For most people, celebrating their own weddings aren’t recurring events in their lives. So, when the time comes, weddings should be celebrated lavishly and in a big way. One of the easiest ways to assure a special, memorable time for both the guests and the soon-to-be newlyweds is to hold a destination wedding.
From Mediterranean mainstays to cruise ships toting you and your party from one Caribbean island to another and another, there’s seemingly no limit to destination wedding locations. Travel to obvious venues in places like Mexico and Hawaii, or change up the experience by choosing from a host of wedding resorts, including ones at Disney World or in frosty, naturally beautiful Colorado. Read on for our list of the best venues to hold destination weddings.
Iconic Santorini – Greece
Set on sublime Santorini, Iconic is a five-star cave hotel that was unveiled in April 2014. The 22-room Greek boutique was built from former homes and shops in the white-washed village of Imerovigli. Work with a local planner for custom caldera-view vows.
Carnival Cruise Lines
On-deck ceremony or a walk down the aisle on dry land? The choice is yours with Carnival Cruise Lines’ wedding program. Ports include places like Grand Turk in Turks and Caicos and Freeport in the Bahamas. Or reserve the Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay, where a bijou chapel, blissed-out beaches and soft waves create the sacred space for your private celebration.
Indura Beach & Golf Resort – Honduras
Pledge your devotion on 1,800 acres of equatorial paradise at Indura Beach & Golf Resort on Honduras’ Caribbean coast. Hold a barefoot shoreline ceremony, then slip into heels for an elegant poolside reception. The 60-room hotel wows guests with its Maina spa, an 18-hole golf eco golf course and curious locals: spider and howler monkeys.
Fontainebleau – Florida
Check off something bleau at Miami Beach’s landmark Fontainbleau resort, whose ocean lawn venue offers waterside vistas and the modern Bleaulive stage, where guests can dance the night away under tropical starlight, making this one of the best venues for resort weddings.
Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf and Spa Resort – Mexico
Opened in December 2013 and only 40 minutes from Cabo San Lucas, the 500-suite Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf and Spa Resort exudes tranquility. After a ceremony in the gazebo with views of the Sea of Cortez, celebrate in the ballroom, on the terrace or in the sand.
Montage Kapalua Bay – Hawaii
After a multimillion-dollar renovation of Maui’s landmark Kapalua Bay hotel, Montage Kapalua Bay debuted in June 2014 with just 50 suites and an open-air Cliff House event space set on lava rocks, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the neighboring islands of Molokai and Lanai.
Atlantis – Bahamas
In December 2013, Atlantis Bahamas revealed its newest wedding space, Ocean’s Edge, perched on a sand dune. This idyllic venue in the tropical Bahamas holds up to 150 on an outdoor deck, patio, lawn or glass-walled pavilion, making Atlantis and the Bahamas among the best places to hold destination weddings.
Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World – Florida
The luxe Four Seasons brand unveiled its 443-room resort at Walt Disney World in August 2014. Celebrations on its terrace, its lawns or its lakeside pavilions come with a lush tropical background and a dash of Disney magic.
The Brando – Tahiti
The Brando premiered in July 2014 on the private atoll of Tetiaroa, 30 miles north of the island of Tahiti. Choose your own pristine beach for a traditional Tahitian ceremony by the lagoon. The 35 villas flaunt eco-chic design, thatched roofs and private plunge pools.
El Mangroove – Costa Rica
Set on the beach in Papagayo Bay, Costa Rica, El Mangroove, a member of Preferred Hotel Group, opened in February 2014 and blends lush surroundings with modern design: Think indoor-outdoor living rooms in the 85 suites. A ballroom in paradise is a nice touch at one of the best destination-wedding resorts.
Grand Matlali Hills Resort & Spa – Mexico
Enjoy vistas from atop the hills of Banderas Bay near Puerto Vallarta at Grand Matlali Hills Resort & Spa. This isolated resort invites you and your special someone to indulge in each other’s time and to forget about what’s going on back home. Enjoy nature-oriented activities like hiking and snorkeling before saying, “I do,” with views of the Sierra Madre mountains in the background.
The Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center Hotel – Colorado
The Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center Hotel, formerly the historic Colorado National Bank, premiered in May 2014 with 230 rooms, the Teller Bar and three vaults for small, private dinners. Party in the ballroom with Edison-bulb chandeliers.
Hotel Wailea – Hawaii
Completed in fall 2014, a $15 million renovation revamped Hotel Wailea’s 72 suites that are perched 300 feet above Maui’s coastline. Gardens, waterfalls and lawns are at your disposal for your big day.
Wyndham Grand Jupiter at Harbourside Place – Florida
Wyndham Grand Jupiter at Harbourside Place opened in Florida in October 2014, so it’s relatively fresh and new venue ready and able to handle your big day. Book the Preserve Ballroom with the adjoining mangrove deck for a posh party.
Malliouhana – Anguilla
After a three-year closure and a revamp, Malliouhana reopened in November 2014 as one of the poshest spots on Anguilla’s famed Meads Bay. Here, you can host sunset vows before 40 of your closest friends and family members.
Condado Vanderbilt Hotel – Puerto Rico
San Juan’s historic Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, a member of Preferred Hotel Group, reopened in December 2014 after a complete renovation that unveiled four ballrooms and salons, plus 5,000 square feet of outdoor event spaces facing the Atlantic Ocean. Commence your fiesta with terrace cocktails, and end with an afterparty at the hotel’s Marabar Martini Bar & Lounge.
Grand Isle Resort & Spa – Bahamas
Grand Isle Resort & Spa, a member of Preferred Hotel Group, debuted in December 2014 with 78 villas facing Emerald Bay. Wed on the powder sand before celebrating under the thatched-roof pavilion of the pool patio.
CHIC by Royalton Punta Cana – Dominican Republic
The adults-only CHIC by Royalton Punta Cana, located on one of the Dominican Republic’s most coveted stretches of sand, debuted in December 2014. The luxury all-inclusive features a poolside DJ, 323 suites with 24-hour concierge service and free (yes, free) weddings.
Ashford Castle – Ireland
Ashford Castle in Western Ireland reopened in March 2015 after enhancing its 82 guest rooms. The onsite coordinator will help you select the right ceremony setting – we’re partial to the regal Connaught Room.
Welk Resorts Sirena del Mar – Mexico
After suffering damage from 2014’s Hurricane Odile, Welk Resorts Sirena del Mar in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, reopened in March 2015 better than ever. Make it official on the private beach, then party around the redesigned pool deck.
Finest Playa Mujeres – Mexico
Finest Playa Mujeres premiered in Cancún, Mexico, in February 2015. Wedding options include the ocean-view sky bar, the breezy Las Dunas Beach House or right on the sand.
Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows – Florida
Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows in Orlando, Florida, unveiled 20 new Bora Bora overwater bungalows and 360 deluxe studio villas in April 2015. Each bungalow has a private deck with a plunge pool, the perfect spot to take in Magic Kingdom’s nightly fireworks display.
Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal – Mexico
Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal, formerly the Resort at Pedregal, was renovated in January 2015 and added the cliff-side Champagne Terrace. Book your reception at the award-winning El Farallon restaurant, and you’ll get access to the terrace (and its Pacific vistas).
The Westin Playa Bonita – Panama
At 611-room Westin Playa Bonita, indulge in one of three infinity-edge pools, six restaurants and the Sensory Spa. There are also 22 meeting spaces available. When you’re not wandering the grounds, take a quick walk for access to the Pacific Ocean or tropical rainforests. In 2015, the resort added Casa Naga, a six-suite, 25,000-square-foot villa perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific.
Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort – Cayman Islands
Coming off a $16 million renovation completed in February 2014, Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort hosts big-day bashes on the oceanfront deck or in Balboa’s courtyard garden. Delight guests with s’mores, apothecary cocktails and barbecued lobster.
The Royal Hawaiian – Hawaii
In April 2015, the Royal Hawaiian on Waikiki Beach debuted its reimagined, 17-story Mailani Tower, offering a personal concierge, gratis breakfast and evening cocktails and snacks. Event venues include the Helumoa Gardens, a beachfront cabana and Azure restaurant.
The Cape – Mexico
The Cape opened in June 2015 in Los Cabos, Mexico. Celebrate at Glimpse, a rooftop terrace with views of the Sea of Cortez, and you can also say, “I do,” on the beach. The Cape was designed by architect Javier Sanchez, mimicking a Southern California aesthetic while maintaining traditional Mexican ideas.
Andaz Peninsula Papagayo – Costa Rica
Say, “I do,” in the Culebra Bay-facing gazebo at 153-room Andaz Peninsula Papagayo, unveiled in December 2013 in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Three farm-to-table restaurants dish up seafood, small plates and specialty cocktails.
Castle Hotel – Florida
Modeled after a Bavarian castle, the Kessler Collection’s 214-room Castle Hotel welcomed its first guests in October 2013. Tie the knot poolside or on one of two sky terraces overlooking Orlando, Florida. You may even catch the theme-park fireworks.
Royalton White Sands Luxury Resort – Jamaica
Opened in November 2013 in Montego Bay, Jamaica, the 352-room Royalton White Sands Luxury Resort offers all-inclusive ease, plus a variety of ceremony backdrops: garden gazebo, beach gazebo or barefoot in the sand.
The Meritage Resort and Spa – California
In July 2013, the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, California, unveiled its Vineyard Deck, complete with a gazebo and vine views. The venue, which seats 200, joins spaces like the underground Estate Cave and Our Lady of the Grapes Chapel. Keep guests full and happy with a group tasting featuring chocolate-wine pairings.
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas – U.S. Virgin Islands
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas wrapped up a multimillion-dollar renovation in December 2013. Four restaurants dish up sumptuous fare like lobster-truffle macaroni and cheese, while 180 rooms serve stress-melting views of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Exchange vows on the beach, aboard a catamaran or in the new cliffside gazebo.
Turtle Bay – Hawaii
Having completed a slew of renovations in summer 2013, Turtle Bay on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii, now flaunts new top-floor rooms with private lanais and peekaboo windows facing the ocean from deep soaking tubs. A glass-walled chapel holds 70, while nine alfresco venues all adjoin reception lawns. Here, banquet halls are replaced with outdoor ballrooms composed of a white tent, lanterns and a dance floor.
W Verbier – Switzerland
Go Swiss-chalet-chic at W Verbier, opened in December 2013 in Verbier, Switzerland, as the brand’s first-ever ski retreat. All 130 rooms feature toasty fireplaces and mountain-facing balconies. Host your fete at the hotel’s destination lounge, complete with panoramic alpine views and resident DJs.
Hyatt Zilara Cancún – Mexico
Garden, ballroom or beach wedding? It’s up to you at the 307-room Hyatt Zilara Cancún which debuted in November 2013 in Mexico as the brand’s first adults-only all-inclusive. A convenient onsite magistrate office and justice of the peace help seal the deal.