Constructing an intimate island wedding
The Frangipani has played host to a variety of destination weddings, from intimate affairs for two to celebrations of 150+. Each couple brings with them a unique conceptualization of their wedding day, with their visions and cultures infused into the guest list, attire, menu and decor. Per the request of a guest of ours who is hosting her own intimate wedding at the Frangipani in April, I thought it befitting to dedicate a post to addressing the small, intimate weddings that the resort hosts year round. (More on the larger weddings in a forthcoming post.)
There are plenty of gorgeous churches on the island if you’re looking for a traditional element, but most small destination weddings have one thing in common: a ceremony in the sand. The white sandy beaches of Meads Bay and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea provide an incredible backdrop for photographs. If you’re hoping for an evening ceremony, you can tie the incredible Anguillan sunsets into your experience.
Most brides-to-be are acutely aware of the gown-buying process. In a traditional ceremony setting, gowns can account for thousands of dollars of wedding expenses. Beach weddings allow brides to jettison the traditional wedding attire and instead opt for comfortable, casual dresses that better fit their environment.
When your guest list consists of you, your partner, and two witnesses, aisle runners and flower girls probably don’t make their way into the picture. Instead of an aisle runner, we’ve constructed ‘aisles’ by using locally grown bougainvillea to create a colorful path for the bride.
One of the greatest parts of getting married in a natural setting is that it takes very little decor to make wedding pictures dazzle. Aside from some flowers to line your aisle, the only flowers you’ll likely need to purchase are a personal bouquet and boutonniere (plus accents pieces for other people involved). Black Orchid Florists is the go-to for gorgeous wedding accents. They also specialize in event set-up and can craft a small outdoor ceremony space if you’re looking for something extra romantic.
One of Anguilla’s claims to fame its the unsurpassed dining scene when it comes to Caribbean destinations. When you’re not concerned about hosting 150 of your closest friends for dinner and cocktails, you have your choice of any of Anguilla’s top-notch restaurants to celebrate your special day. Here are a few restaurants that make special occasions extraordinary with exceptional food, great service and incomparable settings:
- Pimms | ‘Eurobbean’ | Cap Juluca
- Straw Hat Restaurant | Caribbean fare | Meads Bay
- Blanchard’s | Caribbean fare | Meads Bay
- Da ‘Vida | Caribbean fare | Crocus Bay
- Jacala | French cuisine | Meads Bay
Your wedding may eschew tradition on many fronts, but there’s a fair likelihood that you’ll want someone to document your special day, even informally. We’ve had creative on-site staff wield their DSLRs to capture the emotions of couples’ big days, but there are also professional photographers on the island that can put a small package together to fit your needs. Check out Susan Croft at Anguilla Escape and Derrys Richardson for your on-island photography needs.
Make it an experience.
Your wedding isn’t just a single ceremony on a single day. For many couples, their destination wedding is an experience which starts the moment that they set foot on the island. Make your journey memorable with a few add-ons:
- Day trip to St. Barths. Enjoy a day basking in the glitz and glam of St. Barths. Fly directly from Anguilla (day trips starting from $192 round trip) or take the ferry from St. Martin.
- Beachside massages. Decompress on the beach with a relaxing massage. Enjoy a 60 or 90-minute couples massage (Swedish or deep tissue) and let the Caribbean Sea provide the background music.
- Charter a plane. It sounds like an uber-glam splurge, but it’s not as out of reach as you may imagine. Trans Anguilla Airways offers charters to Nevis, Virgin Gorda, St. Kitts and others for a reasonable fee. The prices on their site are a bit outdated, but rumor has it that rates have stayed mostly the same on charters.
We want to hear from you! Did you get married in Anguilla? Planning a wedding here? What are your tips for making your wedding experience a memorable one?