If you have decided to have a destination wedding (I shared our reasons for making this choice here), congratulations! I know you might have a busy road ahead of you, but trust me when I say that all of the time and effort you put in to planning your destination wedding will be so very worth it in the end.
First up on your wedding planning list? Choosing a destination wedding location. While seemingly an easy decision, this process can side track couples for months as essentially the sky is the limit when you are having a destination wedding. While there is no one right way to make this decision, I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite locations where you are nearly guaranteed a beautiful wedding, stunning photos, and most importantly a truly magical experience for you and your guests.
Wine country. I may be a bit biased (we ourselves recently had a destination wedding in California's wine country), but for the couple who loves great food, fabulous wine, and a beautiful natural environment, I don't think there is a much better place to get married than in wine country. Whether you're in Napa, the Willamette Valley, Bordeaux, or South Africa's Franschhoek region, a wine country wedding almost guarantees for a gorgeous and elegant destination wedding. (Image of our wedding via The Why We Love).
Charleston. My favorite city in the US, Charleston is absolutely overflowing with beautiful wedding venues. Plus, its beautiful cobblestone streets, pastel buildings, and lush foliage ensure for a stunning backdrop for your photos. Whether you see yourselves being married in a historic estate downtown or under the mossy oak trees of a sprawling plantation, Charleston offers the perfect mix of culture and charm for any modern couple.
Hawaii. If your idea of a destination wedding is spending four days in paradise with friends and family, Hawaii is a great choice that makes for an easy and convenient location for guests. Charter a boat for a sunset snorkeling trip, have your rehearsal dinner on the beach under strands of string lights, and for your wedding day a beautiful century tent creates the perfect coastal chic ambiance.
Aspen. If you are looking for mountainside elegance, look no further than Aspen, Colorado. Guests will love the fantastic outdoor activities during the day, and the world-renowned restaurants and nightlife during the evenings.
Paris. In my opinion, Paris is the most beautiful and most romantic city in the world, so of course it makes for a truly magical location for a destination wedding. Whether you choose to have an intimate ceremony in a quiet courtyard or an elaborate fete in a five-star hotel, there is truly a venue for everyone in the City of Light.
Venice. A 'just married' gondola ride through the canals, dancing at midnight in St. Mark's Square, out of this world gorgeous architecture, and classic old-world romanace are just a few of the reasons that Venice, Italy is an absolute dream destination wedding location. And, if it's good enough for Amal and George....I rest my case.
Tuscany. Whether you see yourself being married in an ancient cathedral in the heart of one of Tuscany's many beautiful hill-towns, or rather a sprawling 15th-century villa, nowhere is the feeling of 'la dolce vita' more evident than in Tuscany. And did I mention the food? While there are a plethora of beautiful destination wedding venues in Tuscany, I think having your ceremony at San Galgano Abbey and reception at Borgo Santo Pietro would be absolutely spectacular.
Lake Como. For the ultimate in Italian luxury and glamour, there is simply no place more elegant than the famed Lake Como. Dotted with stunning villas and sprawling formal gardens, if this mythical lake wasn't beautiful enough it is surrounded by the most spectacular fog covered mountains (which are also the perfect backdrop for fine art wedding photos). Two of my favorite wedding venues on Lake Como are Grand Hotel Tremezzo and Villa del Balbianello.
Santorini. If you're looking for a destination wedding location with a bohemian spirit I highly recommend the spectacular Greek island of Santorini. With the most postcard-worthy views and world-famous sunsets, your guests will be absolutely spellbound by this one-of-a-kind destination. I highly recommend the Katikies Hotel as both a wedding venue as well as an ideal place for you and your guests to call home.
Thailand. If you are looking to truly get away, few places in this world offer the beauty and magic that Thailand has. From connecting with your inner spirit at its plethora of magnificent temples to participating in a traditional lantern lighting ceremony to soaking in the sun on one of Thailand's many stunning islands, for a wedding in paradise there is simply no place on Earth (in my opinion) more spectacular than Thailand. One of my absolute favorite destination wedding venues in Thailand is the beautiful Pimalai Resort on the island of Koh Lanta. Side note: We were engaged in Thailand, so I can say firsthand that it is truly one of the most romantic places in the world!
If you are a bride or groom and are in the process of planning a destination wedding - congratulations! I would be honored to travel the world to capture your love, and would love nothing more than to connect with you to learn about your engagement and your wedding plans. Feel free to contact me anytime and check out my tips on choosing a destination wedding photographer!