Barbados – A Different Way To Say ‘I Do’
When we think of destination wedding venues, we usually think of beautiful beaches, gardens and sky terraces. This past week I had the awesome opportunity to visit the beautiful island of Barbados and experience some amazing venues. I was also fortunate to visit the island during Crop Over.
What is Crop Over?
Well Crop Over is a significant cultural festival of Barbados. This 300-year-old tradition marked the end of the sugar cane growing season, During Crop Over residents and guests get to experience Barbados’ heritage, culture, music, dance, food and art. Guests are welcome to celebrate with the local residents. Crop Over attracts over 100k people from all over the world!
In my opinion, this is the best time of year to visit as you really have an opportunity to experience all that Barbados has to offer as well as engage with local residents. Crop Over offers something for everyone from foodies to music lovers. Barbados native and recording artist Rihanna, who sometimes joins the festivities, serves as ambassador.
The first venue was Harrison Caves. This unique phenomenon of nature is an amazing mix of stalactites which hang from the roof of the cave, and stalagmites that rise from the ground, with streams of crystal-clear running water that drop from breathtaking waterfalls to form deep, clear water pools.
Formed thousands of years ago, the stalactites have reached down to the stalagmites and spectacular pillars have been formed. The trams can carry wedding groups into one of the amazing hallways where you can exchange vows with waterfall or stalactite backgrounds. The staff is also able to provide décor in the caves.
You will find that the caves are surprisingly cool. There is a rum-tasting area perfect for a reception. They also offer zip lining, bird watching and swimming. This venue is great for active couples and rum lovers.
The second venue was the Cool Runnings Catamaran sail. The sail is about 4 hours long with a great staff, food, music and free flowing drinks. You can do a morning or sunset sail and guests of all ages will enjoy swimming with the turtles, snorkeling near shipwrecks, the beach at Sandy Lane and so much more.
The staff makes the sail so special, and a private charter is the perfect way to start your new life together with family and friends. This is perfect for the chill or party group.
The next venue will be Sam Lord’s Castle at the new Wyndham Grand Resort scheduled to open at the end of September. Built in 1820 by the infamous pirate Samuel Hall Lord, known as ‘Sam Lord’, the castle was a beautiful Georgian Manor. It is said that Sam Lord was able to acquire his wealth by luring ships onto the reefs off the coast by hanging lanterns in the coconut trees. The resort will replicate this by hanging lanterns from the façade of the property.
This 5-star resort is a perfect wedding venue. There will be an adult section, a family section and a group section. There will be numerous restaurants, pools and venues. Imagine photos in front of Sam Lord’s Castle. The castle is currently undergoing renovations, and they will have an Indian Chef for our Southeast Asia wedding couples. This is the perfect venue for history buffs as well as those looking to experience one of the newest resorts in the Caribbean.
The final venue is St. Nicholas Abbey and the Great House. St. Nicholas Abbey was built in 1658 and is one of only three genuine Jacobean mansions in the Western World. You will find two of these mansions located in Barbados. The Great House offers an expansive lawn for your perfect wedding day. Well preserved china and furniture can be seen displayed through the mansion and tours are available to further explain the history of the Great House.
You will have the chance to visit the steam mill and rum distillery which are now in full operation and produce the famous St. Nicholas Abbey Rum. Any bottle purchased can be engraved with your name as well. What a unique gift for couples and their guests. Rum tastings are also available.
You have the option of taking a train ride across the beautifully maintained grounds where you will find spectacular tropical flora as well as Cotton and Mahogany trees. This is the perfect venue for history buffs and rum lovers.
When thinking of the unique, keep Barbados at the top of your list. This beautiful island and its people should definitely be on your bucket list if you want to do it differently.
Brenda O’Neale, Travel Specialist