Sunday, June 9, 2019

Researching a Wedding at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar

It's hard not to be blown away by the blue water you see as your plane comes into the Nassau airport. The mesmerizing visual has everyone on our flight straining their necks for a peek as we land. For some it's more than just a vacation, though, it's the place they will be saying "I do!" We sat down with the Grand Hyatt's Director of Events to talk about what goes into planning a destination wedding at his resort in Baja Mar.

The Grand Hyatt Baja Mar is near Cable Beach, just west of Nassau and the Paradise Island area where Atlantis is located. Although it faced a bumpy road in in development, the beautiful resort just opened in 2017 with additional phases opening in the following months and years.

The man in charge of organizing all the motion in the facility is Kelly Henderson. Referred to Kelly by a client who was recently married at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, we reached out to his office and got a chance to sit down with him and get more information about the property. Kelly said this is his 7th Hyatt to work in, so he has a wealth of experience to pull from as he manages a team of planners that directly coordinate with inquiries and brides who have already booked their event. We had lots of questions on behalf of our customers about planning a Bahamas wedding, specifically at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar.

The campus where the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is located boasts stunning golf and tennis facilities, six pools, water sports like snorkeling and kayaking, and a unique wildlife sanctuary. As if that was not enough, there's the largest casino in the Bahamas and luxury shopping at every turn. Two additional hotels also share the campus - the Rosewood Baha Mar and the SLR Baha Mar.

During our conversation, we quickly turned to questions our clients might have when planning a Bahamas wedding, or specifically one at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar.

What are the biggest draws for couples interested in planning a wedding in the Bahamas?

It's closer than you probably realize. For us, the trip was less than a 2 hour flight from Atlanta - so very do-able for a destination wedding. In fact, Kelly says their major markets are those with direct flights into the area like the Northeast, Dallas/Houston, and South Florida.  The English-speaking population is another helpful perk. Another major benefit is that the exchange rate in the Bahamas is always 1 to 1 with the dollar. In other exotic venues the fluctuation of the exchange rate can mean your wedding price can vary considerably if the dollar is up or down.

What is your advice for the best time to plan a wedding in the Bahamas?

The peak times are Spring Break, Christmas, and New Year's. Of course those will also end up being your most expensive times. Other good times that are not as busy are early summer and late fall, with September and October being the worst times from a historical weather standpoint.

Why would a client choose the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar specifically?

The property has 1800 rooms, so plenty of room for everyone. While we were there, it was easy to see that many events were going on (it's peak season for them around spring break) and everything was moving along effortlessly. From a huge corporate event to a couple of small weddings we witnessed, everything was going very smoothly. Some events can even spill over to the neighboring Rosewood and SLR properties for interested clients.

What is the pricing?

As with any wedding choice, the choices and pricing can vary, but there are options for weddings starting at $225 per guest. Email the hotel directly for detailed pricing. Keep in mind choosing off-peak days will often present savings if you inquire. Although everything for your wedding may be on the same campus, your guests will never be bored because of all of the locales on property for events.  Areas frequently used for wedding events include the beach, chapel, palm lawn, lawn near the nightly scenic lights show, and others - there are literally perfect event venues at every turn, and the resort event planners can coordinate food, setups, and all logistics for all events.

What are some specific things that surprise people when planning a wedding in the Bahamas?

Kelly says there are some local customs and laws that can be unexpected - for example, you have to apply in-person in Nassau for your marriage license, and no marriages may happen after dusk in the Bahamas. That is not usually a problem because people often want a scenic backdrop of the ocean, but that makes the ceremony typically 4:30 at the latest.

Our last question for Kelly was for a little insider information.

We were headed into Nassau and wondered what stops we should make or where he would take a friend visiting Nassau for the first time. He replied that everyone always likes to peek in the Straw Market for lots of local flair, but that he loves the chance to grab a craft beer at the Pirate Republic Brewery. Great tips!


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