You’ve found the partner of your dreams, and you’ve gotten engaged. Now it’s time for you to get down to the business of planning a wedding. While you should certainly keep the geographic location of your family and friends in mind, remember that it’s your day. So, if you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, why not consider a destination wedding? Whether you’re looking for beaches or castles, domestic or abroad, here are 10 destinations you should consider for your special day. By Stefanie Waldek
Best Destination Wedding Locations
Italy, as a whole, is one of the dreamiest countries for a wedding. Two of the most scenic spots for nuptials are the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre, both of which offer colourful seaside splendour. But you can also opt for a rustic-luxe wine retreat in Tuscany or the extravagant villas of Lake Como (a favourite among celebrities like George and Amal Clooney, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, and John Krasinski and Emily Blunt).
The Dominican Republic’s all-inclusive resorts — especially those in Punta Cana — are a perennial favourite of brides and grooms seeking fun in the sun. The big hotels are well-oiled machines when it comes to weddings, making planning a cinch. But if you’re looking for a slightly more under-the-radar wedding destination in the Dominican Republic, head to the remote and ruggedly beautiful Samaná Peninsula. It’s all about small boutique hotels here, though there are a handful of large all-inclusives around.
Newport, Rhode Island
The Gilded Age mansions of Newport, Rhode Island, are the closest you’ll get to an English manor house or French château in the United States. Everyone who was anyone circa 1900 had an estate here, including members of American “royal” families, like the Vanderbilts and Astors. The grand homes are open for tours today — or for weddings, if you’re willing to pay up. Just an hour from Boston and three hours from New York, it’s an easily accessible destination for anyone flying into town.
For a fairy-tale wedding in a historic castle surrounded by lush landscapes, Ireland is your best bet. But there’s far more to the Emerald Isle than that: You can also wed in an idyllic seaside village, atop an oceanfront cliff, or in a Gothic cathedral. Outside the wedding festivities, there’s plenty to keep your guests entertained here, too, like world-class golfing, pub crawls in Dublin, and lots of historical sites.
Where to begin with Hawaii? The paradisiacal islands are picture-perfect wedding destinations, thanks to their white-sand (and black-sand) beaches, lush jungles, and scenic mountains, volcanoes, and cliffs. There’s no shortage of hotels and resorts to host your celebrations, whether you’re looking for something grand or intimate. The best thing about Hawaii is that each island is so distinctive — you can have your wedding on one and honeymoon on another for two entirely different experiences. Plus, there’s no passport needed.
Sure, Paris is widely considered to be the most romantic city in the world, but there are plenty of other French destinations worth considering, too. First on our wedding destination list is the Loire Valley, known for its elegant châteaux surrounded by vineyards. Another option is the Cote d’Azur, home to haute seaside towns like Saint-Tropez and Cannes, as well as foodie city Nice. There’s also Provence, filled with bucolic villages and lavender fields.
No matter what type of wedding you’re looking to have, California likely has an option for you. Up north, you can host a rustic-chic fête in the wine regions of Sonoma and Napa, while down south, a glamorous affair at a beachfront luxury hotel awaits. For something a little different, consider heading out to desert destinations like Joshua Tree or Palm Springs — just imagine the fabulous photos.
All-inclusive resorts? Check. Beachfront boutiques? Check. Buzzing metropolises? Check. Mexico has a little something for everyone. For the prettiest beaches, stick to the Riviera Maya: You’ll find big beachfront resorts in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, while the boho-style boutiques are a little further south in Tulum. On the Pacific coast of Mexico, resort towns like Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas are known for their dramatic oceanfront landscapes. And right in the middle is vibrant Mexico City, a fantastic urban option for a wedding destination.
Sure, most American couples have destination weddings in either Europe or the Caribbean, but what about Thailand? Yes, the flight is long, but the payoff is totally worth it. Thailand has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, not to mention impressive wildlife (elephants!) and fascinating cities like Bangkok. Plus, the long-distance journey is one way to help you cut down on that rapidly growing guest list. And you can always have a casual party back home at a later date for family and friends who couldn’t make it.
Though many couples get hitched in the summer, there’s something magical about a winter destination wedding. Colorado’s mountain towns are perfect for those wanting to take stunning photos with the Rockies as a backdrop. And while the destination is ideal for visitors who love skiing (or at least love après-ski), there are also upscale restaurants, luxurious spas, and even world-class art museums to enjoy.