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The 5 Top Destination Wedding Locations For American Couples

You’re adventurous, you seek exotic climates, or you just really want to marry far from home.  Well, you’re not alone, nowadays, 1 in 4 couples go abroad to tie the knot. Destination weddings trade in local church traditions for beaches, mountains, lakes, and a variety of exciting cultures. But where’s most popular these days? And why?

We’ve made a list of the nation’s favourite locations, both in and around the United States, for destination weddings, and helped you on your way a bit with some amazing venues and wedding planner suggestions. You can thank us later!

Photo: Maxim Catana

1. For cocktails and sunset backdrops: The Caribbean

Nothing oozes paradise more than the Caribbean. It’s the exotic pocket of Earth where life passes without any fuss. The Caribbean Sea, famous for its good temperature and extraordinary color palette (blue and green seem to have discovered new tonalities in its waters), is the glistening centre-point, from which glorious coastlines span wide. Home to islands of undeniable beauty, such as Jamaica, The Bahamas and The Turks and Caicos Islands, it’s no wonder that the Caribbean is the most popular destination for dreamy weddings abroad.

Complete with the most gorgeous sunsets and tasty Caribbean cuisine, this part of the world is sure to win your heart. You can go glam with a classy beach club and all-white theme, or opt for a bohemian style, with rustic cliff landscapes and a chilled beach ceremony. Here, the possibilities are endless. Think unique church ceremonies, or underwater weddings, botanical gardens, beach bonfire receptions, sunset boat cruises and a plethora of activities for your guests to enjoy before and after your special day.

The Caribbean is a tropical zone, so its climate is pleasant throughout the year. Can you imagine a wedding surrounded by long sandy beaches and crystal clear waters?

Secrets St James Montego Bay Resort, Jamaica

Most popular among US couples is without a doubt Jamaica. Perhaps for the incredible vibes that accompany such stunning views. It’s joyful, relaxed, fun, and not to mention musical … Reggae music can be heard throughout as it typifies the rhythm of the island. Jamaica’s mountainous terrain also hides natural gems like the cascading Dunn’s River, the Green Grotto Caves and the The Blue and John Crow National Park, and of course, unparalleled coastlines such as Montego Bay. Here, you will find Secrets St James Montego Bay, the wedding venue and luxury resort that offers ultimate romance and relaxation. Their weddings take place under a gazebo on their private beach, and guests can be entertained in an elegant ballroom. Escape the usual wedding stress for a truly flawless day with the help of their all-inclusive wedding packages.

A place as special as this boasts natural beauty from every corner, so you can take the most amazing wedding photos.

Secrets St James Montego Bay

2. For the safari-seeking explorers: South Africa

The reason behind more and more couples jetting off to South Africa for destination weddings is pretty obvious: it’s more colorful and dynamic than our home towns. Let’s face it, holding your destination wedding here will make for a day that no-one will ever forget. Here, you can enjoy both a safari holiday and the most important day of your life in one, incredible trip.

Cape Town, in particular, is an exciting city with mountains, habors, beaches, gardens, and some spectacular venues. What more could you want? Get hitched under african skies, surrounded by the exciting flora and fauna that this diverse country boasts.

Belmont Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town

In the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, you can enjoy a luxury South African wedding of any style. Get married in their lush gardens, their elegant ballroom or their intimate function room. Cape Town’s gem of a venue is situated at the foot of Table Mountain, enabling the more adventurous types to hike up to some incredible views. The hotel also runs activities such as powerboat tours and acclaimed wine trails.

For the honeymoon of your dreams, you can also embark on organised trips to the heart of Africa, with Belmond Safaris.

Learn more about “Belmond Nelson”
Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel – photo: Mark Williams
Learn more about “Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel”
Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

3. For the flora and fauna: Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, the views alone will render you speechless; it’s quite possibly one of the most romantic places in the world. Particularly if you live in Southern states, it’s not too far either! Venture down to Central America and your guests will also be lost for words as they enjoy sumptuous and fresh Costa Rican food while enjoying the chilled, ‘pura vida’ atmosphere on offer.

Costa Rica is undoubtedly a destination in which you will always feel surrounded by the most spectacular nature. Before your wedding or during your honeymoon, stroll through its natural parks, ecological reserves and enjoy its wonderful beaches of fine white sand and crystalline waters of a fabulous turquoise blue, while admiring a landscape of volcanoes in the distance.

Costa Rican Sunset, Photo via shutterstock
Costa Rica, Photo via shutterstock

In Costa Rica, you can choose to get married deep within the rainforest, on warm sandy beaches, or surrounded by the hot springs of an active volcano. For something a bit different, we recommend La Paz Waterfalls and Peace Lodge, nestled within an area of protected jungle, where you’ll feel intimately at one with nature.

La Paz Waterfalls, the stunning waterfall park and ecological centre near the country’s capital, San José, establishes the lush backdrop to its luxury Peace Lodge. Here your senses will be awakened at every magical or wondrous moment. Expect riverstone fireplaces and marble jacuzzi tubs, colorful bird sightings, vigorous waterfalls and cool mountain weather. Your wedding package will include a wedding coordinator to organise both you and your awe-inspired guests, as well as tropical flowers, sparkling wine, a tiered cake, and you can add sumptuous food and delicious cocktails. What’s not to love?!

Learn more about “La Paz Waterfalls and Peace Lodge”
Weddings at La Paz Waterfalls and Peace Lodge
Learn more about “La Paz Waterfalls and Peace Lodge”
Bridal Suite, Peace Lodge

 4. City lights and modern elopement: Las Vegas

So if you’re an eccentric, fun-loving couple, that would rather a crazy bachelor and bachelorette party followed by an intimate ceremony, instead of a big fussy and traditional day, then Vegas (baby) is certainly for you. Yes, it maybe an elopement cliche. But there’s many reasons why 100,000 couples marry in Las Vegas every year.

Las Vegas, by f11photo

Firstly, a destination wedding in Las Vegas is quick and convenient, especially since it only requires an internal flight. You’ll most likely have less guests, or none at all. And, since Las Vegas knows weddings, you’ll have coordinators, florists, photographers, videographers, tuxedo rentals and more at your disposal, in whatever chapel or hotel you choose for your ceremony. This will not only ease stress and prevent a Bridezilla from forming, but it will also allow you more time to see all the amazing places and do all the great things that this incredible city has to offer.

You can get hitched in a chapel, a casino, a stunning hotel, the Grand Canyon or even mid-air in a helicopter! But for stylish, sleek and modern, here’s our top suggestion:

The iconic and elegant Bellagio Hotel has two wedding chapels, a variety of packages, and an impeccable wedding planning service. All they require is your presence! As well as in their East and South Chapel, you can also get married in their Fountain Courtyard or on their stunning terrace, both with unforgettable and unrivalled views. Everyone who’s been to Vegas has marvelled at this hotel’s magnificent exterior, so why not have it as the backdrop to your wedding?

Learn more about “Bellagio, Las Vegas”
Bellagio Exterior, Las Vegas
Learn more about “Bellagio, Las Vegas”
Bellagio Wedding Couple, Las vegas

5. For Luau-vibes and great surf: The Big Island, Hawaii

For wedded bliss look no further than our beautiful Aloha State, Hawaii, consisting of 6 main islands, volcanoes, tropical foliage, and vast beaches with multicolored sands. Of the best, is The Big Island (also known as Hawaii Island), boasting two active volcanoes, national parks, popular snorkelling sites and some incredible resorts.

Hawaii sunset, photo via shutterstock

In the stunning Waikoloa, lies Hilton’s best yet complex. Hilton Waikoloa Village does everything it says on the tin: it has a private beach, and literally feels like a large village. With 3 main hotel blocks, 3 pools, a 175ft waterslide, 2 championship golf courses, a turtle lagoon, 8 restaurants,  a spa, resort shopping, waterfalls, and incredible wildlife such as flamingos, dolphins and baby sharks, situated across 62 oceanfront acres, it’s no wonder that the hotel has its own tram and canal boat system to get you from A to B.

Weddings here are nothing less than spectacular. After arriving by boat, have an alfresco ceremony overlooking the serene waters and celebrate the color and culture of the island afterwards with a festive Luau. Think award-winning cuisine and the most romantic day possible. It will be a destination wedding that no-one will ever forget.

Learn more about “Hilton Waikoloa Village”
Hilton Waikoloa Village
Learn more about “Hilton Waikoloa Village”
Hilton Waikoloa Village

Even after only 5 top suggestions for destination weddings, we bet that you’re already struggling to choose! Consider first your style… are you looking for glistening beaches, safari lands, city lights or lush rainforest? Then, simply choose the one that seems best for you, and you’ll be able to enjoy both a special wedding and an unforgettable trip away.

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