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Best Spots for Destination Weddings

9 min read
Published on Oct 10, 2017
Aren Bergstrom
By Aren BergstromManaging Editor, Globetrotting Magazine

Destination weddings are becoming all the rage nowadays, as people continue to eschew tradition and become more adventurous with how they celebrate their nuptials. If you’re one of these trendsetters, hoping to tie the knot in a fabulous foreign land, you’ve probably already got a list of potential destinations handy for when the big day arrives. Even so, we offer the following suggestions to add to your list of great spots for destination weddings. Any one of these destinations would be an ideal setting for your dream wedding. Whether you’re getting married on a tropical beach, saying "I do" alongside picturesque white-stone buildings, or sharing your first kiss as a married couple in the heart of wine country, your destination wedding will be an unforgettable vacation for you and all your guests.

Marry in the heart of Italian culture on the Amalfi Coast

Paris, Rome, and Venice are the most popular romantic spots in Europe and attract their fair share of destination weddings (and honeymoons, as I wrote back in August), but the Amalfi Coast in Italy can give any of those cities a run for their money in terms of romance. Photography is such a large part of a wedding ceremony and you want to be sure that you get married in the most photogenic location imaginable. Whether you’re pitched on a cliff side surrounded by pastel homes with their iconic red-tile roofs or taking a boat out onto the dramatic coastline, you’ll find plenty of spots along the Amalfi Coast to capture unforgettable images of you and your new spouse. As well, the food and culture in the Amalfi Coast lend itself well to big celebrations - a wedding catered by one of the many, many great cooks to be found in the region is something worth dreaming about. Also, there are plenty of nearby attractions to intrigue you and your guests before or after the wedding. You can explore Naples or pop over to Pompeii for a day trip. Any time of year is a good time to get married on the Amalfi Coast, although it’s smart to avoid August as it’s the hottest season and is when most Italians take their summer vacations, so prices will be higher than during other parts of the year.

Head to the Cook Islands to have your wedding in paradise

Getting married on a tropical island is always going to be an attractive prospect and you’ll find few better places for a destination wedding than the Cook Islands. Firstly, the Cook Islands are gorgeous. With clear waters, white-sand beaches, black rocks, and coconut palms across the islands, the Cooks will more than supply the requisite beauty required of a wedding in paradise. Furthermore, don’t think that all weddings in the Cook Islands have to take place on a beach like they’re out of a romantic comedy. You can get married in one of the tropical gardens of Rarotonga, inside one of the charming coral and limestone churches dotting the island, or at one of the many resorts offering weddings in their chapels. You can even spring for a private ceremony on the secluded Koromiri Island just off the shore. If you get married in the Cook Islands, you don’t have to worry about language differences with your local celebrant, as everyone in the Cooks speaks English. As well, the remoteness of the Cook Islands means that you’ll have smaller crowds to jockey with for prime photo locations and you won’t have to worry about any chain restaurants or coffee chains crowding the background of your photos. The weather here is also great year round, so you can simply choose your ideal time of year to get married and be assured that the Cooks will supply the tropical charm when you arrive.

Tropical gazebo with chairs on deserted beach with palm trees, Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Tropical gazebo with chairs on the beach with palm trees, Rarotonga, Cook Islands

Take advantage of Hawaii’s famous climate

There are few places as well suited for a destination wedding as Hawaii. Whether spending your time on popular Oahu or escaping to Kauai, you’ll find warm temperatures, friendly people, and breathtaking nature to help you celebrate your big day. Hawaii is convenient to travel to as it has many accommodations and a large airport that attracts a lot of international flights. It’s also a part of the United States, so currency and language are no issue for a lot of Globetrotters. Hawaii also has incredible natural beauty and excellent infrastructure that’s ideal to supply your needs during a destination wedding, especially a large one. Tourists flock all year round to Honolulu and Waikiki Beach, so you’ll find a lot of your guest's willing travellers if you set the wedding in Oahu. As well, you can incorporate a famous Hawaiian feast into your wedding ceremony, with its surplus of colourful leis and roast pig on a spit. Hawaii is great for destination weddings all year round, although avoid winter and early spring if you want to save money and miss the crowds.

Do the unexpected and get married in South Africa

People usually head to tropical islands or world-famous romantic cities like Paris for destination weddings, but you shouldn’t limit yourself to the popular places when picking a foreign country to get married in. South Africa might be the perfect place for you to tie the knot. Not only is it an unexpected destination for such an occasion, but with its combination of picturesque coastline, stunning game lodges, and incredible winelands, it has a great variety of options for weddings within its borders. A destination wedding in Cape Town would boast a gorgeous backdrop of coastline and mountains perfect for photographs. You could also get married nearby in one of the famous vineyards of the Stellenbosch wine route, which combines charming townships with stunning landscape and access to world-class wines and accommodations. If you really want to be daring, have a destination wedding at a game lodge in Kruger National Park. Not only do many game lodges have wedding chapels to accommodate destination weddings, but they also boast luxury amenities and stunning surroundings, perfect for wedding photography. Ever wanted to take wedding photos with giraffes or elephants sharing the frame with you? Only a destination wedding in South Africa will let you fulfill that dream. Temperatures are generally nice all year round in South Africa, so you can choose whatever date satisfies your fancy (and best accommodates your guests).

Bride and groom with African Natal Midlands mountain scenery, South Africa
Bride and groom with African Natal Midlands mountain scenery, South Africa

Get married in Tahiti, the gold standard for island escapes

Sometimes the old standards are the best. A destination wedding in the Islands of Tahiti promises picture-perfect surroundings and friendly environments that are ideal for you and your guests. The island of Tahiti is covered with palm trees, vanilla farms, and mountainous rainforest that are ideal backdrops for photographs. And none of this is to mention the incredible azure waters and sandy beaches that make the island so famous. Your guests will jump at the chance to experience the famous Islands of Tahiti. Another bonus is that the Islands of Tahiti is generally less popular than similar destinations like Hawaii, so you can rest assured you’ll have smaller crowds to contend with during your wedding celebration. As well, you can combine charming Polynesian traditions into your ceremony, which offers a significant local touch to your wedding. Plenty of the resorts in the Islands of Tahiti offer wedding packages, such as the new five-star Conrad Bora Bora Nui, with its private motu wedding, and Brando Resort, which offers an option for a no-guest wedding, instead pampering you and your new spouse with a full-day spa treatment and private lagoon picnic after a beachside ceremony.

Explore the romance of southern Thailand

Thailand is one of the most popular destinations on the planet. Even still, not as many Globetrotters take advantage of its romantic idylls as should be the case. First of all, Thailand is a relatively-cheap country to travel to compared to other potential spots for destination weddings (especially remote islands), so choosing to get married here will help convince more potential guests to make the trip. As well, it’s a great destination for combining a wedding and honeymoon, as its famous urban centres like Bangkok and the charming north west around Chiang Mai are popular honeymoon destinations in their own right. Of course, it’s the country’s southern beaches that are most popular for romantic vacations. Locations like Phuket and Koh Samui are your best spots in the country for destination weddings, with world-class resorts offering luxury accommodations for you and all your guests. As well, these tropical getaway spots offer incredible white-sand beaches, clear waters, charming culture, great food, and one of the most comfortable climates you’ll find the world over. The dry season from November through January is a great time for a destination wedding, as it avoids the long rainy days of the spring.

Chaweng Beach at Sunset, Koh Samui, Thailand
Chaweng Beach at sunset, Koh Samui, Thailand

Any one of these countries would host a wonderful destination wedding for you and your future spouse. They combine charming culture with breathtaking landscapes and friendly people. If you head to one of these locations for a destination wedding, you’ll be celebrating one of most significant moments of your life in a setting worthy of the happy occasion.

Related Topics
Cook Islands
French Polynesia
South Africa
United States
South Pacific
US & Canada
Aren Bergstrom
Aren Bergstrom
Goway - Managing Editor, Globetrotting Magazine

You might say that Aren was destined to become a globetrotter after his family took him to Germany two times before he was four. If that wasn’t enough, a term spent in Sweden as a young teenager and a trek across Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand confirmed that destiny. An independent writer, director, and film critic, Aren has travelled across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America. His favourite travel experience was visiting the major cities of Japan’s largest island, Honshu, but his love for food, drink, and film will take him anywhere that boasts great art and culture.

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