Having a destination wedding not only provides a picture perfect backdrop to your nuptials, but it also gives your family and friends the chance to have a vacation of a lifetime. Here are some of the most breathtaking places to say “I do.”
1. Cancun/Riviera Maya, Mexico
This region along Mexico’s Caribbean coastline is one of the most popular wedding destinations in North America. Historic Mayan ruins, lush rainforests and beautiful beaches provide a stunning setting for any destination wedding. This popular Mexican resort locale is well-known for its many all-inclusive resorts and boutique hotels which offer a wide variety of options for all budgets and tastes.
The third-largest island in the Caribbean offers the perfect tropical oasis for a destination wedding. While the entire island features picturesque natural beauty, the most popular regions for romantic resorts are Negril, Montego Bay, and Ocho Rios. If all-inclusive resorts aren’t your cup of tea, you can always rent a private villa (complete with housekeeping staff, chef and security guard) and have a low-key barefoot ceremony on the beach.
3. Big Island, Hawaii
The largest Hawaiian island offers a diverse range of climates (including snow), providing a variety of backdrops. The Kona coast to the west features a lunar-like landscape, while the north and east coasts include lush tropical rainforests, waterfalls and lovely seaside views. The Big Island features a number of activities for guests to take part in, including horseback riding, snorkeling, golfing and of course, surfing.
With over 100 offshore islands, a great barrier reef and centuries-old caves, Belize offers something for every couple (and their guests). With 80-degree temperatures and historic Mayan ruins, this South American country provides ideal weather and magnificent scenery, virtually guaranteeing an unforgettable dream wedding. In addition to its gorgeous scenery, Belize also includes some of the world’s best scuba diving sites, providing adventurous opportunities for your guests.
5. Santorini, Greece
This popular Greek island paradise offers surreal views of The Aegean Sea as well as stunning white-washed architecture found in picturesque cliffside villages. An evening wedding would offer a view of some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world. Make sure you arrive a week in advance, as Greek law requires you to spend seven days in the country before you can tie the knot.
6. Amalfi Coast, Italy
Have your wedding set amidst scenic orange groves in one of the most romantic regions of Italy. The jaw-dropping waterfront views along the Amalfi Coast will make your big day even more memorable. Its location will also provide your guests with the opportunity to experience a wide-range of unique experiences like a visit to the ruins of Pompeii or a walk through the ancient, narrow streets of Naples.
Looking to have a real-life fairy tale wedding? Look no further than the rolling green hills of Ireland. With a naturally romantic charm and a culture of hospitality, you won’t need the luck of the Irish to have the wedding of a lifetime in this nation full of breathtaking cliffs, Tudor-style homes, and gorgeous 500 year-old castles.
8. Loire Valley, France
Located just two hours outside of Paris, this destination full of stunning chateaus is renowned for its historic castles, charming villages, friendly people, and its many wineries. The Loire Valley wine region is one of the world’s most well-known areas of wine production and many of the wineries in the region offer wedding packages—providing a gorgeous setting for any ceremony.
From larger brand name resorts to private island villas, Fiji’s 333 islands offer an abundance of spectacular wedding venues. Fiji is famous for its beachside ceremonies as it provides the ultimate backdrop of white sand, blue ocean and stunning green islands. If you’re looking for a different type of view, Fiji’s magnificent, thick rainforests provide just that, offering a background of waterfalls and lush greenery amongst the sound of singing tropical birds.
From the excitement of urban Bangkok to the beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters and luxury resorts of resort towns such as Phuket, Thailand offers a variety of exotic wedding experiences. You can literally get married on the water at the 50-seat floating chapel located in Laguna Phuket, while at the Sareeya Villas and Suites on the east end of the country, you can have a Buddhist ceremony, including chanting monks, a customary Thai water blessing and flying paper wish lanterns that are released into the night sky for good luck. Note that all foreigners planning to tie the knot in Thailand must obtain an Affirmation of Freedom to Marry from their embassy prior to the ceremony.