Beautiful Bahamian NuptialsWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Love and Water Photography
William and Madison always envisioned their wedding being a relaxing vacation with only their closest family and friends. A destination wedding at Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in Nassau, Bahamas was the perfect solution. “Traveling is something that we are very fond of and wanted to enjoy a special getaway with our closest friends and family,” explains the bride. “We knew that by choosing a destination wedding we would be able to relax, explore and simply enjoy the festivities!” As the couple was about to learn, there are pros and cons to sticking to your wedding guns.
“We invited a small group, about 25 people of close friends, family and the wedding party. There were some who were upset that they didn’t receive an invite. However, since we were paying for all of the expenses, we needed to have a set number of people we were inviting. We did host a little reception/dinner at our house to celebrate with everyone who could not attend the wedding.” Hosting a hometown reception is a great way to include family and friends who weren’t able/invited to the big event abroad. It also gives you an excuse to relive your wedding day!
Madison and William put a lot of thought into where they would host their wedding. They took some very smart (and sometimes overlooked) observations into account. i.e. tourists at your wedding. “There were three main selling points on why we chose Atlantis,” explains Madison. “Travel time, venue location and activities for everyone were my main boxes that needed to be checked. I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t too far away and that there were no overnight flights. Obviously, I was concerned about the location of the ceremony. I wanted something nice and quaint and didn’t want to worry about having tourists walking in the background of our pictures.
“Also, we would be hosting a wide range of ages and I didn’t want to have to worry about anyone not having something to do. So, Atlantis worked out quite well for what we needed. Initially, I was concerned that having our wedding at a resort would be too cliché and there would be tourists walking around everywhere during our events. I was very wrong! Each location we used turned out to be amazing!” Having a clear vision of what she wanted her wedding to be like and keeping organized were keys for Madison’s success.
“The overall experience was not as hard as I expected it to be. I would recommend keeping a paper trail for everything and communicating very openly with your wedding planner. This tip may sound obvious, but it was something that I caught myself not doing enough. Make sure that your wedding planner has a clear vision of what you want your wedding experience to be. I found myself at times just going with his recommendation versus what I wanted and finally made sure that my voice was being heard. This was not just another event at Atlantis, this was going to be our special night.”
Madison and William saw their wedding planner at Atlantis as their partner and go-to individual. Unfortunately, they ran into some issues when it came to communication. “[Coordinating from afar] was the most challenging situation,” reflects the bride. “At first we had a few miscommunications on bookings and then I ran into emails not being responded to by the original wedding planner. I had to request a new wedding planner since that was such an important piece to helping plan a wedding from afar! Once I was paired with a new planner everything went very smoothly. We worked together very transparently on all confirmation numbers and bookings. He kept track of everything and so did I. Once we were in the heat of the moment this came in very handy.”
While the couple did everything they could to make sure their wedding was everything they wanted, they also took their guests into account when it came to planning. “We scheduled all the guests to travel on Wednesday and everyone had a fairly short travel time. A total of maybe 5-6 hours’ complete travel time. We had arranged for limos to be at the airport to pick everyone up and take them to the resort. Pre-arranging everything made things flow very smoothly. I met everyone at the entrance with their drink cards and spending money – from there on it was a blur!”
Come W-Day, Madison and William pulled-off the wedding of their dreams. Not only was it a purple confection, but there were no nosy tourists in sight. We asked the couple how their decision to get married in the Bahamas affected their budget and how a hometown wedding would have been different. “[We spent] way more, but it was way worth it! The memories we were able to make on that trip will be cherished forever! Plus, it was an opportunity to go on a group vacation with our closest friends that normally wouldn’t have gone together and it brought us all closer in the end. [A hometown wedding] would have been much larger and required much more preparation on my part. By doing a destination wedding I was allowed to enjoy the day versus stress about set-up.”
We asked Madison if she had any final words of advice for other couples currently planning a destination wedding: “Do your research, know what you want and do what will make you happy. Don’t let someone persuade you otherwise!”
Vendors: Photographer: Love and Water Photography, Wedding Planner: Tavares Clark, Ceremony/Reception Site: Palm Point at Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in Nassau, Bahamas, Florist: Wildflowers Events & Occasions, Hair & Makeup and Cake: Atlantis Paradise Island Resort, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Joseph Abboud
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