want different scenery for your honeymoon!
Expert tip: To help ensure that your wedding experience in The Bahamas is as smooth as can be, get all the legal documents you need together in advance.
From the engagement, all the way up to your honeymoon, getting married is exciting! Before walking down, the aisle though, you’ll need to get a few things out of the way.
Insider tip: Getting married at a Sandals all-inclusive resort? Your personal wedding planner will provide all the assistance you need to get your documents together.
Here’s how to get a marriage license in The Bahamas, step by step:
You will need to have a declaration form completed by a person (declarant) who has knowledge of the impending marriage. The form will need to be signed in the presence of a justice of the peace (JP), who is essentially a court officer who performs civil marriages. A friend, family member, or another representative can serve as a declarant.
Before you can legally get married in The Bahamas, you will need to obtain a marriage license. You will receive your marriage license the day after you apply, or sometimes the same day. Both parties must be present at the Office of the Registrar in The Bahamas when applying for a marriage license.
You can download a marriage license application here:
The Bahamas Marriage License Application
A marriage license in The Bahamas costs $120 USD, and this price includes a certified copy of your marriage certificate.
For more information, you can contact the Registrar General’s Department listed below:
Registrar General’s Department
Cor. of Shirley and Charlotte Street
P.O. Box N-532
Nassau, New Providence
Tel: (242) 397-9179/9113
Fax: (242) 322-5553
Email: [email protected]
Opening Hours: 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday, except on Public Holidays
The next step is submitting both your marriage license and your declaration forms to the Marriage Registration Section of the Registrar General’s Department along with other supporting documents.
Here are some of the other things you’ll need:
Passport or driver’s license
If divorced: The original final decree or a certified copy of your divorce certificate
If widowed: The original death certificate or certified copy
Certified documents supporting any change of name (where applicable)
Good to know: If you are under the age of 18, you will need parental consent to get married in The Bahamas. Consent forms are available from the Registrar General’s Office.
Once all your documents are approved, your marriage license will be issued. You may be able to get your marriage license processed on the same day, or the next day. With this process, it is possible to get married within 24-48 hours of your arrival in The Bahamas.
Getting married is an adventure like none other. Even though it can take a bit of planning, the end result will be worthwhile as you get ready to walk into your happily-ever-after. Here’s how to start planning your wedding in The Bahamas.
To say that you’ll need time to plan your dream wedding is an understatement - but the amount of time needed can vary depending on the size and intricacy of your ceremony, and also the location. It is important to factor in enough planning time, so you won’t feel rushed or overwhelmed. Time is also important for accommodating your guests who may need to travel to get there. Couples planning a destination wedding usually give their guests at least 12 months' notice, particularly if more than 10 guests are expected to attend. The sooner you get started, the better. Factor in at least 13-18 months to plan your wedding!
Find a way to keep your thoughts and plans organized. Get a wedding folder or binder (some even refer to it as their personal "wedding bible”)! This comes in handy even if you have a wedding planner to do the planning for you because it will help you keep track of the planning easily (and stay out of panic mode!).
Some elements you can add to your wedding folder include:
● Your budget
● A guest list
● Wedding venue ideas
● Potential wedding dates
● Accommodations and flights
● Honeymoon arrangements
● Plans for the ceremony
● Plans for the reception
● Decor and color scheme ideas
● Wedding flower options
● A wedding playlist
● Options for the perfect wedding dress
Now to the nitty-gritty…
When planning a wedding, the very first thing you’ll want to do is set your budget. There are so many amazing things you can add to your wedding, so it can be easy for spending to get out of control. Once you set your budget, you’ll know how much is allotted for each area so you can plan things out without overspending. Remember that the goal is to build a life together, not to go into debt!
We can’t emphasize how important it is to save in the months, and even years leading up to your wedding. In fact, in addition to your regular savings account, you should have a wedding day savings account that you can use solely for things related to your big day. Both of you can contribute to this and plan your wedding according to your budget. A good amount to put into a wedding fund is about 10 percent of your monthly earnings.
In addition to creating a wedding budget, you’ll also want to keep track of your spending as you go along. Use a spreadsheet that will detail the specific items that you have spent money on or will be spending on. Services, venue(s), rentals, flights, accommodations, and other wedding day fees and essentials should be included. Don’t forget to include post-wedding events and costs, like your honeymoon!
Expert tip: Check whether taxes and gratuities are included in the vendor cost estimates as you’re putting your wedding day spreadsheet together.
No one likes surprises, especially when you’ve set out a budget and want to stick to it. Sometimes though, this really can’t be avoided. Knowing this, it’s a good idea to leave room in your budget for unexpected costs. Be careful to avoid getting charged for services you don’t need or want. Pay attention to the details of what you’re getting, and also pay attention to transportation costs for various things or costs for providers to get to your venue so that you can plan with a money-saving mindset.
If you’ve always dreamed about a grand wedding with a long guest list, it’s perfectly alright to go full steam ahead in that direction. With that said, there are still lots of ways to save no matter the size of your wedding. Here are a few money-saving tips that may come in handy:
● Change the venue
Are you thinking of booking a large, open venue to fit all the people you want to invite? Keep in mind that doing so is likely to come with added costs for things like decor and seating. If on the other hand, you find a venue with suitable decor, where you’ll only need to add personal touches, here and there, you may be left with more funds to spend elsewhere.
● Say no to upgrades at your wedding venue
Upgrades are great, but the truth is, they aren’t always necessary. Know when to go with it, and when to say no. This will help you save money.
Insider tip: If you plan an all-inclusive wedding at any Sandals resort, your wedding package will include everything you need for your dream wedding, with the possibility of adding on some neat upgrades too. Check out a full list of Sandals wedding inclusions here!
● Edit the guest list
As large as you might want your wedding to be, it might be worth looking over your guest list to verify that everyone on there really needs to be included. Consider your costs when thinking about inviting people you’re not even sure you’re still friends with!
● Have an off-peak wedding
Another area where you can save has to do with the timing of your wedding. Particularly if you’re planning a destination wedding, traveling during the ‘off-peak’ season can help you and your guests save money on flights and accommodations. Even if you’re getting married locally, there may be times of the year, or even certain days of the week, when it’ll cost less to book a wedding venue.
By now, you probably have an idea for your dream wedding venue or even a couple of possibilities. An important factor that will help you select the best one is your guest list. Who are you inviting, and how will they get there? Are you having a large wedding, or are you looking to elope? The answers to these questions will help you select the wedding location that works best for everyone.
Pictured: The regal gardens and reflective pool at Sandals Emerald Bay are a popular choice for destination weddings and receptions in The Bahamas.
The Bahamas is an amazing wedding destination for more reasons than one. These islands have a special charm that appeals to couples wanting to celebrate their love on sunny shores. In The Bahamas, you can choose from amazing tropical garden venues, quaint and traditional chapels, gazebos with jaw-dropping ocean views, and so much more. Just as long as you can think it up, chances are high that you’ll find the perfect wedding venue in The Bahamas. Ask questions to make sure your preferred venue will be available on your selected dates!
Insider tip: Sandals’ resorts in The Bahamas are incredibly wedding-centric with lots of great wedding locations guests can choose from. Plus, if you stay for 3 nights or longer at any Sandals all-inclusive resort in The Bahamas (or elsewhere), you can enjoy a free wedding! It's the perfect choice for an intimate and memorable occasion.
Next stop? The date. If you’re traveling to the tropics for your wedding, you’ll be happy to know there’s hardly a bad time to go to The Bahamas. The best time to get married in The Bahamas is November to mid-December when the daytime temperatures are likely to be a bit cooler (this will be great if you’re having an outdoor wedding). Since the temperatures are more or less consistent in this part of the world, the dates for your wedding will largely depend on personal preference. If you want to skip the crowds though, avoid peak season (mid-December to April).
Expert tip: The best time to visit The Bahamas can depend on the reason for the trip. Read up on when you should travel for the best weather, the most sunshine, and to attend cultural events like Junkanoo and Bahamas Carnival.
Prioritize putting together and finalizing your wedding guest list if you want your nearest and dearest to attend the ceremony. They too will need to budget for their trip to The Bahamas and schedule time off work.
Consider that your invites will need to be sourced or created, and then possibly printed out if you’re going with hard copy invites. After all of that, you’ll need to send them out. While you’re finalizing invites, you can send out “Save the Date” cards or emails. This will alert your guests about your wedding and give them a chance to start planning. Your “Save the Dates” can help you gauge what size wedding you will be having.
Keep in mind that a few of your guests may be unable to make it. Other obligations, or maybe even another wedding during a busy wedding season, might mean that they’re booked. In this case, a wedding registry will serve the added purpose of accommodating gifts of love from those who’d love to celebrate with you but just aren’t able to. For those attending and even those who will not be around, definitely put together a registry and include items you really would appreciate.
This is another element of the guest list that will have to be planned in advance. Your bridal party will need to be informed extra early, around the time that you have set the date and booked the location. This is especially so for anyone who might have to travel a long way or navigate their work or family schedule to attend. After you have shared your news and invites, ask that your bridal party let you know as soon as possible whether they’ll be able to make it.
If you’re planning on getting married in The Bahamas, plan to arrive at least 48 hours before your big day. Doing this will help you settle down a bit beforehand. Book flights and accommodations early and leave room for possible flight delays. If traveling with a group, ask about group rates.
Insider tip: There are special perks at Sandals resorts for large wedding groups. You can expect to score special discounts based on the number of guests from your wedding party who’ll be staying at the resort. In fact, if you book 5 rooms with any Sandals resort, you’ll get the 6th room free. This also counts for booking 11 rooms, where you’ll get the 12th room free and a complimentary upgrade to a butler-level suite for the bride and groom!
It’s one thing to make flight arrangements, and quite another to make plans for how you and your wedding party will get around once you arrive in The Bahamas. It is possible that not everyone attending your wedding will stay at the wedding venue. For those who don’t, it’s a good idea to arrange transportation in advance. This is one area where a local wedding planner can be of assistance. Some resorts provide this service as well. A wedding planner can refer you to a transfer company with reasonable prices that will be able to accommodate you and your guests. You can also provide a list of transportation options to guests so they can find their own way around.
As for you and your spouse, hire a luxury car or limousine to take you from your resort to the ceremony and back if you’re getting married off the property!
Insider tip: Thinking about booking your wedding at a Sandals resort? Those traveling in large groups or wedding parties can book their own private luxury Island Routes coach bus, accommodating a maximum of 44 guests with three flat-screen TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi, fully reclining seats, ample leg room, footrests, food trays, and cup holders.
A honeymoon is something most people have envisioned for their entire life. Don’t miss out on what could be a spectacular moment by planning something mediocre. Islands like The Bahamas stands out as incredible honeymoon destinations where you can find the sort of luxury, seclusion, and breezy beauty most expect out of a tropical getaway. In fact, The Bahamas is a perfect weddingmoon destination where you and your other half can save money while falling even more in love against the backdrop of this true Caribbean paradise.
Expert tip: Book a minimum 3-night vacation at the Sandals Resort of your choice, arriving within 30 days of your wedding date, and get a FREE honeymoon package!
There are so many ways to put together the perfect wedding that not only reflects your personality but also brings to life those romantic wedding dreams you’ve had forever. Customize to your heart’s content, and don’t settle until you’re absolutely satisfied.
A few other things you’ll need to decide on, aside from location, are whether you’ll be having a wedding rehearsal, who will be part of the wedding processional, how the officiant will greet the guests (formal or informal?), whether there will be prayers, personal readings or a marriage invocation, if you’ll have traditional or personal vows, and whether you want the exchange of rings to be done in a traditional way. Seating arrangements also need to be considered.
Your wedding planner can help you figure out best practices, or you and your spouse can decide on your own with the help of friends and family.
There’s definitely a lot that goes into the planning of a wedding, but the best part of all is the reception. At this point, the formalities are behind you, and it’s time to have some fun with your spouse and your wedding party. Some things to consider when planning a wedding reception are the proximity to the wedding ceremony, whether it will be indoor or outdoor, or even sit-down or cocktail style. When it comes to proximity, it’s a good idea to keep the reception as close to the actual ceremony as possible.
Whichever option you choose, be sure to consider the dietary requirements of your guests when selecting your menu. For example, have vegetarian options, vegan dishes, and even halal meals if someone requests them. Finally, decide whether you’ll be having an open bar or cash bar. Keep in mind that open bars may not be feasible if you’re having a large wedding.
Insider tip: You’ll get unlimited gourmet meals and premium spirits should you decide to tie the knot at an all-inclusive Sandals resort!
If you’re on your own with decor, you’ll want to make sure that whatever you choose blends well with the other elements of your wedding (like the outfits your bridal party will wear, and even your cake). To start, you can create a mood board that will give you some visuals of your potential wedding look. The colors you select will set the tone for your special ceremony - from the invites, right on through to the bouquets. The location of your ceremony is also relevant when selecting decor because some locations allow for blending in natural elements that can also reduce your costs. Explore your options, and if you have a wedding planner, explain the look you’re going to guide the options they suggest for your ceremony.
Flowers can literally bring your ceremony to life! A few things to consider when selecting flowers are your budget (flowers can be pricey!), desired color scheme, and hiring the right florist. Whether this part of things is being left to your wedding planner or you’re doing it on your own, try to get as much information as you can to make the right choices. A good place to start is with the bridal bouquet, which will set the tone for everything else. Work your way up to the groom’s boutonniere, hair flowers, the maid of honor’s bouquet, bridesmaid bouquets, and groomsmen boutonnieres. After that, focus on the overall decor. Remember that with flowers, less is sometimes more. Overall, this depends on your theme and positioning, the latter of which can make a difference in the overall appearance of your flowers, and how they amplify your decor.
Tip: You may want to consider getting boutonnieres for the minister, fathers, grandfathers, and ushers. Corsages can also be included for mothers and grandmothers and special women in attendance who you would like to honor.
If you’re having a small wedding, you’ll definitely want to put together a swoon-worthy playlist. Reminisce on the good times you and your love have had leading up to your amazing big day. For bigger weddings, you can line someone up to do this for you, hire a DJ, or commission a live band. Like most other elements of your wedding, this will largely depend on your budget.
What you’re looking for in your ceremony music are smooth and romantic tunes that will set the perfect ambiance. DJs can give you a bit more variety than a band can, but bands tend to be more engaging for everyone. If you have the budget for it, you can even do a live band and a DJ, though that likely won’t be necessary. Whichever route you take, make sure you get a good sense of the music style (DJ or band) before the big day. Also keep in mind that you can make suggestions on the order of the music, especially for big moments like the first dance!
Saying “yes to the dress” might be a little more difficult than it sounds, as many brides have discovered. The key to finding the right dress is giving yourself enough time and knowing what you want. Use these simple tips which can help make your wedding dress shopping experience stress free.
To get the perfect fit you may need to think about how much you want to spend. The options are purchasing a dynamic dress that may only need a few alternations or making one yourself. Very rarely does a bride find a wedding gown that’s a perfect fit straight from the bridal store, but if you’re lucky and you love it, take it and run! Otherwise, a good tailor can help you get that perfect fit.
There are so many different styles of wedding dresses, and as you’re shopping around you may start to feel overwhelmed with the ones you absolutely love. It’ll be near impossible to find a dress with every single one of your favorite features incorporated, so try to figure out that one feature you like most and go with that.
The goal is to find that wedding gown that’ll make you feel like you’re walking on a cloud as you glide down the aisle. The perfect dress will indeed make you feel like a million bucks, and not only should you feel confident in it, but you should also be comfortable!
Going wedding dress shopping with your bridesmaids or other close friends and family is exciting, but it can make things a little more complicated. For example, the preferences of others might not be your own, and you might find yourself selecting a wedding gown you don’t totally love. Take in the feedback from others and allow it to guide your decision, but at the end of it all, trust your gut when you think you’ve found the perfect gown.
Some brides choose a dress, then accessorize, while others know precisely the accessories they’ll be wearing on their big day and look for a dress to suit that. The most important thing is that your accessories and gown should blend effortlessly. If your dress is simple, you will definitely be able to glam it up with some choice of accessories.
Before heading out to shop for a wedding dress, try to figure out whether you want a traditional or non-traditional gown. Whichever you choose, make sure it’s one that’ll make you feel sparkly inside and out as you make your way down the aisle. If you want a traditional gown that still shows hints of your personality and style, making alterations is always an option.
There is such a thing as a perfect wedding dress, but the perfect dress varies from bride to bride. The perfect dress will feel as good as it looks, and it will be right in line with your budgetary expectations. Well, scratch that last one… sometimes perfection costs more, but if you’re able to find a dress you love and work your budget around it, then that is perfection in itself.
Once your ceremony is over, you’ll be given a copy of the Marriage Register, which serves as legal proof of your marriage. You and your spouse, your witnesses, and the marriage officer will all sign the certificate, and you can later get a certified copy. If you get married at a Sandals Resort, you’ll be able to get some help and guidance in this department to help things go smoothly.
It’s no secret that hiring a wedding planner can help you sleep a lot better in the days ahead of your ceremony. This is even more so if you’re having a destination wedding. Planning a wedding in a foreign country can leave you feeling like a fish out of water. Your local wedding planner in The Bahamas can help you plan your wedding from start to end and will even assist with getting your documentation in order.
With their help, you can breathe life into your wedding ideas, and meet all the deadlines leading up to your big moment. All in all, your wedding planner in The Bahamas will help you keep organized, stick to your budget, and can even offer some ideas of how you can incorporate a bit of Bahamian culture into your ceremony, perhaps with a dish or a local wedding custom. Once you have a general idea of what you’d like for your ceremony, your wedding planner can help.
Sandals weddings are truly inspired by love, and, at this incredible all-inclusive Caribbean resort, you’ll have an entire team of professionals responsible for planning and coordinating your wedding. A Sandals wedding planner will be able to reserve your accommodations, wedding date, and wedding time. They can also provide assistance with getting your documents together and submitting them. Your personal pre-travel wedding planner can schedule a local non-denominational marriage officer to officiate your wedding, and even provide toll-free phone consultation.
Your Sandals wedding planner will organize all your wedding and reception plans and communicate your wishes to the resort wedding planner in preparation for your arrival. They’ll also schedule onsite wedding consultations with your resort wedding planning team, which includes a Wedding Manager, your personal Resort Wedding Planner, an on-resort wedding photographer, and the Red Lane® Spa boutique hair and makeup stylists.
Tip: Heading to a Sandals resort in The Bahamas for your wedding? Don’t forget resort essentials like sunblock, first-aid amenities, hair clips, welcome bag goodies, etc. If you do happen to forget something, you should be able to find what you need at the resort shop!
Not set on a wedding venue yet? Pick the perfect Sandals Resort in The Bahamas to celebrate your big day at an awesome Caribbean wedding venue:
Sandals Royal Bahamian: Nassau, New Providence
● Over-The-Water Gazebo
● Oceanfront Gazebo
● Beachfront Wedding
● Garden Gazebo (Most Sandals Resorts)
Sandals Emerald Bay: Exuma
● Oceanfront Gazebo
● Beachfront Wedding
● Garden Gazebo (Most Sandals Resorts)
● European Wedding Garden
There is a residency period of 24-hours for non-Bahamians who want to get married in The Bahamas. You will be required to show proof of arrival date such as your Bahamas Immigration Card or the entry stamp in your passport. Cruise ship visitors will need to get a letter from their ship’s guest services department to confirm they’ve been in The Bahamas (Bahamian waters) for the 24-hour residency period.
Feeling spontaneous? You might just decide it’s time to secure that happily-ever-after once you set foot in The Bahamas. If you’re both smitten and convinced, the good news is you can apply for your marriage license as soon as one day after your arrival. You’ll be able to get married as soon as you receive your approved license which usually only takes one day.
Your Bahamas Marriage License will be valid for 90-days. You can choose to get married at any time during that period.
No. You won’t need to apply for a marriage license in order to renew your vows.
You can collect your approved marriage license or marriage certificate from the Office of the Registrar General in The Bahamas.
For a fee of $20 USD each, you can acquire additional copies of your marriage certificate.
Yes. You will need two witnesses who are at least 18 years old to sign your marriage license in The Bahamas. Witnesses can be provided for you if you don’t have any.
In The Bahamas, you can have a traditional wedding ceremony, one that is religious, or a strictly legal union. You can also choose to have a non-denominational or non-religious wedding ceremony. A local marriage officer will be able to walk you through the various options.
Your pastor won’t be able to perform your wedding ceremony in The Bahamas, but they can assist a local pastor with officiating your destination wedding.
Yes. You will be able to have your wedding ceremony in The Bahamas on the weekend as long as you apply for your marriage license on a ‘working day’ ahead of that weekend.
If you’re a non-Bahamian marrying a Bahamian, you will likely have to undergo an interview process that confirms that your marriage is not a marriage of convenience. Each person will be interviewed separately.
If you plan on getting married in one of the 'Out Islands’ of The Bahamas, you will need to contact the Administrator’s Office on that island to get your marriage license in order.
It’s safe to say you can now start packing! There really are some incredible all-inclusive resorts in The Bahamas that will be perfect if you plan on getting married on those beautiful islands. With expert wedding planners, quality inclusions, gourmet dining, and incredible accommodation options (some even including butler service!) available at resorts like Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau and Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma, you’ll definitely be on your way to an idyllic and unforgettable wedding in The Bahamas.