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Weddings in paradise

Cayman offers a match made in heaven

Whether you live in the Cayman Islands, or reside overseas and are planning a destination wedding, there is no more romantic place to exchange your vows.

With year-round sunshine, beautiful beaches and first-class service, the islands offer an abundance of romance for the day of your dreams.

From a barefoot beach ceremony to an elegant service and reception, Cayman can cater to any style of wedding.

“The Cayman Islands are unique to the Caribbean – we are very cosmopolitan while maintaining that island vibe,” says Devlin Kenny of events company Celebrations. “We have many venues that we work with, from luxury hotels to private beachfront villas, and we’re known for our food scene as the culinary capital of the Caribbean.”

Devlin points out that the Cayman Islands provide a beautiful backdrop for all weddings, and many couples choose to combine the ceremony celebrations with their honeymoon.

“We would absolutely recommend Cayman as a honeymoon destination,” she says. “In fact, we find many of our newly married couples choose to extend their stay on Grand Cayman after they say ‘I do’, or they hop over to Little Cayman or Cayman Brac. It’s a great time to soak up all the island has to offer, including great food, nightlife, live music, shopping, and lots of water sports and outdoor activities.”

An array of excursions is available to entertain bridal party guests, so Devlin suggests chartering a boat for a day-trip to Stingray City, Rum Point, and Starfish Point to enjoy swimming and snorkelling. She also recommends the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park and Cayman Crystal Caves for an on-land itinerary, as well as dinner at one of Cayman’s many world-class restaurants.

Island themes

Whether living locally or visiting to tie the knot, couples love an island theme for their marriage celebrations.

This can include local music, such as reggae, soca, and steel pan, Caribbean-inspired food and drinks, and tropical décor.

“I always recommend steel pan for the ceremony and cocktail-hour music,” says Juliette Heath-Ebanks of Five Star Events. “There is nothing better to accomplish that Caribbean feeling at destination weddings.”

Local fish, conch and lobster (when in season) are often-selected menu options, while rum is a favoured drink at island weddings.

“Our coconut rum bar is very popular with our clients during cocktail-hour, when guests are treated to fresh, cold coconuts chopped open by a server with a machete,” says Juliette. “They can drink the water with a straw straight out of the coconut or enjoy it with a shot of rum – a great, fun element for any wedding.”

Juliette also suggests coconuts make unique flower vases for the ceremony, and palm leaves can be used as place-settings or twisted into arches.

Other ways to bring in an island theme are to charter a boat for the cocktail-hour, or for the bride to “trash the dress” by jumping into the water in her wedding gown.

Climate

When setting the date for a wedding in the Cayman Islands, it is important to take weather into account.

“November through June (high season) is usually good weather with less humidity, but some of the out-of-season months have very good pricing on accommodation and flights - you just have the risk that it’s hurricane season,” says Sarah Parker of wedding planning company Save the Date.

The sun can be extremely hot during the late morning and afternoon, so the timing of the ceremony is also crucial.

“The best times are either early morning, up until 10 a.m., or 5 p.m. onwards, depending on the time of sunset,” Sarah advises. “Sunset is a good time to get married, as the light is still beautiful for photos, but it’s not too hot.”

Due to the tropical location, insects such as mosquitoes and sand flies can be a possible nuisance, but Sarah suggests they can easily be dealt with by offering guests eco-friendly bug spray and lighting tiki torches.

One of the greatest advantages of a destination wedding in the Cayman Islands is that guests don't need to pack many clothes. Ladies rarely need more than a light pashmina for extra layers on winter evenings, while swimwear and sundresses are the usual attire for daywear.

“Bring sandals, lightweight dresses or pants, broad-brimmed hats, and a fan,” says Sarah.

Some bridalwear can be bought on-island but most visiting couples travel with their outfits for the big day, and residents may prefer to shop overseas.

Many brides choose a casual, cool wedding dress for the ceremony, and grooms may even opt for shorts.

But when it comes to wedding jewellery, the Cayman Islands is the ideal place to buy rings and bridal-party gifts. With tax-free prices, there are dozens of high-end stores offering dazzling diamonds and other precious stones. Rings can be sized on-location.

The combination of all these elements, including location, climate, service, sun, sea, sand, shopping and attractions, make the Cayman Islands a top choice for weddings for people from all over the world.

“Bringing families together for a vacation which includes a wedding is just magical,” says Sarah. “We have the ocean as the backdrop to their beach-wedding, the Caymankind hospitality that’s offered throughout the islands, and an amazing choice of restaurants and talented vendors that really go out of their way. We also have amazing professional photographers, who have a really high standard and produce beautiful images.”

Top spots to tie the knot

There are lots of beautiful places to exchange your vows in the Cayman Islands. Here are some of the top spots, as recommended by wedding planners:

Celebrations suggests:

Grand Cayman

  • Pedro St. James (historic home)
  • A private home along Seven Mile Beach

Cayman Brac

  • The Bluff (dramatic cliff-setting, high above the sea)

Little Cayman

  • Point O’ Sand (beach at tip of island)

 

Five Star Events suggests:

Grand Cayman

  • Surfer’s Beach (South Sound) for small weddings
  • Governor’s Beach (part of Seven Mile Beach) for large groups
  • Smith Cove (South Sound) for a photo spot

 

Save the Date suggests:

Grand Cayman

  • Smith Cove
  • Starfish Point (secluded beach near Rum Point)
  • Governor’s Beach

 

Words by Catherine MacGillivray

Photos by Heather Holt