If you are looking for the perfect place to get married where you can relax, drink rum and feel the sand between your toes then getting married in Barbados in the Caribbean could be perfect for you!
We recently had an amazing opportunity to head out to Barbados for S + J's wedding at Sandals Royal Barbados to capture their intimate beach wedding with their closest family and friends.
Here are some tips to consider when planning your own intimate wedding in the Caribbean!
Explore your destination together
We always encourage our couples to either have a day before or day after couple session with us to make the most of being in such a beautiful destination and get the most out of your photos. If you're quite nervous about the photos then a day before session is a great chance to meet, get to know each other and have some fun together before the big day. Alternatively if you are thinking about getting dressed back into your wedding gear and heading to an epic location without the restraints of wedding day timelines the this is the perfect opportunity to head out together and get those epic portraits you've been dreaming of!
Arrive a few days early
I would recommend getting to your wedding destination with as many days in advance as you can. Life can get hectic and the build up to a wedding day can feel stressful so the sooner you get there, the sooner everything will fall into place you and will be able to relax! This also gives you a chance to meet suppliers, see where everything is and watch the day you've dreamed about for so long start to become and reality and unfold in front of your eyes! This will mean you can iron any details out with suppliers in person and also get an idea of the venue and find some hidden treasure and places you adore.
This location will also now forever be one of your most special places on the planet as it's where you married your best friend so the more time you have to soak it all in the better!
Just one tiny tip, if you're eloping/getting married somewhere hot, try to avoid getting some nasty tan lines or worse getting sunburnt like a lobster the day before!
Choosing your ceremony location is important and there are a couple of options for you to choose between, all of which will look stunning but the time of day will make all the difference to the aesthetic!
Plan your ceremony for around 1.5-2 hours before sunset to give you the perfect lighting for your ceremony as the sun starts to set and the temperatures start to cool. This also allows enough time to get that all important confetti shot, any family formal photos and then enough time to go chase the last of the sunset together too!
You may have a specific vision of what you would like your backdrop to be and so if this is the case, it will be worth working out what direction the view faces to work out when the sun will be behind you to give you the most flattering lighting. (If you have the sun directly on you, it could make you feel squinty and a little bit shiny from the heat!). Your venue should be able to help you with timings or be able to give you some examples of weddings at different times of day so you can work out your favourite look (as it will make a bigger difference to the appearance than you might think!). It is always worth asking your venue what time for the ceremony they recommend to give you some options to weigh between.
Ceremony location in the shade
If you are planning to have an earlier ceremony during the heat of the day then I would recommend looking for a ceremony location with plenty of shade. Perhaps you can find a gorgeous area of palm trees you can get married beneath? This is a great option for early ceremonies but also if you know you are having a longer ceremony to not keep yourselves and your guests out in the heat for too long. Especially if most of your guests are travelling from a cooler climate. Trust me I've seen English people in 42 degree Celsius heat at a wedding in France last year all crowded under sun umbrellas for any sort of relief from the heat. Maybe an extreme example but brits especially don't cope well with heat!!
Consider a first look
This can be such a huge relief for couples being able to see each other and spend time together. Let’s face it weddings can be nerve-wracking!! We could then head to some beautiful locations where no guests will be able to spot you for your couple photos while you enjoy that moment together with excitement and anticipation to the life you are about to go into together.
This can be a great option for couples nervous about the ceremony but also means we can capture your photos while your hair and makeup is still fresh. It also means we can get them nailed earlier in the day which means a later ceremony is more a viable option so that you can get married at sunset but also have some time for photos but it just may be a shorter couple session.
Some of our couples that opt to do a first look also have all of their family formal photos before the ceremony too so that the rest of the day they can relax and let their hair down & enjoy the party once the ceremony finishes. Or it means after the ceremony they can be whisked off for some sunset couple photos just the two of them before the party kicks off at dusk!
We can help with making this possible & creating that moment when you first see each other & of course capture those priceless reactions that will be treasured.
First Look Timings
This is the perfect excuse to have an intimate moment together before meeting with your guests but also a great chance to get some photos & soak in the moment together before your ceremony.
If you are planning on having a first look, I would recommend doing this much earlier than you may think. Firstly because timings often overrun especially with morning preparations. But also you will want to get back into that airconditioned room for a freshen up before the ceremony. I would suggest planning to do your first look around 1.5 hours before the ceremony which allows for 30 mins for the first look, 30 minutes for couple photos and a 30 minute refresh before you say your vows.
Example Intimate wedding Timeline
This is an example timeline with sunset being set as 6pm, the same principles apply but just tweaking the sunset time and shifting the whole time line either forward or back.
1.30pm - All hair and makeup finished
1.45pm - Bridesmaids into dress
2pm - Bride into dress
2.30pm - First look
3pm - Couple photos (location one)
3.30pm - Freshen up!
4pm - Ceremony (2 hours before sunset)
4.20pm - Confetti
4.30pm - Drinks, canapés & family formals photos
5pm - GOLDEN HOUR photos (where the magic begins)
6pm - Sun down
6.10pm - Cake Cut & First dances
6.30pm - Wedding Breakfast
Some venues have restrictions on bringing external suppliers to your wedding as they often have a team of suppliers to make your day as relaxed and stress-free as possible which is a great option for many couples however it can feel a little bit like a wedding out of a box that lacks personal touches and doesn't reflect you as a couple. Therefore a lot of couples opt to bring their own suppliers or do a mix of both! It is worth finding out when looking at venues whether there are restrictions as some venues will charge a fee for you to bring your own supplier. This can be a small amount whereas other times it can be quite a chunk so it is worth working out which suppliers are most important to you both as a couple. It sometimes can work out more feasible to get a photography + video team rather than two individual businesses.
Using photography as an example as it's the area I have most knowledge on but often with the venue supplied photographer you may not get as much coverage as you would like on the day and you also don't get a choice of styles or even know the name of your photographer in advance so it can again lack that personal touch and you may not know what style the photos will turn out like until after you are back home!
Another reason why it may work out well to bring your own wedding photographer is if you are getting married in a country where you personally don't know the language. For certain suppliers this isn't a problem however building a good relationship with your photographer/videographer is important to help you feel relaxed in front of the camera if you feel in the company of friends! However again, it's all down to personal preference and which suppliers are most important to you as to whether this is something you are happy with!
Have the most amazing day, don't sweat the small stuff and go relax in a gorgeous destination & marry your best friend!
Suppliers in blog photos:
Wedding venue: Sandals Royal Barbados
Photographer: The Light Painters