K.C. was a featured writer for Yahoo! Travel before joining trips to discover in 2013. She is the author of Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland, an Amazon bestseller every year between 2013 and 2016. She has been a featured expert on Newsweek, Travel + Leisure, Travelocity, among others.
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A beach wedding doesn’t require any elaborate decorations. With the spectacular scenery, nature’s beauty does the job for free. And, what bride doesn’t look incredibly beautiful against such a breathtaking backdrop? The sound of the waves coupled with a gentle breeze help to create the ultimate romantic atmosphere. While there are countless reasons to have a beach wedding, here is a look at some of the very best beach destinations for your ceremony.
There are few things more romantic than a wedding on a beautiful pink sand beach. On Harbour Island in the Bahamas, you can sink your toes into powdery pink sands at the edge of a crystal clear, azure sea as you say your “I dos.” This three-mile long stretch of sand that’s consistently rated as one of the top pink beaches in the world, and offers plenty of room for guests, while Harbour Island boasts a number of idyllic honeymoon cottages for the ultimate newlywed retreat.
The ultra-soft golden sand, vivid turquoise waters, swaying palm trees and jaw-dropping sunsets at Makena Cove Beach make this destination one of the most magnificent on earth. Located on Maui, which tends to get less rain than the other islands, as well as fewer visitors on the beach, particularly in the early morning hours or at sunset, it’s certainly one of the best destinations for a dream wedding. The small, walled-in cove also offers a dramatic combination of sand, surf and rocks that make for some fabulous wedding photos, though it’s best for a more intimate ceremony due to space limitations.
You’ll feel as if you’re worlds away from the chaos of modern life on this 113-acre private island resort ringed by two miles of idyllic white sands. At this ultra-remote Caribbean resort, the water is a dazzling mosaic of pale turquoise and deep sapphire blue, and you’re more likely to hear the songs of the birds and the sounds of the gently lapping waves than other humans. As it’s a private island resort, you’ll have the beach all to yourself – perfect for a ceremony with close family and friends. You can pick any stretch of unspoiled sands you like for exchanging your vows, and then head out on a sunset sail, or just do nothing but revel in each other’s company and the magnificent surroundings.
Negril is known for its spectacular sunsets, as well as Seven Mile Beach, one of the longest and softest in all of Jamaica. It’s also a popular spot for destination weddings, lined with romantic luxury resorts, including plenty of budget-friendly options, that are just steps from the sea. Seven Mile is also said to host more weddings than any other in the Caribbean. If you’re looking for a fun celebration, you’ll find that Negril has its share of some of the best reggae bands too, practically guaranteeing that all your guests will be out on the dance floor.
The Dominican Republic is known for being one of the most affordable Caribbean beach destinations. A ceremony during the peak wedding season falls during the country’s offseason, June through September, which means cheaper flights as well as cheaper room rates and often a more tranquil atmosphere too. Now Larimar, located on this palm-studded white-sand beach overlooking the turquoise sea, is an all-inclusive property with an upscale vibe and reasonable rates as well as a dedicated wedding coordination team to help make sure your fantasy wedding becomes a reality.
Marrying on your own private island ensures seclusion, and on Peter Island you’ll also find luxury along with five picturesque white-sand beaches. White Bay Beach is rumored to be the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and makes a strikingly beautiful venue. You may not want to leave this island paradise, with lots of activities and attractions in addition to the magnificent scenery, including scuba and sailing excursions.
Horseshoe Bay Beach is a long curved stretch of pale pink sand set against brilliant blue Atlantic waters. While this is Bermuda’s most famous beach, and likely the most photographed due to its captivating beauty, there are a number of secluded coves that are ideal for an intimate ceremony. There is no rainy season to speak of, with temperatures averaging 80 degrees from April through October and 70 degrees throughout the rest of the year. You’ll also find fantastic restaurants where you can dip your toes in the sand while viewing a spectacular sunset, sipping champagne and indulging in fabulous local fare like Bermudian rockfish.
The Outer Banks region of North Carolina, a string of barrier islands covering nearly half the state’s coastline, offers a number of idyllic destinations to say your vows, like Ocracoke Island. Ocracoke is located at the southernmost tip of the Outer Banks, with some of the most picture-perfect beaches in the area. Only 800 residents live here year-round, and the 16 miles of unspoiled beaches are accessible only by ferry, boat or plane. Dr. Beach named it the “Best Beach in the United States,” due to its uncrowded, soft stretches of sand and gorgeous waters, and it ranks at the top for East Coast destination weddings, which means that even though it’s rather secluded, you’ll find lots of professional vendors to choose from to help create your ideal ceremony.
Grand Cayman is also home to Seven Mile Beach. This lengthy champagne-colored stretch of sand is lined with palms and Casuarina trees as well as a wide range of accommodations that face the beautiful turquoise sea. Named one of the “Ultimate Beaches” by Caribbean Travel + Life and the No. 1 beach by U.S. News Travel, it offers sophisticated ambiance along with amazing scenery and a wealth of activities like parasailing, windsurfing, and even snorkeling with friendly southern stingrays at Stingray City.
Sugar Beach is a small crescent white-sand beach on the southwest coast of Saint Lucia, found nestled between the island’s landmark Gros Piton and Petit Piton, two lush green peaks that soar into the bright blue skies. Called one of the sexiest, most scenic spots in the Caribbean, here you can walk down a sandy aisle to the sounds of calypso music in an unparalleled setting for a celebration of love and romance. Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, is listed as one of the world’s best places to stay by Conde Nast Traveler. Wedding planners can help arrange a one-of-a-kind ceremony right on the beach, surrounded by the pristine tropical rainforest.
Maroma Beach is an idyllic beach along Mexico’s Caribbean coast with soft, sugary sands that slope gently into the pale aquamarine surf, known as one of the best in Riviera Maya. Not only is it a perfect place for a wedding, afterward you can enjoy everything from snorkeling or diving the offshore reef teeming with tropical fish, to touring the ancient Mayan ruins at Tulum and tubing through natural cenotes. To keep in line with Mexico’s luminaria tradition, line your beach aisle with a path of glowing candles.
For those dreaming of a tropical wedding but have the need to stay closer to home, the Florida Keys may be a perfect alternative. The Keys are sometimes referred to as “America’s Caribbean,” and in Islamorada, the heart of a group of islands known as the purple isles that include Plantation Key, Windley Key as well as Upper Matecumbe Key and Lower Matecumbe Key, you’ll find Morada Bay: the ultimate paradise for a romantic beach celebration. Morada Bay Resort not only offers a spectacular setting, but the resort also provides wedding packages for everything from intimate to large ceremonies.
Lover’s Point Beach is a beautiful Central California coast destination that offers a dramatic coastline with the opportunity to wed with the sounds of the crashing waves at your back, while the playful barking of sea lions are heard in the distance. It’s consistently voted the most romantic wedding location on the Monterey Peninsula, and the city of Pacific Grove was once called “the most romantic city in the U.S.” by Life Magazine. This beach wedding location is ideal for everything from a small elopement ceremony to a large gala. With an expansive view of the dazzling Pacific as the backdrop, it’s, not surprisingly, a much sought after spot for couples to tie the knot.
Trunk Bay Beach is one of the most photographed beaches throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands as an unspoiled crescent of fine, white powdery sands with a backdrop of swaying palms and shady sea-grape trees. The sea has an amazing clarity, and is also home to an underwater national park filled with brightly colored coral and tropical fish. At sunset, this beach is particularly jaw-dropping, shimmering with a brilliant golden glow.
The northern Oregon coast offers the longest stretches of unbroken beaches along the state’s rugged and wild coastline. Cannon Beach, located in the charming town with the same name, offers one of the best places to exchange your vows by the seashore with the sound of the surf as your wedding music. With awe-inspiring panoramic ocean and coastal mountain views as well as famous Haystack Rock in the background, this destination is hard to beat, especially at sunset.
Known as the “Enchanted Isle,” the beaches on San Diego’s Coronado Island are said to be the No. 1 wedding destination in the U.S. The crown jewel of the island is Coronado Beach and Hotel del Coronado. This historic hotel with its vibrant red turrets and romantic seaside setting is an idyllic place for a barefoot in the sand wedding as well as something a bit more traditional. Every evening just before dusk, crowds gather to witness the spectacular sunsets – oohing, awing, and even clapping at the colorful show in the sky.
Not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, Dominica is the most mountainous and largest of the Leeward isles in the eastern Caribbean Sea. This lesser-known island is filled with unspoiled natural beauty from waterfalls and boiling volcanic pools to black and golden sand beaches. Batibou Beach on the island’s Atlantic side is one of the broadest and widest of all Dominica’s beaches, as well as being rather isolated, making it perfect for a private celebration.
Belize offers an exotic tropical location with lush rainforests, Mayan ruins and the second largest barrier reef in the world. Located on popular Ambergris Caye, Xanadu Island Resort offers a secluded, stunning location just a short stroll from the town of San Pedro and only steps from the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean on a pristine beach. This award-winning luxury resort offers wedding packages that include a ceremony on the sand underneath the swaying palms along with a beautiful arch and aisle. After the ceremony, enjoy diving and snorkeling the Belize barrier reef, sailing, swimming underneath waterfalls, exploring caves and more.