If you love the idea of gathering your nearest and dearest for a destination wedding on a beautiful island, but you don't love the idea of a beach theme for the actual day, don't give up your rum drink just yet. These five Caribbean sites offer stunning alternatives to sand and surf. From the Bahamas to Barbados, these destinations are perfect for your wedding weekend.
Belle Mont Farm at Kittitian Hill in Kittitian Hill, St. Kitts
This 400-acre farm in the hills of St. Kitts is at the forefront of the Caribbean farm-to-table movement, with 90 percent of its provisions grown on-site. Because of its size, Belle Mont Farm is one of the rare island venues that can host huge weddings (two thousand people). Venues run throughout the property, but we'd opt for a reception at the farm's Great House, which features sweeping views of Mount Liamuiga. In keeping with its mission of sustainability, Kittitian Hill's 18-hole golf course also serves as part of the farm, with organic crops and fruit trees lining the greens. After a round, head to lunch at Arthur's, the latest addition to the farm's culinary roster, where freshly caught seafood is served on the black- sand beach in Dieppe Bay.
Hotel El Convento in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Housed in a circa-1646 convent in the charming historic district of Puerto Rico's capital, Hotel El Convento is ideal for couples drawn to old-world romance. Host your ceremony and cocktail hour for up to 200 guests in the open-air courtyard, then move inside to the Salon Campeche, which features black-and-white-checkered floors and a beautiful mural painted in the 17th century that makes a perfect backdrop for photos. Organize a group visit to Laguna Grande (one of only five bioluminescent bays on the planet) in Fajardo—the trip begins at sunset with kaya- king down a canal of mangroves that opens onto a lagoon where the organisms glow once night falls.
The Versailles Garden at One&Only Ocean Club in Nassau, Bahamas
If you love the romance of a garden wedding, this luxury resort's elegant Versailles Garden at One&Only Ocean Club is a must-see. The terraced design, adorned with tropical blooms and European sculptures, is capped off by a 12th-century Augustinian cloister. Weddings for up to 200 guests include the services of a dedicated "celebration consultant," who's handy for sorting out details from afar, and can include extras like a fireworks display or a Junkanoo Rush, a local tradition in which colorfully costumed stilt dancers and acrobats accompany musicians playing drums, whistles, bugles, and horns. You may recognize this property from the Bond film Casino Royale, much of which was filmed there. Welcome guests (and pay tribute to 007) with a cocktail party and croquet on the lawn. Drinks—shaken, not stirred—are mixed by the hotel's popular Martini Bar.
Sugar Mill Ruins at Caneel Bay in St. John, USVI
Situated on 170 acres within Virgin Islands National Park, Sugar Mill Ruins at Caneel Bay offers weddings for up to 40 guests within the ruins of an 18th-century sugar mill located on the property. It has no roof, so the starry sky provides a naturally romantic atmosphere. The hotel will take care of catering, with island-y options like conch fritters and local queen snapper, as well as wedding cake (we'd order the coconut infused with Cruzan rum). Charter a local catamaran for a day sail to the British Virgin Islands. Start with a snorkel at Sandy Cay, and end with drinks at Soggy Dollar beach bar on Jost Van Dyke.
St. Nicholas Abbey in St. Peter, Barbados
Built in the 1650s, St. Nicholas Abbey hosts weddings for up to 350 on its lush estate, set among the verdant tropical forest and sugarcane fields of Barbados. Hold your ceremony in the courtyard beneath a giant 400-year-old sandbox tree, then move to the Rum Bond & House Museum, where guests can sip rum made on the estate while dancing the night away on the terrace. For the welcome dinner, take guests to the Friday-night fish fry in the town of Oistins, where locals and visitors gather for plates of fresh seafood and live music.