Our Junkanoo Wedding

Unless otherwise noted, all photos by Randy Curry, Green Turtle Cay.

Hard to believe it’s been so long, but seven years ago today, Tom and I were married on the beach at Green Turtle Cay’s Gillam Bay. bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, junkanoo wedding

You’d think that planning a destination wedding — especially on such a small island — would be stressful, but the truth is, it simplified the process. Once we boarded the plane, we just let go. There’s no Macy’s or Michael’s on the cay. No point fussing over anything we left behind. What we didn’t have, we would have to do without.

bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, junkanoo, wedding

Most of our wedding party stayed at Roberts’ Cottages, which were ideal for a large group. Three simple but spacious cottages, each with a large screened porch, right on the shore of Black Sound. There’s a dock for ferry pickups and drop offs, and though we were within easy walking distance of town, the large, tree-lined property felt incredibly private. As we hoped it would, Robert’s Cottages quickly became wedding central, with guests dropping by all week to visit and enjoy a cup of coffee or a Kalik.

Party Favours 2

Some of our wedding favours – locally made guava and pineapple jam in straw baskets, and mini Junkanoo cowbells. Photo: Dawn Drewry

Though the weather on the Monday we arrived was beautiful, by Wednesday, we were experiencing near-monsoon conditions. Let’s just say the extra-large garbage bags I brought along served us well. They became waterproof containers for wedding decorations and party favours, and seat covers for golf carts. My Mom and cousin even used them to fashion some very stylish rain gear.

Bachelor Party

Tom’s Bachelor Party Photo: Rachel Diedrick

Thursday brought a new group of arriving guests, Tom’s bachelor party at Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar and — thankfully! — glorious sunshine.

We had invited guests to drop by our cottage for Friday evening cocktails to kick off the wedding weekend. It was a gorgeous, starry night and we went to bed relieved to have dodged a bad-weather bullet.

Saturday morning, I got up early and opened the blinds. It was pouring. Not a little drizzle. Not a light shower. Heavy, dark clouds and fat, stinging raindrops. All the brave things I’d said during the week (“Don’t worry, we have a rain plan,” “We can’t control the weather,” “It’s not where we get married that’s important,” blah blah blah…) went out the window. I wanted to get married outside, on the beach, at Gillam Bay.

After a good cry and a lot of comforting from Tom, I hopped in the golf cart and headed to Gillam Bay. I sat in the rain and made peace with the idea that after months of planning, and with so many friends and relatives making the journey to join us for a beach wedding, we’d be getting married indoors.

As I drove back toward town, the rain seemed to ease a little. The clouds seemed brighter than before. By 11 a.m., small patches of blue began to appear. And by 1 p.m. – the deadline for pulling the plug on the outdoor ceremony – the sky was all but clear.

Two-and-a-half hours later, escorted by our flower girl, Jade, my Dad and a Junkanoo parade, I walked up a sandy “aisle” to meet Tom.

bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, junkanoo, wedding

bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, wedding, junkanoo

Our Gillam Bay wedding was low-key and laid back, just the way we wanted it.

bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, junkanoo, weddingAfter the ceremony, the Junkanoo dancers and band performed for our guests, many of whom had never before seen this rhythmic and colourful Bahamian tradition.

Before heading to Bluff House to join our guests, Tom and I took a little drive through town.bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, junkanoo, wedding

It was nice to have a few minutes to ourselves to absorb all the day’s excitement and to enjoy New Plymouth on our special day. It was even more fun to do it in our wedding clothes, with all the town children waving to us and following the golf cart.

Our reception was held in the Bluff House conservatory — which, sadly, has been damaged by hurricanes in recent years. But that night, it was beautifully decorated with huge, white paper lanterns and gauzy curtains billowing in the breeze. We enjoyed a Bahamian buffet of grilled lobster, ribs and chicken, peas ‘n’ rice, potato salad, johnny cake and more — all delicious.

After dinner, toasts and cake cutting, we all danced outside, under the stars. A light rain began late in the evening, putting an earlier end to the reception than we’d planned, but given how fortunate we’d been earlier with the weather, we didn’t dare complain.

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Photo: Daniel Drewry

Without a doubt, our favourite part of the wedding was having the opportunity to spend the entire week with family and friends from all over North America, and to introduce them to each other and to Green Turtle Cay. It wasn’t an easy or inexpensive trip to make, and we were grateful so many were able to join us.

bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, junkanoo, wedding

I’ll write a follow-up post soon about the nuts and bolts of getting married on Green Turtle Cay.

In the meantime, happy seventh anniversary to my husband, Tom Walters. Thank you for giving me the wedding of my dreams and a wonderful life every day since.

 How we pulled off our dream destination wedding on a tiny island in the Bahamas.



  19 comments for “Our Junkanoo Wedding

  1. Doris
    May 20, 2014 at 3:06 am

    What a lovely story

  2. Reggie Patterson
    May 20, 2014 at 3:59 am

    Congrats on your anniversary, Amanda. You obviously had a really fun wedding. I still have fond memories of mine and Donna’s wedding, way back in 1983.

    • May 24, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      Thanks, Reggie! Yes, we had an amazing and memorable wedding, and it was terrific preparing this post and having the chance to reminisce. Hope you and Donna are well!

  3. May 20, 2014 at 4:37 am

    That’s a really lovely post, Amanda! RH

    • May 24, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      Thanks, RH! And I haven’t forgotten about that GTC page for you — hope to get to it within the next few weeks.

  4. Irene Lowe
    May 20, 2014 at 5:44 am

    What a beautiful wedding, so glad the weather did hold up for you guys, every things looked so nice. We hope to come by there in the next day or so. Would love to see your parents.

    • May 24, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      Thanks, Irene. If you’re on the cay, please stop by and say hello. We, and my folks, would love to see you!

  5. May 20, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    Wow – beautiful wedding setting. I love the colors of the Junkanoo dancers’ dress. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • May 24, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      Thanks, Linda. We love to colours of Junkanoo as well. It was great to be able to incorporate this Bahamian tradition into our special day.

  6. May 21, 2014 at 1:56 am

    Absolutely beautiful!

  7. May 22, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    You were a radiant bride! Thanks for sharing these great photos.

    • May 24, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      Thanks, Kathy! It was an amazing day, and I was glad to have a chance to look back. Hope you guys are well!

  8. May 31, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    We honeymooned on Cable Beach almost twenty years ago. We renew our vows on the beach in the Bahamas every five years.
    I love your story. I cringed when it rained! And I cheered when the blue sky came back.
    Funny I am reading your words only now. We have been visiting the Bahamas for 25 years. We were in Exuma just a few days ago. We will be back in Cable Beach in two weeks.
    Keep writing. I love your style. Check out some of my stuff and let me know what you think. Take a look at my book: Bahamian Rhapsody on Amazon/Kindle.
    All the best,
    Jim Reno

    • June 12, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      Hi, Jim. Thanks so much for getting in touch and thanks for your kind note. Looking forward to checking out Bahamian Rhapsody!

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