Today, one in four couples chooses to tie the knot in a destination wedding, an event where, on average, 75 guests participate in simple weekends or elaborate week-long vacations with their best friends and families. These types of nuptials are chosen for many reasons — budgets, a lack of a defined family “hometown” and even a desire to share a special place with loved ones.
But as any couple who has planned a destination wedding knows, narrowing down the venue is the hardest part. After all, you literally have the whole world as your oyster. So, we’ve selected five of our favorite places that we feel marry world-class service with spectacular scenery and so much more.
Already married or not planning to get hitched anytime soon? These places make great vacation spots, too.
Park Tower, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Buenos Aires
Get spicy with a South American wedding in trendy Argentina. At the Forbes Travel Guide-Recommended Park Tower, guests traveling from near and far will be pampered with private butler service and easy access to all that the capital city has to offer. On the big day, wow guests with an extravagant ballroom reception where you can make a grand entrance with a first dance tango.
Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Hotel, Antigua
This private island hotel two miles off the coast of Antigua is so exclusive that it once notoriously turned away Princess Diana, fearful that she would bring too much attention to resort guests. But host your wedding at the intimate Five-Star resort and with an island buyout (as country singer Kellie Pickler did for her 2011 wedding) and bask in an all-inclusive experience with your guests. Host a beachfront ceremony before dinner in a former sugar mill, or hold an intimate celebration at one of the many nearby estate homes.
Hotel Brunelleschi, Florence
This Four-Star Florentine escape is the perfect mix of European elegance and modern piazzas for a contemporary-meets-classic destination wedding. Nestled inside an ancient medieval church (the town’s oldest building), the hotel blends the quirky (a museum housing roman ruins sits under the hotel) with the sophisticated (think antique oak floors and golden iron chandeliers). Spend your wedding night in the Duomo Suite, a unit boasting a four-poster bed and a view of the famed cathedral.
Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc, French Riviera
Say “I do” among the glitter and glam of the French Riviera at the Four-Star Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, a favorite of celebrities like Tom Cruise and writers such as F. Scott Fitzgerald. For a wedding as enchanting as the nearby Cannes Film Festival, splurge by renting the property for nearly 250 guests. Host your dreamy ceremony on the private terrace overlooking the Mediterranean before moving to the Salon Iles de Lérins for the lavish reception. Take things truly over the top by adding amenities like the chocolate atelier to create memorable favors for your guests.
Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru
When you plan to tie the knot in the Maldives, it’s understood that your party will likely consist of a small group of family and friends. That’s where the staff at Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru comes in — its intimate, overwater wedding pavilion (accessible only by boat) allows couples to pledge their love after walking down a glass-bottomed aisle and saying their vows on a small pavilion jutting out over the water. The idyllic venue only holds about a dozen witnesses, so you may have to be extra selective about who gets an invitation.