While many couples choose to stay close to home for their wedding, go back to the city where they first met to say "I do," or celebrate their love in their hometown where their families still love, more and more couples are choosing to host destination weddings. Since most brides and grooms these days grow up, meet, and live in various cities across the United States (and even the world), even a wedding close to where they currently live can end up being a destination wedding for most guests – which is why many couples choose to plan their celebrations in true destination wedding locations.
To inspire your destination wedding, we've gathered 10 wedding destination locations to consider, below – all inspired by real weddings! From warm-weather destinations for weddings, to destination wedding locations abroad, to chic snowy celebrations at wedding venues known for skiing and snowboarding, click the links below these wedding photos to learn more about the real weddings featured in this post. Read on for even more ideas and tips on how to host the best destination wedding.
While some may think that weddings – destinations or not – need to have a meaningful location and/or wedding venues for the couple's ceremony and reception, some pairs choose destination wedding locations they may have never been before! Of course, a destination wedding can show off your love for a particular site, city, state, or country – we've seen couples have destination weddings near Central Park in New York City where they had a memorable date, as well as Las Vegas where they've traveled with their friends, and so many more scenarios of meaningful wedding locations and wedding venues.
A destination wedding can also be held at an entirely new wedding destination that the bride and groom want to experience with their guests, such as New Orleans if you're staying stateside, Puerto Rico, or even St. Thomas or the Dominican Republic. The options for wedding destinations are truly endless, and the best destination wedding location really comes down to what you and your spouse-to-be feel would be the best place to celebrate your love and marriage!
Another misconception is that destination wedding locations require the couple to only invite a small number of guests to witness them get married. While many pairs do choose to get married in front of just a handful of loved ones during an intimate destination wedding ceremony, other couples invite hundreds of friends and family members to join them for their destination wedding.
When you picture a destination wedding, it can either be a small soirée at a boutique beach hotel or a huge affair in a grand ballroom or outdoor tent. No matter which end of the spectrum you fall into or where you hope to get married, a destination wedding is a wonderful way to host either a small group or a large guest list in a unique setting.
Since destination weddings often include a variety activities for wedding guests to enjoy throughout an extended wedding weekend, more-intimate wedding events allow friends and family to spend an extended period of time together. Even if you're having a large guest list, you can still share your favorite activities with the group by way of a wedding welcome bag in guest rooms or details on your wedding website!
Whether you choose a destination that means something to you as a couple, or a new place that you've always wanted to go, we love when pairs infuse a bit of the location into their day. Since it's often difficult to plan a wedding from afar, you may also want to consider hiring wedding professionals that are based in the U.S., but willing to travel – they may also have partners in other countries that can help you plan a destination wedding from across the world.
Even more so than a hometown wedding, choosing a destination for wedding events will give you and your beloved the opportunity to shower your loved ones with love and thanks throughout the wedding weekend. Offer destination wedding guests welcome bags upon arrival at their guest rooms that are filled with specialties from the wedding destination as well as a list of popular restaurants and activities they can visit during free time.
We also encourage you to have fun with your wedding décor for the big day as well as the rehearsal dinner or welcome party, and include unique elements that honor the destination itself. If you have time during the weekend, we love when pairs personalize their big day with interesting activities that may not have been possible in your hometown (like pre-wedding yoga on the beach for a destination wedding near the ocean). Once again, the options are endless. Happy planning!
For more wedding ideas, browse hundreds of real weddings, learn how to best accommodate guests at a destination wedding, find out how to get two free nights at an all-inclusive resort in The Bahamas, browse some of our favorite travel-themed wedding invitations, see a Costa Rica rainforest retreat perfect for weddings and honeymoons, and get wedding venue ideas inspired by celebrations on the big screen.