I spent most of last week in the tropical paradise that is the Islands of the Bahamas as a media person covering the 16 Couples, 16 Islands, One Priceless Day celebration - and what a celebration it was! You see, The Islands of the Bahamas ran a competition last year in which engaged couples competed to win a destination wedding on one of 16 islands across the Bahamas.
Did you know that there are 700 islands and over 2000 rocks and cays in the Bahamas? The 16 Couples, 16 Weddings, One Priceless Day wedding extravaganza began in Nassau, then each winning couple set off for their dream destination wedding on their respective island.
I went to Kamalame Cay, off the coast of Andros Island with my winning couple, Boris and Zavinta, who hail from Ohio.
About the 16 Couples, 16 Islands, One Priceless Day Contest
After pouring through submissions from over 3,000 couples from all over the United States of America, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism announced the 16 lucky couples who were selected to have their dream destination weddingon 16 different islands across the Bahamas. The contest began last Valentine's Day, ended on June 31st, 2014 and was open to residents of the United States. Each couple submitted an essay and video on why they wanted to get married in the Bahamas; can you imagine trying to select winners from over 3000 submissions?! The couples were selected by a panel of travel and romance experts, based on interviews conducted and the total number of votes each couple received from their Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook accounts of their shared story of romance and reason for wanting to get married in The Bahamas.
The weddings took place on Acklins, Crooked Island, Abaco, Andros, The Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Harbour Island, Grand Bahama, Inagua, Long Island, Nassau, Paradise Island and San Salvador.
Each winning couple received complementary round trip airline tickets from their respective towns to The Bahamas, hotel accommodations including meals for 4 nights and a wedding ceremony, cake, flowers and reception for up to four guests. Wedding rings, a bridal gown, tuxedo and personal wedding coordinator were also given to each couple. It was definitely an all-inclusive prize, and the location? It just can't be beat!
Sponsors for the event included MasterCard®, 1888mytuxes.com, Mon Cheri, Green Turtle Cay Club, Acklins Island Lodge, Tiamo Resort, Carriearl Boutique Hotel, Resort World Bimini, Pigeon Cay Club, Tranquility On The Bay, Pineapple Fields, Valentine’s Resort, Sandals Emerald Bay, Inagua Ocean Villas, Gems of Paradise, Riding Rock, Grand Lucayan Resort, British Colonial Hilton Hotel and Atlantis Resort.
Luxurious accommodations were provided by the Stella Maris Resort Club, Hope Town Harbour Lodge, Kamalame Cay Hotel, Acklins Island Lodge, Carriearl Boutique Hotel, Resort World Bimini, Pigeon Cay Club, Tranquility On The Bay, Pineapple Fields, Valentine’s Resort, Sandals Resorts, Inagua Ocean Villas, Riding Rock, Grand Lucayan Resort, British Colonial Hilton Hotel and Atlantis Resort.
About The Islands of the Bahamas
The Islands of the Bahamas are an archipelago located only about 50 miles off the coast of Florida. They cover about 100,000 square miles consisting of 700 islands and over 2,000 rocks and cays. Known for their white sandy beaches and crystal blue waters, the Bahamas actually have the clearest water on the planet! Of course this makes the Bahamas the perfect destination for beach lovers and snorkelers and scuba divers, especially since the world's third largest barrier reef is located in the Bahamas!
After a reception dinner, champagne brunch, a prize awarded for the most social media votes and a little sightseeing around Nassau, each couple headed off to their respective island.
I joined my couple on a short flight to Andros Island, where we took a short ferry ride to the private island of Kamalame Cay. Just three miles wide, Kamalame Cay is only accessible by boat - or a long swim. The Kamalame Cay Resort is the only hotel on the island, although there are several vacation homes not far from the resort.
While Andros is the largest island in the Bahamas, it also one of the less populated. Andros Island is known for it's close proximity to the world's third-largest barrier reef, famous blue holes (including Jacques Cousteau's Blue Hole!) bird watching and bonefish fishing, as well as its snorkeling and scuba diving.
Boris and Zavinta won a dream destination wedding in Andros Island, and part of their prize included luxurious accommodations at the Kamalame Cay Resort and a wedding ceremony at the Blue Hole in Andros Island.
We had quite a bit of time to relax and explore Kamalame Cay before the wedding, and Boris and Zavinta made the most of that time by soaking in the tropical scenery and kayaking in the bay!
I can't think of a better way to spend my wedding day...
I'll be sharing more about Kamalame Cay in a story next week, but for now, let's focus on the most important part of my experience in the Bahamas - the wedding!
After the wedding party got ready for their big event, we took a ferry to the mainland and took a drive to the ceremony location - the famous Blue Hole.
It was a stormy day, but I think that Zavinta looked absolutely beautiful. Her gown was simply stunning! Fighting the wind, she posed for a quick photo for me before we boarded our transportation to the wedding site.
Not to be outdone, Boris looked every bit the excited groom, wearing a tuxedo by David Tutera.
The wedding ceremony took place at the Blue Hole, with the dock decorated in the famous Androsias batik printed fabric. I took a tour of the Androsias factory while in Andros and will share the experience with you in a post soon!
As the bride made her way through the trail to the ceremony site, the groom and best man had a quick chat with the Reverend about the ceremony. Each wedding had to begin exactly at 4:00 PM EST, so we had a few moments to kill.
The groom was joined by his cousin as his best man, and the bride was joined by her sister as her maid of honor.
As the bride began her walk down the aisle, she was such a sight to behold! The backdrop of the lush forest surrounding her was just lovely!
The ceremony was just lovely, with the bride and groom writing their own vows full of tenderness and affection.
It began raining, a very light, misty rain, towards the end of the ceremony, but that didn't dampen their spirits!
After the ceremony, we went back to Kamalame Cay Resort for a quick photo shoot on the beach before the sun went down, the reception and a lovely dinner!
It was a gorgeous wedding and an incredible prize from the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism!
Do you live in Canada? The Bahamas will be announcing their third contest in the 16 Couples, 16 Islands, One Priceless Day series soon and it's only open to Canadians!
You can find out how to book your trip to the Bahamas at Bahamas.com.
For more information about the 16 Couples, 16 Islands, One Priceless Day contest, visit here.