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30 of the Best Wedding Destinations in the World

Apr 24, 2018
By Wedding Spot

Weddings are an undeniably special occasion and such a special time calls for a special place! Why not exchange your vows in one of the best wedding destinations in the world? Check out this unique mix of destination wedding locations with picks that range from unconventional U.S. cities to tropical beaches to entirely different continents.  

We take a look at some of the most affordable, most beautiful, and most convenient wedding destinations in the world, alongside some tips on what couples should consider before booking. 

Explore 30 of the best wedding destinations in the world:

1. Charleston, South Carolina - United States

Peppered with colonial mansions framed by old oaks and Spanish moss, Charleston is brimming with a sense of timeless romance. This affordable destination wedding location allows couples to seal the deal in sun-washed plantations, rose-laden gardens, and historic churches. Charleston is an ideal city for combining luxury with historic grandeur and southern charm.

Things to Consider: South Carolina law says that couples who marry here must make sure to have their officiant turn in the signed marriage license to a judge within 6 months of the wedding date in order for it to be valid. 

2. San Antonio, Texas - United States

Known as the fastest growing city in Texas, San Antonio offers an amazing mix of Southern charm, Hispanic culture, and stunning landscapes. Couples who wed there can enjoy flourishing wildflowers, ethereal forests, and plenty of rivers with green spaces all around. It’s also home to one of the best gourmet Tex-Mex scenes in state so your wedding will be known for having the best food, hands down.  

Things to Consider: The weather varies from very hot (in the summer months and early fall) to mild in the winter. Since so many weddings try to take advantage of the seasons changing in October, we recommend checking out some spring dates instead right before the heat sets in around mid June. 

3. Trinidad and Tobago - Caribbean

These twin islands offer stunning views, peaceful atmospheres, and delicate natural backdrops for vacationers and wedding parties alike. Also, it’s stable economy and world-renowned carnivals are a big plus for travelers. Book your destination wedding here and enjoy the rainforests, leather-back turtles, and rich culture of the country as part of your unique nuptial experience. 

Things to Consider: Non-nationals do need to get permission to marry here from Immigration control ahead of time. Read the official guidelines here

4. Jamaica - Caribbean 

 Ever dreamt of getting married during the summer in the middle of a tropical paradise? Well, good news - the entire country of Jamaica enjoys gorgeous weather and greenery all year round! And they’re known for their delicious coffee and rum, which you can serve to guests at the reception. 

Things to Consider: Weddings are a major part of their tourism industry so the whole process is streamlined through their official travel board website. In fact, they make it so easy that they advertise the fact that you can get married within 24 hours of touching down in their breath-taking country!   

5. Tulum - Mexico

Tulum is often compared to Jamaica because it shares the same section of the Carribbean Sea and are only a short plane ride away from each other. But what Jamaica doesn’t have is Mexico’s cultural and tourist perks for newly weds, including a wide variety of all-inclusive resorts, tons more coastline, and the first ever local cuisine to earn UNESCO status. 

Things to Consider: Because it’s an affordable vacation spot, it can get really popular among college kids during spring and summer breaks so keep that in mind if you’re looking for a more mild atmosphere following your vows. 

6. Oahu, Hawaii - United States

The third largest island of Hawaii, Oahu is known for its inviting atmosphere which is why it’s also known as the Gathering Place. It’s the most populated portion of the state - by both locals and tourists - and offers the best variety of venues, transportation, and wedding vendors. 

Things to Consider: Non-US citizens have no trouble getting married here. Also, couples will often host their marriage on one island and have their honeymoon on another. 

7. San Jose - Costa Rica 

Love preserved urban spaces and naturally beautiful landscapes? San Jose has that and so much more. This destination wedding location offers many catering options for vegan and/or beer aficionado newlyweds. Choose between decadent chapels, hipster event spaces, and historic landmarks for your big day. 

Things to Consider: If you’re an American getting married in Costa Rica, you’ll need a passport that’s valid 6 months past the end of your stay but you don’t need a tourist visa. 

8. Castries - St. Lucia

White sandy shores and warm, crystal clear ocean waters greet wedding parties here at Castries in St. Lucia. The Caribbean gem has some amazing history and is a very popular stop for modern cruise lines. Choose any of their magical cathedrals, charming town squares, or all-inclusive resorts for your ceremony and reception.  

Things to Consider: St. Lucia wedding requirements are all pretty basic but you’ll save $205 if you get your marriage license a day or two ahead of the ceremony - same day licenses cost about $540. 

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9. Sea Bright, New Jersey - United States

Sea Bright got a major facelift in the past couple years and is poised to become Jersey’s top beach destination, surpassing even the Jersey Shore. This classy, upscale city features plenty of mansions, gardens, and beachfront event spaces to host your wedding. If east coast charm and trendy up-and-coming chefs top your destination wishlist, then Sea Bright is the place for you! 

Things to Consider: If you’re not a resident, you’ll need to double check that you send your marriage license application the the same municipality you plan to hold the ceremony in (they’re all kind of small, it can get confusing). Otherwise it may be invalid. Read more here

10. San Jose, California - United States

As the unofficial Capital of Silicon Valley, San Jose offers couples Mediterranean climate in the center of the country’s most innovative metropolis. Although the cost of living is extremely high there are flexible options for those on a budget. Fun fact: the city has been actively marketing itself as a destination wedding location, (most notably through one chapel’s Valentine’s Day Express Marriage Services) making San Jose a really luxurious and affordable option for elopements especially. 

Things to Consider: Once your San Jose marriage license application is given to you, it must be used within 90 days otherwise it expires. 

11. Honolulu, Hawaii - United States

Known for its crystal blue waters, show-stopping sunsets, and iconic Diamond Head views, it’s little wonder that Honolulu is a popular destination wedding location. Whether you’re dreaming of a luxurious affair perched atop a high-rise with ocean views or a laid back celebration on the beach complete with orchid leis, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience when you say your “I do’s” in Honolulu.

Things to Consider: While Honolulu is less crowded than Oahu, it is slightly more complicated for wedding planning, which is why those who have done it strongly recommend hiring a professional wedding planner to help with all or part of your big day here. 

12. Napa Valley, California - United States

Love good wine and beautiful views? Then a Napa Valley wedding day is for you. Picturesque vineyards and elegant wineries are the go-to destination wedding venues in the area, but there are plenty of other options at your fingertips as well. Breathtaking scenery creates a truly romantic and quintessential Northern California experience for your wedding day.

Things to Consider: As of this article’s publication, there are only 5 wineries that can host weddings in Napa Valley. You’ll also be competing with other couples as well as harvest seasons for your wedding date, so plan very far ahead! 

13. San Jose del Cabo - Mexico

Traditional Mexican culture perfectly blends with luxury resorts here in San Jose del Cabo. Weddings take place in front of stunning deserts and ocean landscapes with comfortably warm weather the majority of the year. Choose from charming organic farms, beach sunsets, or historic chapels for your big day. 

Things to Consider: Consider an unconventional wedding date for this location (sometime between November and April) - you’ll have the best possible weather during the day and at night. It’s worth mentioning that travel experts say European tourists have gotten wind of this fact too so do make sure you price compare seasons and book far in advance. 

14. Saint Lucia - Caribbean

Did you know St. Lucia has a drive-in volcano? It’s the only one in the world! And while you can’t get married in it, you can take some stunning photos there. But even if you don’t, this Caribbean island’s dreamy oceans and lush greenery should be enough to make your wedding absolutely magical. 

Things to Consider: While the island does have a hurricane season, they rarely experience touchdown so it might be worth the gamble if you’d like to snag some big savings. Just make sure you obtain bad weather insurance and have flexible travel dates (easy to do if your wedding party plans to turn the wedding into a vacation of their own) just in case.  

15. Punta Cana - Dominican Republic

White sand beaches, clear waters, and drinks with umbrellas in them aren’t all weddings held in Punta Cana have to look forward to. In fact, the destination wedding location also has world-class resorts and upscale golf courses for you to enjoy. 

Things to Consider: Punta Cana is considered the safest part of the Dominican Republic for travelers but send your guest these travel tips for peace of mind anyways. Also, don’t get married here in October - too rainy. 

16. Costa Rica

Want a truly unique beachfront resort destination wedding? Then go to Costa Rica. The small island country has plenty of experienced venues that offer package deals with professional wedding planners and vendors built right in. And, if you’re a fan of the TV show “The Bachelor”, you’ll be pleased to know that some of the series was shot here. 

Things to Consider: Most venues book out 18 months in advance so plan a longer engagement for this one. 

17. Montego Bay - Jamaica 

Party like the rich and famous for your wedding here in Jamaica’s second largest city. Their fabulous shopping, dining, and activities are a big draw for tourists and couples alike. If you want a vibrant atmosphere, luxurious venue, and trendy honeymoon spot then this is the destination wedding location for you. 

Things to Consider: Experienced brides rave about how amazing the wedding coordinators are here so check out what packages your venue offers. 

18. Bahia de Maimón - Dominican Republic

Another great option in the Dominican Republic, this destination wedding location offers many of the same beauties promised in Punta Cana as well as caves and historical landmarks. RIU Hotels make up most of Bahia de Maimón and provide a stunning complex with multiple event venues and plenty of gorgeous honeymoon suites. 

Things to Consider: Given the town’s unique makeup, this location is best for couples who aren’t as interested in local sites and would be just as satisfied enjoying the luxuries of the hotel during their stay. There is the opportunity to visit other areas but it’s a little less convenient than Punta Cana. 

19. Claremont, California - United States

Tree-lined streets turn this Southern California college town into a storybook backdrop for weddings. Claremont is situated 30 miles outside of LA (with the infamous traffic this can be a very long commute) but offers a charming town complete with a train station, post office, and plenty of plenty of quaint parks. 

Things to Consider: Claremont is located in a region that experiences fire season starting around August and ending once the rain arrives for California’s version of winter (November or December ish). So try to avoid that time of year. 

20. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee - United States

The Smoky Mountains are a perfect compliment to beautifully rustic weddings. Hire a log cabin, light up the fire pits, and enjoy a cozy celebration with your friends and family in this adorable mountain town. Also, if you have children, you can enjoy all the family-friendly activities in the area before or after the big day. 

Things to Consider: During the summer months, traffic will be heavy, hotels will be booked, and venues will be crowded. If you want to avoid the tourists, plan for a spring or fall ceremony. 

21. Key West, Florida - United States

Known as one of the most quirky cities in America, Key West offers a unique location for your destination wedding. Only a few square miles in size, a whole lot of venue options are packed onto this little island, ranging from tropical gardens to yacht cruises. Historic homes (including Ernest Hemingway’s), one-of-a-kind art galleries, and active nightlife provide you and your guests with ample things to do and see during your visit.

Things to Consider: For accommodations, you can help guests save on a hotel by booking a multi-family beach house and splitting the cost. 

22. Las Vegas, Nevada - United States

Las Vegas is known as the “Wedding Capital of the World” for a reason. Not only is it significantly cheaper to tie the knot in Vegas, but you also have a plethora of venue options to choose from. From swanky hotels to the delightfully kitsch chapels dotting Las Vegas Boulevard, you and your beloved can make destination wedding planning easy when you host your big day in Sin City.

Things to Consider: Some chapels offer live streaming services. So if you want to keep the guest list small but give other loved ones the opportunity to tune in, you have the option! 

23. Milwaukee, Wisconsin - United States

Agricultural tourism, delicious dairy treats, and idyllic views of nature make Wisconsin one of the most affordable and fun destination wedding locations in the U.S. Milwaukee - it’s largest city - offers the best of urban and country for all your wedding planning needs. Host your wedding here if you enjoy Great Lakes’ beaches, blooming fields, and/or fancy event spaces. 

Things to Consider: You’ll need two adult witnesses instead of just one. Also, Wisconsin has a few other cities (including Madison and Green Bay) that are worth considering. 

24. Detroit, Michigan - United States

Did you know that Detroit has the #1 best airport in America? It’s true! That means it will be very easy for your friends and family to travel to or from the wedding. Detroit also has fantastic food (including hot dogs, pizza, beer, and other tasty yet affordable reception options) and plenty of venue options to suit any budget. 

Things to Consider: It takes 3 business days for wedding license applications to be reviewed so factor that into your timeline! They also have some other nitpicky rules about marriage licenses which you can brush up on here

25. Portland, Oregan - United States

Portland is a fantastic destination wedding location for couples who want an environmentally-friendly ceremony as well as a traditional bachelor or bachelorette party experience. The liberal city is known for being a bit eclectic (unicycles and vegan strip clubs are the norm) so your wedding here will definitely be an affair to remember! 

Things to Consider: Public transport is actually used by residents and is well maintained so you and your wedding guests will have no trouble getting around. 

26. Minneapolis, Minnesota - United States

Minneapolis is the easiest city in America to get around without a car so you don’t have to worry about rentals! It’s also home to a lively indie music scene and iconic Midwest foods, which means your reception is pretty much planned for you. It’s also an up and coming tech city, so in the next few years you’ll have even more trendy lounges, venues, and vendors to choose from.  

Things to Consider: Given the weather patterns here, you’ll want to pick a date in June since it’s both the driest and warmest time of year. Or, just host your wedding at an indoor venue! 

27. Florence - Italy 

Not only is Florence incredibly romantic, it’s also one of the best places in the world to elope. Because of this, they purposefully make the process simple for out-of-towners. A mecca of art, culture, and food, Florence serves as the perfect destination wedding location for low key couples looking for a European option. Plus, your wedding photos will look glamorous in front of Italy’s many historic landmarks and rolling countryside. 

Things to Consider: Italian marriage law is reportedly difficult for both foreigners and locals to navigate, even if you know the language. That’s why many recommend (and note the law sometimes requires) that you hire a paperwork coordinator to accompany you to city hall on your wedding day. 

28. Seattle, Washington - United States

Did you know that Seattle has the country’s best public transportation? Visiting friends and relatives will have no problem navigating this stunning city. Mountains, lakes, and lush green forests combined with some of the world’s best coffee make this the perfect destination wedding location for couples who want the beauty of nature, convenience of easy transportation, and delicious warm beverages all in one place. You’ll also have plenty of gorgeous indoor venues (like mini towns, historic bell towers, and modern ballrooms) as well as outdoor spaces (like forest chapels and lakefront green spaces) to choose from. 

Things to Consider: Once your wedding license application is approved, you must wait three full days before you can hold the ceremony. So put this first on your list after your plane touches down then get all your other last minute wedding details sorted while you wait.  

29. Cancun - Mexico

Cancun was practically built for weddings. Themed all-inclusive resorts offer onsite weddings on the beach or in their very own outdoor chapels. Choose from adults only locations or kid-friendly resorts with their favorite Disney or Nickelodeon characters hanging out by the pool. The best part about a resort wedding in Mexico? All the details are taken care of for you. You’ll still have some customization available but for the most part, it’ll be the easiest event planning exercise you’ve ever had. 

Things to Consider: Locals say it’s too hot to host a wedding in the months between July and September. Plus the best deals tend to happen around the holidays when the weather is at its best and many people are looking to just vacation, not get married.  

30. Copenhagen - Denmark

Outside the U.S., Denmark is one of the easiest countries to get married in. Why? There’s less red tape, the airport is really well set up for foregin travelers, there’s plenty of venue and vendor options, and marriage license turnaround time can be less than a week if you’re in a real hurry. Plus, Copenhagen itself is a beautiful European city steeped in history, old world charm, and modern delights as well as being named the top recommended Denmark wedding spot by international DIY brides. 

Things to Consider: As of 2019, there are some new paperwork requirements and procedures you’ll need to know about. Luckily they’re all nicely outlined in this great article about how to get married in Denmark

Ready to book one of the best wedding destinations in the world for your special day?

Make sure you also check out this great wedding planning timeline to keep everything on track!


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Wedding Spot

The Wedding Spot blog is designed to help couples navigate every step of the wedding planning journey. From before the engagement to after you say “I do,” our goal is to give you the tips, ideas, and inspiration to prepare for your big day — and all that comes with it.