A slight breeze blows through your hair while waves lightly roll onto the shore. Your partner’s and your feet sink into the soft sand beneath you at your beautiful, private-beach wedding. It’s literally the moment of a lifetime for you and your beloved, as you prepare to say those two fateful words with the backdrop of a glowing sunset.
Not all beach weddings are as exclusive, private and serene as this scene, but, with our list of beach venues for weddings, you’re sure to find one that checks all the boxes for your special, once-in-a-lifetime day, including privacy.
Take to Anguilla, and enjoy everything from snorkeling and horseback riding to noshing on fresh seafood and local cuisines. Get a taste of Italy at Laluna on St. George’s, or travel to Mexico for ideal, coastal sunsets before the lively nightlife takes over for the bachelor party.
Whatever your preference for a setting, our list of 10 venues for on-the-beach weddings are sure to help make your special day even better.
Cap Juluca – Maundays Bay, Anguilla
Anguilla has long been one of the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets. The 16-mile-long island flaunts pampering hotels, postcard-perfect beaches and a wealth of laid-back pastimes, from snorkeling to horseback riding.
One of its most upscale resorts is Cap Juluca, a collection of whitewashed Moorish-style villas set along a wide, crescent-shaped, mile-long beauty. Two choices for weddings by the beach include the far end of Maundays Bay or the more private Cove Bay Beach on the opposite end of the property, facing the hills of St. Martin in the distance.
Just before sunset, approach down an aisle of fuchsia and purple bougainvillea petals (grown in the resort’s own garden) to tie the knot under a bamboo arch. Continue the casual-chic theme with a flip-flop-friendly reception where you can sip rum-based Julucan Sunsets and ice-cold Carib beers while noshing on oysters and shrimp from the raw bar.
Meanwhile, a chef manning a large, outdoor grill will whip up local lobster, mahi-mahi and chicken with accompanying Creole and lemon sauces. It’s not over yet: A five-piece calypso band will ensure guests groove ‘til the wee hours.
Fairmont Mayakoba – Riviera Maya, Mexico
The sprawling, 401-room Fairmont Mayakoba, on the Yucatan Peninsula, about an hour south of Cancún, features 45 acres of mangroves and freshwater lagoons, not to mention a 700-foot, sugary-soft beach. On its far end, walk a shell-strewn aisle to exchange traditional vows, or opt for a Mayan ceremony in which a local shaman blesses you and your beloved with copal incense, corn seeds, flower petals and seashells.
Throw the reception right on the sand, with potted palms marking your space for one of the most elegant beach-wedding venues. Or reserve the lagoon-facing infinity pool where you can arrive in dramatic style via “la lancha,” a small thatch-roof boat with a “just married” sign fastened to the back.
Dance the night away, and, between sets, enjoy tequila tastings, plentiful margaritas and pitchers of sangria, along with Mexican specialties like cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork) and barbacoa de res (spicy braised beef). Weddings on the beach here eventually amount to a blowout fiesta that even the Maya would approve.
Lodge Kura Hulanda and Beach Club – Curaçao
Worried about weather? Then head to this Dutch island, conveniently located beneath the Caribbean’s “hurricane belt.” Sister property to popular Hotel Kura Hulanda in the capital of Willemstad, the 74-room Lodge Kura Hulanda & Beach Club is perched on a cliff above a cove on the island’s secluded western coast, assuring privacy for your big day at one of the most private beach-wedding locations.
Ceremonies for up to 50 take place on a quiet corner of the beach, where your only uninvited guests are diving pelicans. For some local flavor, ask the officiant to offer a blessing in Papiamento, Curaçao’s native language (you’ll also likely hear Dutch because the island is part of the Netherlands Antilles, along with Aruba and Bonaire).
Ready to get the party started? Kick up some sand during a beachside cocktail hour featuring Blue Lagoons (made with coconut rum and local Curaçao liqueur) and “bitterballen” (Dutch spicy meatballs). Then head to the Christoffel Terrace for a barbecue buffet featuring dishes such as beef tenderloin, Jamaican jerk chicken and Caribbean pepper shrimp. Stroll back to the beach to share in one last surprise for your guests: a spectacular fireworks display across the night sky.
Laluna – St. George’s, Grenada
Looking for a destination off the beaten path? Consider the Spice Island, one of the Caribbean’s lushest isles (and a little-known gem). It’s all about “la bella vita” at Laluna, an intimate, Italian-owned resort on a private estate in the Morne Rouge area and one of the most ideal beach-wedding destinations.
Set around a scenic cove are 16 indoor-outdoor suites — 15 hillside cottages and one beachfront villa — making it an ideal place for a property takeover. One of the most picturesque ceremony spots is beside scenic rocks on the beach’s northern end, where staff will set up an arch fashioned from coconut-palm branches and tropical orchids.
After you’re officially married, stroll over to the open-walled bar outfitted with carved, teak daybeds and Tiki torches to toast each other with glasses of prosecco, and savor antipasto imported from Italy while a calypso or merengue band gets things lively.
Under the restaurant’s thatch roof, tuck into a gourmet dinner of Italian specialties with a tropical twist (think steak in a tamarind sauce, pappardelle with nutmeg cream), complemented with a selection of vintages from the all-Italian cellar. Late night, get your sugar rush with mango-and-breadfruit sorbet and glasses of grappa.
Las Alamandas – Costalegre, Jalisco, Mexico
Sitting around a roaring bonfire on a tawny beach along Mexico’s Pacific, gazing at a night sky blanketed with twinkling stars, roasting marshmallows, sipping cognac cut with Mexican coffee — sound like heaven? That’s how couples can cap off a magical wedding night at Las Alamandas, a 1,500-acre luxury hideaway with a mere 16 suites decorated in bold hues of turquoise, orange and fuchsia.
Located south of Puerto Vallarta, this place is so exclusive that it has its own landing strip for private planes. On the main beach, make your big entrance down an aisle of bougainvillea-lined bamboo mats, as a string quartet softly plays. (Or, for something more rugged and dramatic, try the tiny cove of Chachalacas Beach.)
Once you’ve exchanged vows, a mariachi band can lead guests to the resort’s palapa bar for celebratory pomegranate-and-kiwi margaritas, quesadillas and coconut shrimp skewers. Dine in the touch-lit garden of Plaza de los Delfines; then, it’s back to the beach for dancing to a salsa band and the aforementioned, late-night bonefire.
Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa – Marco Island, Florida
This barrier island, just below Naples and a part of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands chain, is renowned for its stellar white beaches, which is probably why one of the most popular ceremony venues at Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa is a thatch-roof Tiki hut on the beach. It’s one of the Sunshine State’s largest private strands.
If you crave something even more secluded, the resort launched a program that lets adventurous couples marry within a national wildlife refuge on sparsely populated Caxambas Island. After a 15-minute ride (where you might spot bald eagles, dolphins or even a manatee), the resort’s 55-foot pontoon will deposit you and up to 49 guests on gorgeous Cape Romano Beach for a simple ceremony with a Tiki-torch backdrop.
After the “I do’s,” snap photos beside an abandoned white dome home, dating from the ‘80s. Back at the resort for the reception, enjoy sunset piña coladas and mini Cuban sandwiches, followed by Floridian/pan-Asian fusion fare like guava barbecue-glazed pork loin and Gulf Coast red snapper. For dessert? Spongecake with key lime custard filing, of course.
Sea Island – Georgia
Southern romance gets a seaside twist on the barrier islands off the southern Georgia coast. St. Simons gets loads of local visitors, so, for more privacy, look to Sea Island, an exclusive, gated community next door.
Venue options include the charming Cloister Chapel and a serene lawn shaded by 80-year-old oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. But, for many couples, only the beach — a gorgeous five-mile stretch, fronting the genteel 175-room Cloister resort — will do.
Amid tall sea grass and swaying palms, tie the knot under a wooden frame swathed with blooming vines of wisteria and confederate jasmine. When it’s time to party, experience true southern hospitality in the beachfront courtyard. Here, servers pass mint juleps and vodka lemonade in mason jars, along with sweet-potato crab cakes and southern fried lobster pops. A bluegrass band gets your toes a-tapping from the background.
Pull up a Chiavari chair on the Ocean Room Terrace to savor a plated dinner (fried lobster tail, sweet tea-marinated pork tenderloin) in the salty sea air. Follow that up with scrumptious red-velvet cake. Back in the courtyard, dance the night away under the stars, and cap off your coastal celebration around a huge copper fire pit (a former cane-sugar melting pot), where you can congratulate yourselves with cigars and whiskey. (Sea Island has its own blend of Woodford Reserve bourbon, which also makes a great groomsman gift.)
Wyndham Grand Rio Mar – Puerto Rico
“Begin your life together in paradise.” Those are the words that greet you on the front of Wyndham Grand Rio Mar’s wedding page. And what’s not paradisiacal about this place?
Set on 500 acres of tropical, beautiful Puerto Rico, Wyndham Grand Rio Mar is equipped to host any sized group. Whether you’re looking to do an intimate, private wedding or need space to invite the plethora of extended family members from both sides of the family, Wyndham Grand Rio Mar has the facilities for both and more. On site, the resort has a 20,913-square-foot ballroom that can host 2,000 guests. Seaside weddings are, of course, available.
Wyndham Grand Rio Mar earned the 2017 WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award. In addition to the beautiful venues, it has nine on-property restaurants and bars. Be ready to stay active, as golf and tennis are offered, too. A spa, casino, pools and cabanas are welcomed amenities you’re sure to not pass up, either.
Wequassett Resort – Chatham, Massachusetts
It doesn’t get more Americana than Cape Cod. At Wequassett Resort & Golf Club, a historic 120-room escape spanning 22 acres of the isle, charming, gray-shingled cottages are accessed via lantern-lined, brick pathways. Wedding parties reach the super-private ceremony venue by boat.
After distributing complimentary pashminas and personalized flip-flops, gather up to 50 guests on the resort’s long wooden pier for the 15-minute boat ride across Pleasant Bay to Outer Beach, part of the protected National Seashore (the other side of the narrow strip is the Atlantic Ocean). Wed amid wicker baskets brimming with local blue hydrangeas, and symbolize your union with a sand ceremony, using grains from your favorite beaches.
Back on board the boat, pop some bubbly, then continue the New England-style bash in the Outer Bar & Grille or on the Garden Terrace. On the menu: cranberry martinis and Cape Codder cocktails (local cranberry juice, vodka and lime), followed by seafood starters, such as clam-chowder shooters, Wellfleet oysters and mini lobster rolls. Dinner options run the complete gamut. Go for a formal, plated affair or a traditional, down-home clambake — no forks allowed.
Caneel Bay – St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
Three-quarters of the land on charming St. John is preserved as national parkland, so it’s no surprise so many nature-loving couples choose to marry here. The only resort within the park, 170-acre Caneel Bay, makes for the ideal setting.
Perched on its own remote peninsula, the 166-room property sits on a former sugar plantation and boasts seven camera-worthy beaches where white-tailed deer and wild donkeys roam. Turtle Beach, a Robinson Crusoe fantasy fragrant with the scent of white frangipani and lined with overhanging seagrape trees, is the most popular for weddings (up to 75).
Couples looking to tread off the beaten path can head to smaller Scott Beach. Floral arches and petal aisles are available for décor, but most brides and grooms opt for a no-frills ceremony; with scenery this gorgeous, why not? Set the laid-back mood with a pre-ceremony serving of chilled rum punch made with generous amounts of local Cruzan rum.
Receptions take place in Turtle Bay Estate, an 18th-century plantation house, or in the intimate Sugar Mill Ruins, romantically lit with candles and torches. Come morning, take advantage of the resort’s six other strands. May we suggest Honeymoon Beach?
Note: Caneel Bay is currently under reconstruction following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. They are not taking reservations until after 2020.