Williams (right) with family friends after the wedding // © 2013 Rebecca Williams
When my longtime family friends Mercedes and Chad got engaged, I knew it would mean an unforgettable week celebrating somewhere warm. Born and raised Miamians, their relationship took shape in the wake of the sea – boating, fishing and exploring the Caribbean. So choosing Bimini, the Bahamas, for their nuptials was a natural fit.
Bimini lies a short 53 miles due east of Miami and is a favored jaunt of fisherman and seekers of Kalik beer and fresh conch. So in early November, the whole family boarded six-seater planes at Opa-locka Executive Airport and landed in paradise 20 minutes later. A ferry transported wedding guests from South Bimini to North Bimini over crystal blue waters to Bimini Bay Resort & Marina.
We explored the island by golf cart, taking the high road to the end of the island for a view of the semi-exposed wreckage of the SS Sapona.
Ernest Hemingway spent time on the island as well, and it’s hard not to imagine the waters providing inspiration for “The Old Man and the Sea.”
The day before the wedding, three generations of family and friends from near and far grabbed fresh conch salad from Stuart’s, an open-air hut with views of local Bahamians pulling conch from the sea.
The wedding took place on the beach overlooking a spectacular sunset. Mercedes’ family, being originally from Caracas, surprised us with la hora loca, a Venezuelan wedding tradition. Old sequined and feather-adorned masks were passed around, and a 20-piece local steel drum band entertained us. The next day’s brunch at Sabor restaurant provided us with a much needed recovery in the form of endlessly flowing mimosas and leftover wedding cake.