The Best Locations for Destination Weddings in 2021 & 2022
Over the past few years, destination weddings have skyrocketed in popularity. More intimate gatherings, scenic backdrops, plus a built-in honeymoon…What’s not to like? Destination weddings are the perfect way to make your wedding more “you”, you get to choose both a venue and a location that fit your style and values. And, let’s face it, when it comes to your wedding, you’re most likely not going to remember all the tiny details we spend so much time stressing over–like the table settings or the seating plan. What you ARE going to remember is the way you felt that day, the time with your close family/friend and of course, the location!! When you think about it, weddings are usually a once in a lifetime family reunion-so why not make it somewhere that means something to you? When the destination itself is worth celebrating, you can’t NOT have a good time. Even if everything goes wrong, it’s WAY harder to be sad in paradise right??
Many of these destinations are currently accessible with a negative COVID-test 72 hours prior to flying. I have my fingers crossed that by late spring or early summer 2021 more and more countries will begin to re-open borders to U.S. citizens, too. So if you are planning your wedding for 2022 (lucky you!!) you should be in the clear!
THE BEST LOCATIONS FOR DESTINATION WEDDINGS IN 2021 / 2022
Why: Puglia is a southern region forming the heel of Italy’s “boot,” and is known for its whitewashed towns, rolling countryside, and miles on miles of beautiful Mediterranean coastline. Situated right across from Greece, you could easily do an island-hopping honeymoon in the Greek Isles to follow!
Where: Go with the bespoke Masseria Moroseta, an old country home turned boutique hotel. They use only the freshest ingredients from their garden to curate gourmet experiences in their white washed courtyard, with twinkling lights and local wines, you’ll be a pig in heaven from the moment you touch down. Plus, you’ll be minutes away from the Mediterranean coast.
This villa is a dreamy Tuscan paradise set among the vineyards in a picture-perfect destination wedding setting.
Santa Ynez, California
Why: For the bride that wants those European countryside vibes without the hassle of international travel.
When: May-October for warmer weather.
Where: Be transported to the Tuscan countryside at Sunstone Villaand Winery– With it’s old world architecture and mountain landscapes, there’s really no reason to look anywhere else.
Why: Tulum is a hot destination for good reason-the food scene could rival that of any big city in the U.S, the white sand beaches stretch on for miles, unique swimming holes called “cenotes” make for a great adventure days and I haven’t even got to the best part yet…the PRICE. You can have an intimate gathering or go all out on the guest list and your wallet will still be thanking you. Plus, this destination is easily accessible from the East coast, and no COVID test is required upon entry.
When: November-December, come January the weather is still great but the crowds roll in.
Where: There are plenty of boutique hotels to choose from when it comes to selecting a venue, this takes some of the work off of your hands, but if you are going for a smaller event that you want to personalize more consider renting out a beach front villa like this one, where you can have your ceremony in the sand and then proceed directly into the reception by the pool or on the rooftop!
Why: Northeast of Madagascar, nestled in the Indian Ocean is the tropical paradise that is the Seychelles islands. If you have a small family and want an intimate affair, why not take everyone on the trip of a lifetime for it? The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge famously honeymooned on the North Island, so you know this place is what dreams are made of. For your honeymoon, helicopter to a private island or go see the giant tortoises (the only other location to see this almost extinct species is the Galapagos).
When: Anytime of year!
Where: If you don’t want to worry about planning, have every last detail taken care of with Beachcomber Tours who offers gorgeous weddings at St Anne Resort & Spa, a private island resort close to the main island of Mahe, from around $2,985 per person including round trip flights, seven nights’ all-inclusive in a Garden Villa, transfers and a classic wedding package with a dedicated wedding planner. Another great option is renting out an incredible beachfront Airbnb like this one or this one and then just hiring a local wedding planner to perfect the details!
The Great Smoky Mountains
Why: The Smokies have the best of both worlds when it comes to rustic mountain charm and southern luxury. With layers of blue hues extending in every direction, cozy fires burning in the grate of the mountain lodges and the wide selection of Tennessee Whiskey (the good stuff), you really can’t go wrong here.
When: Any time of year depending on what vibe you want! Gorgeous tones in the fall, lush greens in the summer/spring, and maybe even some snow in the winter.
Where: An old farmstead turned luxury 4,200-acre estate. Blackberry Farm is one of the most gorgeous venues in the Great Smoky Mountains, having hosted events like Luke Bryan concerts and Billy Reid fashion shows, you’ll be in good company when it comes to planning your special day. Let Southern hospitality, a beautiful backdrop, and gourmet meals make this the perfect summer or fall affair!
Why: With good weather almost any month of the year, turquoise water, white sand beaches and the seclusion island life, this is the perfect destination for an intimate wedding that will transition easily into a dreamy honeymoon.
When: Winter/Spring are best!
Venues: Who needs a traditional venue when you can rent this picture perfect beach front villa, read more about renting an Airbnb as a wedding venue here!
Why: Dramatic cliffs, blue skies and salty air-Mallorca is an untapped picturesque wedding destination! Think quaint mountain villages, sunny beaches, pretty vineyards and ALL the paella!!
When: Any time of year!
Where: As for where to wed, Castell Son Claret is a no brainer. Re-opening in spring 2021, Castell Son Claret is a 14th century castle turned hotel-one of the most exclusive in all of Mallorca. Nestled amongst gorgeous gardens and vineyards, as well as boasting a 2-star Michelin restaurant—you will have this entire property to yourself and your guests!
Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico
Why: The close by Caribbean getaway! A huge upside to this island is that it is easily accessible from the east coast and doesn’t require a passport (if you are a US citizen). With all that is going on right now Puerto Rico is looking EVEN BETTER, because you will not be required to get a COVID-19 test upon your return to the U.S., making travel much more seamless. Learn to surf, relax by the pool or head into Old San Juan to see the colonial Spanish architecture.
When: Winter months, summer is too hot!
Where: There are only 5 locations in the world where the infamous Ritz Carlton Hotel has decided to build a “reserve” location. Once a private plantation, The Ritz Carlton Reserve on Dorado beach is known for its remoteness and refinement. Every aspect of your stay is thought through for you, they even helicoptered in giant boulders to create a “wave free” swimming area within their private beach. When it comes to weddings, they have a “one group at a time” policy that ensures you receive the hotel’s undivided attention. While you’re on property, make sure to take the time to enjoy the phenomenal food at their many on-site restaurants and of course enjoy their highly acclaimed 5-star Spa Botanico.
Why: Did you really think I wouldn’t include Maui? Probably one of my favorite destinations of all time, so much so that I decided to get married there myself! The gorgeous coastlines, dazzling beaches, waterfalls, volcanoes & rain forests make it one of the most naturally beautiful islands in the world. But it’s the five-star resorts, the world-class service, and the fresh, island food that keep us all coming back year after year.
When: Any time of year!
Where: You guys know my preference is The Four Seasons Wailea, I mean I did name a Watercolors swimsuit print after it…but there are honestly so many gorgeous venues at your disposal. For lush green flora and Old European country feels, consider Haiku Mill — A venue located on the North Shore off the Road to Hana.
Out West, USA
Why: The west makes you feel like you’re in a foreign land (and even on another planet in many cases) without the hours upon hours of travel from the U.S. Mountain scenery, unique rock formations and endless horizons await. Ranches are an incredibly fun setting for destination wedding weekends because guests can bond over the shared activities and experiences. Grab your cowgirl boots and get down!
When: Spring and Fall
Why: Long stretches of white sand beaches surrounded by a wide palette of blues, the Bahamas archipelago stands out as one of the top vacation destinations in the world. Swim with the friendly pigs of Exuma, boat from island to island or enjoy the wildlife on a snorkeling tour! There are plenty of activities to keep you busy after an unforgettable ceremony overlooking the water.
When: Winter Months (August-November is hurricane season)
Where: On the north side of Paradise island lies the idyllic and timeless Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort–where every detail has been curated to produce optimal relaxation and luxury. From picturesque ceremonies in The Cloisters or overlooking the water on their Beach Deck, to all-night receptions in the elegant Versailles inspired Gardens, the accommodations will not disappoint.
The South of France
Why: The real question is why not? I mean, there’s Provence and the French Riviera, two of the most gorgeous destinations in the world, either of which would be hard to top! There’s just something about the light in France that gives everything a warm golden glow, especially at dusk. Have a dreamy ceremony amidst the lavender fields in Provence, or a glamorous oceanside soiree in the Cote d’Azur, either way, your wedding will definitely be a trip to remember for all your guests.
Where: In Provence, you can rent this gorgeous French country home, perfect for an outdoor ceremony. And, for a masterpiece-of-a-venue right outside Cannes, try Chateau Saint Georges or Hotel Sezz in Saint-Tropez.
Why: As you guys know, I’m totally obsessed with Cabo and Mexico in general for a destination wedding. Amazing weather, luxe hotels and airbnbs, and the ease of flying there (especially if many of your guests are coming from the West coast! It’s only a 2 hour flight from California, Arizona or Colorado).
You can choose to do your wedding in Cabo in a luxe hotel (like the One & Only Palmilla – my favorite!) But I’d also encourage you to look at airbnbs! Many of the hotels have small caps at how many guests they allow (usually well under 100), whereas luxury airbnbs in Cabo can sometimes accommodate more like 150-200. One of my favorites is Casa Bellamar – where we celebrated my 30th birthday in Cabo here and I would do ANY celebration event here, from a birthday to an anniversary to a wedding celebration. With a beautiful private beach, crashing waves, fresh fish dinners, and burros roaming around! Add in an epic pool and swim up bar (that we one day didn’t leave from breakfast until dinner because we were having too much fun), a tennis court, an amazing staff, and rooms to sleep 18 people, and you have yourself the absolute best villa in Cabo for groups.
If you want a secluded, ultra-luxe mansion on a beachfront compound, this is your spot. You can organize transportation from SJD (where most of your guests will likely stay – about 30 mins away), and I think it would make for the ideal celebration.
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