Not content to simply get married on Aruba, this couple set out to explore the island from top to bottom and then some...
Many visitors who flock to this sunny isle are more than happy to simply relax on the beautiful beaches, seldom leaving the sand for more than a dinner out or an afternoon of shopping. Then there are those who thirst for new adventures and feel the need to examine every last inch of a destination. Sherry Bedard and Daniel Tremblay from Montreal, Quebec, Canada are of the latter group. Self-confessed activity junkies, their island explorations spanning a mere seven days left no stone unturned. Oh yes, and they also found time to celebrate with a beach wedding, too!
Sherry and Daniel’s first visit to Aruba in January 2011 was very brief. As part of a cruise with Royal Caribbean, they opted for the Seaworld Explorer semi-submarine tour. And though they thoroughly enjoyed the excursion, it was the island and the people they met here that day that really impressed. Incidentally, Daniel had just popped the big question to Sherry and they had both agreed that they would love a beach wedding. It took only one afternoon on Aruba to convince them that this island was the perfect spot on which to tie the knot, and they returned here in December 2011 to do just that. But before the “I dos” were said, they wanted to really get to know the special place that would be forever etched into the pages of their romantic history.
An Island Introduction
Upon arrival at the intimate adult-only boutique hotel Sherry and Daniel chose for their ceremony, the wedding party of eight set out to explore the island. First was a visit to the Aruba Ostrich Farm as Sherry is an avid animal lover. They explored the farm, fed some lunch to the comical birds, and then jumped at the chance to explore the real Aruba when one of the staff offered to take them on a personal tour. Sherry says, “The people on this island are so helpful and friendly and eager to share their island with visitors. And I was so surprised at how untropical the outback is! Arikok National Park is amazing: so many different landscapes and seascapes, wandering goats, cacti, wild donkeys. Bouncing around in the rocky terrain was a blast!”
They stopped by the secret natural pool for photos and at the Guadirikiri cave. The couple was touched by the story about how the natural skylight in the cave was created. Legend has it that two lovers who refused to be separated even though the tribal chief disapproved of their union were banished to this cave and left to die. But their love was so strong that they burst through the rocks together to spend the rest of eternity as one; it was this spiritual exit that created the holes through which sunlight now filters.
Now that they had seen some of the countryside, they also wanted to encounter some other Aruba wildlife, the kind that only comes out at night! So they booked a bar-hopping nightlife tour aboard the crazy and rollicking Kukoo Kunuku party bus. Sherry says, “We really don’t remember exactly which bars we visited, but we do remember how much fun we had!”
Since their introduction to Aruba had been aboard a semi-submarine, this time they wanted to explore even more of the underwater world and booked the wedding party on the Atlantis, a real submarine. Daniel says, “I loved seeing the underwater wrecks and all the fish without having to be certified to dive. I love to snorkel and that excursion had me immediately wanting to go out and do some snorkeling on my own, which I later did at Boca Catalina.”
They also toured on top of the waves. Their search for something unique for the rehearsal dinner led them to charter a catamaran and crew from Red Sail Sports for a private sunset sail with a buffet and open bar. Sherry says, “The crew was fabulous and the sunset magnificent, and I even invited some local seabirds to join our feast!”
Horsing around Aruba
Sherry is an expert horsewoman, and one of her wedding fantasies had always been to be photographed on horseback in her wedding dress. They had already booked a local photographer to take wedding shots of them all over the island, now Sherry just needed a horse. So the entire wedding party went on a horseback riding tour with Rancho Notorious. They split up into two different excursions – one for less experienced riders that went through the countryside and to scenic Alto Vista Chapel, and the other one for expert riders that allowed for galloping across the sand dunes and a trip to the famous California Lighthouse. When the ranch owners found out that Sherry was such an accomplished horsewoman, they allowed her to ride Sorento, who is typically only reserved for the tour guides. Sherry says, “Though most of Aruba’s horses are beautiful paso finos, which means “fine step” in Spanish, I chose this bigger guy for his spirit. I just fell in love with him. And he was such a gentleman, he never balked at anything, not even being draped in a wedding dress – a back-up dress since I didn’t want to ‘trash’ my real dress!”
Sherry is also a daredevil. And when she discovered that the island had a skydiving operator, she immediately signed up for a tandem jump, making it her fourth time parachuting. And though Daniel decided to opt out of that adventure, he did get some great photos from the ground.
Wedding on Eagle Beach
Somehow during their very active week, the couple also managed to go shopping for their wedding rings downtown. “We wanted our rings to be from the island we were married on, and since there are great bargains on diamonds here – low duty and no tax – that really sealed the deal!” said Sherry with a smile. At the resort they also took some time out for some luxurious massages and facials at Intermezzo Spa. But as far as planning for the actual ceremony, they left that up to the resort’s wedding planner. Sherry says, “If it wasn’t for her efficiency, we would hardly have been able to do any of the things that we did. She took care of every last little detail so competently that we never felt stressed and were free to enjoy the island. All we had to do was show up! Which we did! And everything was postcard perfect. We would not have changed one single thing!”
Upon returning home, the couple’s only regret was having missed out on a few cool activities. Sherry says, “I did not know there was a sanctuary for wild donkeys or I would have been there in a heartbeat! But I did go online to their website and adopt two donkeys named Nariz and Eva, and I cannot wait to go back and meet them in person!” Daniel, who is a great lover of plants, wishes he’d had time to visit the aloe museum. Other must-dos for their next visit include a trip to the Butterfly Farm and a day trip to De Palm Island to snorkel with the giant blue parrotfish. They might even try some windsurfing and kiteboarding as well. And as the poster couple for how to enjoy Aruba to the absolute fullest, they’ll be welcomed back with open arms. We hope it’s soon!