The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Destination Wedding in Barbados

See why discerning couples pick Barbados as their go-to wedding destination.
Barbados destination wedding.
Angelica Criscuolo Photography
Location: The Crane Residential Resort in Barbados
Holly Riddle - The Knot Contributor.
Holly Riddle
Holly Riddle - The Knot Contributor.
Holly Riddle
The Knot Contributor
  • Holly is a freelance contributor for The Knot Worldwide, with a focus on travel, honeymooning and wedding planning.
  • Holly has been a travel, food and lifestyle freelancer for her entire career.
  • Holly also works for a range of publications and brands as a ghostwriter and marketing copywriter.
Updated Mar 28, 2024
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Couples seeking a destination wedding location that boasts gorgeous beaches, rich cultural details and luxury venues will want to consider a Barbados wedding. The easternmost Caribbean island just happens to be situated in the Atlantic Ocean and is a stunning spot to say "I do."

One look at the local landscape will have you dreaming of a Barbados destination wedding. Think lush, green grass and palm trees swaying by calm waters. Between parties, to-be-weds and their guests can wade in the water or stick their toes in white sands (that often have spatterings of pink grains). Celebration is the name of the game, and many Barbados all-inclusive resorts have restaurants with rum-soaked beverages made for toasting to new beginnings (or perhaps afternoon tea? Barbados is part of the British Commonwealth, after all). The colonial buildings juxtapose beautifully along the numerous ports, visible from many resorts and restaurants.

Indeed, Barbados is one of the best Caribbean islands for couples looking to combine beauty, food and beverage, relaxation and fun during their nuptials. While a Barbados destination wedding delivers in every way, any perfect wedding requires research and planning. Learn why a Barbados destination wedding might be ideal for you.

Barbados Wedding Planning in this Article:

Why Couples and Guests Love Barbados Weddings

People swim in the turquoise waters of a Barbados beach.
Maremagnum / Getty Images

Barbados offers more than 70 miles of beautiful beachfront with most of the island facing the Atlantic, contrary to popular belief that it's split evenly between that and the Caribbean Sea. Visitors enjoy a range of beach-going experiences. Inland, delicious local cuisine (from rum punch to fried flying fish), a relaxed vibe and luxury hotels await. Barbados is also one of the safest islands in the region.

However, for all it offers, Tamara Lidbom at Anytime Travel Agency says the island isn't necessarily a top pick for every to-be-wed. "Couples who have wanted to have their wedding in Barbados tend to have their wishlists narrowed down. These wishlists have ranged from intimate to elaborate," she says. "Barbados also tends to be on the expensive side, so in my experience, it's attracted more couples wanting an adults-only guest list." Still, she notes, there are some great, family-friendly resorts on the island, for those who deviate away from this destination wedding trend.

Pro tip: Invite a destination wedding travel expert to join your vendor team. Browse travel agents near you on The Knot Marketplace for Barbados wedding expertise, group hotel blocks, flight arrangements and more.

The Best Places to Get Married in Barbados

"There are some amazing venues all over the island of Barbados—white sandy beaches, tropical gardens, historical sites, rugged sea cliffs and even caves with underground waterfalls," says Lidbom. "The sky's the limit." So, where should you look first?

Saint Philip

View of a beach in St. Philip framed by tropical palm trees.
John Seaton Callahan / Getty Images

Barbados is separated into 11 parishes, and Saint Philip is the largest of the bunch. The south coast locale is home to some lovely beaches, jagged shorelines and historic spots. Additionally, you'll find a handful of luxury resorts here, giving you and your wedding party an easy spot to stay, no matter where in the parish you hold your special day. Popular wedding celebration venues include Foursquare Rum Distillery & Heritage Park, the historic Sunbury Plantation House and The Crane, if you're looking for a resort-set big day with ocean views.

Saint James

Saint James Parish is known as the "Platinum Coast," as it attracts a large number of celebrity visitors. You'll be in good company here, as you take to the elegant hotels and high-end restaurants. Popular wedding venues include the luxurious Sandy Lane resort (keep your eyes peeled for celebs) and St. James Parish Church, founded in 1628.


View of a wooden promenade in the colorful city of Bridgetown.
NAPA74 / Getty Images

The island nation's capital and largest city Bridgetown is a bustling hub of activity. If you're looking for a destination with lots of shopping, dining, museums and other cultural attractions, all in one compact space, you might want to set your destination wedding basecamp in Bridgetown.

Pro tip: As you consider Barbados wedding locations, don't forget about your newlywed vacation. Plan an amazing Barbados honeymoon, too, with our complete guide.

The Top Barbados Wedding Venues and Resorts

Sandals Barbados Hotel with poolside
Photo: Sandals Resorts

The stunning seascapes and enchanting tropical landscapes make a destination wedding in Barbados truly unforgettable. And Barbados wedding venues are full of awe-inspiring backdrops that lean into the Caribbean island's natural beauty. Some resorts have Barbados wedding packages that bring an all-inclusive feel to the process with built-in vendors, decor and even expert planners — a huge perk considering you're putting together a wedding from across the ocean. Still, these pros ensure that your wedding can have special elements to make it authentically yours.

Sandals Barbados

Set in the St. Lawrence Gap on the white sands of Dover Beach, Sandals Barbados has long been a beloved adults-only hideaway. Couples can say "I do" in a ceremony right on those sugary sands. Or they can opt for a uniquely Barbados ceremony beside a rooftop infinity pool on the Sky Terrace perved above the sparkling shoreline. Packages are designed for two-person elopements and couples looking to book up to 70 rooms. Perks vary, but each includes expert planning. Flowers, ceremony locations, photography and honeymoon fun are among other potential inclusions.

Crystal Cove by Elegant Hotels - All-Inclusive

For guests, Crystal Cove by Elegant Hotels combines the ease of all-inclusive with the charm of a boutique hotel. Airy rooms have light walls and poppy accents like paintings and throw blankets, sure to put everyone in an island state of mind. Ditto for the white-sand surroundings. The all-inclusive nature extends to couples, who can take advantage of Barbados wedding packages that include the use of open-air venues with beach, pool and garden vistas. Wedding planners can help pairs coordinate everything from welcome cocktail parties to private dinners for two.

The Crane Resort, Barbados

This upscale resort along Crane Beach has been a traveler's dream since it opened back in 1887. Today, The Crane Resort blends modern luxury with 19th-century architecture and furnishings, like four-poster beds that give rooms unique character. Its location on a cliff overlooking Crane Beach provides a timeless backdrop for a Caribbean destination wedding. Packages include the assistance of a wedding coordinator, welcome amenities for the couple and even legal essentials like a wedding certificate and marriage license. Consider the on-site spa your invitation to pamper yourself.

Sandy Lane

Found in an ancient mahogany grove on Barbados' Platinum Coast, Sandy Lane's stunning coral-sand vistas and boundless luxury offerings have long made it a sought-over spot to stay — and get married. The surroundings provide a simply magical backdrop for every party — from welcome cocktails and rehearsal dinners to the ceremony and reception. The Spa Dome, beach and gardens are among the spots where couples can say "I do" and celebrate with their nearest and dearest. A team of experts will treat you like their creative director, turning your Pinterest vision into a real-world Caribbean fairytale.

Beach ceremony set up with gorgeous bouquets marking an aisle.
phichit / Getty Images

But before you book a wedding venue, you'll want to be aware of the Barbados wedding legal requirements. Luckily, Lidbom reports Barbados "is an exceptionally easy island destination to get married in." Still, a Barbados wedding planner with experience helping couples legally wed on the island can be an essential resource during this process. This guide will help you get acquainted with the logistics, including how to secure your marriage license in Barbados if you hope to tie the knot legally in the island nation.

You can choose to either hold a legal wedding or a symbolic wedding in Barbados. A symbolic wedding day includes simply a ceremony in recognition of your married status, following a legal, civil service that you would attend before your destination wedding, in your home state, likely at your local courthouse, after obtaining your local marriage license. A symbolic wedding is your simplest, most stress-free option.

However, if you don't want to go through the trouble of planning a separate ceremony in your home state ahead of travel, you can hold a legally binding wedding in Barbados, with the right documents and protocols.

According to the Barbados Ministry of Home Affairs, which you'll want to bookmark, couples who wish to be legally married in Barbados must file an application for a marriage license in person at the office of the Ministry, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. local time. At the time of application, you must provide:

  • Valid passports and birth certificates
  • Return airfare tickets
  • An original Decree Absolute or certified copy of a Final Judgement for any divorced parties
  • A certified copy of a Marriage Certificate and Death Certificate if either party was previously married and widowed

    Before you file for the application, you must also make arrangements for a local magistrate or marriage officer to perform your wedding ceremony, and then you must provide a letter from that individual verifying the arrangement at the time of application.

    Additionally, if you're planning on holding a Roman Catholic ceremony, you'll need to arrange for your home bishop to send all relevant documentation to the Bridgetown bishop.

    There is no required waiting period or minimum length of stay in Barbados, in order to hold a legal ceremony. However, do account for the time needed to schedule your wedding ceremony with the local magistrate or marriage officer, as well as the time required to go to the Ministry of Home Affairs office for your marriage license. If you're planning to arrive in Barbados a few days ahead of your wedding, you can take care of all of this once there.

    The Barbados Ministry of Home Affairs charges $113 for your marriage license, plus $50 for the solemnization of civil marriage, and $10 for your resulting marriage certificate. There is a $125 fee for legal ceremonies held in court, as well as a $175 fee for legal ceremonies held outside of court. In total, you should expect to pay at least $300 in fees for a legal marriage ceremony in Barbados.

    Pro tip: Once you've decided on your Barbados wedding venue, send out destination wedding save-the-dates with important info so your guest can book the time off and start thinking about travel plans.

    Barbados Wedding Planning Tips

    Smiling couple shares a sweet moment with the Barbados beach in the background.
    stockstudioX / Getty Images

    Ready to start planning your Barbados wedding (and maybe even a Barbados honeymoon to follow)? Here are additional tips to get you started.

    How to Get There

    Barbados is one of the southernmost Caribbean islands, so it does take most travelers coming from the United States a little bit longer to get to than, for example, Jamaica or the Bahamas. You won't find as many flights to Barbados from the US as opposed to other nearby popular destinations. However, for those who make the trip, the extra layover or air time is well worth it.

    Once you're in Barbados, you'll find the taxi service to be more than adequate to get around the island.

    Barbados Weather

    The weather in Barbados is agreeable all year long, with temperatures hovering around the mid-70s to mid-80s. Hurricanes are rarely an issue in Barbados (though if you do find a hurricane is interrupting your destination wedding, we have a few tips). You'll also find that planning a wedding between July and November will result in lower travel costs, especially since December to April is the island's peak tourist season.

    Choosing Your Barbados Wedding Venue and Vendors

    When it comes to looking for a venue and vendors, Lidbom says a travel agent can be one of your best resources. She notes, "Working with a travel agent is a huge benefit to anyone looking to plan a destination wedding. A travel agent will help you find that perfect location, help you secure the wedding date, and connect you with the resort wedding coordinator. They assist with room blocks and group contracts. They are your support."

    Barbados Wedding Cost and Budgeting Tips

    As Lidbom mentions above, the destination wedding cost in Barbados is on the pricier side as far as Caribbean nuptials go. You can save some money on your Barbados destination wedding by traveling during the off-season (July through November) and by considering swapping luxury hotel accommodations for you and your guests with a private villa rental.

    Pro tip: Set up a free destination wedding website on The Knot with all the event details including your Barbados wedding itinerary, things to do, guest travel information, RSVPs and more.

    BethAnn Mayer contributed to this article.

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