If you’re dreaming of a posh wedding that’s also off the grid, consider the Cayman Islands, in the western Caribbean. Renowned for glorious beaches, world-class scuba diving and spectacular sunsets, this destination offers luxe amenities and lots of privacy. On Grand Cayman, the island’s pristine Seven Mile beach and turquoise waters beckon the most discerning visitors. If you prefer an entirely remote experience, head over to Little Cayman, the smallest of the islands—here, life is leisurely. Blessed with beautiful beaches and myriad underwater treasures, the island boasts fewer than 200 locals, virtually no cars and only a handful of small resorts. With choices like these, it’s clear that the Cayman Islands are the perfect site for a storybook wedding.
Westin Casuarina Resort's beach
Even though beachfront Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa is megasized, you’ll find plenty of intimate areas to host your wedding ceremony. Exchange vows beneath a canopy of silky casuarina trees, then have a poolside cocktail hour before dancing the night away in the opulent Grand Ballroom.
Or you can have the whole affair on the beach, where colorful linens and bouquets bursting with bright, tropical blooms complement the splendor of the sunset. When you stay in one of the wonderfully sequestered deluxe oceanfront rooms, you’ll have a piece of Seven Mile Beach as your own private playground. (Hint: Rooms 102 and 104 offer the best in romantic bliss.) In addition to large marble bathrooms and sprawling shoreside private balconies, the rooms boast patented Heavenly Beds, which are outfitted with downy pillowtops and supersoft linens. The hotel’s Hibiscus Spa offers sensuous full-body massages for couples, invigorating Vichy showers and steam rooms. Other resort amenities include Casa Havana, the muy caliente tropical restaurant, a beachside watersports center and a swim-up bar (wedding packages start at $1,500 and include an officiant, flowers, setup fees and gratuities; westincasuarina.com).
Putting on the Ritz
The splashiest property on the main island of Grand Cayman is the lavish Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. Sprawling over 44 acres, it stretches from the island's North Sound to Seven Mile Beach. Here you’ll find the kind of impeccable service and unbeatable cuisine that the brand is known for. No matter the size of your affair, the hotel staff will make it memorable. You can choose to swap vows at a pavilion overlooking the hotel’s gardens or on the beach at sunset, and host your reception in one of the resort’s nine venues. The ballroom terrace provides gorgeous views of the tropical grounds, and the oceanfront pool area offers laid-back seating in cabana-style lounges, complete with swaying hammocks. For the wedding night, splurge on a top-floor oceanfront Club Room, and you’ll have an oversize private terrace that affords unbeatable vistas of Seven Mile Beach. At the ultraluxurious Silver Rain, a La Prairie Spa, indulge in the extravagant caviar face-toning spa treatment. For more information visit ritzcarlton.com.
The Great Escape
On sleepy Little Cayman, the tiny Pirates Point resort has been charming savvy travelers for years. Favored by divers for its proximity to underwater sites, made famous by Jacques Cousteau, the romantic enclave also welcomes those in search of uncomplicated vacationing, unspoiled nature, friendly service and top-rate cuisine. You can stage your ceremony beachside, under a thatched palapa or within a symbolic ring of conch shells and candles. Hotel owner Gladys Howard will whip up gourmet appetizers for your champagne reception, followed by a rave-worthy dinner of tuna steaks and other seafood fresh from the surrounding waters. Pre-wedding, laze about the property or ride bikes out to a virgin strand of sand at the end of the island. You can also take a day trip to uninhabited Owen Island; just ask Gladys to pack you a picnic lunch! For more information visit piratepointresort.com. —Brenda Fine
Being a British Overseas Territory, the Cayman Islands’ wedding requirements may seem rather formal. However, you can get married the same day you arrive simply by presenting a letter from an authorized Cayman Marriage Officer and a nonresident’s license, which costs about $200. To receive these, you must provide proof of citizenship, age and marital status as well as Cayman Island Immigration Department entry slips. If you are traveling via boat to the islands, you should provide documents proving you are cruise ship passengers (these are available on board). Plus, you’ll need two witnesses. For more information, go to the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism’s website (caymanislands.ky).