If you could get married anywhere in the world, chances are that one of the best Caribbean wedding destinations would be near the top of your wish list.
Indeed, with sugary sands, tall palms swaying in the breeze, crystal-clear turquoise seas, and generous sunshine adding a special sheen to it all, it’s hard to ask more of a wedding destination. Add in the vibrant culture, friendly locals, and laid-back spots for R&R met by activities aplenty, and you’ve got all the makings for the very best Caribbean wedding destinations.
And while, surely, finding true love may have been the hard part, just keep in mind that there are some logistical hoops to jump through in order to get married abroad. As such, we’ve also outlined the basic requirements for legally getting married in these international locales, so you can be sure your special day will go without a hitch. If the paperwork puts you off, not to worry. You can always get legally married at home, and have the symbolic ceremony on one of these isles instead.
Here are some of the very best Caribbean islands to get married.
This popular Mexican island, off the country’s Yucatán Peninsula, draws crowds for its access to dreamscape white sands and sparkling Caribbean seas, where vibrant reefs and marine life welcome world-class snorkeling and diving.
Cozumel is positively bustling, with all the shops, restaurants, bars, and attractions, including some excellent national parks, that any action-seeking couple might be after, while its beaches make the perfect backdrop for memorable seaside weddings.
Beach clubs can provide everything you need to create the wedding of your dreams, with ease. Try the scenic Playa Palancar beach club, which offers activities including diving, snorkeling, and water sports, a restaurant and bar, spa services, and a wedding and special events coordinator to dream up precisely the wedding plan you’re after.
Playa Mia Grand Beach Park offers beach access, water sports including snorkeling amid the coral reefs, land-based activities like cooking classes, ATV jungle rides, and salsa dance lessons. A wedding coordinator will take care of all of the fine details for your perfect day.
To be legally married in Cozumel, both parties must present the municipality with passports, tourist cards from the Mexican immigration authority, and blood test results. At the wedding, four adult witnesses, with passports, are required, or, can be provided for an additional fee, and legal ceremonies must be performed by a local judge. Note that Mexico allows for gay marriage.
One half of a tiny, two-nation island, the Netherlands’ St. Maarten is the counterpart to France’s St. Martin, with each adjacent country offering a distinctive Europe-meets-the-Caribbean feel.
The Dutch city of Philipsburg exudes Old World-style charm, where cobblestone streets come lined with duty-free shops and buzzing bars and restaurants. Outside of the city, some three dozen beaches invite hand-in-hand strolls, snorkeling adventures, or vow exchanges, making St. Maarten one of the best Caribbean wedding destinations.
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Some standout locations to wed include the lengthy strip at Great Bay Beach, which fronts the island’s capital at Philipsburg and hums with activity. Mullet Bay, with its sandy white shores, is another top beach in St. Maarten. It’s a favorite for surfers, too.
Requests for a marriage on St. Maarten must be made to the municipality, with supporting documentation, including passports and original documents, 14 days before the ceremony date. Six witnesses, with passports, are required for any marriages performed outside of the city’s Marriage Hall; witnesses can be provided for a fee.
With its powdery white sands, sparkling seas, and quaint colonial cityscape, the Bahamian capital, Nassau, offers a vibrant backdrop to your Caribbean dream wedding. Culture and history-packed, with the add-ons of a relaxed atmosphere, quality duty-free shopping, and some chic resorts help entice the engaged to Nassau, where island weddings pair beach vibes with urban flair.
Nassau comes loaded with wedding venues that are ready to make your destination wedding a breeze. On adjacent Paradise Island, Atlantis Resort, for one, has more than 20 different wedding and reception venues on site, whether you want to exchange vows on a secluded stretch of sand, poolside under palm trees, or next to dolphins in the resort’s dolphin habitat.
Or, try Blue Lagoon Island. This private island—just a boat ride away from Nassau—offers a Bahamian hideaway, complete with idyllic beaches (including a tucked-away lagoon), coral reefs, tall palm trees, and hammocks for two. Wedding packages can be fully customized, including preferred locations—which might just be alongside the resident dolphins in their ocean pool habitat.
Just eight miles from Nassau, meanwhile, sustainability-minded Pearl Island scores romantic points for its aquamarine waters, powdery sand beaches, and even a whitewashed lighthouse for those extra-special wedding photos, making it one of the best Caribbean wedding destinations.
In order to be legally married in Nassau, a Bahamian marriage license is required. Licenses can be obtained by couples who have been in the country at least 24 hours prior to the date of the marriage application. (Cruise ship passengers can meet this requirement if they’ve been in Bahamian waters for 24 hours; the ship’s purser’s office would have to print out a letter of confirmation in this case.)
Marriage licenses cannot be obtained by mail; both parties must appear in person to the Registrar General’s office to submit the application. Note the offices are open on weekdays only. It normally takes two business days to process a marriage license, though cruise ship passengers can apply for same-day approvals.
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
The most developed of the U.S. Virgin Islands, pretty St. Thomas assuredly has its share of gorgeous beaches, but it offers buzzing action, too. Expect exceptional duty-free shopping, eclectic cuisine, and lively bars, many of which are clustered in the bustling capital port city at Charlotte Amalie.
On this best Caribbean island to get married, dreamy destination wedding settings are ripe for the picking on one of the sandy beaches, dotted with palm trees and hammocks, and met by bright blue Caribbean seas.
For the most beautiful wedding backdrops on St. Thomas’ beaches, look to spots like Magens Bay Beach, with its mile of white sand and gentle waves. There’s also a forested nature trail nearby if you want some greenery for your wedding photos.
Smith Bay Park, or Lindquist Beach, is another top contender—smaller and less developed than Magens, it’s no less beautiful with its powdery white sand and glass-clear seas, with views of surrounding islands just on the horizon.
Read: Best Things to Do in St. Thomas
Or, you might hop a water taxi over to nearby Water Island to try the aptly named Honeymoon Beach—it makes for a most intuitive post-nuptials transition, after all.
Getting married in St. Thomas is a relative breeze. Couples simply visit the registry the morning of the ceremony to file their marriage application; note the office is only open on weekdays, though weekend arrangements can be made in advance, with a surcharge, and business casual attire is required. St. Thomas permits LGBT marriage.
Nature lovers are drawn to wild, unspoiled St. Lucia, with its verdant valleys and soaring mountains, including the majestic Pitons, volcanic rock beaches, and waterfall-dotted rain forests. With its British and French flair and quiet fishing villages, this island offers a real world-apart feel. Foodies appreciate the savory Creole cuisine, while sunsets are celebrated with rum punch and live music.
For the betrothed in search of beautiful beaches in St. Lucia, spots like Reduit Beach, with its impossibly golden sands and shimmering seas, or secluded Marigot Bay, fringed by lush green hills, don’t disappoint.
For something more atypical, consider tying the knot at the Pigeon Island National Landmark, a 44-acre reserve filled in with tropical flora and fauna, ruins of old military buildings, a panoramic fort-top lookout point, and access to two beaches.
Couples must appear at the island’s registry office on the morning of the wedding ceremony to present all required original documentation, including a valid passport. Marriage licenses can be obtained same-day; this legal ease helps to make St. Lucia one of the best Caribbean wedding destinations.
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
The largest of three islands that make up the British-flavored Cayman Islands chain, Grand Cayman scores points with visitors for its spectacular shoreline, not least the white-sand strip of Seven Mile Beach. The moneyed atmosphere (the island is a world financial center), and ample diversions like old ruins and duty-free shopping in the capital, George Town, complete the picture.
Grand Cayman doesn’t disappoint with transporting beach settings, especially on the expansive and lively Seven Mile Beach, which, with its turquoise seas and coral sands, is widely touted as one of the best beaches in the Caribbean.
Or opt for a venue like the plush Pedro St. James or The White House, which makes a business out of hosting seamless and idyllic waterfront weddings.
For something less beachy but no less beautiful, the island’s Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park can make your wedding fantasies come true in settings like a tropical garden or in a flower-decorated gazebo, with a shimmering lake as a backdrop. The park’s 65 acres promise a kaleidoscope of lovely landscapes to enjoy and to capture your photo memories.
It’s fairly easy for couples to get married on Grand Cayman, yet another reason it’s one of the best Caribbean wedding destinations. Simply present your passports and required original documents to the local government offices; weddings can then be performed on the same day.
Note marriages must be overseen by a designated marriage officer and two witnesses are required. The Cayman Islands also permit gay marriage.
Read: Best Things to Do in Grand Cayman
Ready to plan your perfect Caribbean wedding? Consider a luxury cruise with Celebrity Cruises, which offers a slate of dreamy sailings to the Caribbean.
Then leave the wedding planning details to the pros: Celebrity’s cruise wedding event managers can coordinate every element of your shoreside—or shipboard—wedding, from start to finish. They’ll scout the perfect venue, from picture-perfect beaches to colorful gardens, arrange transportation and catering for your reception, and more. The only thing left for you to do is to say “I do!”