Destination weddings aren’t just for couples who want a low-key wedding to avoid the hustle and bustle of planning. Nowadays, destination weddings are an opportunity for the engaged couple to bring along their whole wedding party or just close family and friends to celebrate their love and pending marriage in a relaxed (but fun!) and unique atmosphere.
Whether you’re looking for a destination within the United States to tie the knot or are hoping to get hitched somewhere tropical or abroad, consider these memorable and unique destination wedding locations for your nuptials.
1. For nature lovers: El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico
If you’re the type of couple whom loves to feel one with nature, why not exchange your vows surrounded by lush greenery and breathtaking waterfalls? El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest system, making it unique while still being easily accessible - since Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, your guests don’t need a passport to travel to the island.
Most weddings take place at El Portal, the forest’s visitor center, which has plenty of balconies and terraces to take in the views and so the bride doesn’t have to worry about getting her dress dirty (unless she chooses to!).
2. For the kids-at-heart: Walt Disney World, Orlando, Fla. It’s been deemed the happiest place on Earth for a reason, and most couples would agree that they would want to begin their marriage in such a location. From the private wedding ceremony pavilion to a nightly fireworks display, Walt Disney World is an idyllic destination wedding for couples who want romance with a touch of whimsical.
Your guests will enjoy access to the parks leading up to and after the wedding ceremony and reception. All brides want to feel like a princess on their wedding day, as well as believe that they are marrying their Prince Charming; a destination Disney-themed wedding is sure to make all those dreams come true!
3. For the star-crossed lovers: Verona, Italy Traveling up to Northern Italy, you will find this romantic and picturesque city that is home to Juliet’s house and balcony that inspired Shakespeare to pen Romeo & Juliet. Whether you want to celebrate your marriage in one of the old cathedrals or in a more relaxed atmosphere in one of the nearby vineyards, Verona symbolizes true love and romance.
4. For thrill seekers: The Caves, Negril, Jamaica Not many couples can say that they were married inside a limestone cave and then held a reception overlooking the ocean in the Caribbean. The Caves in Jamaica offer both to couples who are looking for a truly unique and memorable wedding experience. Your guests will need passports to travel to Jamaica, so you may consider only inviting close family and friends to keep the affair intimate and avoid putting the travel obligations on others.
5. For the romantics: Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Calif. The Golden Gate Bridge is a classic, iconic landmark in the U.S., making for a beautiful backdrop to any elopement or intimate wedding. There are several outdoor parks nearby (as well as indoor venues should the weather go awry) to hold the ceremony and take photos that you’ll admire for a lifetime. Your guests will be able to enjoy one of the U.S.’ most-loved and unique cities, giving you the destination wedding feel while still having achievable and realistic location for the bridal party, friends and family.
6. For sports enthusiasts: Fenway Park, Boston, Mass. If sports, particularly baseball, are you and your fiance’s type of thing, consider a wedding at the historic Fenway Park. With weddings held in the EMC Club, the room offers views of home plate and the infamous Green Monster. Perhaps having your wedding in the oldest ballpark in the Major Leagues is a sign of good luck for a long marriage!
7. For travelers: Amalfi Coast, Italy The Amalfi Coast in Italy is one of the most scenic stretches of Italian coastline, so unique and beautiful wedding photos will take care of themselves in this location. Several-year-old hotels offer stunning backdrops for couples to say I do, and the surrounding towns – including Pompeii, Capri and Positano – will give guests (and you!) and excuse to arrive a few days early or stay for a while after the ceremony to explore.
8. For the elegant couple: The Loeb Boathouse, Central Park, New York, N.Y. This Manhattan icon is the idyllic location for an elegant wedded affair. The building’s floor-to-ceiling windows offer breathtaking views of the lake that it sits on, and on-site rowboat rentals make for a fun experience for wedding guests, not to mention a few memorable photo ops for the bridal party! If you’re a movie buff, you’ll also be thrilled to get married at a location that’s often been used in major Hollywood pictures, such as When Harry Met Sally and 27 Dresses.
A destination wedding allows you to dream big and get married in a location that either holds sentimental value between you and your soon-to-be spouse, or in a place that you’ve always hoped to travel to. Do your research to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork, licenses and/or permits in place so you don’t experience any hiccups upon arrival to your destination.
Regardless of where you go and or who is able to travel with you, just remember that no matter where the destination, you still get to marry your best friend at the end of the day!