Story & Photography by Laurette Veres
The wildly popular tropical island of Aruba is part of whats known as the ABCislands (Aruba,Curacao, and Bonaire.) Sunny and sultry Aruba is just outside the line of fire for hurricane season, making it an ideal location for a tropical destination wedding. It’s also the Carribean’s hottest spot for adventure and fun!
The incomparable Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is tailor-made to host your once-in-a-lifetime event. With 411 stylish guestrooms and 23 lavish suites this hotel has room for everyone. Each room features a 100-square foot balcony with a breath-taking view of the sparkling waters of the Carribean Sea. There is something for everyone at this resort, from the party pool with cascading waterfall to the adults-only H2Oasis pool. Where aelse can you see a Zumba class break out in the middle of the day? The party is always hopping at stellaris Casino. Family and friends of all ages will be overjoyed on this happy island.
The real fun in Aruba takes place in the ocean. The currents are calm in these waters…lake calm. Your drinks can actually float, undisturbed, alongside you in a fabulous, inflatable flamingo (if you were brilliant enough to bring one). Aruba is the perfect island to push your limits and try some new water sports. Stand-up paddle boarding is very popular. Stretch yourself even further and try a paddleboard yoga class by Vela Aruba. There’s nothing more “zenful” than the peaceful Caribbean Sea swaying beneath you as you find your center. Looking for something more exhilarating? Book a kayaking tour, take a ½ day snorkel sail, parasail above it all or bounce to heart to your heart’s content on floating inflatable trampolines!
Looking for a group activity that’s fun for all ages? Beach tennis is big here! It’s the official sport of the isle. In fact, the sport is so popular here, Aruba hosts international beach tennis tournaments. We signed up for private lessons with Aksel Samardzic, currently ranked #9 in the world. It’s like playing tennis on a beach volleyball court, the racket is similar and the ball is a bit smaller. Scoring is identical to tennis and your group will be ready to play a match after only a thirty-minute lesson. It can really be a great team building activity for family and friends who might not know each other well.
What better way to get a real taste of authentic cuisine than spending one-on-one time with the chef. Learn from Chef Ever as he expertly seasons the catch-of-the-day. Watch his demonstration, or don an apron and join him at the stove. Compare your finished plate to his, then take a seat and enjoy the bountiful results.
One of my favorite things about the Aruba coastline is the walkway that connects the beaches, creating miles of scenic beachside boardwalk. This family friendly, “walkable”esplanade is great for baby strollers and wheel chairs, speed walkers or casual promenades. Guests with young children will appreciate the multiple play areas right on the beach.
After an evening stroll along the Marriott boardwalk, dinner literally “pops up” at Atardi beachfront restaurant- just in time for sunset. Enjoy a toes-in-sand sunset supper starting with sashimi snapper, tomato caprese, or crab salad. Popular main course items are fresh blackened mahi mahi, grilled sea bass, tropical red snapper and more.
The Marriott’s Governor suite is the perfect bridal brunch spot. Your guests won’t be able to get enough of the expansive Palm Beach views. Think mimosa bar and hot and cold brunch buffet on the balcony. Enjoy mini-quiche, pancakes, and pastries or get your granola on. Your guests will be impressed with the food and the views.
Wedding welcome gifts should reflect the couple as well as the wedding destination. Most brides put a lot of thought into the gift since their guests have traveled such long distances. Consider a travel set from Aruba Aloe. You can also tour the Aruba Aloe Farm & Factory (one of the oldest aloe companies in the world) and see the magnificent plants first hand, tour the interactive museum/factory and purchase high-quality aloe products.
If you’re planning a rehearsal dinner, options abound here in Aruba. Be sure to toast to the bride-to-be at super-swank newcomer, +297 Restaurant (named for the island’s area code). You’ll feel like a Miami celebrity as you enjoy exciting flavor fusions from Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean.
In Aruba, almost every location is picture-perfect and Pincho’s Grill and Bar is no exception. Arrive at the Aruba Surfside Marina in time for sunset and don’t miss the “Love Potion”premium margarita. Absorb the soothing sound of whispering waves as you enjoy a meal of luscious crab cakes, crispy coconut shrimp, dark rum-infused blue cheese tenderloin and pan- seared Caribbean grouper. As the sun sets over the water and the moon rises over the palm trees, you’ll understand why all your friends and family joined you on this special island for an unforgettable trip. A charming sandals-only beachfront ceremony is the icing on your wedding cake.