Planning a wedding goes something like this. You choose the flowers you want, grab a caterer and write out the guest lists. Then you go on a march around all the local venues in your area, finding out who is offering the best deal.
But there’s a problem with this. What if you want your big day to be on a white sand beach or in an enchanting Bavarian castle and there don’t happen to be anywhere you live? What then?
Some couples in this situation decide that in order to make their day perfect, they’re just going to have to take the plunge and hold their weddings overseas. It turns out that there’s a wedding destination for everyone. Let’s take a look at some of the most beautiful.
If your idea of the perfect wedding is having it illuminated by the northern lights, then Iceland is probably just about the best place to be. Iceland’s landscape is inspiring in its own way, thanks to its volcanic roots and extensive geyser fields where steam pumps up through the ground itself. The island is also exceptionally well served by car hire companies attached to the main airport in Reykjavik.
There are dozens of hotels in the country, including the Hotel Ranga in the south of the island, that can arrange weddings for couples from overseas. Many of these weddings take place outdoors, near the legendary Skoarfoss waterfalls near the Blue Lagoon spa. Is there a more idyllic and energising setting? Doubtful.
Mauritius is a favourite among couples when it comes to honeymoons. But did you know that it is also a popular place to host weddings? Data from Hitched says that Mauritius is actually the most popular place in the whole of the Indian Ocean to get married on a per capita basis, and it’s not hard to see why. The chain of islands is surrounded by blue-turquoise seas that stretch out as far as the horizon, beautiful white sand beaches and a well-developed tourist infrastructure, important if many people are being moved around.
Perhaps the best part of a Mauritius wedding are all the photos that can be taken in the islands’ many secluded coves, backed by stunning cliffs. The best place to go is the south coast of the Mauritius main island. This tends to be quieter than the crowded north. Marriages take place on the waterfront as well as in the tropical gardens at Shanti Maurice. Shanti Maurice also happens to be a great place to hold a reception, thanks to its award-winning spa and location.
Legend has it that Aphrodite, the goddess of love, was born in Cyprus. So it’s had a reputation for being a land of love for a very long time. In recent years, the island has been a hotspot for weddings, as brides and grooms seek out locations with excellent access and fantastic weather during the summer.
What most people forget about Cyprus, however, is just how stunning the island’s scenery is. Like Sardinia in the West, Cyprus is home to whitewashed churches, rugged hills and great wildlife, typical of the Mediterranean.
Companies, like Exclusive Yacht Weddings, allow couples to get married close to the sea and then provide yacht rides after the ceremony in their fleet of luxury boats.
Canada is a massive country, second only in land area to Russia. As you might expect, it varies a lot, depending on where you are. Perhaps the most romantic part of the country is Quebec city, the capital of the French-speaking region of Quebec. The whole city has a sort of fairytale feel, heavily influenced by the French Gothic revival of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Today, it’s home to the Hotel de Glace, one of the most popular venues for couples in Quebec to get married.
The hotel itself isn’t a fixed structure. Instead, it’s made entirely from ice and snowfall during the winter. Artisans work tirelessly to construct the entire complex, including, as it happens, a chapel where people can get married. If you’ve ever wanted to recreate the movie Frozen, then this is a great place to start. It should be noted that prices here are relatively high, meaning that some couples will need to investigate supplementing their income, through things like payday loans.
Sri Lanka is, according to Hitched, repeatedly voted as being one of the places where couples would most like to get married. The main reason appears to be the weather, but the culture here is also favourable. One of the nice things about Sri Lanka, the small island just off the coast of India, is that people are generally well looked after. The level of income on the island is still quite low, but there isn’t much deprivation in terms of health or education.
Some of the spas on the island offer wedding ceremonies to couples, including the Reef Villa & Spa on the island’s south-west coast. Couples can enjoy a private ceremony and afterwards explore the tropical gardens and pavilions that stretch out along the beach. It’s a great place to hold a reception, especially for larger groups.
Argentine isn’t usually the first place you think about when it comes to getting married, but as the second-largest country in South America, it has a lot to offer. Romantics flock to Buenos Aires in the summer every year to enjoy the capital’s unique style. And they love the Iguassu Falls as well as the stunning Andean mountain ranges that run along the western flank of the country.
Like Argentina, Croatia doesn’t sound like an idyllic place. But being so close to Western Europe, it’s landscape is just as carpeted in castles as any landscape in France or Britain. What’s more, it combines castles with islands, dotted all along its coastline with the Mediterranean. Couples can enjoy all of the beauty and majesty of castles, without half freezing to death.
Many people describe Croatia as an undiscovered gem which offers a lot more than advertising would seem to admit. One of the most well-known parts of the country is the town of Dubrovnik. Here you’ll find the Valamar Dubrovnik President Hotel. Along its waterfront it has a giant, open area dining space that caters for weddings, looking out over the sea.
South Africa is the ancestral home of all human beings on the planet. It’s where humans hung out for thousands of years, before making their way along the Nile and out of Africa into Europe and Asia. As such, many people has described going to the savannahs of Africa as a sort of homecoming. It almost feels natural to be there, in the warm temperatures and on the open plains.
For these reasons and many others, South Africa is yet another location attracting chic couples in their droves. Many people are flocking to a place called Ulusaba, Richard Branson’s private reserve in the heart of the country. Here, on the border of the Kruger National Park, you can get married in the midst of all your favourite Safari animals, at a safe distance away on a veranda overlooking the park. After the ceremony is complete, you and your guests can depart in a fleet of 4x4s and go looking for lions, giraffe and elephants.
Italy has always been the centre of culture and sophistication in Europe, which is why it plays hosts to so many international weddings. There’s something indescribably romantic about cities like Rome and Venice, as well as the stunning lakes in the north of the country near the border with Switzerland. The number of locations couples could choose in Italy goes on and on.
One place that is as good as any in the country is the Lucia Estate, an eighteenth-century villa complex that looks over the world-famous Lake Como and the Alps. It’s a stunning backdrop for any ceremony and one that will stay in the minds of your guests for as they as they should live.
Fiji is a collection of more than 332 islands, scattered around the Pacific Ocean. If there ever was a paradise on Earth, this was it. Each island has remained relatively unspoilt, thanks to the fact that the Fijian government realises that their natural beauty is its greatest asset.
Practically any of the islands are a great place to get married and have a ceremony. Many people choose to get married on an island that they have been too before on holiday as a child. Smaller islands are served by regular ferries, meaning the couples will need to plan transport carefully.
One of the most popular islands on which to get married are the Mamanuca Islands, the most northerly set of islands in Fiji. Here can be found the Natewa Bay, as well as some small townships. Couples often head to the Tokoriki Island Resort, a location that was recently voted as one of the most romantic on Earth. For people who love the film Castaway, this is as good as it gets.