16 Couples pose with Ministry of Tourism officials after being hosted to a brief reception at John Bull Bay Street.
The 16 couples who will be tying the knot here in The
Bahamas Friday arrived in New Providence this week to put the final touches on
their upcoming nuptials.
The couples were lucky to be chosen among 3,000 entrants of
the Ministry of Tourism’s “16 Islands, 16 Weddings, One Priceless Day”
The event has a number of sponsors including the Out Island
Executive Director of the Out Island Promotion Board Kerry
Fountain said the promotion has obvious benefits.
“Obviously, the business that we get – the honeymoons, the
weddings, the people attending the weddings – obviously that means a lot
because it accounts for seven per cent of our business,” he said.
“I hope that they will enjoy themselves and I would hope
they go home and say, ‘I was in Bimini, Eleuthera, Harbour Island, Abaco. And
you know what? I had a great time. And guess what? If you want to get married
here’s where you need to go.’ And so that is the take away that I am looking
Darius Smith and Ariana Viega-Barbosa of Indiana will wed on Cat Island
The couples that arrived on Tuesday were treated to a
welcome reception at Sapodilla Fine Dining Restaurant.
There, Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe thanked the
participants saying that officials were surprised by the number of persons who
“While you have been a part of a promotion, the truth is we
are sincere about sharing with you who we are, what we do. We want to share
with you all that God has created for us and we want you to feel that you are a
part of the family,” he said.
“And so having you in The Bahamas to share such an important
part of your life is just so significant. And we believe that events such as
these will go down in history in helping us to define The Bahamas, particularly
in a world where tourism is now becoming the number one industry.”
Director General of Tourism Joy Jibrilu also thanked the
participants and invited them to return.
“What I would like to do is ask each and every one of you to
come back in future years and visit the 16 islands that have been part of this
history making initiative,” she said.
Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe gives a toast to the couples of 16 Islands, 16 Weddings, One Priceless Day Promotion at a special reception at Sapodilla Restaurant. (Derek Smith)
On Wednesday, the couples got their marriage licenses at the
Registrar General’s Office, participated in a photo op at Rawson’s Square and
then it was off to John Bull on Bay Street for some eats and treats.
Najean Lucky and
Benjamin Meza-Wilson from Michigan, who will marry on Long Island, said they
believe it was destiny that brought them to this point.
“It was kind of unbelievable when we had found out that we
had won. Consequentially, we were at a restaurant in Michigan called ‘Bahama
Breeze’ and her phone was ringing and (Director of Romance and Weddings) Freda
Malcolm told us that we won,” Meza-Wilson said.
The couple was originally planning on getting married in
June. However, the bride, who had visited The Bahamas once before on a cruise,
decided to enter the contest.
“We feel very fortunate that we were chosen,” Meza-Wilson
said. “It feels like there is a higher power watching over us.”
Darius Smith and Ariana Viega-Barbosa of
Indiana will wed on Cat Island.
The couple said
they are happy to be a part of this unique opportunity.
“When we found out
we were so excited,” Viega Barbosa said. “It was really a dream come true. I’m
really hoping to have a really sunny day.”
“We had so much
support just telling people about the events,” Smith said. “It’s been amazing.
The couples are nice. They are all special and unique and I think that’s why we
are here because we all have great love stories to share.”
The priceless wedding experiences are
expected to take place on Acklins, Crooked Island, Abaco, Andros, The Berry
Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Harbour Island, Grand Bahama,
Inagua, Long Island, Nassau, Paradise Island and San Salvador at 4:00 p.m.
In addition to the BMOT, other partners for
the promotion included MasterCard®, 1888mytuxes.com, Mon Cheri, Green Turtle
Cay Club, Acklins Island Lodge, Tiamo Resort, Carriearl Boutique Hotel, Resort
World Bimini, Pigeon Cay Club, Tranquility On The Bay, Pineapple Fields,
Valentines Resort, Sandals Emerald Bay, Inagua Ocean Villas, Gems of Paradise,
Riding Rock, Grand Lucayan Resort, British Colonial Hilton Hotel and Atlantis