The Best Destination Wedding Locations Right Here in the U.S.
After more than a year spent at home and so many postponed events, we're all ready to start celebrating again, and that means wedding season is officially back on. And it's not just the micro weddings that we've come to know and love—with vaccines available to all Americans, couples are feeling more confident planning traditional weddings once again. What's more, they're looking for ways maximize the time they get to spend with loved ones. That's where destination weddings come into play. "Destination weddings allow you to spend more time with family and friends. After the last year, people are craving connection more than ever, and destination weddings are the perfect place and opportunity to reconnect and celebrate life and love," says Maria Hirt, Director of Special Events of at Four Seasons Resort Maui. But they're not the far-flung destination events you know from years prior. Now, we expect to see a happy medium between marrying at home and voyaging across seas to wed, and that's in the form of celebrations happening at destination locales that are part of the United States. The good news is that there are plenty of top-notch American destinations where you can bring your friends and family to celebrate—no passport (or quarantines) required.
Their popularity is undeniable: Hirt says she's now received double—if not triple—the number of wedding inquiries for events at her property than what she used to receive pre-pandemic. "It sounds a bit cliche, but truly, if you are thinking of planning a destination in late 2021 or 2022, start planning now," she explains. "Dates are filling really fast." The same is true of destinations across the country: Couples who postponed their events as well as couples who got engaged during the pandemic are ready to celebrate, which means wedding dates and vendors will be hard to come by for the foreseeable future. Planning early and being flexible are two ways to ensure you have the celebration you always dreamed of.
And if a destination wedding is what you've always dreamed of, you'll be pleased to know that there's a locale for everyone: Nature lovers, urban aficionados, history buffs, and adventure seekers alike can find a place to marry in the great U. S. of A. To that end, we're highlighting some of the country's most popular cities for weddings. Start (and end!) your destination wedding venue search here.
With a sultry Latin-American influence and Deco glamour, this sun-soaked hotspot gets an infectious party vibe and cosmopolitan feel from its global restaurants and vibrant cultural scene. The Biltmore is a destination staple, with a luxe feel and gorgeous architecture, while the well-known Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a landmark estate on the water. Consider The Ritz-Carlton South Beach, pictured here, if you're looking for a luxurious space in the heart of the Miami. Located at the intersection of Lincoln Road and Collins Avenue, the hotel recently underwent a glamorous $90 million renovation, but it still retains the building's original Art Deco charm. The property offers beautiful indoor and outdoor (read: beachfront) space for couples looking to wed.
Maui has never been more popular, and if you're looking for the ultimate backdrop for your wedding, you can't beat the Four Seasons Resort Maui, seen here, where you'll tie the knot overlooking the ocean. "Between our low case count and the pre-arrival testing requirements, Maui is widely considered a very safe destination," Hirt explains. "The magic and romance of the island is undeniable, and our team of experts ensures every last detail is perfect."
Charleston, South Carolina
It's little wonder couples choose this southern belle for storybook weddings. Fall for the cobblestone streets of this genteel colonial city. The William Aiken House, a National Historic Landmark, meanwhile, is popular for its elegance. The Cedar Room, pictured here, is a newer space to consider. Hardwood floors, rustic brick, and large windows make it chic. For an entirely different modern vibe, try The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina. Waterfront views offer a taste of tropical paradise, but downtown's just minutes away from this new property.
The Lonestar state's capital is a bustling city home to plenty of live music and many parks and lakes. There, Barr Mansion (shown here) has a popular ballroom, Laguna Gloria is award-winning, and The Driskill has stand-out hospitality. For your "something new," try Green Pastures, a unique event setting. There's farm-fresh fare and a hotel opening in 2018.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
With its working ranches and rugged peaks, this valley evokes the spirit of the Old West. Guests will feel like a cowboy (or cowgirl!) thanks to the wildlife-rich Yellowstone National Parks and the saloon-filled streets. Consider the Four Seasons Jackson Hole (shown above) for a classic, mountainside stay with plenty of rustic fun.
As one of the oldest U.S. cities, Boston's big on history. It's also home to Fenway Park (for sports fans), duck boats on the water, and gorgeous leaf-peeping come fall. The accents may or may not be a bonus—we'll leave that for you to decide. There are three classic venues you can't go wrong at: Boston Harbor Hotel, Boston Public Library (shown here), and the Museum of Fine Arts. The first offers luxury, waterfront accommodations, the second is expansive and incredibly historic, and the third boasts a huge collection of works.
Los Angeles, California
This SoCal city is always alive—it's the center of production for the big and small screens, after all. Hit up Greystone Mansion, pictured here, for a luxurious wedding venue, or Carondelet House, built as an Italian villa. Couples looking for something new instead can try Millwick, a refurbished warehouse. The green venue cares about its carbon footprint, so you can rest assured you're having fun and saving the earth.
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Off the coast of Cape Cod, this exclusive New England summer playground has no chain stores or fast-food restaurants and few cars—but pristine natural beauty and a vibrant arts community are on full display. Martha's Vineyard Preservation Trust rents out some properties for weddings to be held, and the also-popular The Allen Farm (shown here) is just as cozy (and historic) as it sounds. First purchased back in 1762, the venue's a beautiful, seaside pastureland.
Napa Valley, California
Just like a robust red wine, this region hits a lot of notes. Say "I do" amidst an expanse of fruiting vines in an area known as one of the premier wine regions in the world. Carneros is a classic resort and spa, with gorgeous pools beside sprawling vineyards. Another sought-after option is Beaulieu Garden, pictured here, a private estate so secluded its address is withheld.
Key West, Florida
The Sunshine State's southernmost point personifies a low-key lifestyle. Everyone from pirates to painters has been seduced by the Conch Republic, so it's a natural for those seeking a seaside wedding. To get a taste of the tried-and-true, look at Casa Marina, a Waldorf Astoria Resort. Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum is a great pick for cultured history buffs. For "Key West reimagined," book The Perry Hotel (shown here) on Stock Island. Rough concrete, reclaimed wood, and metal framing give it contemporary flair.
Tennessee's capital city is the heart and soul of the country music industry. Riverwood Mansion is a popular wedding spot—magnolias, marble fireplaces, and chandeliers included. The Ryman is a music venue open to marriages, and also boasts popular status. Cheekwood Estate & Gardens (shown above) rounds out the classic trio with beautiful structures and landscapes. The Quarter is on our newer list, for its stylish, versatile event space.
Palm Springs, California
This desert haven in the San Jacinto Mountains (a two-hour drive from Los Angeles) exudes an aura of Old-Hollywood glamour—Gabe, Sinatra, and Monroe used to hang here. Today, it's a retro-cool hideaway whose mid-century-modern architecture attracts design buffs. For popular digs, we love The Parker Palm Springs, a palm-tree laden escape. The Avalon Hotel, an old-world, historic, and boutique venue, is also a notable classic. For something new, try Colony 29, seen here—there's a private, outdoor amphitheater. (Oh, and Samira Wiley and Lauren Morelli got married there.)
New Orleans, Louisiana
A celebration in the Big Easy requires Creole cuisine, Sazerac (the bayou's drink of choice), and an after-party on fun-loving Bourbon Street. The Board of Trade hosts celebrations often—it's a classic wedding space. On the other hand, Race + Religious, seen here, features both indoor and outdoor square-footage. Hand-picked antiques, beautiful balconies, and a brick courtyard make it noteworthy.
San Diego, California
With a renowned zoo in town and plenty more to do, this Pacific Coast city is a spectacular destination. The beautiful weather is a dream for outdoor weddings, and natural views balance out the plentiful man-made attractions. Hotel Del Coronado is a classic in our books, just steps from downtown and fully iconic. The Pendry (shown here), meanwhile, is a new, boutique pick, located in the midst of San Fran's hustle and bustle.
New York City, New York
The City That Never Sleeps more than lives up to its nickname with its nonstop energy, world-class museums, and trendy restaurants. But romance also abounds thanks to Central Park, cobbled streets in Greenwich Village, and the Empire State Building's views. For a flower-filled venue that many adore, tie the knot at the New York Botanical Garden, seen here. Brooklyn's Liberty Warehouse is another common venue, offering urban appeal and great views. Modern brides and grooms will love Manhattan's The Beekman instead. It's a contemporary, luxury hotel with plenty of old-world glamour.
San Francisco, California
These hilly streets may not have been made for walking, but it's just more reason to take a ride on one of the city's classic cable cars. Superb food seems to be around every corner in the City by the Bay, including dim sum in Chinatown and authentic Mexican at taquerias. Ferry Building and City Hall (pictured here) are both oft-used venues, but the city boasts other more-modern options. Presidio Officers' Club has ample wedding options, from a ballroom to a courtyard and chapels next door. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, meanwhile, is made for cool-girl brides and artsy grooms.
It's easy to fall for Chi-Town's energetic cultural scene, superb shopping (Magnificent Mile, anyone?) and wow-worthy cityscape—not to mention the deep-dish pizza. Café Brauer, seen here, is popular for a reason—it's an indoor-outdoor space in the Lincoln Park Zoo. Ace Hotel is the contemporary counterpart, offering urban-chic décor and a prime location by the lake.
This seaport city boasts more than the original Starbucks in Pike Place Market. Along with amazing panoramic views from the Space Needle, local artisans offer tons of unique wedding favor ideas. Olympic Sculpture Park (shown above) is popular amongst artsy types, while Great Hall at Union Station is a wedding-day classic. Metropolist is our newer, modern pick—it's industrial, big, and bright.
Located along the Potomac River, our nation's capital is home to some of the most patriotic places in the country. Visitors can take advantage of dozens of free history-filled museums in The District, plus memorials and monuments dedicated to great American leaders. Dumbarton House (shown above) is an American classic, showcasing architecture from the Federal period. The Line Hotel's Adams Morgan location is a modern, culture-rich alternative. Live music, diverse cuisine, and lots of local shopping make this venue a standout.
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