Hello lovelies, Claire here, and I'm back talking about perhaps, my favourite thing about weddings.
If you're a regular follower of Bridal Musings, you'll know that last month I had the (utterly jammy!) pleasure of trying out honeymoon destinations in the Caribbean, with the lovely people at Kuoni and Elite Island Resorts, as part of their #BridalBlogathon.
And it was amazing. (Major understatement.)
I've already filled you in on how I fell hard for Barbados, and today, I'm going to wax lyrical about my adventures in Antigua!
First up, I have to say how easy it is to island hop in the Caribbean. It was so worth taking in two islands during my week-long stay, and while the internal airlines can be pretty relaxed schedule-wise, it was only a couple of hours between taking a dip in the sea in Barbados, to taking a sip of rum in Antigua.
And as much as you think of the Caribbean as a single place, it was really surprising to see how different from each other the two islands really are.
A Slice of Paradise
So, you know the way in the last post I told you how I wasn't one for relaxation and loved how Barbados had so much more to offer than a sunlounger?
Yeah, scratch that.
After three days in Antigua, you can call me a convert!
A verified, dedicated, fully affiliated member of the Chilling Out and Doing Nothing Appreciation Society.
Galley Bay Resort & Spa has some kind of magical property.
It's nestled into the most secluded bay, surrounded by lush gardens, and set on a beautifully pristine beach – but it's something more than that.
From the minute I was chauffeured in a golf buggy, cocktail in hand, across a bird sanctuary lagoon and into the main resort, I couldn't take the smile off my face. (Doesn't that sound just fabulous!)
This place is simply incredible.
And despite my active traveller leanings, all I wanted to do from the moment I got there was chill out and lap it up.
Everything at Galley Bay is targeted towards it being a lovers' paradise.
From intimate bungalows with private plunge pools, to luxe beachfront suites with showers for two, even the sun loungers in the serene pool area are spread out in twos, to provide a thoroughly relaxed and romantic feel.
And as if you still weren't in the mood, a couple's massage in the gentle breeze of the Indulgence Spa treehouse, will instantly banish any lingering tensions (be sure to ask for Michelle!).
I was zenned out from the moment I arrived at Galley Bay, though that's not to say those entirely opposed to relaxing, will be bored.
While I stayed glued to my hammock, couples in the resort were trying out windsurfing and kayaking, playing tennis, doing yoga classes, riding bikes or hanging out at the gym. I even passed a couple playing croquet with cocktails at sunset – how cool is that!
There's also lots of lovely wildlife to take in too, with tortoises, ducks, and sea birds around the resort, along with rare sightings of leatherback sea turtles.
And if that's not enough, resort excursions include ziplining, sailing, and hanging out with sting rays.
Perhaps my favourite thing about Galley Bay is how eco friendly and sustainable it is.
The resort (and the waters that surround it) are not only a sanctuary for wildlife, (and honeymooners!) but it's pretty self-sufficient too.
House Manager, Mr Henry brought me to explore the gardens, and everything, from the mangoes you eat for breakfast, to the mint that goes into your mojito, is grown on site.
The resort also supplies guests with their own water bottles, so they never need to waste on plastic – a small gesture, but incredibly thoughtful.
And of course, if the produce is grown locally, you know the food is going to be good!
The choice for dining at the resort is fantastic. From beautiful al a carte breakfasts at Sea Grape to burgers and beers on the beach for lunch at the Barefoot Grill.
Gaugin offers a private dining feel with individual pavilions for intimate sunset suppers.
While Ismay's (named after the longest-serving member of staff at Galley Bay) is impossibly romantic for a special occasion, with incredible fine dining cuisine or dinner on the beach.
I must admit, I did eat fish at almost every meal (the sea is right there!) but there is a vast choice of food for every taste, whether you want to try out local dishes or stick to the classics.
Then of course, there's after dark. Galley Bay draws some of the finest acts in Antigua to perform each night of the week.
While I was there, I saw the most amazing fire dancer (who could also do unimaginable contortions under a limbo stick!), fabulous singers, dazzling dance troupes and awesome local musicians.
Night time was a lot of fun – and that was before I got stuck into the rum cocktails (which are pretty great BTW, try the Coco Loco!)
Other nights of the week are a little tamer, with jazz musicians and movies on the beach.
So eventually, they managed to tear me away from my spot on the beach and head off to explore the island. And as always, it's so worth breaking out of the resort to see what the place you're visiting is all about.
And when it comes to culture and history, Antigua is all about three things; The Colourful, The Colonial, and The Cricket.
Despite recent droughts, the island is still a beautiful place, with lush forests, stunning cliffs and breathtaking bays.
While I loved simply driving around taking in every day life; the quirky storefronts, the bright fruit stands, and the friendly locals, there are a few spots you should stop off at along the way.
Shirley Heights is probably the most famous viewpoint in Antigua, overlooking English Harbour at the most southerly tip of the island. The lookout is renowned for its lively Sunday night parties.
Then, Nelson's Dockyard below, on the harbour, is a quaint place to wander around and take in the island's seafaring history.
This spot is also HQ for the world-famous Antigua Sailing Week.
Eloping in Antigua
And of course, I cannot discuss a honeymoon in Antigua without talking about eloping.
Galley Bay has hosted bigger weddings, and it would be a pretty special place to take a gang of your closest friends and family, but it's also an intimate place for an elopement.
With lots of secluded spots on the beach, you won't be overlooked as you say your vows.
The resort staff pull out all the stops to make your backdrop really pretty, yet quintessentially Caribbean, with garden blooms, coconut husks and bright hues.
I was lucky enough to attend an elopement while I stayed at Galley Bay, (I stood in as videographer!) and it was really sweet to see the couple tie the knot with just their witnesses (friends they'd made on holiday!) by their side.
With their own choice of music and flowers (the bride had her hair and make-up done beautifully in the resort spa), their vows were so personal and intimate, even the officiant made it really special and relaxed.
Afterwards the bride and groom dined at sunset in their own private, fairy-lit pavilion. Pretty romantic, right?
If you think a beach wedding for two is your perfect big day, I would absolutely look into Antigua, and I'd absolutely consider Galley Bay.
I really am not exaggerating when I say, now, more than a month after my return, I'm still feeling the chilled out vibes of my time in the Caribbean.
This place is special.
So there you have it, my second diary from my Caribbean wanderings. Stay tuned for another post coming soon with hair and beauty advice for destination weddings, (and some expert tips on choosing your honeymoon!)
Oh, and don't forget to read Part One of my islander life in Barbados.
Need instant inspiration for your honeymoon? Check out our Honeymoon A-Z.
Disclaimer – I was invited to take part in the Bridal Blogathon by Elite Island Resorts & Kuoni but, as always, all opinions are my own and Elizabeth and I will only ever share products and services on Bridal Musings that we love and that we think our readers will find helpful and/or inspiring too.