Nuptials In Nevis: Marry In Style
By Melanie Reffes
With 12,000 residents, not a single traffic light and ‘Nevis Naturally’ as its tagline, the scenic enclave across the channel from St. Kitts is the go-to for romantics who come to lie low, see the frisky monkeys munching mangos in the rainforest and the wild donkeys at the side of the road. Anchored by a volcanic mountain and surrounded by the sea the colour of a Tiffany blue box, the petite isle of Nevis is also the birthplace of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, whose story is told in the hip-hop smash musical on Broadway. “Nevis has been consistently rated as one of the most romantic places on the planet,“ said Mark Brantley, minister tourism, “romance goes hand in glove with the slow-paced easy living authenticity that is our hallmark and we are delighted to welcome couples whether to get married, renew their vows, enjoy their honeymoon or simply fall in love all over again.”
Wedding locales run the gamut from elegantly restored plantations, seaside resorts and palatial villas to one of seventy churches, barefoot on the beach, in one of many fine dining restaurants or for less conventional couples, a ceremony in a rum shop is the real deal. “Nevis and romance is a perfect fit, “adds Greg Phillip, CEO, Nevis Tourism Authority, “the combination of our natural beauty, history, and warm energy makes it easy to see why our reputation as one of the most romantic islands is well-deserved.” www.nevisisland.com
Leading the pack of sunny swank, AAA Five Diamond Four Seasons Resort Nevis is luxury brand recognition in suites, villas and beach houses that are really houses on the beach and rentable by the day. “We have only four and they book up fast,“ smiles attendant Roslyn Jeffers happily taking cocktail orders, “couples especially like the peace, quiet and sea views that go on forever.”
Along the west coast fronting Pinney’s Beach, the resort is one of two Four Seasons Resorts in the Caribbean (Four Seasons Anguilla opened last year) and does a brisk business with couples who are also fans of local history. Ideal for wedding parties or couples celebrating on their own, dinner at Coral Grill is where South African Chef Tristan Baker raises the stakes with a shareable 32-ounce Porterhouse and a side of his gooey melange of mac and cheese gussied up with truffle oil. Hidden in plain sight in the resorts lobby, 101 Rum Bar is the perfect perch for a toast to the bride and groom and Bananas is where you’ll find aged rums, scrumptious curries and coconut cake well worth the splurge. www.fourseasons.com/nevis/weddings
For couples who like a lot of space or come with many out-of-town guests, five-bedroom Monkey Business Villa invites with, palatial pool, elegant dining area and telescope for ridiculously fabulous views of Nevis Peak. www.FourSeasons.com/Nevis
Marrying rustic with romance, Nisbet Plantation Beach Club in Nevis is the only beachfront plantation-turned-resort in the Caribbean. Home to lemon-hued wicker-furnished cottages that sit on a palm-fringed 18th-century sugar and coconut plantation, its own history reads like a love story as the home of Fanny Nisbet who married British Navy Captain Horatio Nelson in 1787 after he visited the plantation. Honored by TripAdvisor as one of the Top Resorts in the World for Romance, the resort keeps the theme with a trio of fine restaurants including The Great House where you may find Dan Perkins shaking and stirring his signature cocktails and chocolate masterpieces created by Pastry Chef Virgilio Mista.
Weddings are popular on the great lawn or on the beach and to celebrate the occasion, a coconut palm is planted in honor of the newlyweds. For couples looking for a nicely wrapped package, Nevis is for Lovers includes a seaside candlelit dinner, breakfast in bed and a couple’s massage. “Every Nisbet Plantation wedding is unique, just like each couple,“ smiles Tim Thuell, general manager, “our staff is intrinsically hospitable which means what better place to start the first chapter of married life than here where we understand romance.”
Couples booking a seven-day stay receive a gratis wedding ceremony that includes the paperwork needed to tie the knot, chilled bottle of bubby and a host of other perks. “From picking fresh island flowers, customizing the cake and even acting as a witness, our wedding planner takes care of every detail,“ adds Tim Thuell. http://nisbetplantation.com
No one leaves the Wednesday night Pig Roast hungry at Hermitage Plantation Inn. Owned by the Lupinacci family for 40 years, the charming hotel is island-famous for the weekly West Indian buffet with spit roasted suckling pig, sweet yams, chickpea stew and cheesy breadfruit. For couples looking for a low-key wedding, the Inn offers an all-inclusive package that comes with a decorated spot in the gardens, French champagne, bridal bouquet, groom’s boutonniere, wedding cake and witnesses, if you forgot to bring them with you. www.hermitagenevis.com
Catch A Wave
Between the capital city of Charlestown and the Sea Bridge Ferry Dock, Pinney’s is the beach photographed for the travel brochures that sell the island. Coveted by seashell collectors and sand castle builders, the beguiling blue water on the Caribbean side is a sandy stroll from Four Seasons and Paradise Beach Villas. For quiet day on a beach chair, Lover’s Beach is hidden from the road on the northern shore. “This is a lesser known beach known for its seclusion and tranquility,“ said Greg Phillip, CEO, Nevis Tourism Board, “but a popular beach to watch the sea turtles nesting.”
Perfect for couples, a sail on a sloop named Feisty fits the bill. “Our small tours are for those who don’t favor crowded catamarans and flippers in their faces,“ smiles Captain Miles Denne, an affable Brit who moved to Nevis to work on the open sea. With pick-up at Oualie Beach and the pier at the Four Seasons, sunset sails are a wedding must-do. “Couples list a cruise on their bridal registry which is a far more appreciated gift than a tea kettle,” adds Captain Miles. www.nevisyachtcharters.com/
Out And About
Start with a grand entrance at the YU Lounge at the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport in St. Kitts where you are picked up on the tarmac, expedited through Immigration and driven to the pier for the ferry ride to Nevis. www.yulounge.com. The ferry docks in Charlestown, the toy-sized city with narrow streets and a funky Caribbean vibe. Without that pushy cruise ship port feeling, the pier has a few bars and souvenir vendors. The more adventurous book hiking tours up Mount Nevis and to the rainforest.
For those who enjoy local lore, Museum of Nevis History is worth a look-see while the only visible reminder of a once thriving Jewish community, the cemetery on Government Road is close to the pier.
It may be a tad kitschy yet sipping a Killer Bee at Sunshine’s Beach Bar is a Nevis rite of passage. Destroyed by eight hurricanes, the hot spot on the sand is back with live bands, beach bonfires, buttery lobsters and oh yes, those potent Killer Bee cocktails. www.sunshinesnevis.com
Make It Legal
Without a lot of paperwork and no residency requirements, it’s a breeze to say I Do in Nevis. Applications forms are signed in front of a Justice of the Peace with the bride and groom required to have a valid passport or birth certificate. www.nevisisland.com/weddings
For traditional ceremonies, St. Thomas’ Lowland Church is down the road from the Four Seasons while the Cottle Church built in 1824 on the 980-acre Round Hill Estate is historically significant as the first church in the Caribbean where blacks and whites were allowed to worship together.
Yes, You Can Make This At Home
The newest beach bar at the Four Seasons, Kastawey is all about sea views, sushi and the Kastawey Smash. “Our signature cocktail has become a very popular drink due to its magical powers that puts everyone in a relaxing Caribbean mood,” smiles Max Loayza, food and beverage director. Easy to make at home, mix one-half ounce each of Cruzan light rum, dark rum and coconut rum, add another shot of Bacardi gold rum, four ounces of pineapple juice and two ounces of tamarind juice. Mix in a shaker with ice and serve with a wedge of lime. www.FourSeasons.com/Nevis
Save the Date
July 6- 9: Mango and Food Festival dishes up a fruit basket of fun from cooking demonstrations to the Mango Madness Street Fair. “As we have an abundance of mangoes, we see this as an opportunity to use our sweetest resource to promote the island,” said Greg Phillip, CEO, Nevis Tourism Authority. www.nevisisland.com
October 19- 23: Romance Symposium invites with seminars, resort site inspections and meet and greets with destination wedding specialists. www.nevisisland.com