There’s a lot to love about a destination wedding. You get to step out of your everyday life, kick off the honeymoon early, and turn your wedding into a vacation for your friends and family. A destination wedding means a smaller guest list, which can be a point of contention because it also means only your closest friends and family members will be able to attend. If you’re considering a destination wedding, here are some of the most popular spots to say those vows.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Cancun is the destination for rowdy Spring Breakers, and Acapulco used to be a go-to honeymoon location before the drug trade made it unsafe. But Puerto Vallarta remains a beautiful and affordable getaway for a destination wedding. There are a couple of all-inclusive resorts to fully pamper everyone, or you can go a la carte with local hotels. Spend your non-nuptial time swimming with dolphins or just relaxing on the beach.
If you’re looking for a Paris-style romantic getaway but aren’t eager to get on a plane for ten hours, give Montreal a try. It has all the bistros, culture, and French-speaking you’ll get in Paris with far less of a travel commitment. Montreal is a site of interest for foodies especially–there are new restaurants opening every week, and it’s quickly becoming an internationally renowned city for gastronomy.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks offer beach weddings, but they’re a bit different than your traditional white-sand-and-surf tropical weddings. The wild, windswept, pristine beaches give way to grass and truly striking rock formations. The atmosphere is stark and beautiful, and you don’t even have to have a passport to make the trip. What couple could resist having a sunset ceremony with wedding sparklers and champagne toasts without a 7 hour flight? This sounds like pure heaven to me.
Dundas Castle, Scotland
Sure, you could pay $150,000 to get married in Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland…but why not spend a tenth of the cost and go to a real castle in Scotland? You’ll feel like the Lord and Lady of the castle as you sleep in the centuries-old keep, which has been outfitted with every modern luxury. After your nuptials, enjoy hiking, fishing, sailing, and golf (from the people who invented the game).
The sun-drenched beauty of Tuscany, with its vineyards and rolling hills, would be enough of an enticement all by itself. But then consider you can rent a 15th-century Tuscan village for less than it would cost to rent hotel rooms for your guests, and it gets even more irresistible. Anyone who has seen Kenneth Branagh’s “Much Ado About Nothing” or Liv Tyler in “Stealing Beauty” knows the natural beauty of the place is undeniable.
Park City, Utah
It’s a far cry from the sunny villas of Tuscany or the white-sand beaches in Puerto Vallarta, but Park City is great for a winter wedding for one reason: skiing. There’s a reason the 2002 Winter Olympics were hosted there: miles and miles of beautifully-groomed trails and scenic vistas to entice any skier or snowboarder. Rent a lodge for your wedding party and you’ll be set to spend your honeymoon carving up the slopes.
Whether you’re into European history, all-inclusive tropical resorts, or stark natural beauty, a destination wedding is a great way to start your life together with your partner.