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Destination I Do

Get Away With Your One&Only

Words by Jennifer Stein

Sand like powdered sugar between your toes.

Gentle lapping waves rolling in off azure-colored waters.

Lying in a hammock, swaying in the breeze as you sip your handmade signature cocktail.

A gentle knock at your door offers up your afternoon Champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberry service…free of charge.

Heaven? Yes. Possible to have a piece of it? Absolutely.

My most recent adventure took me to The One&Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. What I described above was exactly what I experienced within an hour of arrival. This little slice of Eden is a mere 30-minutes from the airport, but once you arrive, you feel a world away.

With 105 elegantly appointed rooms, your stay at this historic landmark will be one to remember. Have your wedding here and you’ll be the envy of every bride. It’s not inexpensive, but with the five-star service, it shouldn’t be.

Your wedding venue and photo opportunities are endless. Snuggling up for a quick pre-ceremony photo at The Cloisters is a must and it’s also a popular choice for couples to hold their ceremonies on the surrounding lawns. The ruins were brought over from France and reconstructed on-site. The gardens in and around the ruins are immaculately kept and offer up a romantic and secluded backdrop.

Not to be ironic, but only one wedding happens per day at the One&Only Ocean Club. Their goal is to ensure each couple receives the personalized experience and dedicated service the brand is known for. Anna Schmid, VP of Weddings and Special Affairs, has seen everything from over-the-top event kick-offs (with “James Bond” jumping out of a helicopter to begin their “007 Casino Night”), to customized kids programs to keep the guests' children entertained. “Whether they’re planning an intimate event for 30, serenaded by the National Bahamian Children’s Choir, or an extravagant three-day production with celebrity guests and performers, One&Only Ocean Club is the ideal resort for an unforgettable and extraordinarily serviced destination wedding.” 

When it comes to cuisine, their Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, Dune, is as mouthwatering as it is stunning. Perfect views of the Caribbean Sea accompany expertly prepared dishes and wine pairings. Interested in getting the same level of service and culinary expertise, but in your own private setting? One of their over-sized villas can be used for private parties, rehearsal dinners or intimate weddings and the exquisite menu follows you wherever you eat at the One&Only.

If you’re looking for a bit of action, the Atlantis is right next door and open to all the guests at the One&Only. Waterslides, daring innertube adventures and even the opportunity to swim with dolphins at their famed Dolphin Cay exhibit can be found on property. Several of the dolphins were rescued and rehabilitated here which makes the experience that much more fulfilling.

We were lucky enough to stay at The Cove, a luxury hotel within the Atlantis. The views of the Caribbean ocean will take your breath away, as will the outstanding service and opulent accommodations. Rent a private cabana by their modern and sophisticated pool, complete with a live DJ mixing beats and sounds. Relax on your daybed or take a dip in the warm ocean water while your private cabana server tends to your every whim.

Arguably the best meal I’ve had in years was at Nobu, one of the restaurants on-site at the Atlantis. Sticky rice bursting with mouthwatering flavors and melt-in-your-mouth sashimi paired with handcrafted cocktails will transport you to culinary ecstasy. If you are interested in hosting your event at The Atlantis, it will be difficult to narrow down where to say your destination “I do’s.” Expansive lawns and gardens are in abundance, along with their personalized service.

No matter if you choose the One&Only Ocean Club Resort or the Atlantis for your special day away, one thing’s for certain: your wedding day will be as unforgettable as your love for one another.

Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): The One&Only Ocean Club (1st, 2nd & 4th) and the Atlantis (3rd & 5th).

This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Fall2013/Winter 2014 issue. You can order a copy here.

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