Ahh, wedding season! Bells ringing, summer breeze, flowers blooming and an endless supply of love. What’s not to love about this time of year? Perhaps the only thing better than being the bride or groom is being invited to a destination wedding. It’s a mini vacation with friends, alcohol and cake!
If you are a wanderlust bride or groom trying to plan your wedding, these are some of the best spots to tie the knot. We’ve left all the popular spots like Mexico, the Caribbean and Las Vegas off the list to make room for some less common destinations. South Africa, anyone?
Okay, we know what you’re thinking: The Hangover. We don’t know about you, but we’re not so into blackouts, intense sunburns and horrendous hangovers, which is why our Thailand is way different than that in the second Hangover.
Thailand has something for everyone, including the bride and groom. The pristine beaches with crystal-clear water provide a stunning backdrop for a wedding. Want a night wedding? Even better! The sunsets are glorious. Couples also choose to marry at some of the fanciest resorts around, which can be just as beautiful as a beach ceremony.
Another reason to make Thailand your wedding destination is the experience it provides for both you and your guests. Thailand is rich with wildlife, both on land and in water and offers incredible cuisine. Add this to the nightlife in Bangkok and you’ve got a wonderful wedding experience! Not to mention, this could double as your honeymoon spot after the guests leave.
The real life Lion King: South Africa has everything you could ever want for a wedding—gorgeous landscapes, wine country and, of course, Safari tours! This African paradise is well known for its ferocious lions and cheetahs and its metropolitan capital, but there’s so much more.
With over 2,000 miles of coastline, South African beaches are among the most beautiful in the world. While it would be amazing to get married in the grasslands, your safest bet is the beach or the mountains…away from the toothy lions.
If you’re not a fan of beach weddings, hit the hills. South Africa is home to some of the oldest mountains in the world and would be a great, unexpected place to get hitched. Another option is to get married in a vineyard. Gorgeous views, wine and friends, yeah…that sounds good! Make sure to consider finalizing your nuptials at dusk as the sunsets are unbeatable.
Lastly, this African gem lets your more adventurous guests truly experience things that can only be found here. Pack your khaki pants, binoculars and wedding dress and let’s go!
Amalfi Coast, Italy
It should come as no surprise that Italy made our list, after all, it’s one of the most romantic places in the world! With gondolas, rolling hills and a gorgeous coast, how can anywhere else compare?
Besides the alcohol, we all know the best part of the wedding is the food. And we all know Italian is the best. Whether you’re hoping for an authentic pizza tasting, a pasta bar or canolis, you’re in the right place. Italy makes menu planning easy and is guaranteed to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
Another reason to book your flight is because of the breathtakingly beautiful views. No decoration required and pictures are…well, picture perfect. Warning: the backdrop might be distracting considering the sea, cliffs and pinky orange sunsets. Or maybe you’re considering vineyards or ruins—either way, Italy has you covered.
Now that you’ve tied the knot, explore the ruins of Pompeii, hop on a gondola with your love, experience top-tier shopping or explore the historic towns surrounding the Amalfi Coast. Your guests will thank you and your entire experience will be memorialized in the most beautiful pictures ever taken.
Cinderella’s castle wedding may be more attainable than you think. With tens of thousands (yes, literally) of castles in Ireland, any princess fairy tale can come true. While a wedding at Blarney Castle might cost you a pretty penny, there are so many to choose from that can accommodate any budget. Grab your crowns, kings and queens!
Not into a fairy tale wedding in a castle? No problem. The Cliffs of Moher are perhaps Ireland’s most famous attraction—they’re covered in lush greens and overlook the Atlantic Ocean. As with Italy, a wedding in Ireland will require almost no décor. How can you really compete with sweeping views of the ocean?
After the wedding, you and your guests can put on your explorer hats and really get to know Ireland. Walk through the rolling hills (think Sound of Music), take tours of majestic castles and finish up with a chug of that famous dark brew.
Make sure you talk to the locals; hospitality is their forte. There are no ugly places in Ireland, so don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path to experience unexpected beauty and walk back in time among old churches, castle ruins and country manors. You’ll thank us!
One of our personal favorites! New Zealand is an adrenaline junkie’s paradise: bungee jumping, skydiving, zorbing, cave diving, you name it, New Zealand has it. Not only is this an incredible spot for the bride and groom, guests will have a blast!
Because this ocean paradise has every climate scattered among its two islands, wedding requests of any kind can be met. Want to get married in the snow? Have a heli-wedding in the Southern Alps (yes, they do offer these!). Diehard LOTR fans hoping to get married in the Shire? Yep! Beach wedding? Take your pick of beaches. Want to say “I do!” in a church surrounded by flowers? Check. The options are endless. All you’ll need is your wedding dress, suit and a camera. Known as the friendliest country in the world, you can count on the Kiwis to make your wedding spectacular.
It doesn’t matter where you marry here because each spot is unforgettable. So after you pick your jaw up off the ground, explore the forests and caves, get your tan on at the beach, hike through the more rugged parts of the island, observe the stars at night and get your adrenaline pumping at Kawarau Bridge. No matter what you do, don’t just lounge in your hotel. There’s too much beauty and excitement to stay indoors. We hear hot springs can offer great facials and be very relaxing!
It’ll be tough to pick just one of these gems for your wedding venue, but they made honeymoons for a reason, yes? All destinations double as an exciting adventure for your honeymoon. Good luck!