1. Las Vegas, Nevada
I’m sure you had a feeling that Vegas would be included on this list, and with dozens of chapels along its famous strip, and some very beautiful and unique venues off the strip why wouldn’t it be?
The Vegas wedding is ideal for couples who want to elope quickly, but can also accommodate brides and grooms with full bridal parties and guests attached. Want to be married by Elvis? No problem. Rock on over to the Graceland Wedding Chapel or the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel. Really can’t wait to marry your honey? Head over to the “Tunnel of Love” and up to the “drive-thru” window at A Little White Wedding Chapel. Your nuptials can even be broadcast over the Internet for loved ones who couldn’t make the trip.
If you are planning a more traditional ceremony, Sin City has plenty of beautiful settings located in many of its hotels. A lot of hotel chapels offer packages that will help you save money on flowers, caterers, photography, and more—and many even have coordinators in-house who will help you with all of your arrangements. One thing to note about a Vegas wedding, though, is to plan accordingly to season. As we all know, Las Vegas is located in the desert, so be prepared for the time of year in which you visit.
Viva, Las Vegas!
2. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Cabo isn’t just for spring-breakers—the Mexican city remains one of the most popular places for Americans to get hitched. You can pretty much plan for beautiful and perfect weather no matter what time of year it is, and if you’re inclined to have a beach ceremony, it’s not unheard of for unannounced guests like humpback whales and other ocean life to make an appearance.
It’s relatively easy for guests to find a great place to stay because of the city’s plethora of hotels and resorts for a variety of different budgets, and you’d be hard-pressed to find locals who don’t speak at least some English. Even when the nuptials are over, bridal party participants and guests alike will have plenty of activities to keep them entertained like beach volleyball, snorkeling, hiking, golfing, and more. And brides, let us not forget about the many spa treatments available! A massage on the beach sounds pretty heavenly.
3. Florence, Italy
Another unique spot to tie the knot includes the beautiful city of Florence. Deemed as one of the major art and history capitals of Europe and the birthplace of the Renaissance, you can find romance in Florence around just about any corner. For the more dramatic affair, la Salla Rossa or The Red Hall, is the most popular place in Italy for weddings and it’s easy to see why: The hall is decorated with incredible red carpets, drapes, and wall art dating back to its renovation in the 1860’s.If you get a chance to explore amidst your plans and celebrations, check out the many exhibits and museums located in Florence, including the infamous Uffizi Gallery featuring art by Leonardo di Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and more.Florence is also home to some of the best Italian cuisine in the world, which could be the perfect touch to your dinner and wedding reception.
Well, besides the fact that almost every spot in Hawaii is breathtaking and would make for gorgeous photos, there’s always good weather! Dry season runs from May through October, and after that, rainfall (if you get any at all) is short-lived and mild. If you could avoid going during tourist season (winter through early spring), even better. Also a big bonus: there are endless options for fun things your guests can do, no matter what their ages and interests.
What better spot to kick off the start of your marriage than in Jamaica? This destination is definitely catered to the island-and-sun-loving among us. Couples have been traveling to Jamaica to get married for decades due to its beaches, mountains, waterfalls, and colorful culture. Jamaica offers plenty of options for lodging, and features many all-inclusive varieties—great for guests on a tight budget.
After the fun, plan a guided tour through the Blue Mountains where the island’s world-famous coffee is grown, sign up to swim with the dolphins, go snorkeling, or get on a raft to float down the Rio Grande River. There’s so much to do in Jamaica that it can be tough to narrow down your options (not really a problem is it?) Check out Apple Vacation’s extensive list of deals on tours including dolphin swimming, waterfall viewing, lagoon exploring, zip-lining, kayaking, haunted house hangouts, and Bob Marley tours on their website here. 6. Alaska
My personal favorite. This unique destination wedding location is geared toward the more rugged, adventurous couple—but don’t let the thought of snow and ice scare you—Alaska is one of the most beautiful places on earth offering scenic views of mountains, the ocean, rivers, waterfalls, lakes—really, you name it: Alaska’s got it. Even professional photography can’t do the view justice.
Speaking from experience, I was a little wary to attend my best friend’s May big day in Alaska. Will it be cold? Should I be worried about bears? But everything was lovelier than I ever could have imagined. Alaska, believe it or not, is beaming with native culture and extravagant forces of nature—all at a cool 60 degrees in spring.
Before the sight-to-behold of a ceremony held on the beach of one of Alaska’s southern shores, we were treated to hiking, conversing with locals, a boat ride around the bay, and even halibut and king salmon fishing charters. Some of the guests actually rented an RV and drove into Denali National Park after the reception was over—if you love getting back to nature and spending time in the great outdoors, an Alaskan destination big day comes highly recommended.
7. Cartagena, Colombia
When it comes to destination weddings, the coast of Colombia is a little-known gem that’s likely going to become more and more popular with time. The country left behind its complicated past of the 80s and 90s, and is now a much safer and fun place to visit. Prices in Cartagena are much more reasonable than in the States, and if you pass through South Florida, it’s a short two-hour flight from there. You can either have your dream wedding on a gorgeous spot on the beach, or in La Ciudad Antigua (“the Old City”) with its vibrant colors and distinct architectural styles. Cartagena is one of the most beautiful cities on the coast where the people are friendly, hospitable and thankful to have you there.
8. The Florida Keys
The Florida Keys are made up of a bunch of little islands – Key Largo, Conch Key, Islamorada, Little Torch Key, Sugarloaf Key and all the keys in between. So, you have tons of options you can look into! On top of the tropical allure and the many activities that come with it, the Keys also have some fascinating historical elements, too. Peak tourist season is between December and April, so you may want to shoot for some time in the summer or fall.
Pretty much any spot in The Keys would make for an unforgettable wedding destination. The region has all the beauty of the Caribbean with all the benefit of staying in the States. What we’re trying to say is, you don’t have to go too far to get to paradise.You have the option of going with a tropical beach setting or a more rustic lighthouse backdrop – or both for different parts of the big celebration! Whichever route you choose, you can’t go wrong. Because even though it’s right here at home, it will feel like a scene out of a storybook.
Tips & Advice Lastly, we wanted to leave you with a few tips for planning and pulling off the most magnificent destination wedding:
* When you choose your venue, ask if there’s a wedding planner available that could help you coordinate everything.
* If you have friends or family that live near the destination, ask them to scope out the scene or meet with your planner/coordinator if need be.
* For the guests, make an itinerary that includes where they should be at what time, and the contact info for you or anybody else they can reach out to while there (maid of honor, best man, parents, etc.).
* Find out who will need special care and make arrangements for that.
* Give people a list of suggested activities they can do during their stay there (besides attend the wedding, of course). This could include places to eat, attractions to see, or tours to try out. Help your guests make the most of their time and fully enjoy the location you pick!
* Delegate tasks. If there’s ever a time to not feel bad asking for help, this is it. Plus, your loved ones will be thrilled to be involved in your special day and help in any way!
* Most importantly, take deep breaths, smile and have fun! You’re marrying your honey, and what could be sweeter than that?