If you’re thinking about getting hitched abroad, there are so many reasons to spur you on. From epic views to guaranteed sunshine, from fascinating local culture to giving your guests the holiday of a lifetime, a wedding abroad will never be forgotten.
With a dedicated weddings team, a wide range of wedding types, and destinations around the world, Thomson Weddings can offer everything from location inspiration to photographers and make-up artists — here, Joanne Adamek, weddings manager for TUI Travel, reveals the company’s top 10 global destinations.
Joanne says: “With its unmatchable fusion food, rare wildlife and the longest unbroken coral reef in the world, Mauritius is a land of once in a lifetime experiences. Say ‘I do’ on a beach that is whiter than your veil in peaceful, stunning surroundings.”
Top tip: Sugar Beach, Flic en Flac — one of the island’s original 5-star hotels, it overlooks a calm lagoon, is surrounded by 12 acres of tropical gardens and has colonial-style villas draped in trailing plants.
Joanne says: “In America’s sunshine-state, romance comes however you like it. For big, bright and fairytale, there’s the whimsical wonder of Walt Disney. Or, if you prefer the old-school flavour of huge plantation-style houses and a touch of ‘Gone with the Wind’, choose a traditional venue to satisfy your inner Scarlett and Rhett.”
Top tip: Paradise Cove, Buena Vista Watersports — complete with white sandy beaches, swaying palms and cypress trees, the natural, scenic beauty of Lake Bryan creates a wonderful backdrop for the ultimate wedding in paradise.
Joanne says: “Here you can smash a piñata at the wedding breakfast, make toasts with tequila, and have your first dance to a live Mariachi band. Walk down the aisle of sand in your bare feet as the waves break in the Caribbean Sea.”
Top tip: El Dorado Casitas Royale by Karisma, Riviera Maya — an adults-only resort where you can book a suite with a private infinity pool, have a butler bring drinks to your four-poster bed on the beach or sign up for a romantic dinner on the sand.
Joanne says: “Apart from the glorious weather, incredible beaches and inspiring, laidback culture, Jamaica offers a feel-good atmosphere; it’s the perfect place to start married life together.”
Joanne says: “Nowhere in the Med spells romance like Cyprus. The birthplace of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, the island was given to Cleopatra as a token of love. Venue-wise, choose from crumbling, centuries-old churches, castles, yachts, traditional gardens and hotel gazebos.”
Joanne says: “As the party capital of the Med, Ibiza knows how to hold a celebration — and weddings are no exception. Receptions can be chilled out affairs at sunset, or dance into the night at one of the island’s party-spots.”
Top tip: Cala Carbo Beach — one of Ibiza’s most private spots, the beach can be transformed into a beautiful bohemian ceremony area with white covered chairs, flower petals and incense.
Joanne says: “Grouping the Greek Islands together doesn’t really do them justice: we could make our own top 10 just out of them. With jaw-dropping views, and a different personality per island, it’s hard to narrow it down, but for an unforgettable big-day look into Rhodes, Crete, Santorini, Skiathos, Kefalonia, Kos and Zante.”
Top tip: Santo Winery, Santorini — set on the edge of the island’s dramatic caldera, marry at the Santo Winery and you’ll remember your big day every time you raise a wine glass.
Joanne says: “Europe’s most romantic destination, from the breath-taking Bay of Naples to serene Sorrento. Italy oozes romance, and whether you love the tumbledown Roman ruins, gelato-coloured homes or chi-chi boutiques it’s the place to say ‘I do’.”
Top tip: Cloisters of San Francesco, Sorrento — the 14th Century San Francesco Cloisters, in the heart of Sorrento, is an idyllic civil wedding venue adjacent to the baroque San Francesco church.
Joanne says: “Celebrate in the country where Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton. You can have a sunset wedding in a Kenyan nature reserve in the middle of the African plains, or even wed on a traditional dhow boat in the middle of the Indian Ocean.”
Top tip: Diani Sea Resort, Diani Beach — with prime safari territory on your doorstep, if you want to see Kenyan wildlife on your wedding day, this place is a must.
Joanne says: “Say your vows in a log cabin while snowflakes fall outside, then sit down to an authentic Lappish candle-lit dinner — or make your promises in the warmth of a village chapel.”