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Destination Wedding Locations: Getting Hitched Away From It All

Updated on February 15, 2014

A Growing Trend

Weddings ~ A time for family and friends to gather and celebrate a couple's decision to unite for the rest of their lives...through thick and thin...better or worse...

It used to be that brides would return home to the place they were raised to get married. Perhaps even where her parents got married.

It used to be that brides would look at local venues for good wedding ceremonies and receptions. Perhaps where their close friend got married or where they go to church, or temple, or synagogue every Sunday.

It used to be that brides and grooms only traveled afar for their honeymoons, spending time at the beach or in the mountains.

The traditional wedding and honeymoon is giving way to a newer, growing trend. Brides and grooms are now traveling afar for their actual ceremonies and receptions, not just their honeymoons. It's almost as if brides and grooms have decided to take their wedding party and guests with them on their honeymoons!  This phenomenon has become so trendy that there is actually a term coined to represent this type of wedding. It is known as a Destination Wedding.

It's Not Just For Celebrities Any More

Celebrities were the ones who started the trend of flying to a destination with their wedding parties and guests. When the trend first began, the weddings were extremely expensive.  Today, the prices are much more realistic and common, everyday people have started to do what only the rich and famous did years ago. 

Destination weddings catch people's eyes because:

  • they tend to be cheaper than traditional weddings.  In recent years, those who want an "exotic twist" to their weddings have found affordable destinations that save them up to $20,000 compared to a traditional wedding.
  • they are able to turn their actual wedding day into a "mini-vacation."
  • their guests don't have to make their own accommodation plans.  Instead, they can work with the same "travel agent" that assisted in the plans for the happy couple.  Brides and grooms don't have to take the time to research hotels and motels around their wedding sites and try to find blocks of rooms for their guests.
  • the same "specialist" who plans the wedding and reception can also plan lodging, meals, and other activities for the entire wedding party and guests. The bride and groom don't have to run around and try to arrange logistics for their guests as they are now taken care of as part of the destination wedding plan.

Los Cabos
Los Cabos
Los Cabos
Los Cabos
Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman
Seven Mile Beach
Seven Mile Beach

What Destinations?

Couples looking for destination weddings will generally select one of three types of locations to have their weddings. They often end up going to a beach or mountain resort.  On occasion, couple will choose to have their destination in a town with a certain historic feel.

Beach Resorts

When people think of going to the beach, one of the first places they think about visiting is Mexico. Mexico is known as the land of vibrant colors. As a result, many destination wedding packages are designed for a Mexican vacation. In addition to the Mexican Baja Peninsula, the Caribbean is also a popular place to go for a destination wedding.

Los Cabos ~ Located at the tip of Mexico's Baja Peninsula, Los Cabos is quickly becoming a popular destination for brides and grooms who are eco-conscious and want to celebrate their union without leaving an impression on Mother Earth. The indigenous flora and lush landscaping bring natural beauty to the ceremony. Breathtaking wedding photographs can be taken on the beach. Some popular resorts include, Capella Pedregal, the Playa Grande Resort, and the Westin Resort and Spa.

Los Cabos is also known for their abundance of local fresh seafood and produce for those couples who are concerned about serving previously frozen or shipped food to their guests. Rather than the traditional releasing of doves at the wedding, guests can release baby sea turtles into the ocean.

In Los Cabos, there isn't a need to rent out a wedding site and spend tons of money on décor. The most perfect, naturally decorated wedding location would be right out there on the beach. The savings on flowers, decorations, etc. can then be put toward a spa treatment instead.

Grand Cayman ~ The Cayman Islands in the Caribbean has always been considered an exotic vacation destination where people went to get away from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives. In recent years, Grand Cayman, the larges of the three islands, has been a popular wedding destination as well.

Brides, grooms, and their guests have been known to go scuba diving or snorkeling together as part of their wedding experience. Once again, the backdrop of the beaches and ocean are enough without having to spend a ton on flowers and decorations. THE place to have a wedding on the Grand Cayman is the Ritz-Carlton where they have a seven-mile stretch of the beach exclusively for their guests. There is even a Greg Norman golf course nearby for those who would like to hit a few balls. One thing that cannot be missed is the opportunity to swim with stingrays.

The Grand Cayman is a little more laid back as a wedding destination than Los Cabos...for those who like a more tranquil, serene ceremony.

Beaver Creek
Beaver Creek
Wildflowers in Vail
Wildflowers in Vail
Vail Village
Vail Village

Mountain Resorts

Couples who are not attracted to beaches tend to gravitate toward planning destination weddings in the mountains. Mountains are great destinations that provide scenic backdrops for the most gorgeous wedding pictures. The fresh mountain air, clear blue skies and colorful wildflowers attract people to the higher altitudes. When people think about having their weddings in the higher altitude, they immediately consider the state of Colorado and the Rocky Mountains.

Telluride ~ This small, Colorado mountain town provides brides and grooms with an intimate wedding setting. The town is surrounded by peaks reaching 14,000 feet. Most people know Telluride as a winter ski destination, however, more and more visitors are finding it to be a gorgeous place to visit in the spring and summer. Weddings in Telluride provide couples with the same benefits as those who choose to go to the beach. There isn't really a need for flowers and decorations when the mountain views are the backdrop.

Two popular destination wedding locations in town are the Capella Telluride and the New Sheridan Hotel. They both offer packages that include such amenities as custom-stocked refrigerators and rentals for outdoor activities such as biking and climbing.

Beaver Creek and Vail ~ During the winter months, Beaver Creek and Vail, two ski resorts in Eagle County, CO., attract thousands of visitors play in the snow. In the summertime, both mountain resorts are popular destination wedding locations. Beaver Creek offers beautiful wedding venues with access to some of the most scenic hiking and biking trails in the world. Saddleridge, the Ritz-Carlton, and The Pines Lodge are all options for those who are looking for wedding packages.

Vail was recently revitalized . Both villages, Vail and Lionshead, have new looks, including new accommodations and venues for weddings. The centrally located Arrabelle at Vail Square and The Lodge at Vail are two such places. There are a myriad of courtyards and gardens that contribute to a beautiful wedding. A gondola ride to the top of Vail Mountain is a great attraction for wedding guests along with the typical outdoor activities available for visitors.

Historic Locations

Below is a list of locations that couples are known to identify as their destination wedding if they are not beach or mountain goers.

  • Aspen, CO ~ "Victorian Elegance" ~ historic Hotel Jerome
  • New York City, NY ~ "Sophisticated Grandeur" ~ Roosevelt Hotel (1924) ~ roaring twenties theme
  • Santa Fe, NM ~ "Enchantment" ~ La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa (1882) ~ Victorian-style mansion
  • Honolulu, HI ~ "Hawaiian Allure" ~ The Royal Hawaiian (1927) ~ Spanish-Moorish style hotel

Top 7 All Inclusive Destination Wedding Locations


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