Couple to Swim With Pigs in Exuma Wedding

AUSTIN, Texas (November 18, 2014)  – Imagine swimming with pigs as part of your wedding experience? 

Well for an American couple out of Austin, Texas that would be the “perfect vibe” for their wedding on Exuma in The Bahamas come January 16, 2015.

Lauren Gough, a dental hygienist and her fiancé Steven Swangstu, a server with the County Line in Austin is one of 16 couples who won The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s (BMOT) 16 Islands, 16 Weddings, One Priceless Day Promotion.

Their dream wedding will take place in The Exumas, also an archipelago of some 365 cays and islands; southeast of Nassau. Apart from being rich in history; settled by British Loyalists with their slaves following the American Revolution, The Exumas are surrounded by sapphire-blue waters and home to many famous stars namely Johnny Depp, Nicolas Cage and David Copperfield.

The couple will exchange wedding vows under the theme: “Seaside Serenade”.  

Lauren says Steven has always wanted to take her to The Bahamas because of his childhood memories there. “He would describe it as the most beautiful place in the world,” she says.

The couple met in high school when they were both 16-years-old. Lauren says that Steven “always had a crush on me”, but never mustered up the nerves to ask her out. Subsequently she moved away after high school, and then moved back several years later and they reunited.

“A friend had a housewarming party and knew we had eyes for each other, so she invited us both. We’ve been in each other’s lives ever since,” says Lauren.

The couple got engaged October 2013 in Fredericksburg, Texas – during the Oktoberfest Festival that she “absolutely” loves attending. “We always rent a nice little cabin there, where he proposed,” she says.

During the planning stages of their wedding, Lauren says Steve suggested The Bahamas. Hence, she logged on to bahamas.com and saw the Tourism wedding promotion on the site.

“I never enter things like this but decided I would do it. Never in a million years thinking it would happen for us. This is like a dream coming to life,” says Lauren. “Steve went there as a kid and loved it. I am looking forward to the water, as I have heard that it’s amazing!”

This unique contest was launched on February 14, 2014 for USA residents and resulted in more than three thousand entries. It gave 16 lucky, newly engaged couples the opportunity to have a complimentary dream wedding on any of the 16 islands in The Bahamas’ 700 islands chain.

The contest also showcased The Islands of The Bahamas as the premier destination for romance, weddings and honeymoons, and also highlighted the diversity, beauty, charm, characters, flavours and cultures of each of the 16 Bahama Islands.

The wedding experience will 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.

 “I chose Exuma because of the swimming pigs,” says Lauren. “As soon as I saw them, I said that I will see them before I die!”

She adds, “We are a laid back couple and thought that the remoteness of Exuma would fit the vibe that we wanted for our wedding perfectly. It looks beyond beautiful.”

For Lauren and Steven a small intimate wedding is their target – with family and very close friends.

“Organizing travel has been somewhat easy. We left everyone in charge of booking their own flights and are having everyone book under a group code at Sandals Resort at (Emerald Bay),” she says.

For the couple, they are certainly keeping it simple. No bridal party. However, “Everyone is excited and super supportive,” Lauren says.

Thanks to the terrific partners of the BMOT, the couples will receive many, many gifts.  Prizes include round-trip airline tickets to The Bahamas from Texas, complimentary luxurious accommodations at Sandals Resort, a wedding ceremony complete with flowers, cake and meals for four, wedding rings by Steven Jewelers, John Bull gift baskets, and cash rewards from MasterCard®.  In addition to this, Lauren will receive a complimentary Mon Cheri bridal gown designed by David Tutera or Sophia Tolli while Steven gets a tuxedo from 1-888mytuxes.

Other hotel partners in the promotion include: Acklins Island Lodge, Carriearl Boutique Hotel, Resorts World Bimini, Pigeon Cay Beach Club, Tranquility on The Bay, Pineapple Fields, Valentines Resort & Marina, Sandals Resorts, Grand Lucayan, Island Ocean Villas, Stella Maris Resort, Kamalame Cay Resort, Hilton Hotel, Atlantis Resort and Riding Rock Inn.

Written By: Lindsay Thompson