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Dreaming of a unique wedding destination, but don’t want to hold the ceremony outside of the U.S.? Surprisingly, you’ll find many fabulous wedding destinations right at home, or closer to home anyway!
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The Florida Keys not only offer up all sorts of attractions for lovers, with the scenery alone providing the opportunity for an incredibly romantic escape, but it’s hard to beat this region when it comes to fantastic wedding destinations. With its often idyllic weather and picture-perfect beaches, the Keys compete with the Caribbean and Mexico when it comes to tropical appeal, yet the area is typically cheaper and easier for your guests to travel to. Before and after the ceremony, you and your guests can enjoy everything from glorious sunsets to champagne sails, diving and snorkeling.
Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key is one of multiple resorts that offer an ideal spot for the ceremony. Couples can wed inside the waterfront gazebo, followed by a tiki-torch-lit cocktail hour and a reception dinner at the Tranquility Pool. The property also features more than 200 villas with one to four bedrooms, kitchens and private terraces.
Hawaii may be the most obvious, but it’s also one of the best places for a destination wedding in the world, which means it can’t be left off this list. You really can’t go wrong with any of the islands, no matter where you go, you and your guests can enjoy amazing beaches and outstanding snorkeling during any downtime. On the Big Island’s Kona Coast along Kealakekua Bay, you may even be able to say your “I do’s” as dolphins pass by dancing in the backdrop. The Four Seasons has three properties that are ideal for weddings. On Maui, the Halekulani offers beachfront views without having to get sand up your dress. Here, a beautiful ceremony spot sits on a lush lawn overlooking the water.
Haiku Mill, an ancient sugar plantation filled with old world elegance on Maui, is a gorgeous venue with ornate, hand-picked treasures, surrounded by fragrant jasmine and gardenia blossoms.
Napa Valley, California
California’s Napa region is filled with breathtaking landscapes reminiscent of Italy’s Tuscan country, with rolling hills, lush valleys, and acres and acres of vineyards, all offering a perfect backdrop for a wedding ceremony. You and your guests can, of course, savor the region’s famous food and wine, explore charming towns, indulge in spa treatments or even take a hot-air balloon ride.
Auberge du Soleil Resort in Rutherford is a resort renowned for romantic getaways and weddings. Exchange your vows and celebrate your union with panoramic vistas. Terraced on a hillside overlooking the vineyards below, the stunning natural surroundings perfectly set the stage for the wedding of your dreams. Each room and suite has an ambiance that reflects the sun and earth toned beauty of the surroundings and features a private terrace with valley, hillside or garden views along with a fireplace and soaking tub for two. Guests can also enjoy rejuvenating water rituals at the spa, soaking in three temperate springs that overlook the vineyards and olive grove, with the fine dining restaurant matches the beauty of the landscape, serving up Mediterranean-inspired cuisine that includes the flourishing ingredients of the region.
Cannon Beach, Oregon
Cannon Beach, set along the breathtaking Oregon coast, is internationally renowned for romance, ideal for a destination wedding, as well as honeymoons, anniversaries and other special occasions. Here, you’ll discover a wild, incredibly scenic coastline with some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet, while trails wind through ancient, old-growth forest at the edge of the Pacific, providing numerous picture-perfect spots for photos as well as romantic liaisons. There are several oceanfront resorts that offer weddings and cater specifically to romance-seekers, like the Surfsand Resort, where the iconic form of Haystack Rock can be seen from nearly every vantage point along with sweeping coastline vistas to the north and south. Its professional staff are truly pros when it comes to utilizing every bit of thrill the northern coast has to offer, and can even set up a bonfire for a fun post-reception hangout.
The jaw-dropping, beautiful village of Mendocino sits atop the bluffs on the Northern California coast, overlooking the glistening expanse of the Pacific. Filled with Victoria-era homes, it’s renowned as one of the most stunning and romantic places in not only the U.S., but across the globe. Outside of the big event, you can spend your days strolling the beach, hiking through the ancient redwood forest or tasting fine wine at the many wineries found throughout the region, including some of the most fantastic Pinot, produced with grapes grown here along the rugged coast.
The MacCallum House Inn & Restaurant not only boasts panoramic ocean views and award-winning meals in a Victorian mansion setting, but it’s an ideal place to stay, and hold a wedding. The beautifully restored Victorian mansion includes two acres of gardens, expansive lawns, a bar and restaurant, as well as distinctive accommodations that include cottages with private yards, fireplaces and hot tubs.
As one of the most astonishingly beautiful mountain destinations in the country, Aspen is ideal for romance, including weddings. It possesses the ideal mix of natural beauty, rustic charm, and lavish amenities. Outdoor adventurers come in droves to enjoy some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and more unique activities like dog sledding, as well as sipping toasty après-ski drinks at the famous Ajax Tavern. Some of the world’s best hiking, mountain biking and whitewater rafting can be enjoyed in the summer. In town, visitors will find an abundance of high-end shops and swanky restaurants.
The Little Nell, a posh property, sits right at the base of Aspen Mountain and offers the chance to get married on its outdoor deck, surrounded by dramatic mountains, or, if you’re really into gliding down those white, powdery mountains, you might want to consider a stunning winter wonderland ceremony.
Savannah is one of the South’s most romantic cities, and with its famous historic squares, fountains and historical churches, there are lots of classic, as well as more unique wedding venues to choose from. A Savannah Riverboat Cruise not only offers the chance to explore lighthouses, Civil War landmarks and other historic sites as well as beautiful art displays and exhibits showcasing Savannah’s culture, history and the arts, it’s an ideal place for a wedding. Glide across the water while saying your vows against the backdrop of River Street and the Talmadge Bridge. Afterward, stroll this laid-back, charming city where you’ll find moss-canopied trails that are perfect for tranquil strolls together hand-in-hand, and be sure to take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the city’s picturesque streets.
Las Vegas, Nevada
While you might roll your eyes at the idea of a Las Vegas wedding, for many couples, “Sin City,” actually fits the bill. Yes, there are plenty of drive-through chapels and Elvis impersonators, but there are also elegant ballrooms, and many unique venues that offer the chance for a more exotic backdrop. Dreaming of an Italy wedding but that’s just not in the budget? Perhaps the Venetian or the Palazzo will work, where you can choose from a white wedding gondola with a serenading gondolier on the Grand Canal, a ceremony on St. Mark’s Square, or the lush landscape of an Italian Garden. The city offers numerous ceremony sites that you and your guests will love, as well as plenty of activities to take part in before and after.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Cape Cod is a 70-mile peninsula that offers a number of romantic locations for a ceremony, with everything from elegant catering to yacht clubs, resorts, and lovely gardens. The region has the ability to play host to small, intimate gatherings as well as large elegant affairs, and everything in between. Here, you’ll find life moves at a much slower pace, but there is also a myriad of things to do. Stay at a romantic resort or B&B and enjoy activities like whale watching excursions, strolling sandy beaches or browsing the unique treasures at antique shops and art galleries. Horseback riding across the dunes at sunset offers a particularly romantic experience. After a day at play, return to a cozy sea captain’s house, complete with a luxurious canopy bed and fireplace to relax, unwind and enjoy each other’s company.