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17 Best Destination Weddings in the United States

If you dream of a unique destination wedding but want to keep the location within the U.S., you’ll find many fabulous options that don’t require a passport! Looking to step away from cookie-cutter wedding venues, that can be arranged as well! From a funky festival to an underground cave, there are unique destination weddings all over America. If you’re the type of couple looking for something different from your typical wedding ceremony, these destination weddings may make the perfect place for saying your “I dos.”

The Florida Keys Founders Park, Islamorada, Florida Keys
Credit: Founders Park, Islamorada, Florida Keys by © Idania Le Vexier - Dreamstime.com

The Florida Keys

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 easier for your guests to travel to and no passport is necessary. Before and after the ceremony, you and your guests can enjoy everything from glorious sunsets to champagne sails, world-class diving, and snorkeling. Looking for sunshine? Florida is home to a long list of wedding venues.

Hawaii Honolulu
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Hawaii

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.

Napa Valley, California Vines in Napa Valley
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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.

Cannon Beach, Oregon Haystack Rock at sunset, Cannon Beach
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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 the 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.

Mendocino, California Mendocino, California
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Mendocino, California

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.

Aspen, Colorado Aspen, Colorado
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Aspen, Colorado

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.

Savannah, Georgia Forsyth Park Fountain in Savannah
Credit: Forsyth Park Fountain in Savannah by bigstock.com

Savannah, Georgia

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, but it’s also 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 The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino
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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 National Seashore, Massachusetts
Credit: Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts by bigstock.com

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, with its charming cottages and small town vibe, is the ideal place for intimate gatherings. 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.

Burning Man - Black Rock City, Nevada Wedding at Burning Man, Black Rock, Nevada
Credit: Wedding at Burning Man, Black Rock, Nevada by gruntzooki via Flickr

Burning Man - Black Rock City, Nevada

As one of the world’s most extreme musical festivals, it stands to reason that Burning Man also makes for one of the more extreme wedding venues. If you’re both into it, this legendary event in Black Rock City may be the obvious place to tie the knot. While the unpredictable desert can be a strange venue for a wedding ceremony, the couples who’ve wedded here in the past tend to reflect on the event rather fondly, and most insist that it was the ideal spot for them. This is where, once a year, the week-long event transforms the usually desolate landscape into a utopian society and the state’s fifth-largest city, with a population of roughly 50,000 and growing. It’s been described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance that allow all inhibitions to be left at the gates before entering the five-mile wide camp that sits within a prehistoric lake known as the playa.

Voodoo Doughnut - Portland, Oregon Voodoo Doughnut, Portland, Oregon
Credit: Voodoo Doughnut, Portland, Oregon by facebook.com

Voodoo Doughnut - Portland, Oregon

In Portland, both visitors and locals regularly line up around the block just to get into a doughnut shop, but it’s not your run-of-the-mill facility. This is downtown’s funky Voodoo Doughnut, where toppings include Cap’n Crunch and Froot Loops cereal, maple-glazed bacon, and Tang, and devoted fans can enjoy an equally unconventional wedding. There is a menu of ceremony options, including everything from a non-binding commitment ceremony to the “Whole Shebang,” which includes round-trip airfare, a hotel, coffee, doughnuts, and a Universal Life Minister.

Winery Ruins at Jack London State Historic Park - Glen Ellen, California ruins at Jack London Square Historic State Park
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Winery Ruins at Jack London State Historic Park - Glen Ellen, California

The incredibly romantic, historic stone winery ruins at Jack London State Historic Park offer a unique but ideal backdrop for a wedding. You and your guests will be surrounded by the beautiful Sonoma hills, vineyards, and picturesque woodlands. When the fog rolls in, you might think that you were saying your “I dos” in the Scottish highlands, it adds such a mystical ambiance to what could easily be imagined as a landscape dotted with crumbling castles. The historic 19th-century ruins of the Kohler and Frohling winery serve as an open-air courtyard and popular setting for many couples who are seeking a truly one-of-a-kind setting with rustic elegance and charm.

Nelson Ghost Town, Nevada Nelson, Nevada ghost town
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Nelson Ghost Town, Nevada

Located an hour from the Las Vegas Strip and surrounded by Joshua trees, Nelson was once one of the best-known mining towns in the West. Back in 1775, the town that was here was called El Dorado by the Spaniards who made the first discoveries of gold in the area that’s now referred to as El Dorado Canyon. A century later, it was swamped with prospectors and lawlessness. Today, Nelson is considered a “living ghost town,” where many believe the resonance of its former unruly population can still be felt echoing through the canyon walls. It also still hosts a number of old barns, rusted-out vehicles, gas pumps, and a saloon that provide lots of character and make for especially interesting photographs for weddings and other events. Wedding planners and officiants say their clients love eloping here just because it’s so different.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau Alaska The blue ice of Mendenhall Glacier at Juneau
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Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau Alaska

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are few better spots to wed than in the wilds of Alaska. And just a short drive from the capital city of Juneau, Mendenhall Glacier, one of the 38 major glaciers that extend from the 1,500-square-mile Juneau Icefield, has become an increasingly popular place for exchanging vows. Couples can actually hold their ceremony right on top of the glacier after being flown in by helicopter. Brides typically wear wintry gowns with white fur jackets, hats, and cozy, flowing capes to stay warm, and of course, everyone else will need to bundle up too. Being surrounded by such breathtaking scenery is worth having to fend off a little chill, however, and afterward, everyone can enjoy more unforgettable experiences like whale watching, cruises, fishing, hiking, and more.

Bridal Caves - Camdenton, Missouri Bridal Cave
Credit: Bridal Cave by bridalcave.com

Bridal Caves - Camdenton, Missouri

If you like the underground, why not get married in a cave? Bridal Caves in the Missouri Ozark is aptly named and hosts ceremonies for those who’d like to be surrounded by stalactites when tying the knot. After all, they make for some pretty spectacular, naturally sparkling decor. Acclaimed as one of the most scenic caves in the country, it also includes lots of massive columns and draperies, along with delicate soda straws. Native American legend tells that in the early 1800s, a couple was the first to be wed here, and since then, over three thousand others have said their vows in this very cave. Bridal Cave also offers a photographer, floral arrangements, and recorded pipe organ music.

Long Island Aquarium, New York Long Island Aquarium
Credit: Long Island Aquarium by atlantisb anquetsandevents.com

Long Island Aquarium, New York

If you’re afraid of sharks, getting wed in a shark tank is probably not your idea of a beautiful ceremony. But, if you and your beloved are shark fans, and experienced divers, getting hitched right inside a shark tank may be just for you. Make your special day even more memorable with a visit to some of the animals at Long Island Aquarium. You can get a Sea Lion kiss or celebrate your special day with a visit from one of the African penguins. For flowering garden shots, visit the Butterflies, Bugs & Birds garden, where it is always tropical and the flowers are blooming and butterflies fluttering.

Marymoor Dog Park - Redmond, Washington Bride
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Marymoor Dog Park - Redmond, Washington

More and more couples have been choosing to include their four-legged best friends in their wedding ceremony, and if you’re a dog lover that would like that option too, there may be no better spot in the Seattle area than Marymoor Park’s “doggie heaven.” This beautiful dog park just across Lake Washington in Redmond will allow you to include just about as many canine guests as you’d like – and you may have a few uninvited stragglers too, so be sure to bring plenty of treats to go around.

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