Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Eloping doesn’t have to mean a drive-thru wedding in Vegas. Elopements have changed, providing a more intimate alternative to traditional weddings where the emphasis on the vows being exchanged matter more than all the little details. In fact, these destinations are so spectacularly scenic they more than make up for that, providing some incredibly romantic venues for saying “I do.”
YOU'RE ALL SET!
Look out for our newsletters in your inbox soon.
Iceland provides the ultimate fantasy wedding with out-of-this-world scenery that includes everything from gorgeous waterfalls with rainbows in their mist to jet black sand beaches, soaring mountains, hot springs and even the Northern Lights. The hardest decision you’ll have to make with so many stunning landscapes is narrowing down that ideal spot to say your vows. You could even get married in front of an elf church if you wanted to. It’s hard to beat the extraordinary scenery in this country.
If you’re a couple that loves outdoor adventure, the Isle of Skye is another great fantasy-like spot. Home to some of the world’s most magnificent scenery, Scotland offers many delights, but the Isle of Skye is of legendary proportions. The lush green mountains are dotted with unique rock formations, with the northern peninsula of Trotternish underlain by basalt rock that leads to a vast collection of spectacular rock features like the Old Man of Storr, the island’s most iconic spot. The cerulean-hued fairy pools, the seashell-strewn beaches and cascading waterfalls that plunge down to the turquoise sea below all make for an amazing backdrop for a wedding.
Santorini is a bucket list travel destination, renowned for its blue-domed churches, whitewashed homes that spill down the rim of its ancient volcanic crater, sapphire sea and jaw-dropping sunsets, making it a no-brainer for many couples who wish to wed. It also boasts some exceptional beaches, including black, red and white sand, and has a magical kind of light that makes for especially gorgeous wedding photographs. You might choose to tie the knot just before dusk as the sun dips below the watery horizon, splashing an array of colors across the Aegean, then enjoy a romantic stay at one of Santorini’s top hotels.
There are a few things that are 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, brilliant blue sea as you say your “I dos.” This three-mile long stretch of sand that’s consistently rated as one of the five most stunning beaches on Earth, offers plenty of room for guests. You’ll also find idyllic honeymoon cottages for the ultimate newlywed retreat.
The ultra-soft golden sands, striking cerulean waters, swaying palm trees and awe-inspiring sunsets at Makena Cove Beach make Maui one of the most breathtaking on the planet. Located on Maui, which tends to get less rain than the other Hawaiian islands, as well as fewer visitors on the beach, particularly in the early morning hours or at sunset, it’s 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. Afterward, enjoy the romantic atmosphere at Maui’s top honeymoon resorts.
If you’re the type of couple who enjoys being immersed in mountain wilderness, you might want to head off the beaten path to Montana. The Resort at Paws Up features ultra-luxe vacation homes as well as upscale glamping for the bride and groom and their guests. The property offers an elopement package that includes a ceremony and a private carriage ride, a gourmet dinner with Champagne, a spa treatment for the newlyweds and a wedding cake. After the wedding, this wilderness sanctuary offers the chance to spend an hour, day or even a week on horseback, cast your line into world-class fly fishing waters for cutthroat trout and indulge in heavenly in-room spa treatments too.
Grand Cayman is home to Seven Mile Beach, a stunning champagne-colored stretch of sand that’s lined with palms and Casuarina trees. A variety of accommodations are offered right here along the strikingly blue-hued sea. Named as the top beach in the world by US News Travel, it offers a romantic ambiance to go along with its incredible scenery along with all sorts of opportunities to get out on the water together. Enjoy snorkeling with friendly stingrays at Stingray City, windsurfing, parasailing and more.
Inspired by Romanesque Revival, Neuschwanstein Castle is a grand masterpiece of 19th-century architecture and one of the most beautiful castles in Germany. Set on a Bavarian hilltop overlooking the mountains and enjoying glorious sunsets, it’s hard to find a setting more perfect for a wedding ceremony. It offers the chance to experience modern-day fairy-tale, as the castle is said to have been the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty castle and Disney World’s Cinderella castle. It also happens to offer wedding packages that include a Bavarian horse and carriage ride through the valley, a candlelit dinner, and much more.
A seaside village situated atop dramatic cliffs overlooking the Pacific about three hours north of San Francisco, Mendocino is characterized by its New England-style Victorian homes and awe-inspiring ocean views. There are countless places that are ideal for saying your vows, like the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens which includes canyons, wetlands, coastal bluffs, a pine forest and an extensive array of plant and floral collections. Afterward, you can enjoy touring and tasting area wineries, walks on the beach and through the redwoods, and dining on gourmet cuisine at one of the many romantic oceanfront eateries.
Lovers of the Great Outdoors may also want to consider a destination wedding near Juneau, Alaska’s capital, tucked between the Gastineau Channel, Mount Roberts and Mount Juneau in its southeast region. Only accessible by boat or plane, you can wed on Mendenhall Glacier, one of the 38 major glaciers that extend from Juneau Icefield. Honeymoons here include the chance to take glacier cruises, enjoy whale watching and lots of other wildlife viewing, hiking and much more.