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25 Best Destination Wedding Locations in the World

What is a destination wedding? From tropical beaches to ancient castles, we asked wedding planning expert Susannah Parker for her top tips for planning weddings abroad

Luxury destination weddings on white sandy island, a canopy of a white bridal arch in front of a blue sea

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What is a destination wedding? For many, it looks like a wedding on the beach somewhere warm and exotic. And while a sun-soaked celebration on white sand is still a popular choice, there are now even more options for couples seeking destination wedding packages.

So, if you're searching for inspiration for perfect intimate weddings abroad, you've come to the right place. 

From European cities to remote islands, the best destination wedding destinations to get married range far and wide. Some couples choose a location they've already visited and fallen in love with; others use getting married abroad as an opportunity to discover a new country or region.

Unless you know your chosen location well, or have friends and family there, we'd recommend using a wedding planner. If you aren't able to make regular visits and meet suppliers in person, their local knowledge could prove essential - plus, they can help with any language barriers.

For other top tips on planning a destination wedding, we asked luxury wedding planner Susannah Parker to share her best advice for couples when choosing wedding destinations abroad.

From the best wedding abroad prices and packages to advice on planning a seamless celebration, we've got expert insider tips from luxury wedding planner and owner of Couture Events, Susannah Parker, who has shared with us her top recommendations for planning a destination wedding.

First and foremost, planning intimate weddings abroad starts with finding a location that you'll love. For inspiration, we've rounded up the best wedding locations in the world.

35 Best Destinations To Get Married in the World

1. The Amalfi Coast, Italy

View of the Amalfi Coast, a white boat floating on the blue water in front of colourful coastal houses

Why we love it: Italy is home to some of the best destinations to get married. Italian weddings are known for spectacular food and wine, so this is the country to choose if that's your priority. What gives Italy's Amalfi Coast an extra wedding-appeal is the fact that it's a bucket-list destination, with spectacular scenery for miles as soaring cliffs meet sparkling sea.

There are beautiful towns to visit, beaches to lounge on - and of course, pasta a-plenty to tuck into. If you choose to throw your wedding at a hotel along the coast, you'll be spoilt for choice. 

Best time to wed: April-June

Need to know: Same-sex couples can choose to commit to a civil union in Italy which provides the same rights, benefits and obligations of marriage except for joint adoption rights. 

2. Phuket, Thailand

Boats floating on the sea on a beach in Phuket, Thailand

Why we love it: If you're dreaming of having a wedding on a beach, look no further than Phuket's white sandy coves. We'd particularly recommend making time for a morning stroll around the charming capital, Phuket Town, followed by a lunchtime feast of seafood straight from the market.

What makes Phuket so perfect for a destination wedding is the fact that you can go straight into honeymoon mode after saying "I do". We'd recommend at least week in Phuket to totally chill, interspersed perhaps with trips to explore some other islands, particularly Koh Lanta and Surin.

Best time to wed: Nov-Feb

Need to know: While Thailand doesn't currently recognise same-sex marriages as legally binding, a bill was passed in March to change this. The movement to legalise same-sex marriage is widely expected to be approved by the end of 2024. 

3. Istria, Croatia

Evening view of the Croatian harbour, lit up in front of the mountains in the background with boats in the harbour

Why we love it: There's something magical about Croatia's coastline, and that's particularly true of the north-western peninsula. We're talking sparkling blue water, picturesque seaside towns and breath-taking vistas. Yes, the beaches are rocky rather than sandy, but it's still a beautiful option for a wedding on the beach.

The area is known for its excellent food and wine - it was an Istrian restaurant that garnered the country's first Michelin star. In addition to some gourmet indulgence, there's plenty to keep your guests entertained if they choose to stay for a few days, from visits to picturesque medieval towns to water sports. Tie the knot in a luxury hotel or a charming villa, or maybe even on a boat in Croatia's famous harbour! 

Best time to wed: March-June & September

Need to know: In Croatia, same-sex couples can take participate in the Life Partnership Act. 

4. Brooklyn, New York City, USA

Brooklyn at daytime, the city streets with shops and cafes

Why we love it: We've long been fans of a Manhattan wedding, but now we're turning our attention to Brooklyn. Over the last few years, the borough has become a must-visit for travellers - and we reckon that makes it a hotspot for destination weddings, too.

It's a vibrant, lively area, with plenty of cool bars, restaurants, shops and hotels. Should your guests want to visit New York's classic sights, they're a subway ride away. We'd recommend checking out Brooklyn Winery or Brooklyn Botanic Garden for chic, downtown weddings.

When to wed: May-October

Need to know: Same-sex marriage has been legal in the state of New York since 2011. 

5. Ibiza, Balearic Islands

Sun rising over the horizon of Ibiza, a coastal view of the sea

Why we love it: Ibiza's not all about super clubs - head to the countryside to discover magical scenery and a truly tranquil vibe. The flight time from the UK is just two hours and 20 minutes, and it's served by many of the budget airlines.

Ibiza has a mild year-round climate and a host of chic rural retreats to accommodate your guests, so overall, and it's a practical choice, too. For a Mamma Mia inspired wedding, explore the many little white chapels dotted along the Ibiza coastline for your special day. 

When to wed: May-September

Need to know: Spain legalised same-sex marriage back in 2005, and it's been a go-to destination for gay couples looking to tie the knot ever since.

6. Cape Winelands, South Africa

Winery vineyard wedding venue in South Africa, ideal for destination weddings

Why we love it: For a breath-taking backdrop to your vows, South Africa's Cape Winelands are hard to beat. Around an hour's drive from Cape Town you'll find verdant vineyards set across sweeping valleys, with mountains rising dramatically in the background.

Many of the estates there host weddings, so you'll be guaranteed excellent wine amid all that natural beauty. Afterwards, head off on a South African Safari for your honeymoon.

When to wed: November-March

Need to know: Same-sex marriage has been legal in South Africa since the Civil Union Act in 2006. 

7. Lisbon, Portugal

Pink street in Lisbon Portugal, pastel walls and stone streets, traditional Portuguese architecture

Why we love it: Portugal's capital is a wonderful place for a city break, with beautiful architecture, a vibrant dining scene and plenty of places to explore. There are even beaches within easy reach, and vineyards available for wedding hire aren't too far away either, making it a great location for a city destination wedding.

One thing to bear in mind, however, is that some of the streets are very steep - if you have less-mobile relatives, they'll need to make their way around by taxi or public transport.

When to wed: March-May & September-October

Need to know: In Portugal, LGBTQ+ rights are among the most progressive in the world. Same-sex marriage has been legal there since 2010. 

8. Santorini, Greece

White and blue stone street in Santorini, alongside the blue sea with blue and white chairs outside.

Why we love it: This Greek island is famed for its beauty, from the marvellous sea views to those iconic white-washed houses and black-sand volcanic beaches. Yes, it's firmly on the travel radar, but if you choose your resort wisely - and travel outside school holidays - you can still get an exclusive, away-from-it-all vibe.

For most couples in Santorini, a luxury pool-side villa or a sea-front hotel will be your best options for venues. 

When to wed: April-May & September-November

Need to know: Civil partnerships have been recognised in Greece since 2015, but same-sex marriage has been legal February of 2024. 


9. Var, France

Lavender field in Provence, south of France wedding destination

Why we love it: Provence is famous for its picturesque villages, sun-drenched weather, excellent wine - and, of course, those incredible lavender fields. It's a perfect area to pick if you want a countryside wedding in an atmospheric château. But it can get a bit crowded with tourists in high season, so you need to choose your area carefully.

The department of Var isn't totally off the beaten track, but it's considerably more tranquil than better known locations in the region, and has both sublime countryside and beautiful seaside.

When to wed: March-May & September-November to avoid the crowds; early July to see the lavender

Need to know: Same-sex marriage has been legal in France since 2013, so it's perfect for every couple's dream destination wedding. 


10. Marbella, Spain

White and yellow houses on the street of Marbella, traditional Spanish street

Why we love it: Cast aside any preconceptions you may have of Marbella courtesy of TOWIE. Yes, this Spanish coastal city does have a bling side, but you'll also find refined resorts, fine dining and a charming Old Town. If you're looking for wedding destinations abroad that aren't short on sunshine, this is an excellent location.

As for finding a venue, a luxury villa is probably the best way to go as there are so many gorgeous options to choose from. From renovated farmhouses to charming golf clubs, there's a perfect spot for every couple.

When to wed: June-September, or May & September-October to beat the crowds

Need to know: Same-sex marriage has been legal in Spain since 2005. 

11. Lombardy, Italy

An Italian terrace street with traditional terracotta walls, in Lombardy, Italy

Why we love it: The Italian Lakes make a stunning backdrop to a wedding. Lake Garda and Lake Como are the best known, but check out some of the others, such as Lake Iseo and Lago di Ledro. As with all Italian celebrations, food will be a focus, so your guests will be in for a treat when it's time for the wedding breakfast.

With venues scattered throughout the Italian countryside and right on the lake, couples can find their dream wedding backdrop with the help of a local planner. 

When to wed: April-June & September-October

Need to know: Same-sex couples can choose to commit to a civil union in Italy which provides the same rights, benefits and obligations of marriage except for joint adoption rights. 



12. Côte d’Azur, France

A view of the Côte d’Azur, countryside style farmhouses in the middle of the green landscape

Why we love it: Also known as the French Riviera, this area has had jet set appeal since the 1960s. It’s easy to see why, given the beauty of the surroundings – and the wealth of luxury resorts and vineyards that have sprung up within these. The Côte d’Azur is never going to be a budget option, but if your dream is of a wedding day full of French glamour, this is the spot for you.

When to wed: May-June, September-October

Need to know: Same-sex marriage has been legal in France since 2013, so it's perfect for destination weddings for every couple.

13. Nantucket, USA

A lighthouse on a beach in Nantucket, USA

Why we love it: Nantucket is a coastal location with charm in spades, from the golden beaches to the weathered-shingle houses. It’s a tiny island so can get busy in summer, but many of the hotels and resorts are cleverly designed to still feel serene. The area is justifiably noted for its excellent food, so your wedding breakfast should be nothing short of spectacular. 

When to wed: March-April & September-October

Need to know: Same-sex marriage has been legally recognised in Massachusetts since 2004. 

14. Paris, France

The famous bridge in Paris at dusk, lit up by street lights overlooking the river

Why we love it: What edit of destination wedding locations would be complete without the city of love? Start your wedding adventure with Champagne at Searcys at St Pancras station, before hopping on the Eurostar.

You’ll find plenty of fabulous restaurants for a pre-wedding welcome dinner with your guests – we particularly like the boho Marais district for an evening out – before a wedding the following day at a luxury restaurant, hotel or even an opera theatre!

When to wed: April-June & September-October

Need to know: Same-sex marriage has been legal in France since 2013, so it's perfect for every couple's dream destination wedding. 

15. Rhode Island, USA

Rhode Island beach, lighthouse and traditional old house overlooking a grey sky

Why we love it: The sheer natural beauty of this New England state makes it a delightful location if you want a wedding that’s mainly outdoors, with miles and miles of glorious beaches. Should you decide to stay on for your honeymoon, you’ll find plenty to do, from day trips to picturesque towns to hiking, but the state’s relatively small size means it’s easy to get around.

When to wed: March-May & September-November

Need to know: Same-sex marriage has been legal in Rhode Island since 2013. 

16. Puglia, Italy

Cobbled street in Puglia, Italy - white walls and red tomatoes, with thatched roofs

Why we love it: It’s not entirely off the beaten track, but Puglia’s certainly a less obvious choice for an Italian wedding than Tuscany or the Amalfi Coast – but the area is every bit as lovely as these. Think enchantingly pretty countryside, gorgeous beaches and delicious regional cuisine. Choose from an intimate ceremony at a local restaurant, or a fancier affair at one of the area's luxury resorts. 

When to wed: May-June & September

Need to know: Same-sex couples can choose to commit to a civil union in Italy which provides the same rights, benefits and obligations of marriage except for joint adoption rights. 


17. Sicily, Italy

A pink, traditional wedding venue on an Italian coastline in Sicily at sunset

Why we love it: This Mediterranean island is known for fabulous food, stunning scenery of sandy beaches ringed with mountains, and delicious wine – elements that all help to make destination weddings memorable! Many budget airlines fly directly from the UK, making it a relatively easy journey for your guests.

With the help of a wedding planner, you can easily find the perfect sea-front hotel to accommodate your ideal Italian wedding.

When to wed: April-June & September-October

Need to know: Same-sex couples can choose to commit to a civil union in Italy which provides the same rights, benefits and obligations of marriage except for joint adoption rights. 

18. Split, Croatia

Split harbour, the Croatian coastline with terracotta houses and the coastline lined with boats

Why we love it: Lively coastal city Split has a big personality, blending historic architecture, a vibrant nightlife and a laidback beach culture. It’s also an easy jumping-off point for some island-hopping, so guests will have plenty to do. From galleries to wineries, there are lots of quirky options for wedding venues in this Croatian city.

When to wed: May-June & September-October

Need to know: In Croatia, same-sex couples can take participate in the Life Partnership Act. 

19. Venice, Italy

A river in Venice, lined with boats and traditional tall Italian buildings in white, yellow and pink

Why we love it: However many photos you’ve seen, nothing can prepare you for the first time you see Venice with your own eyes. It is, simply, magical – and as wedding destinations go, this is one of the best. Ignore anything you’ve heard about the food not being quite as good as the rest of Italy.

Having been, we can confirm that you can enjoy a magnificent wedding breakfast, which must include some traditional cicchetti, Venetian antipasti. And for those planning an elopement or a micro-wedding, why not opt for a gondola ceremony? 

When to wed: March-April and September-November

Need to know: Same-sex couples can choose to commit to a civil union in Italy which provides the same rights, benefits and obligations of marriage except for joint adoption rights. 



20. Brazil

Street of a Brazil street at night, lit up amongst the nightlife, an open-plan restaurant welcoming in customers to eat and drink

Why we love it: A trip to Brazil can mean so many different things: a glamorous city stay in Rio de Janeiro; horse riding on the Gaucho Trail; hiking through rainforest; chilling out on a gorgeous beach. Have a fun-filled wedding here, whether you choose to get married beneath a flowing waterfall, amidst the natural wildlife of Parque Nacional, or at the top of a stunning skyscraper in São Paulo.

If you can get the time off, you could even have a maxi-moon and travel around South America.

When to wed: November-March, although this varies considerably by exact destination within the country

Need to know: Same-sex marriage has been legal in Brazil since 2013. 




21. Cyprus

Closed blue door in white archway in front of the Cyprus coastline

Why we love it: This Mediterranean island is perfect for adrenalin-junkies, culture-vultures and beach-lovers. Whether you want to bike winding trails, explore an ancient city or chill out soft sands, there's something for you - which means that if you have a diverse guest list, you'll be able to keep everyone. It's child-friendly, and the climate is pretty great year-round.

What other excuse could you need? Oh yes - the food is fantastic. Opt for a hotel within the Blue Flag beaches or the forest covered hills - the scenery of both will provide stunning wedding photographs.

When to go: Any time, but at its best May-June

Need to know: Currently, same-sex marriages are not legally recognised in Cyprus. However, same-sex couples can enter an official civil union here. 


22. Seville, Spain

The Spanish old town of Seville, the cathedral and ancient buildings

Why we love it: For couples dreaming of orange blossoms, terracotta tiles and dancing till the early hours - it has to be Seville. Just a short plane ride from the UK, the couple and their guests can enjoy warm temperatures throughout the Easter season, whilst soaking in the vibrant atmosphere from the city's Semana Santa celebrations.

The Plaza de España is one of the most popular places to elope or renew vows, as it's known as an architectural masterpiece. Equally, boutique hotels with rooftop views of the Spanish city would offer an unforgettable intimate ceremony.

When to go: March-June

Need to know: Spain legalised same-sex marriage back in 2005.

23. Havana

Two classic cars parked outside of a street in Havana Old Town, Cuba

Why we love it: For wedding parties willing to travel further afield, you can't beat the multicoloured streets of Havana. Known as the masters of rum, couples who wish to tie the knot in Cuba won't struggle to find places to dance, mojitos to drink, or vintage cars to ride in.

Steeped in political history, it's also a fascinating city for guests to visit outside of the wedding celebrations. Many of the hotels in Havana were built in the 1930's, and the city has done well to protect the traditional architecture and style of this period. Choose to get married in one of these eclectic venues before heading to El Floridita to toast to your marriage with one of Hemingway's favourite cocktails. 

When to go: December-March

Need to know: Same-sex marriage has been legal in Cuba since 2022.

24. Copenhagen

Harbour of Copenhagen, boats moored in front of the traditional city houses

Why we love it: If you and your partner have embraced Scandi-style this year, then why don't plan your wedding around it too. Welcome your guests to Copenhagen where chic minimalism rules the roost. Whether you opt for a canal boat wedding or a Danish town hall ceremony, do it in style with clean, tailored dressing and delicious Danish catering. 

When to go: All year round! Copenhagen is perfect for a frosty winter wedding or a summer do. 

Need to know: Same-sex marriage has been legal in Denmark since 15 June 2012.

25. Maui

A bird's eye view of Maui from the coast looking out to the sea
Unsplash / Andrew Bain

Why we love it: If you're planning an intimate wedding abroad, Maui could be the one. You can marry on the beach providing you have a permit, with a maximum of 25 guests. State permitting rules don't allow for chairs or arches at a Maui beach wedding, so if you want something really small and simple, but beautiful, this could be the one. 

When to go: It's best to visit Maui in the shoulder seasons (April to May, and September to November), as the weather is pleasant and it's less crowed.

Need to know: Same-sex marriage has been legal in Hawaii since December 2013. 

Ask the Expert: Destination Wedding Advice

When planning destination weddings, hands-on experience and an eye for detail are key. That's why we asked luxury wedding planner and Creative Director of Couture Events, Susannah Parker, for her top tips on planning intimate weddings abroad.

Couture Events are creators of effortlessly exquisite destination wedding weekends at iconic locations for elite international and UK based couples. The team specialises in the creative designs and immaculate management of high-calibre weddings and events in stately homes and 5-star hotels, and is proud of to be the event planning partner to Harrods, as well as the winner of the UK Wedding Planner of the Year 2023 awards.

Susannah has over 20 years of experience in the events sector, and prides herself on her calm and unflappable approach to large-scale events, so we were excited to hear her insider tips on executing a flawless destination wedding:

What are Destination Weddings?

"Traditionally, a destination wedding would be when a couple chooses to host their wedding abroad, in a country where they are not resident. However, whilst we work predominantly with couples coming from abroad wanting to host their wedding weekends at iconic UK locations, we also work with UK based couples wanting the same goal - prepared to travel quite some distance from where they live to secure a venue which is prestigious, historic, exclusive and epic, which creates an unforgettable backdrop within which to create their wedding design.

"So, the venue becomes ‘the destination’ - guests are excited to travel there to spend the weekend at a location they perhaps would not ordinarily have the opportunity to to stay at."

How to Plan a Destination Wedding?

"Given that by their very nature, the location of your destination wedding is not one where you live nearby or are particularly familiar with, our top tip would of course be to hire a planner who specialises in weddings at that location and who therefore takes care not only of a bespoke design to fit your exact aesthetic but also all the day to day administration required to dovetail the myriad of arrangements.

"If a couple prefers to organise everything themselves for their destination wedding then our advice would be to consider the customs and legalities of getting married in your country of choice, along with the implications of the climate (heat and direct sunlight can be just as tricky to work with as sudden rainstorms or unpredictable weather).

"Then over and above all the standard vendor considerations (food, music, styling, photography etc). you will need to invest quite a bit of time in considering your guests comfort and enjoyment - they’ll be making a big effort to get there to celebrate with you, and will be away from home, so clear pre-event information and thoughtful touches on site are key to making your destination wedding successful and enjoyable for guests as much as yourselves."

What to Wear to a Destination Wedding?

"We would say that this is very much dependent on the climate, the forecast and your own unique style and desired level of formality or informality!

"Guests need clear instructions through - if you want gentlemen in jackets then you need to state it on the dress code; if you want ladies in colourful maxi dresses, say so! At all costs avoid vagueness such as “Formal” or “Relaxed” unless you are content to witness a wide variety of interpretations!"

To refresh your memory with the rules of what to wear to a wedding, take a look at our top fashion tips.

Where are the Best Wedding Destinations to get Married?

Destination wedding in France, Toulouse wedding, newlywed couple standing holding hands in a large field

"Apart from the UK of course for international couples, the eternally popular locations are Lake Como, Santorini and the South of France but equally you could consider more unusual locations such as the Scottish Highlands, Morocco or Croatia."

How Much Do You Spend on a Destination Wedding?

"The cost of your wedding is entirely dependent on how many guests you invite and how far you go to cover some of their costs (eg transfers from the airport, accommodation, meals throughout the weekend, drinks throughout the weekend etc) as well as your own preference for your vendor spend.

"Hiring local vendors will naturally be more cost effective than taking vendors with you from your home country but if you are not using a planner, you must do thorough research, which means go beyond the website and the social media feed to read first hand reviews or speak to previous couples."

Whether you're planning a wedding at home or away, a clear and concise wedding budget guide always comes in handy.

Is it Cheaper to Have a Destination Wedding?

"Again, this is very dependent on what kind of destination wedding you desire - if you choose to invite a handful of your closest friends and family to a non exclusive location (eg a private room in a beautiful clifftop restaurant overlooking the sea or in an exotic hotel) and they cover their own travel and accommodation costs then yes, you may spend less than hosting a larger wedding here in your home town; but you have to offset any savings made on the costs of the travel and accommodation whilst out there.

"You can also save by choosing a mid week date in a non peak season date."

If you have a number in mind of how much you'd be able to spend on a destination wedding, it might be helpful to compare it to the UK average cost of a wedding to see what the difference is. 

Do You Pay For Guests at a Destination Wedding?

"This is entirely at your discretion and depends on your guest dynamic; Often guests cover their own travel and accommodation costs and then on the day itself, you take care of their food and drink for the day, as well as creating a wonderful environment within which to celebrate your day - welcoming, comfortable, stylish, fun and memorable."

If you're still stuck on if you can ask guests to pay their own way at your wedding, we've got more useful tips and advice to help you come to a decision.

Is it Selfish to Have a Destination Wedding?

"Not at all; some of the most beautiful and heartfelt weddings are the intimate ones where every single guest has an unbreakable bond with the couple.

"If you feel that there are guests you’d like to celebrate with but who are unable to stretch to the travel and accommodation cost, or who cannot get the time off work, then you can suggest celebrating with them personally on a separate occasion and you could bring back some guest gifts from your destination location so they know you were thinking of them and missing them while you were there."

Equally, if you're deliberately planning a destination wedding to keep numbers small, there are always polite ways to say "sorry, you're not invited" to anyone who may be expecting an invitation. Check out our guide on how to uninvite someone to your wedding for more tips!

So, you'll hopefully be feeling a little clearer on how to plan a destination wedding now. But if you'd like to compare your options with some venues in the UK, check out our favourite UK wedding packages to see what you'd be missing.