Six Venues For A Very Special Destination Wedding

The popularity of destination weddings grows each year.

Montage Laguna Beach

Destination weddings continue to grow in popularity. After all, any excuse to travel to an exotic or activity-filled destination for several days of fun with family and friends is a good one. Just how popular are destination weddings? Consider these statistics, provided by TripSavvy:

* The destination wedding market accounts for $16 billion in annual spending.

* The average budget for a destination wedding is $28,000.

* The average number of guests at a destination wedding is 48.

* Nine out of ten couples say the weather is a key factor in selecting a destination.

However, planning a wedding can be stressful, and adding in the element of a destination wedding takes it to a whole new level. Ali Johnson, wedding planner and her team at RT Lodge, located in the beautiful East Tennessee mountains, are experts in their field and work with each individual couple to help manage the planning process and make their weekend one of a kind.

With the return of the “big wedding” and destination planning becoming more-and-more popular, Johnson shares some tips on how to make the experience for guests, and the couple, that much more enjoyable:

  • Plan for a full weekend experience if you’re asking guests to travel to a destination and provide a list of activities in the area or activities on-site for guests to enjoy during the day or between events.
  • Guests are excited to travel to a new place, surprise them with fun and festive cocktails at check-in and traditional treats as a welcome gift when they arrive.
  • Make time to have a site-visit at your venue with your planner and/or vendors before the wedding. Familiarizing yourself with the property and those you’ll be working with on your wedding weekend will help to solidify details for the events.

RT Lodge offers a range of ceremony and reception options.

Ben Finch

RT Lodge, Maryville, Tennessee

Tucked away within lush woods on the peaceful side of East Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, RT Lodge is a 58-room boutique inn with a locally-driven restaurant and scenic event space. The Main Lodge is the optimal indoor space for guest connection, boasting an elegant dining room and lounge intimate communal spaces complete with fireplaces and soft leather club chairs, plus the newest addition, the elegant Morningside Room bar boasting a stunning tented ceiling and a place to enjoy pre-dinner cocktails. The gardens and grounds surrounding the property offer moments of tranquil restoration through time spent in handmade rocking chairs, by the koi pond or on one of the secluded paths in the woods. Featuring an array of guest rooms, several dining options, elegant common areas, outdoor leisure space, a range of ceremony and reception options, including a spectacular Sperry Tent, the Lodge offers the ideal setting for destination weddings.

A summer wedding features an all-outdoor celebration.

Montage Laguna Beach

Montage Laguna Beach, California

Montage Laguna Beach makes for the ideal California destination wedding with the resort’s endless Pacific views and five ocean-facing event spaces that capture the essence of the Golden State. For an intimate destination wedding, a welcome reception on Studio Garden Lawn with hors d’oeuvres and crafted cocktails is recommended as guests watch a Southern California sunset. A summer wedding features an all-outdoor celebration, embracing the warmth of the season. Guests can enjoy unobstructed views of the ocean and Laguna Beach’s beloved Treasure Island Beach for the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception, before moving inside to one of the newly renovated ballrooms for late night dancing. During the cooler months, guests can still capture the beauty of Southern California outdoors with the resort’s large Ocean Fire Pit and heaters to keep everyone warm. To conclude a destination wedding, couples often host a post-wedding brunch at Studio restaurant.

Choose from a variety of locations for a wedding.

Kama Catch Me Photography

Turtle Island, Fiji

Looking for smaller weddings? Couples can choose to rent out the entire island or exchange vows intimately on one of Turtle Island’s private beaches. Choose from a variety of locations for a wedding on Turtle Island, from the top of Mount Ford with panoramic views of the neighboring islands or a beach wedding on Long Beach to watch the sun rise. Brides and grooms looking to wed on Turtle Island are invited to weave elements of Fijian culture into their ceremonies, from Fijian warriors to escort the bride from her raft (billi billi) to her groom, to a conch shell, drums and a choir to sound the start of the ceremony. Guests can partake in a variety of activities including sunrise horseback riding, private picnics at a beach, scuba diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, private pontoon dinners, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking and many other beach activities.

Wedding are customizable based on the couple’s preferences.

Oil Nut Bay

Oil Nut Bay, Virgin Gorda

For couples seeking a serene and exceptionally private vacation locale for themselves and their guests, Oil Nut Bay is the perfect fit. Only accessible by boat or helicopter, the resort is spread across 400 exquisite acres and entirely surrounded by the ocean. Guests stay in private villas custom-built into the island’s topography. Each wedding is totally customizable based on the individual couple’s preferences. With three restaurants on property, DJs, musicians and audio visual equipment, Oil Nut Bay can make it an affair to remember just about anywhere on property. From welcome beach bbqs and pool parties to firelit cocktail and Jazz brunches, a wedding is more than just a single day. Guests can choose from a variety of venues from dramatic cliffs to sandy beaches or an extravagant villa with private staff, and can participate in such activities as pickleball, snorkeling and hiking.

The resort sets the stage for a memorable celebration.

J. Anthony Martinez Photography

Royal Lahaina Resort & Bungalows, Lahaina, Maui

Boasting miles of pristine sand, beautiful waters and Hawaiian sunsets, Royal Lahaina Resort & Bungalows offers a romantic and island-inspired ambiance across 27 acres of sun-kissed, tropical gardens. The resort sets the stage for a memorable celebration with oceanfront venues offering dramatic vistas. Profess your love on a well-manicured lawn under a bamboo canopy and the gentle lapping of the waves as your backdrop. Say “I Do” in the privacy of a luxury cottage with cascading waterfalls and a private pool. Exchange vows on an oceanfront lawn fronting the Pacific Ocean, or revel with a tropical wedding cake and Champagne in a picturesque setting serenaded by a solo Hawaiian musician.

The scenic property offers a variety of venues.

Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection

Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection, Los Cabos, Mexico

Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection, a coastal paradise, is just a short flight from most airports in the U.S. and makes a great excuse to turn your wedding into a vacation for guests. The scenic property offers a variety of guest amenities, cliffside venues, world-class restaurants and unique experiences that the resort’s on-site wedding specialists can personalize to create an unforgettable romantic day. The accommodations vary for wedding guests of all types, from the casitas and suites that feature a private infinity-edge hot tub for adult friends and couples to the spacious residences and villas for families. Additionally, there’s no shortage of wedding amenities to help take the stress out of the planning process.