Resting off the coast of Venezuela, in the warm southern waters of the dazzling Caribbean, lays the enthralling island of Aruba. With a stunning National Park, European-influenced architecture, a collection of astonishingly beautiful beaches, and a constantly pleasant temperature, Aruba has become one of the most coveted destinations in the world, for both tropical vacations and weddings.
On this popular stretch of sand, many couples celebrate their union at a charming boutique hotel, a world-class luxury resort, or a lighthouse-adjacent eatery with extraordinary views. In addition, the island features wedding vendors who take pride in offering couples top-notch service that accommodates their unique preferences. Selecting this Caribbean gem as your destination wedding site is a pretty sure bet.
When to Go
Aruba is thankfully not in the hurricane belt, so you don’t need to stress too much about your wedding venue blowing away the week before your nuptials. However, your budget might get blown if you head to this dreamy island during their peak season between January and March. April to August is generally the best time to be Aruba-bound.
Most Popular Venue: The Ritz Carlton Aruba
It’s not surprising that the Ritz-Carlton offers one of the most stunning wedding experiences on Aruba. This luxury resort features magazine-worthy ceremony and reception locations that are made all the more magical by the warm ocean breeze, visions of tranquil turquoise waters and a sky that seems almost too blue to believe. For those eloping, or only bringing along a few guests, the Eternity Bridge, which seems to dissolve into the sea, is an ethereal setting to pledge your love. Larger nuptials can be held on the snow-white beach, or the palatial manicured lawn overlooking Palm Beach. Wherever you choose to say your I do’s, billowing white textiles, vibrant flowers, an aisle of rose petals, luminarias, or anything else you can imagine can be brought in to ensure your wildest wedding dreams come to life.
Receptions can be held al fresco on the large lawn, or in the grand ballroom, which is replete with contemporary chandeliers. Regardless of the Ritz event space you select, you can be sure your big day will emanate with the extraordinary elegance this world-renowned hotel is known for.
Typical Cost: Ceremonies and receptions start at $4,500. $200 to $250 per person for food and drink.
Bonus: The exceptional on-site culinary team can craft a mouthwatering menu that even the most discerning of palates will relish. In addition, the pastry chef can bake a truly unforgettable wedding cake.
Most Scenic Venue: Faro Blanco Restaurant
You would be hard pressed to find a location on Aruba that offers more stunning views of the island’s west and south coast than this hilltop Italian restaurant, which is adjacent to the famous California Lighthouse Landmark. The graduated stone terraces, and overall aesthetic of this classic eatery, coupled with the sparkling views of sand, sea and sky make you feel as though you’re enjoying the best of both the Caribbean and Italy. While most ceremonies and receptions are hosted on the restaurant’s expansive patio, there are lovely interior spaces to accommodate smaller receptions.
Now let’s get to the food. Faro Blanco is all about the taste, taking great care to use the freshest ingredients and recipes that evoke the sense that an Italian grandma, who has mastered all things culinary, is cooking for you at her villa. You can expect to savor dishes like Tortellini Ai Quattro Formaggi, Risotto Del Faro, Lasagna Nostrana, and other legendary options.
Typical Cost: Contact venue for rates
Bonus: The photo opportunities at this scenic location are some of the best on the island, as you have an old world lighthouse, untouched nature and the vast Caribbean as your backdrops.
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Most Affordable Venue: Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort
This Dutch-colonial boutique resort rests on Aruba’s Eagle Beach and offers a fun, laid-back vibe. The colors alone will put a smile on your face, as the buildings are canary yellow with a burnt orange roof, and everything from the pool chairs to the throw pillows offers bright pops of color. Most ceremonies at this affordable resort are hosted on the pristine beach between two Fofoti trees, which are some of the most captivating pieces of foliage you’ll ever see, as they’ve been twisted by the island’s trade winds. Beyond the trees are the enchanting waters of the Caribbean, gently lapping against the beach.
Receptions are often held at one of the resort’s two restaurants, the most popular of which is the seaside Passions on the Beach that offers romantic tiki torches, palapas and a dance floor. For those wanting live music, Amsterdam Manor can organize a performance by a Caribbean band, steel pan player, saxophone player, or mariachi band. In addition, the hotel can provide floral services, arches and centerpieces, a wide array of decorations and specialized spa packages.
Typical Cost: Ceremony rate starts at $500. Reception venue rental is $550.
Bonus: The bridal party can enjoy the on-site support of a hairdresser and make up artist.
Recommended Photographer: Aruba Wedding
There’s an intriguing cinematic quality created by the photographers and videographers of Aruba Weddings. Interesting angles, unique set-ups and the capture of candid moments that tell the story of the day combine to create a photo and video diary that allows couples to relive the splendor of this love-filled day over and over. The trick these professionals use to accomplish such a feat is a laid-back attitude and unobtrusive presence, which helps couples and wedding guests melt out of stiff poses and facial expressions. In addition, the staff at Aruba Weddings works closely with couples to ensure they fully understand the exact energy and aesthetic they want their photos to possess. To top it off, these folks are experts at knowing when and where to go to score mesmerizing shots.
Typical Cost: $2,700
Recommended Florist: Jardin Caribe Flowershop
As Aruba’s oldest flower shop, established in 1959, the florists at this esteemed business know their stuff, getting the best flowers on the island for the best price (almost all flowers on Aruba are imported.) These florists are like chameleons, as they’re able to adapt their designs to a couple’s exact specifications. So whether you want bright, wild tropical displays, a more understated white and muted green palate, or anything in between, they will happily, and expertly oblige. In addition, they offer so much more than bouquets and boutonnières, crafting gorgeous arrangements for arches, one-of-a-kind centerpieces, and whimsical aisle displays. As an added perk you’ll be supporting a female-run operation, as Jardin Caribe was started by a talented and entrepreneurial woman who has since passed the business on to her daughter.
Typical Cost: $1,000
Recommended Caterer: Amuse Sunset Restaurant Aruba
Founded by a husband and wife team, this popular restaurant and catering service serves French and internationally inspired foods. The hubby brings the chef skills, as he studied the culinary arts in countries such as Netherlands, Australia, Mexico, and Australia, while the wife is the beverage whiz, with impressive sommelier and mixology talents. Quality is a top priority at Amuse with much of its ingredients being sourced from local farms, and many of its cuts of meat being USDA organic. Various favorite dishes include lobster bisque, beef Carpaccio, escargots, deep fried polenta, slow braised boneless short ribs and other French-influenced dishes. Adding to the goodness is the fact that virtually every kind of serving option is offered by Amuse, with everything from buffets, stations and family style, to French service, plated meals and custom menus.
Typical Cost: $60 per person
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Bailey Gaddis is the author of Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood, a childbirth preparation educator, birth doula, and hypnotherapist who works with mothers-to-be, new mothers, and their support teams. She is also a regular contributor to media outlets including Disney’s Babble, Working Mother, Pregnancy & Newborn, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and Woman’s Day. In addition to her childbirth-prep work, she volunteers for families in need of postpartum support. She lives in Ojai, California.