Some of the best wedding places on the planet don’t have to be extreme or “too crazy to be believed.” They can simply be “our special place,” a location that a couple agrees is perfect to visit and celebrate with loved ones, not necessarily a backyard or a local landmark.
A destination wedding location can turn into a great getaway for plenty of people as well, not just the bride, groom, and the celebrant. You can have natural beauty and other nice touches that will add to the happy memories, and still a bit of wonder and fantasy.
When considering a destination spot that departs from places that everyone else goes to, here are some super suggestions:
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If you’re not a fan of water but do like the heat of warmer locales, you can let others have their tropical oceanside or lakefront weddings because you’ll be exchanging your vows in a harsh but beautiful setting of a desert landscape. Since there are deserts around the world, you can take your pick. You don’t necessarily want or need your wedding party and all of your guests trudging through the sand and dust to reach the middle of nowhere but there are communities near some of them with decent venues for receptions and accommodations, such as the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona. You can still enjoy breathtaking scenery but don’t have to wander too far off the beaten path. The same is true with the Mojave Desert, which surrounds Las Vegas. Guests don’t have to travel far to get to the desert spot but will get a more natural experience.
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Some people create amazing fairyland décor by transforming trees with lights, draping cloth canopies and other fanciful touches. Or you can find yourself a natural forest and not touch a thing. Like the California Redwoods, which offer a temperate outdoor location among giant ancient groves. It’s not far from the Bay Area either, so your guests can find plenty of lodging and easy airfare in and out. Or enjoy more exotic locations in Central America by exchanging vows in rain forests in Costa Rica or Belize. Even Hawaiian rainforests can become memorable spots for weddings, but not “the same ol’” Hawaiian experience on the beach that everyone else is seeking.
Photo credit: Seanna Hines
You don’t have to hike in or do anything remotely strenuous, and all you and your guests have to do is get to Juneau, Alaska. (it’s not hard; it’s the capitol.) From here, there are a variety of services that can shuttle you and your guests to the top or at least the bottom of nearby glaciers for your big day. Transportation can be by helicopter, car or tram depending on the company. Depending on the weather or time of year, actual exposure to the elements can be minimized: a quick ceremony can take place, but then everyone goes back to the warm. Glaciers in New Zealand also can be the wonderful setting for weddings, but these may stretch the boundaries of “destinations” and get into “extreme” country.
Photo credit: Jenna Lee
Sure, anyone can travel to Hawaii and have a wonderful ceremony on or near the beach. That’s one of the most classic destination weddings out there so definitely to be avoided by those seeking something unique. In this case, you don’t need to stray too far from the beach on the Big Island to find an active volcano area, which can create brilliant photos and present just a sense of danger, plus some great conversation topics. Some permits are required for safety issues, but the experience can be stunning.
Photo credit: https://www.nashvillezoo.org/weddings
Some say wedding planning is for the birds, but for couples looking for unique spots that are easy to travel to for them and their guests, there’s nothing better than a zoo. Many metropolitan cities in the U.S. have animal parks, which makes them easy to reach through most commercial airports or interstate highway systems. St. Louis welcomes weddings, as does Cleveland and Baltimore. The latter even allows some smaller, less deadly animals like penguins to be part of the ceremony on request.
‘The more the merrier’ is one of the mottos of a destination wedding: it’s you, your partner-to-be, and a bunch of supporters ready to have fun celebrating with you, especially in a wonderfully scenic location. Enjoy the experience.