Turks & Caicos Islands
The Caribbean has some of the most pristine turquoise blue water and beaches in the world. Over 7,000 islands and 26 countries make up the Caribbean. Out of all of the islands, Turks & Caicos has a special place in our heart. Grace Bay Beach is where we vowed to spend the rest of our lives together. Our wedding was hosted by Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort on Grace Bay Beach. It was a magical experience that we shared with our closest friends and family. Although we did not explore much of the island. We felt that Beaches Resort and Grace Bay Beach deserved a review.
Turks and Caicos Islands are an archipelago composed of about 100 islands and cays in the Atlantic Ocean. It is a British territory that lies 75 miles south of Miami and southeast of the Bahamas. The country consists of two island groups: Turks and Caicos (hence the name). The Turks islands: Grand Turk and Salt Cay. The Caicos islands: Providenciales, North Caicos, Middle Caicos, East Caicos, South Caicos and West Caicos. Turks and Caicos is known for its bright turquoise waters, sandy beaches, scuba diving, and luxury resorts. Grace Bay Beach has been ranked ones of the best beaches in the world and reasonably so. It’s soft, sandy white beaches and pristine water make it a top contender. We couldn’t have picked a better location to celebrate our big day.
Grace Bay Beach is located on the Providenciales island. We chose to stay at Beaches Turks & Caicos because it is owned by the reputable Sandals and allows families with children. We loved all of the included excursions and activities that the resort provided, as well as the abundance of restaurant options available. The resort is composed of four villages – Caribbean, Italian, Key West, and French. Each has a theme based on its name. The restaurants within each village had the appropriate cuisine to match the village style. For examples, the French restaurants and cafes were in the French village, the beachside restaurants were in the Caribbean and Key West villages, etc. Each village also has their own pool and swim-up bar. We stayed in the Italian village and most of our wedding guests stayed in the Caribbean. We hung out mostly at the Italian pool and bar. Each village has something to offer based on your preferences.
- Caribbean village – Run of the House rooms, cheapest rooms on property, closest to the beach, oceanview options
- French Village – Furthest from the beach, next cheapest rooms, no water views
- Italian Village – Our favorite village, the nicest pool and swim-up bar, resort pool events, oceanviews and oceanfront rooms/villas available
- Key West Village – Most expensive rooms and villas, perfect for large families, beachfront options, the quietest village
Our first full day on the island, we decided to take advantage of the all-inclusive lifestyle and go diving! This was our first open water dive after our certification. The waters were calm and clear as can be! Winter is said to be the best time of the year to dive in Turks & Caicos. The start of humpback whale season begins in January for those interested in swimming with whales. The dive shop was a short walk from the Italian village. The staff were friendly and very knowledgeable. They chose the best dive sites based on experience level and sea conditions the day of. We went to an orientation the afternoon beforehand to get our paperwork completed and make sure everything was set for the morning. We departed at 7 am and headed out on their double engine Newton boat. The boat was clean and they provided snacks and water for us. All of the equipment was in excellent condition. The dive masters and captain were extremely helpful to the novice divers like us.
Our first dive was a blast! We followed around a sea turtle, met our first reef shark, and saw lots of colorful pelagic species. The dive itself was easy, a light current and about 60 foot visibility. Our dive master had a wonderful sense of humor and was very kind to us. He even let us borrow his GoPro housing, because we forgot ours. Later on, he even emailed us pictures of the shark that we weren’t able to capture! Below are some of the pictures he took.
The boat ride out was short and sweet. It was a lovely 20 minute ride to the reef. We had a great trip and wish we could have dove more. With crystal clear water and hundreds of dive sites, we could have dove all week! We will definitely return to explore some more dive sites in the future. We highly recommend the diving at Beaches resort. It was nice that everything was included, but be sure to still tip your dive master!
Later, we checked out some of the resorts restaurants and bars. We always prefer eating with a water view, so some of the restaurants that were far from the beach we did not try. Below is a list of the restaurants we highly recommend.
- Bayside restaurant – International cuisine – Oceanview
- Soy – Sushi bar
- Barefoot by the Sea – Seafood – Oceanview
- Sky – Rooftop lounge – International cuisine – Oceanview (Adult’s only)
- Courtyard Bistro – Outdoor bar – Italian village – Poolside & Oceanviews
- Neptune’s – Mediterranean – Oceanview
- Mario’s – Italian – Poolside & Oceanviews
- Kimono’s – Japanese, Hibachi
- The Jerk Shack – Jamaican – Beachside
- Bella Napoli Pizzeria – Italian, Wood-fired Pizza – Poolside & Oceanviews
- The Cricketer’s Pub – British cuisine – Poolside & Oceanviews
- Cafe de Paris – Coffee & Pastries
- Schooner’s – Seafood grill – Oceanview
The food possibilities were endless. They had something for everyone. Most of the restaurants close early since the resort is family-friendly. By 10 pm, most all restaurants are closed. The Cricketer’s Pub stayed open until 2 am, so the adults hung out there often. Bobby Dee’s is also opened until 6 am. They had ice cream and other comfort foods when we were in need of a late night snack.. which was often!
Most everywhere was extremely accommodating for our large group. We had 75 wedding guests and were not able to reserve seats for the group ahead of time. Luckily, the restaurants made it work for us, even though we didn’t always sit at one big table. We really enjoyed sake bombs at Soy and hibachi at Kimono’s. One night, the servers at Soy made our group of 30 multiple rounds of sake bombs. The entire restaurant got involved in our show. It was a hilarious memory!
Sunsets on the beach are always our favorite time of the day. The weather was glorious at this time in December. The cool sand between our toes with the light ocean breeze could clear anyone’s mind. While everyone was at dinner or taking photos, we spent our sunsets enjoying the beauty of the sea. There was no other place we’d rather be at that time.
The resort had many choices for where we could have our rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception, and farewell brunch. We decided to have our rehearsal dinner in the sand in front of schooners. The brunch was held in just behind the Caribbean village beachside. Both had ocean and beach views. Our ceremony and reception were on the beach in front of the key west village. We preferred this location because it was the quietest area of the resort. The boardwalk and resort view from the beach had a south Florida beach feel to it, which we loved. The bridal party got ready in an Italian village villa that had a balcony with beach views. The groomsmen got ready in the French village.
The bridal party had hair and makeup done at the Red Lane Spa. It was a wonderful experience. The staff had a mini bar setup with plenty of cocktail options and snacks that we enjoyed while getting pampered. There were two hair stylists and one makeup artist. For 12 women, it was perfect. In about 4 hours, we were picture perfect! A golf cart took us back to our villa where we could change before heading to the beach.
Afterwards, we headed to the beach for photos while the guys stayed in the French village for their shoot. The photos came out amazing. Our photographers had a wonderful vision for all of the poses and lighting. We were very pleased. Not to mention, you couldn’t go wrong with our background 😉
After our shoot we took a golf cart ride through the resort to the beach for the ceremony. We honked and hotel guests cheered us on. It was a blast! Our ceremony was supposed to start at sunset but was a little delayed, so most of it was in the dark. We still thought it was magical. The waves crashing behind us and the cool ocean breeze on our faces was the only way we would ever want to experience this moment. All of our family and friends being on an incredible island to witness our marriage was the most beautiful moment. We are so blessed and felt so loved. The officiant was the perfect islander who incorporated humor at all of the right moments. Everything about the ceremony was absolutely perfect.
Now, it was time for the party to begin! The reception was held right on the beach next to the ceremony location. The hors d’oeuvres and buffet spread was enormous. We had a full open bar for the 4 hour reception. Our table seat cards were purple fruity shots to match our gold and purple theme. We were a little nervous that giving the coordinator a suitcase of our decor with not much direction would be confusing, but she figured it out. Everything was setup exactly how we had imagined! They even had our dinner slideshow all ready to go. The tent setup with the white drapery and lights looked fabulous. We would never regret the outdoor reception. The weather was perfect the entire night. We were very fortunate!
We were most nervous about our surprise first dance. The DJ had our usb with our remixed song ready to go. It turned out amazing.. except maybe our mediocre hip hop dance moves! Dancing under what looked like stars in the night sky was such a romantic touch. We were in heaven.
Sadly, our reception had to come to an end, but the party didn’t stop. Half of our wedding group ran into the blue sea with us. It was genuine happiness for everyone that joined. Our dresses and suits were soaked but we didn’t care. We truly were young, wild, and free. It was a moment that we will cherish forever.
The staff made us feel welcome the entire trip. Islanders are a different kind of people. They are relaxed, fun, and perky. Everyone was so kind to us and excited for our newly wed life. The night of our wedding, we came home to a cute little congratulations cake. They even cleaned up all of the confetti from our bridal party photo shoot. Any hiccups that we had on the wedding day were taken care of by our coordinator and the facilities. We felt taken care of the entire time. The resort was even kind enough to refund us for the ceremony twilight time since it was supposed to be a sunset wedding and started late.
Our beachside farewell brunch was a success. The spread was more food than we could have imagined. They also had bloody mary’s and mimosas available for the group. They did an excellent job organizing all of our wedding events. Everyone was well fed and never thirsty 😁Overall, we were very satisfied with our stay at Beaches. Thank you for making our wedding day extra special!
The Mr & Mrs will be sure to return to the breathtaking islands of Turks & Caicos!