One of the big perks of working for Offbeat Bride is that every once in a while Ariel and I get to go on wedding industry press trips. These usually involve visting awesome wedding and honeymoon destinations. This time I got to check out all that Aruba has to offer.
Any one planning an Aruban wedding or honeymoon? You just might be after reading this…
First of all, Aruba is awesome
Everywhere you go it looks like a freaking Corona commercial. I live in California, and have visited Hawaii, Mexico, and Fiji — and I can honestly say that Aruba has the best beaches of all those places.
The sand is white and soft and clean, and the water is the most stunning color of turquoise and so freaking clear. But better than that — it's warm and shallow. So even people who aren't too fond of the ocean can safely and comfortably spend hours just lounging in the warm calm waters of Aruba. (Gah, just thinking about it again, my freshly tanned skin is just itching to get in that ocean!)
So yeah, Aruba's got “gorgeous and tropical” down pat. That wasn't surprising. What WAS surprising? That Aruba genuinely has got creative wedding opportunities and tempting honeymoon endeavors for all our Offbeat Bride readers!
Weddings in Aruba
The first night in Aruba I got to “crash” a gorgeous vow-renewal. (Wanna see a photo of the bride planking on one of Aruba's famous Divi trees?) Then I went out to dinner with the event's awesome wedding planner, Lissy Lampe from Ceremonies & Celebrations in Aruba. Upon asking her many questions about offbeat weddings: “Will you help same-sex couples?” “Have you done weddings on a boat?” “What about big weddings?” “What about last-minute weddings?” And her answer, after being bombarded by questions from nine wedding journalists was, “As long as it's legal and the wind allows.”
Okay, so that legal thing might make sense — wedding planners love to help you, but not if it's going to get them a criminal record. But the wind? What's up with that? Well, Aruba is WINDY y'all. And thank gawd for that, because it's also HOT. The heat + wind = ahhhhhh, tropicalness. But that also means that you have to make sure things won't blow away — for example, check out how this one restaurant deals with bottles blowing over.
Aruba has offbeat wedding locations
Since it's pretty much always warm and sunny year-round, Aruba gives you the
opportunity to have your beach wedding anytime you're ready — even in the dead of winter.
But it's not all beach weddings! Here are some of the awesome wedding locations only Aruba can offer:
- Get married in any of the secluded coves that dot the coastline.
- Get married in the middle of a National Park, surrounded by goats: Boca Prins in an oasis-like restaurant in the middle of a Arikok National Park
- Get married on a mountain, under a vintage lighthouse with incredible island views: La Trattoria el Faro Blanco
- Get married with flamingos and iguanas on a private island: the Renaissance Aruba's private island
Aruba is LGBT-friendly
I caught my first assurance that Aruba is LGBT-friendly as I shared a plane ride with a lesbian couple who were flying to Aruba to celebrate their 10th anniversary.
We had lunch with another wedding planner from my home-away-from-home in Aruba — Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort. When talking about some of her favorite couples she mentioned the ladies that not only got engaged on the beach at the resort, but that were coming back the next week to have their wedding!
When asked by another journalist if she knew about the recent gay marriage news, Nashette, the property's wedding manager, said something adorable along the lines of “for me, gay weddings are just the same as ANY of the weddings I help plan — the couple is nervous and want their guests to have a good time.” Ain't that the truth.
You may want to get legalled first before having your same-sex wedding celebration in Aruba as gay marriages aren't legal. But clearly there are wedding planners that are more than happy to help you throw an amazing party!
Aruba is for foodies
Wanna serve up some amazing cuisine at your destination wedding? Or do you just want to spend your honeymoon eating like fucking kings? Let me tell you, I spent the majority of this tour eating, and what we were told is that we could have spent another week in Aruba and still not have run out of amazing restaurants to try.
Who knew that Aruba was a total food nerd haven!? But with more than 90 nationalities on island, Aruba is a cultural melting pot, offering tons of culinary influences to play off of. Foodies can enjoy anything from fresh seafood, Caribbean and vegetarian dishes, to exotic churrascaria creations from Italian, Mexican and Creole cuisine.
- Papiamento restaurant: Incredible food equalled by the lush, tropical, romantic atmosphere. I immediately thought “this would be an amazing non-beach wedding location.”
- Pinchos Grill & Bar: This restaurant sits on the dock right out over the ocean. The food menu is as impressive as the drink menu. And everything was delicious.
- Carte Blanche Restaurant at the Bucuti & Tara Resort: Now THIS is a place for foodies. They tell me that this place gets booked up months in advance, and I saw tourists coming into the hotel just to get a LOOK at the place.
- White Modern Cuisine: It's one of those unreal cuisine experiences where the chef has to explain what you're eating. It's also one of the only places on the island that sources all local ingredients.
Aruba is for adventurers
Just because Aruba is a beach destination doesn't mean all there is to do is sit around and sunbathe. (Unless that's what you WANT to do!) Trust me, I was run ragged with all the activities our tour guides had scheduled for us. Do you like…
- Visiting National parks?
- Taking guided tours in off-road vehicles?
- Wind surfing?
- Learning new sports?
- Exploring caves and natural wonders?
We did all that and more! I was exhausted and loving every minute of it. And I could not stop thinking about how much fun y'all could be having on your adventurous Aruban honeymoon of a lifetime.
Aruba is for culture seekers
Like I mentioned before, Aruba has more than 90 nationalities on island. You can find Amerindian, Latin, and European influences in every aspect of life — on the faces of people, in names of streets and attractions, in the four languages spoken (Papiamento, English, Spanish, and Dutch), on restaurant menus, in architectural details, in local art, music, and festivals.
There's a lot to learn about and fall in love with in Aruba. I was only there for four days and it broke my heart to leave.
So who's planning an Aruban wedding adventure? Any Aruban honeymooners in the house? Or do you have any questions for me about getting married in Aruba? Lay it on me in the comments!