Grand Cayman is the ideal place for small, intimate celebrations. The Cayman Islands’ natural beauty makes the perfect backdrop for couples looking to elope to legalise their love or re-commit to each other after several years of marriage. This why Cayman has been featured on many wedding blogs and magazines as one of the most sought after wedding destinations.
While elopements are typically way more “low key”, they can still be a highly personal and tailored experience. Personally, I have a special place in my heart for elopements and I always say that if I had to get married all over again, it would definitely just be hubby and me eloping to a little piece of paradise.
The reason I love elopements is that when planning a wedding, we can easily get too caught up thinking about what is important to please everyone else. On the other hand, in an elopement ceremony, every little detail is only there because of the couple (and only the couple).
Did you know that legalising your marriage in Cayman is actually really easy? Because there are so many people getting married on the island, the paperwork is really simple and it can be done in as little as 2 days. So all you really need to think about is the following:
- Pick a date
- Decide on your preferred location
- Book your Photographer and Make-up artist and order your bouquet and/or decor
- Chose an officiant and familiarise yourself with the legal stuff
01 I Setting the date… You will most likely be on vacation in Grand Cayman, which typically limits the dates you have to chose from. However, if you do know that you would like to elope, make sure that you plan at lest a few weeks in advance (especially during high season!) to ensure the availability of your preferred suppliers.
When it comes to the time of the day, the best time is undoubtedly just before sunset! So whether your hotel, a planner or you are coordinating the ceremony, ensure that you plan for a time about an hour before sunset. I am sure you would agree that it doesn’t get much more romantic than committing to your better half as the sun sets over the ocean in the background?!
02 I Decide on the perfect location. Grand Cayman is certainly one of those places that is so incredibly beautiful that there is no lack of options for your special day.
Especially Cayman’s beautiful beaches make for the perfect wedding backdrop! I am a big fan of photo locations with stunning natural beauty, which we have some of the best in the world here in Cayman. Here are a few examples of beautiful proposal spots on the island:
- Your Hotel: If you are staying at a hotel, ask them about their wedding options and locations. Some of the bigger hotels have special locations on their property and also often offer wedding decoration and coordination services.
- Seven Mile Beach: One of the most iconic places on the island (Pro: you get the beautiful turquoise sea. Con: it can be a little more crowded in the main parts of the beach). To escape the crowds I usually shoot further up towards West Bay. There is also a dock in West Bay, if that is something you would like to include in your photos. https://goo.gl/maps/VBBZTD5Cd17BQfhH7
- Spotts Beach: This beach has a beautiful dock and lots of variety with the beautiful rock formation and many palm tress (Pro: its generally less crowded during sunset time, it has dock and beautiful rocks. Con: The sun doesn’t set right there but behind the mountain during the summer months, so you are not always guaranteed to see the full sunset) https://goo.gl/maps/PFG3LKQ6gkFxiASz5
- South Sound Community Beach – also known as Surfer’s beach or Consuelos beach. This is one of my favourite beaches as it is a little more “rustic” and secluded (Pro: less crowded, beautiful rocks, a little more off the beaten track, sun sets right there. Con: water is not as turquoise and there are more waves) https://goo.gl/maps/ays2VHE2JxTBHb957
- Smith’s Cove (Smiths Barcadere): Smith’s Cove is another iconic beach/cove on the island (Pro: It has a beautiful cove as well as ironshore. Con: it can be a little more crowded and wave if the sea is a little more rough) https://goo.gl/maps/8nFas4VQevR4ffPs6
- Cayman Kai / Sunshine Point: This beach is on the North Side of the island close to Rum Point and Starfish Point. If you are staying on that side of the island this is a great option for you (Pro: it is a totally secluded and huge empty part of the beach with some lovely palm trees and lovely greenery close by at Starfish Point. Con: It is far away if you are not staying on the North Side) https://goo.gl/maps/uCmDURM2C4MQT8Dh7
03 I Booking your photographer and ordering your flowers
Photographers and other wedding suppliers can get really booked up, especially during high season. I highly recommend reaching out to me as soon as you have decided on your elopement dates to make sure that I have availability for your special day!
For Hair and Make-up I highly recommend the talented Sally Scott-Hopkins who does an amazing job at enhancing natural beauty, keeping the bride glowing while maintaining a natural look.
Likewise, if you are looking for some decor or just a beautiful bouquet for your special day, I can highly recommend The Flower Dell. They will be able to create the most wonderful and unique flower designs for your big day 🙂
04 I The Legal Stuff
The most important part of the puzzle when you are looking to legalise your love is to find a marriage officiant, who will take care of most of the paperwork for you. If possible, it is useful for you to meet with the officiant a day before so that he can register your marriage for you. After your official ceremony you need to sign 3 certified copies of the marriage registrar. The next day you will have to go to the Cayman Islands Government building to collect your marriage certificate. Most European countries (excluding the UK) require an Apostille for the marriage certificate, which you can do right across the road from the Government building here in Cayman (The USA and Canada don’t need an Apostille).
According to Cayman Resident, the documents that you need are:
- Proof of citizenship and age – Passport or an original/certified copy of birth certificate with photo identification
- Proof of marital status (legal divorce decree or death certificate, if applicable)
- Cayman Islands Immigration Department card or international embarkation/disembarkation card for cruise ship passengers
- Non-resident marriage licence (Special Marriage Licence)
There are many wonderful officiants here on the island, I would be happy to make a recommendation once you have confirmed your date.
Not sure where to start? Get some help!
I understand that while this sounds simple, when coming to the Cayman Islands last minute or from a far, it can feel daunting to try and set up all of the details for this special celebration yuorself, especially in a place that you have never been to before. This is why I love working with the team from Direction Event Planning who welcome both couples who are looking to renew their vows as well as couples that are looking to have an elopement ceremony. They know that regardless of how small the ceremony is, it is still something that is very important and deserves the same attention to detail as a 100-people wedding to make it just as beautiful and memorable.
Should you have any questions or ideas about your upcoming proposal, please don’t hesitate to contact me, so I can help you plan and document this special event in your life.