You and your partner are engaged, congrats! Now comes the exciting part; planning your wedding! Many couples decide to get hitched in their hometowns or nearby cities, and that’s totally ok. Have you ever thought of getting married in the location of your dreams?
Destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular and are easier to plan and budget than you would think.
Best International Destination Wedding Locations
Looking to get married abroad? Destination wedding locations abroad offer picturesque views, historic wedding venues, laid back white sand beaches, and much more. Consider these best destination wedding locations abroad! These locations also make great honeymoon destinations!
- Dominican Republic
- Central America
- South Africa
Why – The DR is notorious for some of the most breathtaking white sand beaches in the world. Especially in the popular location of Punta Cana, you can take your pick of any of the beaches along the 20-mile coastline, adorned with palm trees and powdery white sand. There are plenty of indoor and outdoor wedding venues, one of them being Tortuga Bay, designed by world-famous Oscar de la Renta.
Why – This gorgeous island is also a great spot for the destination wedding of your dreams. Not only does Jamaica offer incredible beaches and friendly locals, but there is so much more to explore while there. If you’re a reggae fan, this is the place for you. Popular places like Montego Bay offer a plethora of affordable and all-inclusive resorts. The cliffs and beaches of Negril are perfect for sunset ceremonies. Finally, the waterfalls of Ocho Rios is the quintessential place for photo ops.
Why – Adorned with pink sand beaches and crystal blue water, the Bahamas is another beautiful destination wedding location. There are endless things to do in the Bahamas besides getting married. Things like snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailing can all be added to your list of activities. Even with an island as small as the Bahamas, there are plenty of locations that can strike your fancy. Andros is a fisherman’s paradise, Exuma is rich with cultural history, and Grand Bahama Island is totally family friendly.
Why – Central America has many great choices for the perfect destination wedding. Some popular places include Panama, Costa Rica, and Belize. All three of these places have gorgeous beaches, exotic wildlife, incredible rainforests, and tons of activities to choose from. You can go surfing in Costa Rica, take salsa lessons in Panama, or go snorkeling in Belize. Any of these places would make your wedding experience a little bit better if that’s even possible.
When – Panama and Costa Rica have a rainy season is from May-November and summers are from December-April with temperatures reaching as high as 95 degrees! Belize has significantly low rainfall all year round and temperatures average out to 85 degrees.
Why – The opportunities for wedding spots in Mexico are endless. With hundreds of resorts in multiple locations, you will not be disappointed in the location you choose in Mexico. From places like Cabo San Lucas, Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta, or Riviera Maya, each place will have its own special flare and will be a beautiful place to get married.
Why – Italy would be a perfect wedding destination spot because of its rich history, gorgeous landscapes, romantic cities. Want to get married in a beautiful vineyard? Tuscany is the place for you. Lake Como has a ton of villas to choose from, as well. Finally, Rome will dazzle you with historic landmarks like the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, or the Coliseum.
Why – France is home to the most romantic city in the world, Paris. This city is the perfect romantic spot to say “I do”. It has the iconic Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Notre Dame Cathedral and would be the perfect getaway marriage location for you and your guests.
Why – Canada may not seem like the most typical spot to get hitched, but this country offers many diverse locations to choose from. If you’re looking for a winter wedding, many cities like Quebec and Ontario have many resorts to choose from that feature winter activities. Uncommon places like Nova Scotia or Alberta offer picturesque landscapes like lakes, beaches, and the Canadian Rockies, which would be the perfect backdrop to any wedding photos.
Why – Australia may seem like a far fetched place to plan your wedding, but with the sheer size and diversity of this continent, the possibilities are endless for your destination wedding. Check off some things on your bucket-list while visiting Sydney. Visit their amazing beaches like Bondi and Manly, tour the Sydney Opera House, or walk across the Harbour Bridge.
Why – This set of islands set in the South Pacific will be the perfect exotic destination for your wedding. With 333 tropical islands and many resorts to choose from, your imagination can run wild with possibilities on how to plan your dream wedding. From snorkeling, sailing, or relaxing in an over-the-water bungalow, getting married in Fiji would be the most unforgettable experience.
Why – Antigua is a series of over 300 islands in the Caribbean, featuring super fine white sand beaches, clear blue oceans, beautiful views, and more. The Antigua beaches were declared some of the best beaches in the world, so they’ll make a beautiful backdrop for your big day. This is one of the best destination wedding locations in the Caribbean, and the various Antiguan islands offer different experiences, so you can find the best one for your wedding day!
When – Antigua offers fairly tropical weather year round. Their busy season is from December through April, so you can enjoy the best weather during the winter and early spring. May through December also boasts tropical temperatures, but the added threat of hurricanes.
Why – If you’re dreaming of an idyllic European wedding, Ireland offers beautiful landscapes, romantic castles, lots of greenery, and plenty of charm. Whether you have Irish heritage in your family, a wedding in Ireland is one of the best European destination wedding locations. Get married on the beautiful Cliffs of Moher, in centuries-old churches and castles, or in a quaint Irish town. You can also enjoy plenty of Irish pubs, museums, and other cultural activities!
Why – If you’re up for a longer trip, South Africa is one of the most beautiful destinations on earth and offers a unique experience for the bride and groom as well as their guests. Cape Town, South Africa has lovely wedding venues like farms, wineries, luxury hotels, and more. Visit Table Mountain or the Cape of Good Hope for wedding photos, visit the beaches and botanical gardens, or meet local exotic animals. The opportunities are endless in South Africa.
When – The best seasons are between March to May or September to November, avoiding the hot and rainy summer.
Best US Destination Weddings Locations
There’s no need to leave the United States for a change of scenery – there are plenty of great destination wedding locations across the US! Get married in some of America’s most historic wedding venues, five star hotels, and more. The best destination wedding venues may be just around the corner – or a few states away!
- Hawaiian Islands
- Napa Valley, California
- Bar Harbor, Maine
- Florida Keys
- Aspen, Colorado
- Las Vegas
- Puerto Rico
- New York City
- Outer Banks, North Carolina
- Tucson, Arizona
- Nantucket, Massachusetts
- New Orleans, Louisiana
Why – Hawaii is a popular spot as far as destination weddings go. There are tons of islands to choose from, each more beautiful than the next. Tons of breathtaking shorelines with volcanic sands and tropical landscapes would be the perfect place to say your nuptials. Popular activities include hiking, scuba diving, and surfing.
Napa Valley, California
Why – The sunny state of California holds many options for a United States destination wedding. For something more rural and quiet, try the beautiful vineyards of Napa Valley and get married in wine country. Napa Valley, or neighboring Sonoma Valley, have various wineries and vineyards that make picturesque wedding venues – plus you can enjoy the best vintage from wine country!
Bar Harbor, Maine
Why – If you and your fiance are looking for a more quaint wedding, with all the fun of a destination spot, New England would be the place to go. Bar Harbor, Maine, is considered one of the most charming towns in the Northeast. This chilly island town is located right near Acadia National Park if you want to wed outside, or you can enjoy Maine’s beaches or mountains. The town of Bar Harbor is filled with cute shops, great local eats, and more.
Why – Similar to California, Florida holds endless spots to hold your dream destination wedding. Key West and other Florida Keys offer a beautiful and unique place to hold your ceremony. Enjoy white sand beaches, water sports, tropical weather, the freshest fish, and more all within the United States. Visit the Coral Reef State Park, museums, bars, and more while you’re there.
When – Florida is typically pretty hot and humid, and the typical rainy season is from May to September. The dry and cool season lasts from October to April, so you may want to opt for a fall or winter wedding.
Why – Love skiing? Aspen may be one of the best destination wedding locations for your nuptials! If you and your partner are more outdoorsy, Colorado has endless opportunities to peak anyone’s interest for a wedding. In places like Vail and Aspen, they have amazing ski resorts and plenty to do in the snow. In the summer, there is also tons of activities and venues to choose from! You can go horseback riding, white water rafting, and mountain biking. The stunning mountains will also make for perfect wedding photos.
Why – Vegas may be famous for their chapel weddings with an Elvis impersonator as your only guest, but think again! Sin City combines a fun, campy, and adventurous flare to your wedding. Go hit the casinos or The Strip and go crazy! Having your wedding near Little Italy or Paris Las Vegas with its own Eiffel Tower. What happens in Vegas will not have to stay in Vegas if you choose a destination wedding here.
Why – This destination is a great way to plan your wedding in a tropical setting, without traveling overseas! This place is teeming with history and gorgeous beaches, and there are many cities to choose from. A popular city like San Juan provides beaches, casinos, and beautiful historical landmarks, with a ton of resorts to choose from. Fajardo is known for its diverse ecosystems and endless amounts of activities like kayaking and snorkeling. Puerto Rico would be the best destination wedding location.
New York City
Why – Explore the city that never sleeps with luxury hotels and rooftop venues for an exclusive Manhattan experience. There are so many things to do in the Big Apple like window shop on 5th Avenue, stroll Central Park, or see the Statue of Liberty. With non-stop entertainment, bustling nightlife, and an impeccable art scene, a wedding in one of the best cities in the world would be unforgettable.
Outer Banks, South Carolina
Why – Enjoy some southern charm in South Carolina! The Outer Banks is famous for its huge beaches, golfing, nightlife, and more. A wedding in the Outer Banks ensures a family-friendly good time for everyone. Get married on the beach or visit state parks, lighthouses, and more. There are plenty of options when it comes to wedding venues, too, from five star resorts to seaside inns.
Why – In the land of turquoise jewelry, gorgeous sunsets, and huge cacti, Arizona may be the perfect destination spot to tie the knot. Visit cities like Tucson, which offers a rugged landscape and many outdoor activities. Tucson is a big tourist destination, so there are plenty of beautiful hotels and other venues to consider.
When – Arizona’s climate is usually beautiful, most days are hot and sunny. In the summer, temperatures can climb upwards of 90 degrees, so be mindful if you don’t want to bake in the sun during your ceremony.
Why – For another quaint but lovely seaside town, Nantucket makes a great destination wedding location. Get married on the rugged coast, in a rustic barn venue, or in one of the charming seaside inns. Picturesque Nantucket has all the romantic New England charm you’ll need.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Why – Get married in the Big Easy! If you’re looking for a great place to party, check out one of the most unique cities in the United States. New Orleans has plenty of history and culture, beautiful architecture, and much more to offer.
When – Springtime is the best time to visit New Orleans, from February through May. The summer gets hot and rainy, so the peak time is the spring. If you want to avoid some crazy crowds, don’t go during Mardi Gras!
Common Destination Wedding Misconceptions
Typically, when people think of destination weddings, the first thing that comes to mind is the cost. The average cost of a normal wedding is around $25,000-$30,000. If that number makes you stop dead in your tracks, think again! Destination weddings can be some of the most cost-effective and affordable.
In popular spots like Jamaica or Mexico, many resorts are all-inclusive. That means lodging, meals, drinks, and even airfare! Plus, many locations have wedding packages and you can choose to extend your stay into your honeymoon.
Pros of Having a Destination Wedding
Surprisingly, more and more couples are choosing destination weddings as the place to say “I do.” Although it’s common to stick to a traditional wedding, it may be fun to put both of your personalities and interests in a place you choose to hold your wedding.
Love the beach? There are endless locations to say your nuptials with a gorgeous view of blue water and white sand. Enjoy the snow? There are plenty of beautiful ski-resorts that may be your dream venue!
Another positive thing about destination weddings is that you can keep your wedding guest list short. No worries of feeling guilty for not inviting your second cousin you’ve met once or your in-law that no one likes. You can stick to your closest family and friends for a more intimate experience.
Tips for Planning Your Dream Wedding
Destination weddings can take a lot of planning, but getting married to the love of your life in a dream location will be so worth it. Considering your guests will have to purchase plane tickets and find a place to stay, it’s important to give them enough time to plan everything out.
You should send out your wedding invites at least 2-3 months before the date of your wedding. Consider including details like your destination wedding dress code so guests know how to pack or if they need to buy an outfit for the occasion.
Depending on the location, the season, or other potential factors, wedding planning should start around 6-9 months in advance.
If you need some help planning your dream destination wedding, visit Expedia’s wedding website dedicated to doing just that!
Budgeting Tips for Destination Wedding Traveling
- Make a spending plan
It’s important to know how much money you have to work with first, then go from there. Be frugal with your spending and try not to spend so much on little things like table decorations.
- Search for affordable locations
Many destination wedding locations have many resorts to choose from. Many of those resorts also have wedding packages that could cut costs.
- Keep it small
Destination weddings call for a lot of planning and money, especially for your guests. Know that many of your guests may not be able to make it to your wedding due to travel or timing issues. Having a more intimate wedding is cheaper and more special.
- Keep it local
Source local things like food, drinks, and flowers as a way to save some money on transportation costs and reduce the stress of scheduling out of town or country vendors.
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