Here’s a little secret: There are actually dozens of reasons to wed away, from seeing jaw-dropping locales to spending real bonding time with your nearest and dearest. It’s a trend one in four couples is now boarding (A plane! A boat! A helicopter!). Fancy a barefoot bash over a buttoned-up affair? You’re not alone. The Mintel U.S. weddings report found that 58 percent of brides want their wedding to be remembered as a fun and casual party, rather than a formal event. No wonder so many couples are hitting the road for their nuptials. After all, when was the last time you saw stilettos on the beach or tuxes in a barn? Destination weddings are especially accommodating for couples steering away from the traditional black-tie wedding.
So, here are some of our favorite spots to inspire, and, when ready, deliver! We’ll execute your dreamed wedding…beyond travel!
All listed properties are preferred partners of Art In Voyage
The South African Wedding
Whether your fondest childhood memories are of running barefoot along the South African coastline on a secluded beach somewhere, or you’ve been dreaming of visiting the Southernmost tip of the African continent since you first laid eyes on photographs of the rolling hills, breathtaking vineyards and indigenous fynbos; choosing to host a destination wedding in South Africa is a no-brainer for some. Others need a little more convincing. If you are from the US, the majority of the destination weddings you’ve heard of or been to have been in the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Hawaii; basically either beach weddings, or, occasionally, European breakaways. Yet, consider South Africa’s biodiversity which is absolutely astounding. From deserts to grasslands, beaches to vineyards, no matter what you’ve dreamed the backdrop to your nuptials would look like; you can find your dream destination wedding venue in South Africa.
If a bush wedding is what you are looking for, our friends at Tanda Tulahave the PERFECT venue. After a ceremony surrounded by the sites and sounds of the roaring wildlife, newlyweds get to spend the night..under the stars!
If being surrounded by vines while celebrating your union in a 16th century Dutch colonial farm is more your thing, well, South Africa’s got that too. In the winelands, less than an hour away from Cape Town, you will find the likes of Molenvliet Vineyards or Sir Richard Branson’s Mont Rochelle
The "never old or out of fashion" Italian Wedding
Felicitazioni! Italy is always a winner among our guests, be it for a corporate retreat, a special family reunion or, yes, to tie the knots. We feel grateful to have had the pleasure to assist a few of our guests with unions in some of the most incredible settings. Yet, those are not always what you may first think of. In our humble opinion, unless you have the budget to travel around by boat, Amalfi is best avoided. The extreme traffic and increasing amount of unruly tourists makes that beautiful region one of the most stressful spots to host what should be a fun, memorable and easy time of your life. Instead, how about Umbria, the forgotten neighbor of Tuscany, boasting historical and charming towns such as Orvieto, Assisi, Gubbio or Spello. Or maybe a coastal wedding still with the less tourist and equality gorgeous region of Puglia (we are thinking Apulia, Lecce or Taranto, overlooking the crystal clear blue waters of the Adriatic)
Sicily’s Taormina region is always a winner, and you can even theme the reception after the “Godfather”!
Of course, there likes of Lake Como or Tuscany are still winners, and some of our favorite spots as well. Favor a wine-hotel or a villa to make it extra special. In both instances, as much or as little personalized service as you want can be arranged. Plus, there is something that remains magical with a long family table set up under the olive trees, with a local Italian band playing live your favorite tunes.
The Moroccan Wedding
If you’re not interested in a hotel reception or a chapel ceremony and are looking for something a little more exciting, why not sweep your guests off their feet and escape to exotic Morocco for a destination wedding like no other. Today, we focus on Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains.
Here again, one of Sir Richard Branson’s properties is on our list of top venues if you decide being surrounded by the peace and culture of Marrakesh’s Atlas Mountains is the way to go. At Kasbah Tamadot, located in Asni (a little village and marketplace in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, an area inhabited by the friendly Berbers), there are no limits to what your wedding can look like. Bringing local cultures and traditions into the planning and execution, this venue can easily lay claim to arguably some of the most breathtaking views of any property in North Africa. Following your celebration, there are a plethora of different activities at your disposal, including trekking in the Atlas Mountains, camel riding, quad biking, and paragliding.
In Marrakesh, our top choice is and remains La Sultana Marrakesh. Situated in the heart of the Medina of Marrakech (a UNESCO World Heritage listed site), it boats unique and traditional architecture as well panoramic views of a thousand years of history. Our favorite place for a wedding is their patio/rooftop, where the sights (smells and sounds) are the highlights along with the incredible views of the snow-capped Atlas mountains.
The Colombian Wedding
A focus on Cartagena, a city like no other. Just a 5-hour flight from NYC, Cartagena, Colombia is a romantic getaway where you can walk through colorful and cobbled streets in the old city and make your way to the beautiful beaches of the Caribbean Sea. Just picture this: Gorgeous Spanish-colonial architecture and people dancing salsa in the streets; Cartagena will transport you to a place where the history and romance of Colombia meet the breathtaking waters of the Caribbean, making it the perfect wedding (or even Honeymoon) close to home!
Equally rich in history and beauty, Cartagena is one of the most unique and underrated destinations, making it a truly special place to elope (with your entourage, of course).
There, why not pay tribute to local customs, and incorporate a religious ceremony full of family, traditional Colombian folk dancers and drummers, and an adorable arsenal of little children.
© Masson Liang Photography
Tango away in Mendoza, Argentina
If you are looking for something more casual yet still sophisticated and perfect for a smaller circle of friends, do we have the place for you or what? Or favorite destination wedding in Argentina is the wine region of Mendoza, and more precisely the lovely Relais & Chateau Cavas Wine Lodge. Sitting at the food of the Andes, and surrounded by miles of vineyards, the location is perfect for a small wedding in the middle of its own vineyard. The region is full of incredible activities that will complement a simple yet incredible and memorable wedding reception. And who knows, you may finally get your mother-in-law to tango with you.
While it will still take you 10+ hours from the U.S, once there, think of the additional opportunities to discover a land of diversity, where European and American cultures meet in perfect harmony. Become a Gaucho for a day, or enjoy a cooking class in the heart of Buenos Aires. Take on horseback riding in the vineyards of Mendoza, or indulge in something a little more adventurous with some white water rafting. This is truly the perfect destination wedding for those of you looking for a little more casual yet not any less posh and fun!
© Cedar & Pines