For a long time, getting married outside of your country was mainly associated with beach weddings. And while a sun-soaked celebration on golden sand is still a popular choice, couples are now choosing a whole variety of locations for their weddings abroad. With the world now opening up to travel, here are some top destinations to consider.
This Greek Island is famed for its beauty, from the marvelous sea views to those iconic, white-washed houses and black-sand volcanic beaches. Yes, it’s firmly on the travel radar, but if you choose your resort wisely – and travel outside school breaks – you can still get an exclusive, away-from-it-all vibe.
There’s something magical about Croatia’s coastline, and that’s particularly true of the northwestern peninsula. We’re talking sparkling blue water, picturesque seaside towns and breathtaking vistas. Yes, the beaches are rocky rather than sandy, but the advantage of this is that it’s not as firmly on the tourist radar as some other locations. The area is known for its excellent food and wine for the gourmands in your group. In addition to some gourmet indulgence, there’s plenty to keep your guests entertained if they choose to stay for a few days, from visits to picturesque medieval towns to watersports.
Long associated with backpacker hedonism thanks to its lively main resort town, Patong, this Thai island is in fact an idyllic location for a long-haul getaway. There are some sensational beaches, and the food is fantastic. What makes Phuket so perfect for a destination wedding is the fact that you can go straight into honeymoon mode after saying “I do”. At least week in Phuket is recommended to totally chill, interspersed perhaps with trips to explore some other islands, particularly Koh Lanta and Surin.
Ibiza’s not all about Super Clubs – head to the countryside to discover magical scenery and a truly tranquil vibe. The island is served by many of the budget airlines. Ibiza has a mild year-round climate and a host of chic rural retreats to accommodate your guests, so overall, and it’s a practical choice, too.
Portugal’s capital is a wonderful place for a city break, with beautiful architecture, a vibrant dining scene and plenty of places to explore. There are even beaches within easy reach. These elements also make it a great location for a city destination wedding. One thing to bear in mind, however, is that some of the streets are very steep – if you have less-mobile relatives, they’ll need to make their way around by taxi or public transport.
If you’d like to combine city and beach, look no further than this UNESCO World Heritage site. Galle’s historic city streets are utterly ravishing, and after a day’s exploring there are plenty of beach resorts to repair to. After the wedding, stay on to discover more of this captivating country.
Provence is famous for its picturesque villages, sun-drenched weather, excellent wine – and, of course, those incredible lavender fields. It’s a perfect area to pick if you want a countryside wedding in an atmospheric château. But it can get a bit crowded with tourists in high season, so you need to choose your area carefully. The department of Var isn’t totally off the beaten track, but it’s considerably more tranquil than better known locations in the region and has both sublime countryside and beautiful coasts.
Cast aside any preconceptions you may have of Marbella. Yes, this Spanish coastal city does have a bling side, but you’ll also find refined resorts, fine dining and a charming Old Town. If you’re looking for a destination wedding abroad in the sun, this is an excellent location.
The Italian Lakes make a stunning backdrop to a wedding. Lake Garda and Lake Como are the best known, but check out some of the others, such as Lake Iseo and Lago di Ledro. As with all Italian celebrations, food will be a focus, so your guests will be in for a treat when it’s time for the wedding breakfast.
For high-end glitz and glamour, Dubai is hard to beat. If you can, try to build in one of Dubai’s famous Friday brunches to your wedding schedule, perhaps as a welcome event. These are much more elaborate than the typical tourist brunch – forget smashed avocado on toast, we’re talking unlimited food and drink at the leading hotels and restaurants.
Nantucket is a coastal location with charm in spades, from the golden beaches to the weathered-shingle houses. It’s a tiny island so can get busy in summer, but many of the hotels and resorts are cleverly designed to still feel serene. The area is justifiably noted for its excellent food, so your wedding breakfast should be nothing short of spectacular.
What list of destination wedding locations would be complete without the city of love? If going via London, start your wedding adventure with Champagne at Searcy’s at St Pancras station, before hopping on the Eurostar. You’ll find plenty of fabulous restaurants for a pre-wedding welcome dinner with your guests. Try the boho Marais district for an evening out – before a wedding the following day full of more fine dining and, of course, wine.
The sheer natural beauty of this New England state makes it a delightful location if you want a wedding that’s mainly outdoors, with miles and miles of glorious beaches. Should you decide to stay on for your honeymoon, you’ll find plenty to do, from day trips to picturesque towns to hiking, but the state’s relatively small size means it’s easy to get around.
It’s not entirely off the beaten track, but Puglia’s certainly a less obvious choice for an Italian wedding than Tuscany or the Amalfi Coast – but the area is every bit as lovely as these. Think enchantingly pretty countryside, gorgeous beaches and delicious regional cuisine.
This Caribbean Island has a well-deserved reputation to glamour, thanks to its luxe resorts and restaurants. However, there’s plenty of natural beauty, too, with soft-sand beaches, sparkling sea, tropical flowers and waterfalls.
This Mediterranean Island is known for fabulous food, stunning scenery of sandy beaches ringed with mountains, and delicious wine – elements that all help to make a destination wedding to remember! Many budget airlines fly directly to Sicily making it a relatively easy journey for your guests.
If you’re looking for a paradise island, Antigua certainly fits the bill. Tropical blooms, verdant mountains and, of course, pristine beaches – it’s hard to imagine a more beautiful backdrop to a destination wedding. This Caribbean Island is also home to some truly incredible resorts, ideal for luxe lovers.
Known as the Spice Isle, this Caribbean gem has such a magical atmosphere. The minute your bare toes sink into one of the soft-sand beaches, you’ll feel all the everyday stresses melt away – and that’s the exact mood you should be in for your wedding. Tourism has been encouraged with the lightest of touches. You certainly won’t be alone in visiting, and there are some fantastic resorts, but you won’t see any kind of overdevelopment.
This Mediterranean Island is perfect for adrenalin-junkies, culture-vultures and beach-lovers. Whether you want to bike winding trails, explore an ancient city or chill out soft sands, there’s something for you – which means that if you have a diverse guest list, you’ll be able to keep everyone. It’s child-friendly, and the climate is pretty great year-round. And if you need another excuse – the food is fantastic.
While Bali may be a long journey, it’s totally worth the flight time. This truly is a paradise island, with scenery that takes in breathtakingly beautiful beaches, soaring mountains and verdant rice terraces. There’s so much to explore, too, from bustling markets to temples. Compared to other long-haul destinations, the prices are reasonable, so you can get luxe-for-less when it comes to your wedding.