With its sea-meets-sand beauty, romantic historic settings and elegant venues, Bermuda appeals to couples seeking everything from intimate wedding ceremonies on the beach to larger formal affairs. The island’s wedding planners, floral designers, photographers and other pros are at the top of their game, too, so it’s no wonder so many couples come to Bermuda to say “I do.”
1 Find a Venue that Suits Your Style
Start by exploring Bermuda’s wedding venues, which range from historic estates to alluring gardens to waterfront ballrooms. Consider your party size and style, and keep in mind that one venue often offers a range of options.
Wedding planner Nikki Begg of Bermuda Bride has done weddings at one of the island’s newest properties, The Loren at Pink Beach. “One was a small group who had the ceremony at the Unfinished Church followed by a buyout of the private rooftop at the Loren,” Begg says. The second wedding, with almost 100 people, held the ceremony on the Disk [an ocean-front deck]. They had a Lucite canopy over it with flowers on it that seemed to float.”
Claire-Anne Raynor of Destination Wedding Bermuda is partial to the Fairmont Southampton for large weddings and the Pompano Beach Club for smaller nuptials. “The Pompano Beach Club has a little beach terrace above the sand, and you can make things private without affecting other guests,” she says. “It’s got a nice, cottage-y old Bermuda feel, and you can do a buyout for the whole wedding party, too.”
2 Connect with a Local Photographer
From formal portraits to journalistic, candid shots, Bermuda’s photographers can capture your big day in a range of ways. Bermuda-based photographer Meredith Andrews of Meredith Andrews Photography has a tip for researching photographers online: “Be sure to look at their non-wedding shots, too, for a sense of their style,” she says.
Once you’ve found a few you like, arrange a phone conversation or in-person meeting. “Couples should make sure that they gel well with the photographer's personality,” says Melanie Fiander of Bermuda’s Fiander Foto. “Along with your significant other, the photographer will be the person you spend the majority of your wedding day with, so it's important that the connection between the couple and the photographer is in sync.”
Plus, a good local photographer will know the best locations and how to work with the island light. “Bermuda has bright daytime sun, which can look harsh, so aiming for photos taken near sunrise or sunset can be a good idea,” says Fiander. As for romantic settings, she recommends Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, Jobson’s Cove and the intriguing moongates that dot the island.
3 Pick Your Mode of Transport
Visitors aren’t permitted to rent cars in Bermuda, but this opens up all sorts of creative options for private transport. Make a grand entrance on a horse-drawn carriage from Bronco Stables, or keep it fun and casual by renting a getaway scooter from Oleander Cycles. To get your guests around the island, Bermuda Island Tours & More rents out comfortable, air-conditioned vans and buses.
“For more adventurous couples, we love using boats,” says Matthew Strong of event planning company Das Fete. “Whatever you use, it’s important to be sure the couple feels comfortable and that the transport reflects their personalities.”
4 Let Bermudian Cuisine Inspire Your Menu
Bermuda’s cuisine merges island traditions, British influence, international techniques and local ingredients. Take the creative seafood at Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa (think fresh wahoo in mango salsa) or Elbow Beach Bermuda, where raw bar offerings and sushi are among the offerings.
Raynor likes to “bring in local flair with things like Bermuda rockfish in a banana chutney, or even frozen Dark ‘n Stormies.” And, says Begg, “We try to incorporate the local fare in innovative ways. Why offer a bowl of traditional fish chowder when you can serve it in shot glasses during cocktails?”
Get a Bermudian wedding cake from bakeries like Sweet SAAK Bakery and Crow Lane Bakery Express. Tradition dictates one for the bride (usually decorated in silver leaf) and one for the groom (done up in gold leaf). They’re both topped with cedar saplings, which the couple is supposed to plant to signify their new life together.
5 Make Small Weddings Spectacular
Many venues are ideal for intimate weddings, whether that’s just you two and an officiator or a few dozen guests. Look for spaces that won’t overwhelm your small group. Consider weddings onboard ships or in secluded coves, suggests Begg. Many resorts offer spaces for cosy ceremonies: private beaches, smaller rooms. Other favourites of planner include the Bermuda National Gallery and the Bermuda Botanical Gardens, where there’s a gazebo perfect for vows amidst flowers and trees.
6 Cruise Into Wedded Bliss
If you want to float into port and get hitched, Bermuda offers multiple venues near the cruise port terminals. For an on-the-sand ceremony, Astwood Cove offers seclusion and dramatic cliffs. Or head to the National Museum of Bermuda, where you can wed on the Ramparts of the Keep or amid shipwreck artefacts in the galleries themselves.
7 Follow a Few Legal Steps
Fortunately, they’re simple. First, you’ll need to complete and mail in a notice of intended marriage. It’ll net you a wedding license good for three months that you can pick up in person in the registrar’s office in the City of Hamilton. See the three steps needed to get married in Bermuda.
Of course, you’ll also need valid passports to enter the country. And if you’re shipping items in for the ceremony or party, you’ll need to fill out customs forms and be sure what you’re sending is allowed. See details about passports and customs regulations.
8 Consider Hiring a Planner
To shorten your wedding “to do” list, consider enlisting the help of event pros like Das Fete, Get Married in Bermuda and Bridal Suite Bermuda. They can help design and coordinate everything from a beachfront rehearsal dinner to a formal dance with steel-pan drummers in a waterfront ballroom.