Planning an Aruba wedding – the best venues and tips from the experts
By Hannah Barnard on 11th December, 2019
Blessed with world-famous alabaster beaches and constant sunshine, Aruba is the perfect destination for a Caribbean island wedding. While most couples opt for a barefoot-on-the-beach ceremony at an Aruba wedding resort, more daring lovebirds may favor the island’s hidden gems for their marriage or renewal of vows – secluded coves or natural bridges, brilliant underwater reefs, hilltop panoramas, eerie caves or mysterious rock formations. Whether offbeat or traditional, an Aruba wedding is unforgettable. Planning a destination wedding can be easier than one might think. Wedding and romance planners work with couples to plan their destination wedding from scratch, creating dreams that fit their budget and vision. Consider Aruba for your once-in-a-lifetime Aruba wedding!
Planning an Aruba wedding
We met some of Aruba’s most exclusive wedding planners to find out about Aruba’s best wedding venues and things to consider when getting married in the Caribbean.
Rosy Nuboer, Romance Planning Expert, Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort, Spa & Casino
What advice do you give to couples at the first meeting?
I ask them to tell me everything about their expectations – even down to the smallest details…to be realistic based on their budget…to plan sooner than later to save money. The venue selected is not only for them but also to create memories with friends and family because who knows when all of them will be together again.
What special touches can change the ambience?
Small touches can be dramatic. Filling cylindrical vases with flowers and candles; using glass candleholders overflowing with tropical flowers or orchids, or hanging Chinese lanterns are several possibilities. I advise not to use high centerpieces outside because of the wind. For Disney themes, Beauty and the Beast, Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, Rapunzel and Up! are most popular.
What should be brought to Aruba?
I advise the bride to carry (and not ship) the dress. It’s best to bring one big piece of luggage and pay extra if necessary. If she can’t manage, she can give items to a relative. Shipping costs a lot more. Couples can bring their own favors or find souvenirs and décor items in Aruba.
Basic reception advice
On the wedding day, stay hydrated and eat well.
To the groom: don’t overdo it with alcohol. Schedule at 5:30 pm (one hour before sunset), the hour with the right light and the opportunity to catch the best sunsets without being rushed.
How can you make your wedding unique?
There are all kinds of entertainment options, from carnival dancers to brass bands. To set a mellow mood for the ceremony, opt for steel pan, guitar or violin music. For the reception, brides may choose a DJ for variety and budget constraints. Dinners range from station-style to buffet to formal service. Chef can create all kinds of ethnic menus and comply with special requests – smoked and sweet and sour pork bellies, a giant red snapper filleted in front of guests, a roasted pig on a spit.
Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort, Spa & Casino
Set on Palm Beach overlooking the Caribbean sea, the Hyatt Regency Resort Spa & Casino resort boasts some of Aruba’s most scenic full-service event spaces and wedding venues. Host your wedding in more than 33,000 square feet of imaginative space including ballrooms and beachfront venues with exquisite catering and planning by Hyatt.
The ceremony and reception venues can cater from 50 to 500 guests
The resort has 359 rooms
Inge van Roon, Director of Banquets and Events Sales, Divi Resorts
What about setting the date?
Some couples plan as much as two years in advance, and others only six months. Most plan about one year out because guests from abroad will need to schedule for school and work, have enough time to research and book their travel/stay plans, and begin saving money. Due to low season rates, the most popular wedding period is from mid-April to the end of November.
How can a bride look and feel her best on her wedding day?
Bring the dress with you on the plane; we have steaming services if needed. Pamper yourself with a massage, hair and makeup at one of our salons or in the room.
How can you make your wedding unique?
Each bride has her own taste, whether it be contemporary or traditional. They find great décor ideas through Pinterest or other sources. That being said, we still work with preferred photographers, videographers and other vendors – to be in total control to avoid any mishaps. The couple can choose a religious or spiritual service, with their own vows. We work with several officiators, each with a particular style. We have available a vintage VW bus for a mobile party on wheels. Brides sometimes have a ‘trash the dress’ photoshoot on the day after the wedding to include more nature shots.
Divi Aruba All Inclusive resort offers the perfect tropical wedding venues for your special day. The resort’s mile-long, white sand beach is a beautiful spot for a wedding, or alternatively choose an elegant ceremony on the lush golf course, delicately manicured and surrounded by lagoons.
The ceremony and reception venues can cater for up to 800 guests
The resort has 261 rooms
Event Manager Rika Trivedi, Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
What are general guidelines for the couple early in the planning process?
Create a list of priorities and work with a checklist – identify what is important to you from the beginning and communicate this with your wedding planner early on. Make use of a master checklist to have better insight on the organizational details that you would like to cover through the wedding planning process. Work as a team with your fiancé. It is always nice to include your significant other in the wedding planning and the decision-making process. It also ensures that both of you are on the same page and there are no surprises on the big day.
Limit your options – do not overload or overwhelm yourself by what others are telling you to do or have at your wedding – focus on your vision and roll with that! Don’t rush the planning process – to put your mind at ease, take care of the most important things from the get-go and ask your planner for an estimated time frame as to when each detail is to be arranged or coordinated.
What advice do you have for outdoor weddings?
Be mindful of the wind. Avoid a veil which can rub against your makeup or continuously fly in the air and select up-do’s vs hair down. Choose flower arrangements that work for the entire evening. Hire a professional make-up and hairstylist to set your look for the whole evening. Consider having a local officiant; they are aware of every aspect of the ceremony and work with photographers/videographers to get the right angles during the ceremony.
Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino’s stunning oceanfront setting and indulgent services make for a dream Caribbean wedding. With a variety of venue spaces available to suit all budgets, anything is possible from the simplicity of a barefoot beach ceremony to an extravagant ballroom gala.
The ceremony and reception venues can cater for 26 to 880 guests
The resort has 441 rooms
Gilliany Briesen-Oduber, Catering Sales Manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba
How can the couple assist in creating the perfect day?
Know your three keys to success and then leave the rest to us! For a fun loving couple, we arranged a surprise hora loca (crazy hour) which was the highlight of the reception. There was a bride whose dream wedding cake was out of her budget; our ladies and gentlemen surprised her with a smaller version as a gift from us! Another was concerned about guests finding the reception, so we made our staff ‘human arrows’ along the way. We are passionate about creating a seamless event as special and unique as the love of the bride and groom.
Can we make changes?
The more time you have, the more you will have new ideas, search online, get input from family and friends. Changes can be made up to one month before the event. It is our pleasure! Make the guaranteed number of guests a bit lower if you’re not sure, but remember that venues have different capacity.
General destination wedding tips
Before sending Save the Date cards, be sure the venue is booked! The bride should carry her dress on the plane, bring weights for the veil, and use heel guards. The groom should bring everything he needs from head to toes. If you can’t meet the officiator in person, speak on the phone or Facetime or Skype, or look at their website. Once you find a connection, you’ll know it.
Should we get legally married in Aruba?
Though this long intricate process requires a wedding consultant, the civil ceremony at the beautiful landmark building in Oranjestad is a special and unique experience that could be a highlight of your wedding.
The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba
At The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba, couples can say “I do” with simply the sea as their witness or pledge their love in front of 1,000 of their friends and family. Designed for destination and beach weddings, the oceanfront resort offers indoor and outdoor venues including the grand Ritz-Carlton Ballroom, the sprawling Event Lawn and the picturesque Eternity Bridge and Beach Gazebo.
The ceremony and reception venues can cater for 2 to 1,000 guests
The resort has 320 rooms
Read more: Three amazing wedding locations on Grand Cayman