25 Out-of-the-Box Ideas for Your Destination Wedding
If you’re looking to plan a destination big day that’s anything but boring, take a peek at these 25 unique destination wedding locations.
1. A Tropical Affair in Cartagena, Colombia
Escape to the most historic and underrated colonial city in Latina America, Cartagena, Colombia. Cartagena is the ultimate destination for saying “i do”! A picturesque ancient walled city nestled along the Caribbean coast, bursting with bright colors, amazing flavors, and culture, your wedding guests will be enchanted by the charm of this city. Host an elegant affair at the Sofitel Santa Clara, a landmark 5 star hotel with amazing service and award winning cuisine from Chef Dominique Oudin. The Sofitel Santa Clara was converted from a convent and the Santa Clara ballroom (the former chapel) is the perfect venue for a chic tropical gala.
2. Your Own Private Island Wedding on Peter Island, British Virgin Islands
1800 acres of a pristine Caribbean island tucked away in the magical BVI? Check. Gather up to 130 of your closest friends and family members for a yachtsman’s paradise on (complete with plenty of painkiller cocktails) featuring a private yacht charter from the airport or St.Thomas, meals, and all beer and house wine and liquors included for five nights. Not-to-be-missed: An unforgettable couple’s massage in an outdoor bohio overlooking the ocean.
Photo courtesy of Peter Island Resort and Spa
3. An 18th-century-themed wedding at Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia
Have your hubby-to-be and his groomsmen blow off some steam at the educational musket range while you and your flock of merry ‘maids enjoy a 17th-century Detoxifying Herbal Wrap & Hot Stone Massage or the 18th-century Colonial Orange & Ginger Scrub & Massage at the Spa of Colonial Williamsburg. Make a grand entrance via horse-drawn carriage as guests marvel at your dress (go vintage!). You may even choose for your man to don handmade petticoats and a cap for the big day.
Photo courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg
4. A Film-inspired Wedding at Sandos Cancun Luxury Resort in Cancun, Mexico
Are you a fan of the 1980s Academy Award-winning film Dangerous Liaisons? Well, this is the wedding package of your dreams: The Dangerous Liaisons wedding package will whisk you and your friends and family away to an 18th century French royal court. Among the hits are enjoying a magical string quartet, a ballet decked out with authentic costumes, and regal lounge areas personalized to your specifications with a menu fit for royalty. (Okay, so maybe the ocean views aren’t authentic, but we’ll let that one slip).
Photo courtesy of Sandos Cancun Luxury Resort
5. Harry Potter Wedding at an 1800s-era Historic Apothecary in Alexandria, Virginia
You’ll have to include your own lightning bolt tattoos, but the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum in historic and charming Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia does a darn good job of emulating the vibes of the beloved series. At the museum, which happens to be one of the oldest pharmacies in the country, HP fans can see the ingredients used in the books to whip up potions (think: valerian, mandrake root, dragon blood) with their own eyes. The venue hosts up to 15 people, and staffers can work with you to play up the theme to your heart’s content.
Photo courtesy of erikpatten.com
6. A Secluded Paradise at Fregate Island Private in the Seychelles
Talk about a remote, luxurious locale. This resort takes up the entire private island, where personal butlers will greet your guests in style. There’s a maximum capacity of 79 people on this exotic piece of heaven, and your nuptials buyout comes complete with a complimentary “Aroma Lovers” treatment at the Rock Spa, a traditional Seychellois trio wedding cake, a romantic candlelit dinner on the beach, and a collection of photos from your #MeetTheJones extravaganza.
Photo courtesy of Fregate Island Private
7. Mountaintop Wedding at Malibu Rocky Oaks in Malibu, California
Picture this: Sweeping vistas of breathtaking mountains, a picturesque gathering of your closest friends and family members, and a wedding album filled with photos as magical as the views you saw that time you took a sunset helicopter ride. Tucked away in sunny California, this unbelievable venue is also home to diverse and sprawling vineyards.
Photo Credit: Birds of a Feather
8. Your Very Own Jurassic Park Wedding at Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat in Nicaragua
Opening in November 2016, this 1300-acre nature reserve gives you your very own Jurassic Park-esque wedding, ATVs included (no dinos, of course). With an enchanted non-denominational chapel perched at the top of the reserve, there’s no shortage of gorgeous photo opportunities. But you can also roam freely around the property via horseback or cross a wild drawbridge for swoonworthy pictures and memories in the lush countryside.
Photo courtesy of Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat
9. A Helicopter Fairytale at Signature Island in Orlando, Florida
Ready, set, touchdown — via helicopter, that is. A truly breathtaking backdrop for your nuptials, Signature Island at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek offers a natural flowing creek through it for a beyond tranquil aura and matchless views of golf courses, palm trees, and more. Make a razzle dazzle entrance on your own private helicopter before sealing the deal as the majestic sunsets in the background. Did we mention a fireworks show during your first dance?
Photo courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
10. A Cave- and Waterfall-side Wedding In Hocking Hills, Ohio
Don your bridal veil next to a breathtaking waterfall inside Ash Cave in Hocking Hills, where romance and natural beauty await at every corner. There, you can get hitched in a mammoth 100-foot deep overhanging cave as your officiant stands on Pulpit Rock, and your guests can get misty over your vows in this 200 million-year-old cave, which acts like a megaphone thanks to its amphitheater-like shape. Come nightfall, retreat into a cozy cabin in the park before awaking early for a sunrise hike.
Photo Credit: Erik Hoffman
11. Underwater Wedding in the Ruins Lagoon at Atlantis, Paradise Island
Sure, you could go the white sandy beach route. But if you want to go non-traditional, tie the knot in the legendary “Lost City of Atlantis” during an underwater wedding ceremony. You’ll be hooked up with a certified diver and officiant to carry out the service, plus an hour of underwater photography and videography. P.S. Couples must show proof of driver certification and provide their own diving tanks and equipment, so we’re not talking a casual snorkeling excursion here, folks.
Photo courtesy of Paradise Island
12. A Yacht Wedding in Manhattan, New York
Boat aficionados, rejoice! When you say hello to your forever aboard the Atlantica and Manhattan Elite private yachts, you can expect a unique wedding experience unlike any your guests have seen. As your wedding party cruises down the calm and glittering Hudson River, everyone will soak up views of the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, and more standouts of the Big Apple’s landscape.
Photo courtesy of Manhattan Elite
13. An Authentic Fijian Wedding in Fiji
When you make Fiji your choice for a destination wedding, it typically follows the authentic Fijian format. 1) The couple gets escorted by warrior(s) dressed in grass skirts (called Liku vau) sporting vesa vau (anklets and armbands), and gumu loa (with their faces and cheeks painted black). 2) The couple can be clad in Fijian wedding costumes (or you can skip it) and 3) Flower girl and boy or both girls (traditionally) sprinkle flowers on the aisle leading up to onto the altar where a choir awaits and sings a moving hymn to kick off the nuptials.
Photo courtesy of Tourism Fiji
14. A Southern Charm Destination Transformation in Charleston, South Carolina
This darling of the south can set the stage and shine in this matchless big-time blowout bash in the low country. For a custom experience, you can buy out three of Charleston’s top-rated boutique properties located in the heart of the Historic District: HarbourView Inn, French Quarter Inn, and The Spectator. A massive scavenger hunt? Traditional low country boil? Private horse-drawn carriage rides? You name it, and wedding planners will arrange it for you in Charles Town’s historic stomping grounds.
Photo courtesy of French Quarter Inn
15. Overwater Wedding Chapel at Sandals Grande St. Lucian in St. Lucia
This overwater serenity wedding chapel is sure to dazzle, with its picturesque views and unique crossways for exchanging vows. Tucked away at the edge of the property, the open-air chapel is one-of-a-kind (and the first in the Caribbean) and boasts an enchanted interior complete with a river stone altar that holds up to 20 guests. As you float down the natural-aisle towards saying “I do,” we promise you’ll be glad you booked this venue that comes at no extra fee with your wedding package.
Photo courtesy of Sandals Grande St. Lucian
16. A Next-Level Indian Affair at Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa in Orlando, Florida
If you’re looking for a truly unforgettable entrance, how about showing up to the aisle on your very own horse or elephant escort? To take it to greater heights, your arrival will be accompanied by drums and music, as tradition has it for Baraat ceremonies at Indian weddings. Prefer an exorbitantly stellar firework entrance? Your wish is Buena Vista’s command, as they also offer this option for brides and grooms-to-be. Come nosh time, forget just-another-cake: Dessert stations are brought out to your guests and timed with unreal views of the evening firework receptions at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Epcot Resorts.
Photo courtesy of Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa
17. Off-the-Grid Luxury Beach Wedding on Oil Nut Bay in the British Virgin Islands
To get to this bespoke and lavish locale, you’ll have to arrive via boat or helicopter. But once you arrive, you’ll be pampered like nothing you’ve ever experienced before: gourmet cuisine and total seclusion will bookend your nuptials, while your ceremony steals the spotlight with pristine beaches and views of the greenish-blue Caribbean sea. The events team will work with you to provide a custom experience you and your wedding guests won’t soon forget.
Photo courtesy of Oil Nut Bay
18. A Midnight Wedding at Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Thailand
Night owl? Look forward to the first (and perhaps most spectacular) of many nights spent with your better half with a traditional Thai Midnight Wedding. You’ll say your vows at the resort’s über-romantic Candle Light Pavilion and waltz the night away to mystical melodies from Thai musicians and a curtain of candles that light up the walls in their incandescent glory and reflect majestically in a pool below.
Photo courtesy of Phulay Bay
19. An Inca-Inspired Ceremony in the Shadow of Machu Picchu at Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel in Lima, Peru
How about an authentic Inca-inspired wedding ceremony performed by a Shaman in the shadow of Machu Picchu? At this awe-inspiring destination, your spiritual and slightly mystical ceremony celebrates the beauty of nature, love, and the spirits in one of the world’s most breathtaking wonders. As your guests dig into a feast worthy of any epicurean’s fantasies and gaze over the mountains and intoxicating foggy mist, you’ll decide you should just stay for your honeymoon, too.
Photo courtesy of Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel
20. Underwater Wedding at Hôtel Métropole in Monte-Carlo
Why, hello there, adventure! Anchors away as you swim 400-feet below sea at Monaco’s luxe and colorful Larvotto Beach. Your ceremony will be helmed by the famed Pierre Frolla, an award-winning free-diver, and you’ll get professional divers and a priest to accompany you and up to 22 guests to witness the underwater ceremony. Once you catch your breath above water, host your reception in the stunning gardens or the bar and pool house designed by the one-and-only Karl Lagerfeld.
Photo courtesy of Hôtel Métropole
21. A Cloud Nine Wedding at the Matakauri Lodge in Queenstown, New Zealand
This far-flung gem of the southern hemisphere can set you up with a private wedding on top of a nearby glacier. First, you’ll be whisked away on a helicopter from the serene and upscale lodge and spa past glorious mountains and blue-green ice falls before landing on a beautiful glacier for your ceremony. Want to kick it up another level? Queenstown offers no shortage of games for thrill-seekers, ranging from bungee jumping to skydiving. The adventure doesn’t have to end after the ceremony, as Queenstown offers additional heart-pounding activities such as bungee jumping, ski diving, heli-skiing and more.
Photo courtesy of Matakauri Lodge
22. A Ski Nut’s Nuptials at Copper Mountain Resort in Frisco, Colorado
Drive in, drive out? Pffft. How about ski-in, ski-out? Tie the knot at over 11,000 feet, and then ski down the mountain with your wedding party at Copper Mountain Resort, where you can choose to make your “reception” a post-ceremony chairlift ride and ski with your wedding party and guests. If you prefer, you can skip the sweaty, sporty action while still getting married atop the actual mountain at Solitude Station, peering over the sprawling Tenmile Range.
Photo courtesy of Copper Mountain Resort
23. Traditional Mayan Wedding at Casa Palopo in San Antonio Palopo, Guatemala
Gaze. Enjoy. Repeat. That’s pretty much the name of the game at this private home renovated into a luxury boutique hotel that will have your nuptials take place overlooking breathtaking volcanoes and a tranquil lakefront. The ceremony will be conducted by a Mayan Shaman, complete with a personalized blessing and a fire pit to symbolize good fortune in the years to come from spirits. The rituals prove just as memorable as the views (lush green grass, indigenous villages across the shore, epic sunsets and, of course, those magical three volcanoes), but if you prefer to go a simpler route, a chapel is available as well. Back at the hotel, you’ll indulge in a candlelit ceremony where the mantra will turn to imbibe, enjoy, repeat as you dance the night away.
Photo courtesy of Casa Palopo
24. Hot Air Balloon over Letchworth State Park in Finger Lakes, New York
Fly away in matrimonial bliss with this unique way to tie the knot: via hot air balloon! The gorgeous, sprawling region of upstate New York is known for its wineries (they’ve got over 120!) and stunning lakes. Exchange your vows or make your entrance/exit soaring over Letchworth with stellar views of the waterfalls and gorges as the “Grand Canyon of the East Coast” zips by. Back on the ground, there’s no shortage of options to host your reception, from charming vinyeards to lakeside locales.
Photo courtesy of Finger Lakes Tourism
25. Tropical Hot Springs Wedding at Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa in Arenal, Costa Rica
Rainforest = paradise found. At this inordinately luxe property, you’ll be tucked away beside the base of the Arenal Volcano. But it gets better: For your ceremony, you’ll be saying “I do” with the scenery set by unbelievable thermal mineral springs and cascading waterfalls you thought only existed in movies that are naturally heated by the volcano’s magma. The natural steam that rises from the hot springs, coupled with the hundreds of indigenous plants and wildlife, makes for a wedding worthy of a fairy tale. Come evening, that fantasy doesn’t end: Tuck yourself into the warm embrace of one of the hotel’s rooms with volcano views as chirping birds and howling monkeys welcome you as newlyweds.
Photo courtesy of Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa
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