Your ceremony and reception sites set the tone for your wedding – classic or eclectic?
Glamorous or understated?
There’s a lot to consider!
No matter what your wedding style, choosing the right venue is important.
And that’s especially true when you’re planning a destination wedding.
You want the event to run smoothly. You want guests to be entertained. And you want to do it all while still feeling like you’re on vacation.
Following is a guide to destination wedding venues, which features some of our favorite estates as well as top resorts around the world.
Pleasantdale Chateau Estate, New Jersey
Situated on 40 acres of formal gardens, meadows and ponds, Pleasantdale Chateau Estate is a historic and rare find. An ivy-covered gatehouse welcomes guests, who are immediately immersed in a private and serene setting of fascinating architecture – from the Scandinavian chapel to the Mediterranean-style Fountain Room.
It’s an ideal destination wedding venue if you’re planning a large soiree as the Grand Ballroom accommodates up to 300 people! And foodies will be happy to know that the estate’s kitchen is led by a classically trained chef with a knack for the remarkable. Friends and family won’t have to travel far after the big event, either; Pleasantdale also has more than 30 well-appointed guest rooms.
Aspen Meadows Resort, Colorado
Is there anything more romantic than a picturesque Aspen backdrop for your destination wedding? With the Colorado Rockies’ peaks and valleys surrounding, Aspen Meadows Resort sits on 40 acres of breathtaking natural scenery. Inspired by classic Bauhaus aesthetic, the entire resort features floor-to-ceiling windows and simple yet elegant décor.
And there’s no shortage of options when it comes to ceremony and reception sites, either, with more than 22,000 square feet of space. Resort amenities include a full-scale health club with spa services, decadent dining, and activities for every season. Getting to Aspen is easy, too, thanks to its local airport.
St. Helena Vineyard Estate, California
Nestled in the foothills of St. Helena, Calif. and surrounded by hillside vineyards, St. Helena Vineyard Estate is five acres of stunning wine country. Onsite you’ll find a 5,000-square-foot main house, 1,200-square-foot guest house and a multi-purpose media and game building. Perfect for small destination weddings, the luxury estate is a quintessential Napa Valley experience with rolling, grassy knolls and blooming gardens.
And, best of all: no neighbors, no traffic and no disturbances! St. Helena Estate comfortably sleeps up to 12 people and your guests can enjoy amenities like a bocce ball court, pool, and full bar.
Château de Bagnols, France
Do you dream of feeling like a princess on your wedding day? Then Château de Bagnols in Beaujolais, France may be your perfect destination wedding venue. The centuries-old castle features manicured gardens and its very own winery – both of which are stunning options for wedding day sites. (Or, you can even walk to the nearby 15th-century church.)
For accommodations, guests can choose from a number of apartments from demure to grand. Enhancing their stay is a series of activities like hot air balloon flights, horse carriage rides, wine tastings and chef-prepared picnics. Château de Bagnols is an enchanting location that looks straight from the pages of a fairytale.
Villa Helena, Florida
Villa Helena in Miami Beach brings together an alluring Art Deco design and thoroughly modern facilities in a 1920s-inspired estate. Marble floors, custom-made chandeliers and a large courtyard with bright green hedges add to its allure and classic ambiance.
Villa Helena is centrally located just 10 minutes from South Beach, so you’ll have easy access to sunny stretches of sand and an energetic nightlife scene. But you’ll find it difficult to leave the estate thanks to its sweet touches – high-end Bulgari bath products, freshly cut flowers and Godiva chocolates placed bedside for you and your guests. Optional extras include chef and mixologist services.
Tides Riviera Maya, Mexico
On the Yucatan Peninsula’s Caribbean coast, Tides Riviera Maya is defined by its pure white sand beach. The villa resort is hidden in the small village of Playa Xcalacoco near Playa del Carmen and surrounded on three sides by tropical forest. Travel + Leisure called the resort “a sexy and eco-conscious hideaway in the jungle” – a proper title given its A-list amenities.
Your guests will love the personal service and palapa-roofed villas decorated in a simple Mayan design. Choose from six destination wedding sites, including a beachfront spot, jungle palapa, and lush tropical garden.
Hacienda Pinilla, Costa Rica
Located near Tamarindo, Costa Rica, Hacienda Pinilla is a 4,500-acre beach resort and gated residential community surrounded by a tropical rain forest and wildlife refuge. This villa sprawls more than 7,000 square feet and features five bedrooms available for overnight accommodations.
Renting the villa as your destination wedding venue gives you direct access to the community’s private beaches, golf course and tennis courts. Within walking distance is Hacienda Pinilla’s Beach Club, where you and guests can spend all day hopping between the pool and beach. There’s also a spa and Beach Club Restaurant with homemade cuisine crafted.
Gansevoort Turks & Caicos, Caribbean
Gansevoort Turks & Caicos is a sleek boutique hotel with a sensual island vibe. Situated on Providenciales’ Grace Bay beach, the soothing seaside getaway houses just 91 rooms, which means you won’t feel overrun by other guests on the day of your nuptials.
Weddings can be stressful, but it’s nearly impossible to feel anything besides relaxed at Gansevoort Turks & Caicos thanks to a 7,000-square-foot infinity edge pool and award-winning spa. And the staff here is well prepared to make your wedding day perfect, whether you’re looking for small and intimate or over-the-top luxurious.
Blue Cave Villas, Greece
A clear blue sea and ruggedly beautiful mountains are all that surround you at Blue Cave Villas, a private and peaceful complex of four traditional Zakynthian stone houses. There’s plenty to keep the wedding party entertained – from hiking and mountain biking to swimming, fishing and canoeing.
Destination weddings at Blue Cave Villas are completely personal and intimate, a complete vacation for all involved. It’s a venue that goes above and beyond with free amenities, including an astronomical observatory, wine bar, and organic Greek toiletries. Your wedding party can have run of the house while staff helps you organize transfers, tours and even pre-arrival grocery shopping.
Imagine getting married at Blantyre in the height of fall foliage season, when the ivy along its Main House turns a vibrant shade of red and the main driveway is covered in an archway of golden leaves. Located in Lenox, Mass., the luxury country house hotel is a 1900s-era property made up of a main house, carriage house and four cottages.
Rooms are cozy and plush, and include details like overstuffed chairs, fresh flowers and four-post beds. Plan your destination wedding here in mid-September to late October when leaf peeping around the Berkshires is at its best.
What is your favorite Destination Wedding Venue?
About the Author
Katarina is a freelance writer specializing in travel, fashion, weddings and beauty/wellness. Her work has been printed in publications like The Knot, Sunset, Four Seasons Magazine, and Unboundary by USA Today. She is the author of The Food Lovers’ Guide to Phoenix & Scottsdale, founder of the fashionable travel blog Style Jaunt, and travel contributor for SheKnows.com. Follow her on Twitter @Little_K and Google+.