Destination weddings are all about providing memorable experiences for couples and their guests, and the best resorts host a lavish and exotic affair while delivering everything from fine dining and unique event settings to exciting activities that help seal the bond between the bride and groom and their guests, says Marianne Weiman-Nelson of Special Occasions, Inc.
The British Virgin Islands are home to resorts than can do it all with style, including pampering honeymooners who want to wed in the islands surrounded by loved ones -- or tie the knot back home and then escape to the Caribbean on their own. "These properties are able to offer a wide range of activities without guests ever having to leave," says Weiman-Nelson.
Necker Island, the British Virgin Islands home of Sir Richard Branson, is an Asian-inspired hideaway that can accommodate destination weddings of up to 28 guests in five Bali-style houses. "It's the jewel for small destination weddings: There's total privacy," says Weiman-Nelson. "Couples like the island because you can use different parts for different things."
The Great House, for example, has a huge Great Room with a sky-lit peaked roof and open sides that's ideal for a welcoming reception, while the island's private Main Beach or Turtle Beach are favorite spots for wedding ceremonies. The home's private staff "is here just for you," says Weiman-Nelson. "They will cook a private gourmet meal for two, or for a group of 20 on the beach. They cater to your every need."
Peter Island's Honeymoon Beach is aptly named: this pint-sized strip of sand is perfect for two, with an intimate cabana and on-demand food and drink service, it's all yours when reserved in advance. And the romance doesn't stop there: spacious villas on Deadman's Bay will have you cuddling on the porch, swaying in the hammock, or canoodling in the two-person jetted tub during the days, and savoring an intimate dinner for two in the evening.
In between, be sure to join the daily excursion to a prime overlook at the quiet west end of the island to view the BVI's magnificent sunset, toasting the day's end with champagne and nibbles. Also high in the hills are a trio of extraordinary villas that would make for a truly memorable honeymoon hideaway. Weddings can be held on the beach, in a private villa, or at the resort restaurant.
Scrub Island Resort and Spa is the best of both worlds when it comes to BVI private-island resorts: it's got all of the privacy honeymooners crave, yet it's so easy to get to -- just a short boat ride from Trellis Bay, which in turn is minutes from the Beef Island international airport. Part of Marriott's Autograph Collection, Scrub Island has luxury suites overlooking a yacht-filled marina (making it the perfect base for exploring all of the British Virgin Islands' beaches, harbors, secret dive spots, and beach bars). The island has a small collection of luxury villas, and ample event space and easy access make destination weddings at Scrub Island a breeze.
Guana Island is capped with hilltop rooms that take full advantage of the amazing views of islands, sea and sand that characterize the British Virgin Islands. Honeymooners will love the easy of a Guana Island stay -- it's an all-inclusive luxury private island with three daily meals and wine included. Tennis, watersports, and more also are covered under the cost of your room. An on-site wedding planner will help you craft a timeless beachfront ceremony for your destination wedding.
Looking for a honeymoon with a classic Caribbean beach vibe, complete with rum bar and locally brewed beer? Check out Cooper Island, which has spacious (if not especially fancy) villas, an excellent casual restaurant, one of the best rum collections in the BVI, and its own brewery. Spend your days together lounging on the beach or mingling with the yachties who pull into harbor periodically to wet their whistle.