Hoping to escape your hometown for the wedding of your dreams? Take it from me, you are certainly not the only one to feel this way. Getting away from your surroundings to get hitched somewhere exotic is the dream of nearly a quarter of couples, according to the latest study of over 25,000 newlyweds. With over 200 countries to choose from, each one with its own uniquely gorgeous locales, choosing the exotic spot for your destination wedding can often be as daunting as the Big Question itself. Luckily, I’ve compiled 10 of the best spots from all over the world to make your destination wedding planning a breeze.
Located east of Central America in the seas between North and South America, the Caribbean is one of the most popular spots for a destination wedding. It’s a hot spot for a good reason, too — with the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Aruba, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and countless other breathtaking islands compiled under the Caribbean banner, the possibilities are truly endless. Plus, who wouldn’t want to spend their time destination wedding planning by looking at pictures of beautiful beaches?
Sandwiched between Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica is like the diamond of Central America. With an abundance of volcanoes, beaches, rainforests, and historic cityscapes to choose from, getting married in Costa Rica would make the adventure of matrimony feel like a literal adventure. I promise that the white sand beaches won’t upstage the bride, either — the lovely surf and sun will only make your ceremony all the more memorable.
Cozumel, Los Cabos, Riviera Maya, San Miguel de Allende, Zihuatenejo… the possibilities that await couples in the midst of destination wedding planning just south of the border are seemingly endless. From stunning metropolitan cities to indescribable nature preserves, Mexico makes perfect sense for soon-to-be-newlyweds looking for a place to tie the knot that isn’t too far from the U.S. but still fulfills that desire to go somewhere unforgettable. Not to mention, the food is some of the absolute best.
I know, I know — Hawaii is still in the United States. However, its location far from the mainland in the middle of the Pacific Ocean makes it about as exotic a spot for a wedding than an entirely different country. Comprised of nearly 140 islands spread out over 1,500 miles, there’s no shortage of sweet spots for the freshly betrothed to exchange their vows. Honolulu, Maui, O’ahu, Kauai… you name it. Just pick an island and the ceremony is sure to be more heavenly than either of you ever could have imagined.
Similarly to Hawaii, the Florida Keys are almost like a slice of a far-off place transplanted right into the 50 states. The preferred vacation spot for all sorts of celebrities and notable figures alike, the string of tropical islands off the southern tip of Florida simply can’t be beat. Plus, once the wedding’s through, it’s like you’re already at your honeymoon spot! The area is famous for its snorkeling and scuba diving, so you might as well dive in.
I guess you could call Italy the Florida of Europe. While it might sound strange, just think about it: The country is a peninsula, offering a plethora of unmissable cityscapes on land and a Mediterranean coastline that stretches almost completely around the country’s entire perimeter. Home to the Vatican and innumerable other historical and cultural landmarks, saying “I Do” in Italy would make for a wedding as legendary as the country itself.
You don’t have to be Irish to seek out a wedding in Ireland. In recent years, destination wedding planning in both the United States and abroad has started to gravitate toward the North Atlantic island for the dreamy ceremony every couple hopes for. Plus, as the second-largest British Isle, couples have the freedom to choose a magnificent coastal city like Dublin or opt for a more peaceful rural location closer to the middle of the country. Regardless of the spot you pick, you absolutely won’t be forgetting it anytime soon.
Paris. Whether you’re calling it the City of Love or the City of Lights, the French capital is an epicenter for fashion, food, and fun. As it turns out, it can also be the place you get married. The country of France contains quite a few different locations that would make for the ideal destination wedding, with more than one of them out in the French countryside and away from the hustle and bustle of the cityscapes. Champagne-Ardenne, Mont Saint-Michel, Loire Valley, even the French Alps — there are numerous exotic spots in France that would make the perfect backdrop to your ceremony.
As the only place in the world to be considered both a country and a continent, you don’t need me to tell you that Australia is really a one-of-a-kind place. Complete with urban and rural areas in addition to forests, deserts, and beaches, those currently experiencing a bit of a roadblock trying to choose a spot while destination wedding planning should look no further than the Land Down Under. (While you’re there, be sure to try Vegemite if you haven’t already — it’s sure to be an exotic experience unto itself, regardless of your wedding venue!)
While its name implies a singular place, the country of Fiji is in fact over 300 places. Considered an archipelago of islands, Fiji offers never-before-seen landscapes, unbeatable beaches, and crystal clear water with vibrant coral reefs. While there are two main islands that contain a majority of the country’s population — Vito Levi and Vanua Levu — you shouldn’t feel pressured to keep your destination wedding planning to just a couple of hotspots. Be adventurous! Branch out to any of the other 300-something islands and find the one that’s perfect for you and your soon-to-be-spouse. Odds are, any singles who tag along with you will be scrambling to find a spot for their wedding that’s as captivating as yours.