No one needs a vacation more than a bride-to-be planning a wedding, so if you want to get away, why not do it on your wedding day, by having a destination wedding? Yes, they can be expensive, but if you have the funds and are okay with having a smaller guest list, destination weddings can be great because they’re built-in vacations offering endless memories and photo ops. Whether you take to Europe, or simply switch states, traveling to tie the knot is both romantic and memorable. We’re sharing 10 of our favorite destination wedding resorts where you can wine, dine, relax, and get wifed up (literally).
1. Auberge du Soleil, Napa
Source: PartySlate | Photography: Sylvie Gil Photography | Planner: Cole Drake Events | Floral: Fleurs de France | Venue: Auberge du Soleil
Napa’s Auberge du Soleil resort is inspired by the luxurious South of France, so you basically get two destination weddings in one if you decide to wed in wine country (while living out your wildest Meredith Blake dreams). And with the largest wine cellar in Napa and sprawling vineyards to take pictures in, why wouldn’t you? The Auberge du Soleil is such a dreamy domestic destination, and it’s surrounded by olive trees, which just feels like a metaphor for dealing with your crazy family. Michelin-star restaurants and private cottages cover the grounds and are equipped with the absolute necessities: a deep-soaking tub, wood fireplace, in-room massages, and more. So have a glass of vino (or three) and enjoy your wedding day.
2. Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen
Source: PartySlate | Photography: Elizabeth Medina | Planner: Runaway Bride Destinations | Décor & Floral: Alquimia | Venue: Banyan Tree Mayakoba
We’ve been told brides can enter their wedding ceremony at the Banyan Tree Mayakoba resort in Playa del Carmen by boat—must we go on? The jungle-surrounded resort is an exotic utopia, serving as the ideal location for the adventurous, yet totally tasteful, couple. Enjoy the area’s wildlife filled with turtles, unique birds, and even crocodiles (who can take care of your unruly bridesmaids… kidding). If you prefer to enjoy nature from the indoors, the spa it is. Already planned your wedding? No worries, the Banyan Tree Mayakoba resort is perf for a honeymoon as well.
3. The Breakers, Palm Beach
Source: PartySlate | Photography: LuvRox Photography | Planner: YSD Events | Design, Décor & Floral: The Special Event Resource and Design Group | Venue: The Breakers Palm Beach
Palm Beach, Florida is the ideal destination wedding location for those who are trying to escape city life while staying in the US (so accommodating of you!). The land of upscale shopping, dining, sparkling coastlines, and cute tennis outfits—what could be more perfect for the most lavish of weddings? The answer: The Breakers Palm Beach. The ballroom alone is enough to make your guests’ jaws drop, with sparkling crystal chandeliers. This place is probably where Malibu Barbie would host her wedding. If you want your wedding photos to look like they came straight out of a Lilly Pulitzer catalogue (in the best way possible), this is the place to get married.
4. Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, Bora Bora
Source: PartySlate | Photography: Marc Gerard | Planner & Design: LLG Events | Venue: Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora
Is Bora Bora not everyone’s dream destination? Since you’re not an influencer with mysteriously unlimited funds who can jet of to exotic locales on a random Tuesday (probably), make it the site of your wedding. At the Four Seasons Resort, Bora Bora, you’ll be greeted with a glass of champagne and a traditional French Polynesian welcome (so you can cross that off your bucket list). Then, transport your guests by boat to a private island for a toes-in-the-sand ceremony, or say “I do” in a private Polynesian chapel. The key word with this resort is private. And don’t worry about cold feet beforehand; just dip them in your (you already guessed it) private plunge pool from your floating bungalow.
5. The Hamilton Princess, Bermuda
Source: PartySlate | Photography: 4 Eyes Photography | Planner: Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli | Floral: Flowers by GiMi | Venue: The Hamilton Princess, Bermuda
Watch out Meghan Markle, there’s a new royal wedding in town—well, out of town. The Hamilton Princess, Bermuda resort was named after Princess Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria, and certainly lives up to regal standards. Locally known as The Pink Palace, your wedding color palette is basically already taken care of, which is perfect for every millennial bride. We don’t care what people say—millennial pink isn’t going anywhere.
6. Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort, Aruba
Source: PartySlate | Photography: Charmi Pena | Planner: Sonal J. Shah Event Consultants | Design, Décor & Floral: Design House Decor | Venue: Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort
It’s just another day in paradise at the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort. Ugh, must be nice. Hammocks, cabanas, and waterfalls that even TLC would allow you to chase fill the tropical resort, but the clear blue ocean and white sand beach is the idyllic spot to say “I do”. Then, use the lawn spaces for a cocktail hour, followed by a poolside reception as the sun sets on the island. We just did all the planning for you, you’re welcome! Hundreds of palm trees offer the perfect place for shade, but you also have the option of taking your celebration indoors to the Grand Caribbean Ballroom, which can hold up to 550 guests (if you even know that many people, Mazel).
7. J.K. Place, Capri
Source: PartySlate | Photography: Fred Marcus Studio | Planner: Save the Date | Chuppah & Florals: Capri Fiorie Piante | Venue: J.K. Place
You’re not a true Kimye fan unless you, too, host your wedding in Italy. And where better to go than the glittering island of Capri, the favorite vacation of Instagram models everywhere? Capri is accessible by helicopter or boat, making your entrance more memorable than Lady Gaga’s egg at the 2011 Grammys. (If you don’t get that reference, you’re too young to get married.) Capri’s J.K. Place resort is your wanderlust Instagram aesthetic come to life. Postcard views of the Mediterranean and coastline terraces make this resort the ultimate destination location, not to mention the upscale dining and wine galore. The elegant yet homey interiors will make your entire stay feel like an Architectural Digest editorial spread. Ciao, America! We’re never coming home.
8. Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Charleston
Source: PartySlate | Photography: Jennings King Photography | Planner: WED Charleston | Floral: Flowershop | Venue: Mingo Point of Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Charleston was recently named the most popular wedding destination in the US, and if this seems completely random to you, then you clearly haven’t been to the Kiawah Island Golf Resort. This 5-star resort offers world-class amenities and some of the most sought-after golf courses, which your dad and grandpa will no doubt be pumped about. You, however, can enjoy yourself across the 10 miles of beaches or from deluxe villas with ocean views. Decide between a glamorous beach wedding or something more rustic chic at the popular Mingo Point restaurant and terrace space. The Kiawah Island Golf Resort is a luxurious, domestic getaway which will make you feel like the princess you are.
9. The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas
Source: PartySlate | Photography: LuvRox Photography | Planners: Sara Renee Events; Carrie Zack Events; The Absolute Event | Décor: The Wildflowers | Venue: Four Seasons Ocean Club
No Fyre Festivals here! With Four Seasons service on a tropical island, The Ocean Club in the Bahamas is unrivaled when it comes to destination wedding locations. The resort stretches across 35 exquisitely manicured acres, filled with fine dining, lavish lounge spaces, and plenty of engaging activities for wedding guests, including one of the island’s best casinos. Architectural ruins surround The Ocean Club and look absolutely incredible in wedding photos (so you can count on double-digit Instagram likes).
10. The Estate, Napa
Source: PartySlate | Photography: Damion Hamilton | Planner: Barbara Llewellyn Catering and Event Planning | Florals: Nancy Liu Chin Designs | Venue: The Estate Yountville
Napa’s The Estate is home to the sophisticated Hotel Villago and its sister hotel, Vintage House, as well as The Estate Yountville, one of the most stunning wedding venues in the state of California. Two hotels and an event space make this resort a one-of-a-kind destination spot. The activities available to its guests really set this place apart, including hot air balloon tours for your extra guests. And for the ceremony, The Estate Yountville will take your breath away with its striking terrace and garden spaces and a stunning Napa backdrop. I mean, this chandelier-filled tent? We can’t even.
Images: Sylvie Gil Photography, Elizabeth Medina, LuvRox Photography, Marc Gerard, 4 Eyes Photography, Charmi Pena, Fred Marcus Studio, Jennings King Photography, LuvRox Photography, Damion Hamilton
The idea that destination weddings are not the most convenient for your guests isn’t new, but people keep having them, so I guess it’s time I say my piece. It’s not that I’ve never wanted to go to Bermuda. It isn’t that I find The Maldives anything but quaint. It totally isn’t that I’m not looking forward to a 10 hour flight with two layovers on the way for a two-day total trip. It definitely isn’t that I don’t want to spend $1,000 just to get to the wedding of a couple I am v lukewarm about anyway.
Destination weddings are parties meant to alienate your friends and family. No offense, but it’s true. If your wedding involves a location that a) is hard to get a direct flight to; b) is impossible or extremely difficult to drive to; or c) involves really expensive hotels or resorts REGARDLESS of season, you’re planning a fucking destination wedding.
If you demand everyone travel for your special day, let’s get a few things straight about what’s going through your guests’ heads.
1. You Were Clearly Trying To Weed Out
The Unwanted Guests
I FEEL YOU. Really, I do. Destination weddings are the best way to weed out my least favorite thing: KIDS! If you think about it, though, don’t you think it’s, like, kinda sad to ensure Great Aunt Gertrude can’t come because she shits herself at the sight of a plane? Or like, aren’t you kinda telling all the people who can’t afford a $600 flight and $300/night hotel to go fuck themselves? I get it—I love being mean. But stay woke about what you’re doing.
2. I Love You, But Bot THAT Much
Girl, we’ve been friends for years, but fuck you for making me hop three planes, pay $6 in the airport for a Cinnabon so I didn’t pass out, live in a hotel for a few days, and then watch you get drunk and say some things to another person. I love you, but, also, fuck you.
3. I Don’t Want To Get You A Gift, Too
I feel SUPER rude for not getting you a gift, but you aren’t worth a $2,000 trip AND $200 worth of towels for your guest bathroom. Sister is trying to save up for that new pair of Louboutins.
4. It’s Not Even A Real Vacation
Like, don’t get me wrong—if you invite me to your destination wedding on St. Jamaica-Tropez-Bartholomew in the Indian Ocean, it should count as a vacay. But the thing is, it won’t be. If I’m IN the wedding, my day(s) will be taken up with wedding shit. If I’m not, now I’m trapped on an island waiting for wedding stuff to commence. My typical vacays consist of laying around, sunning my pale, round body, and drinking heavily. This will only check one of those boxes.
5. I Don’t have Unlimited Days Off
I wish I did. But, I don’t. And what I REALLY don’t have is two days to spare for travel, two days to spare for your big day, and one day to fucking readjust my body after drinking somewhere with a huge time difference. Life is hard.
6. I Will Literally Be Trapped On An Island For God Knows How Long
I totally love your fam, but not trapped-on-an-island love them. What if my plus one can’t come? What if my flight gets delayed? What if there’s a hurricane? (Why did I just describe the atmosphere of Fyre Festival?) It’s not like I can spend any of my time with you since you, like, had the nerve to get married this weekend. You’re literally so rude.
7. I’ll Get To Spend Five Minutes With You
Yah, I’m going to see you for all of 30 seconds when you and your now-hubby make the rounds to thank everyone for coming. Then I’m going to sit and drink my probs rum-based drink and eat my expensive hamburger alone, sadly.
Bottom line: Go get married somewhere cool, but don’t expect your guests to like it or attend. Shit, we may not even send gifts if we’re, like, mad.
Images: Anne Edgar / Unsplash; Giphy (5)