New Jersey Couple Will Wed In Berry Island

The Bahamas Twice The Charm For Kristyna and Ryan

They got engaged on Eleuthera on August 9, 2013, so it is only fitting that the New Jersey couple, Krystina Barbella and Ryan Saja will say “I do” in The Bahamas, this time at the ultra-romantic, Carriearl Boutique Hotel, in The Berry Islands.

A chain of 30 islands and 100 small cays and oftentimes referred to as the ‘Fish Bowl of The Bahamas,’ it is claimed that the Berry Islands, boast more millionaires per square mile than most places on earth, and is frequently vacationed by some of the world’s most successful celebrities who seek its simplicity, privacy and exclusivity.

Krystina and Ryan are one of 16 other lucky couples across the USA who won a complimentary dream wedding in The Bahamas.  All 16 weddings will take place on16 different islands in The Bahamas on January 16, 2015 at 16:00 hours.  The five months wedding promotion was part of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s (BMOT) unique social media contest aptly named ‘16 Islands 16 Weddinga, One Priceless Day’ contest, which attracted more than three thousand applications.

In addition to providing the complimentary wedding, the contest also showcased The Bahamas as the premier destination for romance, weddings and honeymoons while highlighting the diversity, beauty, charm, characters, flavors and cultures of each of the 16 Bahama Islands featured in its 700 islands chain.

The 16 featured islands where the wedding experiences will take place are Acklins, Crooked Island, Abaco, Andros, Bimini, Cat Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Harbour Island, Grand Bahama, Inagua, Long Island, Nassau, Paradise Island, San Salvador and the Berry Islands.

“We are getting married in The Berry Islands and so far we are extremely excited because it is one of the smaller islands,” says Kristyna. “Ryan and I are quiet, laid back people who like to relax and fully enjoy experiences without distraction.

“This is truly a once in a lifetime experience and we can’t stress how happy and grateful we are to be a part of it.”

Kristyna, 25, a teacher and multi-media freelancer and her fiancé Ryan, a 25 year old accountant, met during their sophomore year in high school in 2005. Ryan was Kristyna’s math tutor and he was also in her gym class.

“I really liked him at the time but he was dating someone else. Though I was upset he was taken, we still hung out, became best friends and always had a blast together,” she says.

And after “waiting and waiting”, finally on August 9, 2006 the high school sweethearts started dating and well, the rest is history.

The Bahamas is no strange place to Kristyna and Ryan, who spent their “first big vacation” on Eleuthera on August 9, 2013. A cancelled tour due to inclement weather landed them on a boat ride to Schooner Cays and while in the water, Ryan asked her, “Would you give up treasure for love?” – a line taken from their favourite movie Into the Blue, which was filmed in The Bahamas.

Kristyna said she “was not expecting an engagement ring as they had spent a lot of money on their vacation and were trying to pay off their student loans. So, when Ryan popped the question: “will you marry me?” with the ring placed in a conch shell, I screamed the word: “yes!” I still have the conch shell and some sand from the beach in a vase at home to remind me of that “perfect day”.

The bride-to-be said since they have been to The Bahamas before, they followed all Bahamas’ social media outlets and saw the 16 Weddings, 16 Islands contest. Contemplating a destination wedding they “entered the contest not expecting to win. Being strong believers in destiny however, they accepted their win as fate to marry in The Bahamas,” she said.

Kristyna says “everything we heard about The Bahamas is positive and amazing. It is truly heaven on earth – everything from the cuisine to the people and of course, the crystal clear water”.

For the couple’s wedding, themed ‘Nautical Love’ they both chose their siblings as part of their bridal party. “We are excited to spend time with them because we are all always so busy. All of our parents will be there as well as Ryan’s grandmother. They are all extremely excited.”

Concludes Kristyna: “After getting married we all plan to relax and absorb the sheer beauty of the Caribbean and have some cracked conch and rum punch, of course”

Thanks to the terrific partners of the BMOT, the couples will receive many, many gifts.  Prizes include round-trip airline tickets from New Jersey to The Bahamas, complete with beautiful and luxurious four nights hotel accommodations and meals for four at the Carriearl Boutique Hotel, the converted private island home of celebrity, Earl Blackwell. 

The couple will also receive cash rewards from MasterCard®, elegant wedding rings created by Steven Singer Jewelers, a complimentary tuxedo provided by 1888mytuxes and a Mon Cheri bridal gown designed by David Tutera and Sophia Tolli.

Contest Partners included MasterCard®, 1888mytuxes.com, Mon Cheri, Steven Singer Jewelers, John Bull and hotels Acklins Island Lodge, Hope Town Harbour 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, Kamalamae Cay, Hilton Hotel, Atlantis Resort and Riding Rock Inn.