-AS SEEN IN BRIDAL GUIDE MAGAZINE-
"I always knew I wanted a destination wedding, I just didn’t know where,” says Krista McKee. After two years of searching, she and now husband Adam Garbutt hosted family at Caerula Mar Club, an idyllic made-for-TV hideaway on South Andros. And that was exactly what drew the Canadian couple to the white sands — Island of Bryan, an HGTV series following the owner/designers as they revamped the property. “My mother and mother in law were obsessed with the show, both had sent me the resort as an option,” says Krista.
The fact that the island was a quick flight from Toronto and Ft. Lauderdale (home to Adam’s parents) sealed the deal. And the couple was thrilled with their decision. “The beach is so secluded, we felt like we had the island to ourselves.”
Laid Back Vibe
The magic of tropical life here is that there’s not much to overstretch your daily agenda. Lazing, strolling and snapping photos of the sparkling sands at sunrise, sunset and any time in between are essentially the only items on anyone’s to-do list. There’s also splashing in the crystalline waters and toasting to its brilliance with a hand-crafted rum cocktail.
For those feeling a bit more adventurous, fishing and snorkeling are awesome Abaco activities. The couple and their guests went fishing with resort owner Bryan Baeumler on his catamaran. And Krista and Adam joined him another time for a night session.
In Hope Town, on the foot of Elbow Cay on Abaco Island, stands one of the Bahamas most emblematic sites — a candy-striped lighthouse that dates to the last century. Built in 1862 and made operational two years later, the beacon, which is painted in horizontal white and red stripes and can be seen from nearly 25 miles away, is one of the world’s last remaining kerosene lighthouses. Visitors who climb to the top are treated to an expansive only-in-the-Bahamas view of pastel houses, turquoise waters and white sands.
Krista's South Andros Island packing list is simple and streamlined like the laid-back vibe of the Out Island. She suggests toting “swimsuits (plural!), an iPhone or camera, a spa coverup, sunglasses and a good straw hat.”
Like a Rainbow
The art of batik — wax-resistant dyeing of fabric in simple designs — is an Abacos Island mainstay thanks to Androsia, a women-led generational outpost dedicated to the craft. Here, fabrics are hand-sewn and dyed inspired by the colors and natural elements of the Bahamian islands. Interactive tours and classes are on offer at the family-led factory. An outlet store on property rounds out the offerings.
Caerula’s cuisine program is helmed by executive chef Sebastian Perez, who specializes in sea-to-table dishes accented with robust tropical produce. For the reception dinner hosted at the property’s elegant Lusca Restaurant, he married the couple’s love of fish and steak with an exquisite surf-and-turf celebratory menu. Over their stay, they also savored the chef’s simpler fare, including burgers by the pool and lobster eggs benedict at breakfast.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a fantasy of living (even just for one night) in a totally revamped, rehabbed and reimagined HGTV property. The Bahamian six-villa, 18-suite hideaway Caerula Mar Club, star of the series Island of Bryan, promises the perfect island getaway set in an idyllic made-for-and-on-tv setting.
What’s more, guests often have the opportunity to interact with Sarah and Bryan Baeumler and their family, the designer/owners of the 10-acre tropical expanse. The couple, who discovered the circa 1960s resort on a vacation, has been known to invite some on their catamaran for fishing, while the television crew has been spotted on bikes cycling to the local watering hole to swap stories with guests and islanders, many of whom help out on the resort property.
Of course the photogenic hideaway has all the requisite island amenities including a gorgeous pool, sexy hammocks and an only-in-the-Bahamas, sugar-sand beach that’s so secluded you may feel as if you are romantic castaways. Food is fresh from the sea and cocktails are expertly crafted with local spirits (room rates start at $485 a night; caerulamar.com).
To get married here, you must arrive in the Bahamas no less than 24 hours before applying for a marriage license. Then, present yourself, a photo ID and proof of arrival date (an airline ticket or stamped passport will suffice) at the Commissioner’s office on the island on which you are to be married. You must also bring a notarized letter stating that both parties are single, and, if applicable, divorce papers or a previous spouse’s death certificate.