The Best Wedding Destinations Around the World
Champagne, dancing... an awkward best man speech. You know the drill. Hell, you’ve probably lost track of how many weddings you’ve been to. So when your Big Day comes, you want it to be special. And there’s no better way to stand out than with a destination wedding. From Mexico to the Maldives, here are the 7 best places to say your I Do’s. (Your guests will thank you too.)
We’ve said it time and time again. There's nothing more romantic than the Maldives. The overwater bungalows, sunset dinners in the sand, steamy swims in private plunge pools… the list goes on. And although there are dozens of ultra-luxe resorts to choose from, our pick for tie the knot: the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru. This dreamy getaway has an on-site wedding planner, florist, and pastry chef, plus the world’s first overwater wedding chapel, a breezy bungalow with a glass aisle to watch the tropical fish while you say your vows. Oh, and let’s not forget the couple’s massage, rose petal bath, and breakfast in bed, all included in the package.
Italy will always top our list for best destination weddings. Between the jaw-dropping landscapes, centuries-old villas, and of course, the incredible food, what’s not to love? For large parties, there’s no better place than Il Castelfalfi, a brand-new resort in the teensy village of Montaione just outside Florence. Imagine saying your I dos on a terrace overlooking the Tuscan countryside followed by an outdoor tent party, and after the main event, relaxing in the four outdoor pools, going for wine-tasting tours, and playing a round of golf on the biggest course in the region. If you’d rather head to southern Italy, Borgo Egnazia won’t disappoint. This star-studded pad in Puglia has hosted plenty of A-list nuptials, including Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel. But we’d go just for the views, where more than 45 acres of fig and olive groves sweep down the Itria Valley into the Adriatic.
We know destination wedding planning is stressful. So if you want to make it easier on yourself, consider Mexico. The country is convenient to get to (almost all U.S. airlines offer direct flights there); the weather is relatively reliable (when it’s not hurricane season, of course); and there are dozens of pristine beaches to choose from. For those on the East Coast, look to the Riviera Maya, where we love the quiet, adults-only Viceroy and the Grand Velas Riviera Maya, an all-inclusive palace that has eight wedding venues, one of which is a massive 143-person pavilion in the Mayan jungle. On the West Coast, the One&Only Palmilla Resort in Los Cabos has a concierge that can arrange everything from beachfront candlelit dinners to a booze cruise on the property’s private yacht. Splurge for the spa villa with direct views of the Sea of Cortes.
Côte d'Azur, France
Sure, you can't go wrong with Paris, but the Côte d'Azur is even better (IOHO). Exclusive beach clubs, glam Hollywood types, luxe hotels and turquoise waters—the French Riviera provide a dreamy bridal backdrop. Make the Château Le Cagnard your homebase. Set in Cagnes-sur-Mer, a sleepy seaside town between Nice and Cannes, this 13th-century hilltop castle looks like it’s out of a fairytale. Picture: hand-painted frescoes, a sun-soaked terrace, medieval stone arches, and roaring fireplaces in the evening. Now that spells happily ever after.
For those dreaming of a boho-chic barefoot wedding, choose Hawaii. Pick any of the islands, and you’re guaranteed to have a good time. Plus your guests won’t mind the extra vacation time snorkeling, hiking, and lounging on the beaches. The best place to start is by narrowing down which resort you’d like to stay in, then center the ceremony around it. We love the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui, the St. Regis Princeville Resort in Kauai, or Halekulani in Honolulu, Oahu. The latter has a sprawling lawn overlooking the ocean, if you’re more into grass than sand under your toes.
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Crumbling castles, sheep-dotted countryside... it’s not hard to see why couples have their hearts set on Ireland. If money is no object, book the renovated Ashford Castle for the ultimate in royal treatment. This 350-acre property was once part of the Guinness (yes, that Guinness) family estate, and the entire place can be reserved for your ceremony. You can cocktail in the manicured gardens, then party inside the hotel, which is a treasure trove of 15th-century paintings, priceless antiques and crystal chandeliers. At the end of the night, the new Mr. and Mrs. can retreat to the private Hideaway Cottage on the shores of Lough Corrib.
RELATED: 7 Best Castle Hotels in Ireland
Out of all of the Caribbean’s postcard-perfect islands, Jamaica is hands down the most popular wedding destination. For decades, the isle has seduced couples with its chic hotels and grand estates, top notch food, and laid-back culture. Out top picks for getting hitched: Strawberry Hill, a secluded mountaintop resort that has colonial-inspired cottages and an infinity pool with views of Kingston far below, or the cliffside Rockhouse Hotel on Negril’s West End, where couples can walk down stone walkways carved right into the bedrock that circles the gardens, or say their I Dos on the romantic wood bridge over Pristine Cove.
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