If youre reading this and just beginning to plan your wedding (it is, after all, not only holiday season, but also engagement season), you should take a look at Villa Aquamare on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. I stayed here for a few days earlier this year and know that this intimate and luxurious three-villa enclave, which is set above a private beach park with stunning sea and sunset views, makes an ideal spot to exchange vows in front of close family and friends (see wedding set-up at left, courtesy of Melissa Barlow) and keep the party going for days to come.
Rentable by the week (although 3-4 day periods may also be available at certain times of the year), Villa Aquamares three five-bedroom villas (shown at right, courtesy of Villa Aquamare) feature 30-foot vaulted ceilings and 24,000-square-feet of living space accommodating up to 36 people (12 people in each villa, including children). With their contemporary décor, spacious living areas/lanais overlooking an infinity pool and the shimmering blue Drake Channel, and light-filled bedrooms with large terrace, deep soaking tub, and outdoor rain shower, they welcome guests with every luxury imaginable.
Taking over all three villas, which are situated at varying elevations amid beautiful landscaping, optimizes privacy and allows for a variety of set-ups: welcome cocktails, rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and reception. For weddings, Villa Aquamare has partnered with New York City-based planners Claudia Hanlin and Jennifer Zabinski of The Wedding Library (whose work is featured here, courtesy of NYC-based photographer Melissa Barlow).
The permanent dream bed, set in a corner of the beach park makes an ideal sunset ceremony locale, dressed up with lanterns, seashells, and breezy white fabric. And post-reception, with the addition of chaises, throws, and comfy pillow seating in the sand, its a cozy spot for an after party beneath the Caribbeans brilliant canopy of stars (shown below at right, courtesy of Melissa Barlow).
The living room and terrace of Villa 1, located closest to the beach, can accommodate dining tables (for up to 60 people) dressed as floral formal or as beach casual as you desire. Each villa has a large, fully equipped kitchen, allowing food preparation on site by an outside caterer.
Legal requirements for marrying in the BVI demand that couples arrive in the islands at least three days before getting married. Full details are available on both the BVI Tourism (www.bvitourism.com) and Villa Aquamare websites (www.villaaquamare.com) websites.
In 2011, weekly rates start at $44,700 for all three villas ($15,900 per villa).
For general trip-planning information, see our British Virgin Islands Travel Guide.