The world is your oyster when it comes to planning your dream wedding abroad. There are so many different venues, picturesque locations, and exotic destinations to create the perfect backdrop for your special day.
Whether you’re looking for somewhere with a little culture and history or want to feel the sea breeze in your hair, there are a huge number of beautiful venues you can choose from.
While this list isn’t too extensive, these stunning destinations should give you a little inspiration to find somewhere that suits your style to a T. And, since you’re already abroad, there’s no harm in planning your dream honeymoon too…
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Nestled on the Pacific Coast, Puerto Vallarta is the perfect destination for anyone looking for a tropical style. Both private villas and all-inclusive hotel experiences are available in the Mexican town, with incredible views to make your wedding photos an absolute dream.
Best time of year: Winter and Spring (November/December) is the best time for a Puerto Vallarta, rain-free wedding.
Food and drink: Tequila and seafood
Lake Como, Italy
Italy is a hugely popular destination for those looking for a wedding venue that combines incredible architecture with white sandy beaches. Lake Como in Northern Italy boasts stunning views of the waters and mountains. Wedding planners can choose from charming villas in the foothills of the alps or a catalog of beautifully historical architecture.
Best time of year: March-November
Food and drink: Lake fish and wine
Samui Island, Thailand
Those looking to make the moment a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience should consider Samui Island in Thailand. This private island offers a complete Utopia for you and your guests, with 22 villas available for everyone to stay.
Best time of year: February (start of the dry season, without the humidity)
Food and drink: Shellfish and fruity cocktails
Montego Bay, Jamaica
If you’re looking for the ultimate destination in the tropics, try Montego Bay. Whether you want a beach wedding or celebrate a wedding on a yacht, Jamaica has a huge number of resorts, private Airbnb, and beach villas to make your dream day (or week).
Best time of year: February to October
Food and drink: Jerk chicken and Montego Bay cocktails
For a total bohemian style, there’s no better location than Marrakech. Bursting with character and culture, Marrakech combines the sandy desert with bold colored, intricate architecture. There’s so much beauty, and you’ll be stuck narrowing down the choices for where to have your wedding photos taken!
Best time of year: March to May
Food and drink: Tangia and grey wine
Joshua Tree, California
Joshua Tree could be the perfect location for those in the States looking for desert vibes nearer to home. Two deserts collide in this National Park, making it the perfect place for a quirky and classy ceremony with backdrops of unique rock formations.
Best time of year: October to November
Food and drink: Dried fruits, seafood
Franschhoek, South Africa
Vineyards and wineries are a popular choice for couples that enjoy the finer things in life. Classic choices include the Napa, Burgundy, or Bordeaux wine regions, but Franschhoek is becoming increasingly popular. Known as the food and drink capital of South Africa, a destination wedding here will certainly be a holiday of laughter, warmth, and deliciousness.
Best time of year: October to April
Food and drink: Charcuterie, cheeses, and wine
Seville is the perfect picturesque destination for your magical day with historical churches, Andalusian palaces, and cobblestone streets. The city boasts an abundance of character with breathtaking views around every corner.
Best time of year: March to May
Food and drink: Pork cheek and orange wine
While Paris – the city of Love – might be your first choice for a French destination wedding, Provence offers an elegance and sophistication like no other. Chateaus in the area provide beautiful wedding packages, including trips to the famous vineyards, Lavender fields, and olive groves.
Best time of year: May-September
Those who love all things quintessentially British won’t be disappointed with what the English countryside offers. Although the weather is a little unpredictable, Suffolk’s rolling meadows and picturesque properties make for the perfect summer wedding destination. There are a huge number of venues available, from mansions or stately homes to small, historical hotels nestled into the rural outskirts.
Best time of year: May-September
Food and drink: Fish and chips, Collins cocktails
Limerick in Ireland offers a fairytale setting for the bride and groom. Here, you can get married in an actual castle or opt for beach vibes along the beautiful coast.
Best time of year: May to July
Food and drink: Coddle, Guinness
Out of all the places you’d expect to see on the list of top destinations for your wedding, Croatia probably doesn’t cut. However, Dubrovnik offers beautiful baroque architecture, seaside views, and wonderfully bright limestone around every corner. So, picking the perfect time of year, you could find yourself with a pretty affordable coastline wedding.
Best time of year: June to August
Food and drink: Buzara and Rose Liqueur
Portugal is another of those places that has it all: Romance, royalty, sea breeze, and history. Sintra is a particularly beautiful spot, with a popular favorite being the coral chapel at Penha Longa Resort.
Best time of year: April to October
Food and drink: Queijada and sangria
East Hampton, New York
Nearer home, a New York wedding is idyllic in just about any season. Whether you’re already local or an east coaster, there are plenty of stunning venues and seaside options in this part of the country. There’s even the chance to have your wedding photos in front of an old lighthouse for some true nautical style.
Best time of year: June and July
Food and drink: Pizza with negronis
Destination Wedding Checklist
Rather than bombarding you with too many destinations, we’re also sharing a checklist for planning the perfect wedding abroad without any issues.
Check the official regulations
When choosing a location, you’ll need to check double the official wedding regulations in that country, as well as your own. Some areas may not have the same laws as your home country, potentially making the marriage unofficial when you get back home. Similarly, some countries will require you to take care of all the legal paperwork before you arrive at your destination.
Think carefully about budget
It’s often expected that you’ll need a larger budget for a destination wedding – especially if you’re planning to have a large wedding party. However, there are plenty of unexpected expenses to consider that might not have been factored into your original numbers. Everything from the venue to floristry and cake needs to be accounted for as well as taxi rides from hotels and much more. And, if you’re going abroad for the occasion, it’s good to get the budgeting in early.
Get the invites out early
If people need to save up for a holiday to attend your wedding, they’ll need to know plenty in advance. So have your invites sent out as early as possible, to give people the chance to find somewhere to stay, save up and organize child care if needed.
Find accommodation for guests
Although most people won’t expect you to pay, you should look into group offers at hotels in the area to see if you can get your guests a discounted price. That way, everyone will be near to one another – meaning there’s much less organizing needed on the day!
Visit the venue beforehand
Even though your dream wedding is abroad, that doesn’t mean you should save the moment until the day. Be sure to visit the location before committing to anything, as wedding brochures can certainly be photoshopped and altered. Visiting the venue will also allow you to scope out local caterers and florists to keep costs down.
Book your flights
You’ve already got so much to pay for, and it’s worth booking in your flights as early as possible to get the best deal. You might even be able to contact the travel group for a group discount if you plan to travel with other guests. If you’re planning to take table decoration and favors with you, it might be better to send these out separately, rather than stashing them in your suitcase, too.
Plan your itinerary
Depending on what type of wedding package you’ve arranged, you might need to create your own itinerary for the day. For example, where will the bride be getting ready? Who will be there? How long will it take to get to the venue? How will you travel? Having as much as possible planned out will give you much less to worry about on the day.
Enjoy every moment
Destination weddings feel extra exciting. So rather than stressing about all the finer details, make sure to enjoy the moments along the way. This is your special day, and those you love will be around you for support. So now all that’s left is to say, ‘I do’ and celebrate!