Marry abroad with one of these recommended destination weddings
Marrying the one you love is one of the biggest and most treasured milestones in life, but it can also be expensive and stressful, which is why more and more couples among both the younger generation and the ‘been round the block’ generation have been choosing to wed abroad, in destinations outside of the U.K. or Ireland. Marrying overseas offers the opportunity for something more exotic, and a spectacularly unique backdrop for exchanging your vows in some of the world’s most alluring locales. If you need a little inspiration, these fabulous options are sure to make for an extra-special celebration of your love.
A Kenya safari wedding
The ultimate ceremony for animal lovers, a Kenya safari wedding means being surrounded by the wilds of the savannah plains, waking to bathe in the light of golden sunrises, and of course, abundant wildlife like giraffes, elephants, zebras, cheetahs and lions. The quintessential wedding safari destination as a real life ‘Out of Africa,’ the Maasai Mara National Park, or ‘The Mara’ as it’s often called, is the ideal spot to share your commitment to each other while infusing the wild African spirit.
Governors’ Camp, a luxury safari camp that sits right in the heart of The Mara, allows you to say your ‘I dos’ along the forested banks of the Mara River, teeming with colourful bird life, crocodiles and hippo. You can toast to your new life with sparkling wine and an indulgent wedding cake – perhaps while gazelle and wildebeest stampede across the plains in the distance. Afterward, you’ll be whisked off to a picnic lunch and an adventure in a custom-built 4 X 4, searching for the big cats the park is most famous for. Return to camp to relish in the experience, sipping drinks in the bar tent that overlooks the river, and then retiring to your own elegant canvas tent that provides the comforts of a luxurious hotel.
More information and to book: Governors’ Camp, Masai Mara
Relive the golden age with a New York City vintage wedding
For couples who’ve dreamed of living in a bygone era, you may want to start your new life together with a vintage New York City wedding in Central Park. There’s nowhere else on the planet like it, serving as a true oasis right in heart of the Big Apple. For British couples there’s another plus – it’s just across the Big Pond, making it easier and less expensive to reach, not to mention that it’s rather easy to have a legally binding wedding in the United States, unlike many European countries.
Your ceremony in the Ladies’ Pavilion, a vintage cast-iron structure, channels the romantic charms of the 1950s and sits in a secluded spot near 75th Street overlooking the lake on the west side of the park. Its location and striking beauty have made it one of the most-sought after for weddings as well as photo shoots. Taking advantage of the many postcard-perfect sites and settings around the city, this experience includes particularly stunning photographs of your special day. You’ll be taken from your hotel in an authentic NYC Checker taxi to Central Park to make your commitment to each other before whizzing off as man and wife for more wedding photos in front of the taxicab, with the Flatiron and Empire State buildings as the backdrop. Before returning to your glamourous New York City hotel, you might want to enjoy a grand finale to your day by heading to the top of the Empire State Building, viewing the dazzling lights of the illuminated skyline – with the last lift going up at 1:15 a.m. Arriving late at night you might just enjoy that breathtaking vista all to yourselves.
More information and to book: Vintage Wedding & New York Photograph Experience
An all-inclusive beach wedding on romantic St. Lucia
Often named as the most romantic island in the Caribbean, St. Lucia is characterized by its emerald-green Pitons that rise up from the sparkling azure sea, providing an awe-inspiring backdrop for a wedding and honeymoon. It hoss the Sandals Grande St. Lucia, situated on its own peninsula, with the calm waters of Rodney Bay to the west and the vast Atlantic Ocean to the east. The sheltered, mile-long beach is ideal for a ceremony, though the resort offers multiple options, like an over-the-water wedding chapel with 360-degree views of the water and a glass floor aisle. Wedding packages include all sorts of perks too, such as a 30-minute foot massage, breakfast in bed with mimosas, and a honeymoon dinner with white glove service.
When you can tear yourself away from the comfort of your room, perhaps a bungalow that sits on the sea, complete with a soaking tub for two and modern luxuries, you can enjoy a mud bath together followed by a rinse under the waterfall at Sulphur Springs, exploring the jungle, snorkelling and more.
More information and to book: Sandals Grande St Lucian Spa & Beach Resort
A Canadian Rocky Mountain dream wedding in Banff
The Canadian Rocky Mountains are truly awe-inspiring with their soaring craggy peaks – and, arguably one of the best places for outdoor adventure enthusiasts to wed. The town of Banff lies in a lush valley surrounded by these dramatic mountains that are dotted with glacial lakes in shades of surreal, intense blues along with hot springs and canyons, providing a wealth of idyllic backdrops for your ceremony. For an especially unforgettable option for saying your ‘I dos,’ you may want to choose a ‘Top of the World’ wedding, where you’ll be taken by helicopter to a secluded mountain top, exchanging your vows in a spot that feels as if it really is the top of the world. The journey to get there is just as impressive, with a bird’s eye-view of the mountain peaks, roaring rivers and glaciers below.
While there are several outstanding hotels to choose from for your stay, the storied Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, often called the ‘Castle in the Rockies,’ offers an especially opulent pre-wedding and honeymoon spot in this majestic setting. Styled after a Scottish Baronial castle, it rises out of the forested valley and offers a wealth of unique experiences, with everything from customized adventures in the Rockies to classes on wine and drink mixology. There are two golf courses, a world-class spa and a dozen lounges and restaurants. Throughout the region, hiking, zip lining, caving, climbing, and even skydiving are just a few of the activities on offer.
More information and to book: Banff weddings
A secluded, jungle-wrapped Sri Lanka beach wedding
Sri Lanka has long been in the shadow of India, but more and more travellers are discovering this small nation’s delights, with everything from mountain tea plantations and magnificent temples to secluded beaches tucked within lush jungle. Situated on the remote northeast coast of the island, Uga Jungle Beach boasts absolute seclusion, set across 10 acres in the middle of a 2.5-mile-long golden sand beach that’s edged by an azure sea. Snorkelling, diving and whale watching are popular here, as is relaxation with a setting that’s perfect for unwinding together. Take the short stroll along the timber boardwalk that leads to a remote stretch of sand where sun loungers await, or simply enjoy each other’s company in total privacy, surrounded by tranquility in your luxurious hideaway.
The bride and groom enjoy a complimentary couples’ spa treatment and a magical boat ride before the ceremony, which can be held on the property’s private stretch of beach overlooking the glistening expanse of the Indian Ocean, or around one of the expansive sparkling pools. One of the highlights for newlyweds is the three-course dinner right on the sand, complete with a bottle of fine wine and a roaring bonfire.
More information and to book: Uga Jungle Beach
Powdery white sands and a gentle sea breeze with a Barbados wedding
Barbados offers a romantic welcome with its strikingly white, soft powdery sands and crystal clear blue sea. This tropical island paradise not only boasts some of the world’s most magnificent beaches, but a rich culture and history, delectable food and drink from the locally-run rum shacks to an impressive array of fine dining restaurants along with happening nightlife, including lots of live music venues. Many UK couples choose Barbados as it’s one of the easiest islands to get to, with multiple airlines providing daily flights from London and regional airports.
The Sea Breeze Beach House is a fabulous place to host your ceremony and your stay. This all-inclusive, luxury boutique hotel offers several jaw-dropping locations for your nuptials, like a private cabana overlooking the beach and endless turquoise waters, a gazebo overlooking the sea, beautifully landscaped gardens or a cliff-front balcony at its Aqua Terra Restaurant. A romantic breakfast in your room on your first morning as husband and wife is included, along with many other extravagant perks. You can also look forward to swimming with the sea turtles, embarking on a sunset sailing cruise or choosing from a wide variety of other fun and romantic activities.
More information and to book: Sea Breeze Beach House
Wed in the Golden Gate City before flying off to a Hawaiian honeymoon
San Francisco offers many breathtaking spots to tie the knot, although there may be no better place to wed here than a backdrop of the legendary Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and the bay. Spend a few days before the wedding strolling by the colourful Victorian row houses and Art Deco mansions, through beautiful Golden Gate Park, and perhaps taking the ferry to the fairytale town of Tiburon nearby for a picnic along the grassy waterfront that boasts views of the San Francisco skyline.
As you’ll be perfectly situated in a major city on the west coast, it’s easy to reach the Hawaiian Islands from here, providing an unforgettable blend of a San Francisco wedding and a Hawaii honeymoon. Kauai, known as the ‘Garden Isle,’ is arguably the most romantic of the islands, with its countless waterfalls, flower-filled gardens, lush greenery and amazing beaches. Take a helicopter tour over the island and you can enjoy one of the world’s most incredible views: the Na Pali coast with its intense green and red pinnacles that stretch for 17 miles, dotted with waterfalls that cascade into narrow valleys. There are some extraordinary resorts ideal for honeymoons here too, like the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa located right along the oceanfront.
More information and to book: Golden Gate Bridge
A Grenadine wedding on the ‘most perfect’ of the Caribbean isles
Part of the Grenadines in the West Indies of the Caribbean, Bequia is a hilly, seven-square-mile island that’s somehow managed to remain unspoiled by tourism. You won’t find any high-rise resorts, glitz or glamour, but you will find natural beauty and seclusion along with clear, warm cerulean waters for snorkelling, ever-flowing rum punch served to the sounds of live reggae music, and scattered beach bars and eateries with menus focused on just-hauled-in seafood. The perfect place to enjoy quiet relaxation in relative seclusion, this under-the-radar destination also packs a punch when it comes to things to see and do. Enjoy sailing throughout the islands, perhaps docking at the tiny uninhabited island of Petit Tabac, the very same isle where Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow was marooned with Kiera Knightly’s Elizabeth Swan in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.’
The Bequia Beach Hotel is a top pick for your ceremony with its picture-perfect setting on Friendship Bay Beach, surrounded by tropical gardens. It hosts its very own secluded sandy beach, two beautiful pools, a Caribbean spa and an outstanding restaurant. Stay in the two-bedroom villa and you’ll even get your own private plunge pool. A Champagne breakfast the morning of your wedding and a private dinner for two on your wedding night is included among many other extras.
More information and to book: Bequia Beach Hotel
A private island wedding in the stunning Seychelles
If it’s privacy, seclusion and exotic island beauty you’re looking for, private Denis Island, part of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, which lie some 900 miles east of the African coast, may be ideal. The property offers all-inclusive weddings that perfectly blend luxury with nature on an island with powder sugar-like sands and dazzling turquoise waters. It’s a place where you can soak up the sun on the ultra-soft sands, dive or snorkel in a brilliant underwater world, hike, or do nothing but enjoy the company of your new spouse in an elegant beach villa with private beachfront and a plunge pool. Mouth-watering cuisine is par for the course in the onsite restaurant. The bride and groom also enjoy a candlelit dinner on the beach, photos, Champagne and more.
More information and to book: Denis Private Island