If you and your fiancé are off the beaten path and are looking for something other than the typical chapel and wedding venue in town, you’ll want to peruse this collection of uncommon destination weddings.
Many moons ago, the wedding standard was to get married in a simple ceremony and celebrate in the church basement with a cake and refreshments. Eventually, that trend grew into lavish events with everyone you know (including your parent’s gardener) in attendance. Now, perhaps due to a shift in priorities, or maybe in a post-covid reset, the tide has shifted as more couples are opting for destination “I do’s.”
Not only does this option offer you a literal world of possibilities in terms of idyllic backdrops from which to exchange vows, but it amplifies the opportunity for uniqueness, as you avoid your nuptials swimming in the sea of sameness with every other wedding you’ve ever attended. While you might have to scale back the guest list, you now have the advantage of elevating the experience for everyone involved. And let’s not forget the epic Insta-worthy imagery you can capture while you’re away. It’s no wonder why more couples are leveraging the opportunity to get off their normal grid in search of uncommon destination weddings.
If you’re considering an escape from the ordinary, we’ve scoured the globe to bring you five breathtaking alternatives for your walk to the altar. Whether you seek mountains, a quiet countryside, or a magical forest, the sky really is the limit.
Best time of Year: November-March
For the wine enthusiasts, you can take the Napa Valley experience a touch further (and a lot more exotic) by heading to South Africa. About an hour outside of Cape Town, you can feast your eyes on sweeping valleys of vineyards as far as the eye can see in Cape Winelands. Most even create a warm welcome for weddings. Picture an open-air ceremony with vines in the foreground and majestic mountains in the background. Then toast your newly married status with some of the best local wine you’ll ever find.
Best time of Year: April-June & September-October
Rich in culture and ancient history, Turkey is up and coming in modernization, blending the best of both worlds. Oludeniz and Bodrum make especially picturesque locations to tie the knot, and the exceptionally varied landscapes throughout this country lend themselves to unimaginable photography. This is not to mention there are so many things to do and places to explore that your guests will never have time to get bored. Plus, you don’t have to travel elsewhere to honeymoon when the day is done. Think posh cave dwellings or scenic views from a hot air balloon soaring over Cappadocia.
Best time of Year: April-June
It’s no wonder Italy ranks in the top 5 destinations for Americans. For the inner glutton, this culinary paradise won’t disappoint you with its plethora of gourmet food and wine. If you want something off the beaten path, the Amalfi Coast is not short on historical and architecturally stunning buildings or even small private islands available for rent. From soaring cliffs to a glittering sea scape, there really is no such thing as a bad view. What’s more, since this location ranks as a top bucket-list destination, you might be able to lure more of your guests to take the plunge and voyage with you!
Best time of Year: Year Round
For those seeking a sparkling seaside ceremony with optimal weather, Portugal certainly should be a top contender. Known for their “islands of eternal spring,” the advantage of hosting here is that couples are encouraged to book year-round. Whether you dream of saying “I do” in an elaborate hotel, a charming chapel, amidst verdant gardens, or along the sea, you have options. There’s even a suspended infinity terrace of greenery overlooking the Madeira mountains and quaint hidden coves accessible only by boat or cable car. The landscapes within this country are plentiful, from the Azores to the Portuguese archipelago that is the Madeira Islands. But you may choose to scrap all of those options in favor of the Sintra Forest, a place so magical you will think you landed in the middle of a fairytale.
Best time of Year: March–May & September –November
If you’re looking for a sensory experience, look no further than Morocco. Known for its vibrant colors, vivid patterns, and luxurious textures, you have everything you need to set the perfect wedding scene. Between rustic villages, bustling urban areas, and a massive desert oasis, there’s more to embrace than one possibly can in a single trip. And for the adventurous at heart, take a stroll through the spice markets, take a camel ride into the desert, or hike the Atlas Mountains. There are so many things to do, just make sure to leave plenty of leisure time in your itinerary.
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