Destination weddings have grown in popularity over the last decade. Couples seem less interested in large church weddings and more interested in having wedding/honeymoon combinations, sometimes with small groups of friends and sometimes alone. These popular locations share a common thread in that they are all picturesque, either with exotic, lush gardens or beautiful neon skylines.
1. Hawaii: Gorgeous native plants and beautiful beaches make Hawaii the most popular choice for couples to tie the knot in the States. Honeymoon resorts offer couples a variety of wedding packages, most of which include a traditional Hawaiian ceremony with an exchange of leis. The area is steeped in history and culture and offers honeymooners exciting recreational opportunities like parasailing, scuba diving; even helicopter rides over live volcanoes. Couples can enjoy fine dining or hit the beach for a traditional luau complete with roasted pig.
2. New York City: The Big Apple offers a big variety of wedding venues, including the infamous Plaza Hotel, Tavern on the Green and Central Park. The city also offers world-renowned dining, shopping and Broadway shows. Couples should be sure to make time for visiting Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rockefeller Center and Times Square. The best thing about New York City is that it never sleeps, so couples that linger in bed will still have opportunities to enjoy the city.
3. San Francisco: Known as The City of Love, San Francisco offers a romantic setting and lots of activities for couples on the lookout for great food and live entertainment, including Zingari Ristorante, a popular Italian restaurant with live jazz. Bay area sightseeing includes The Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown and Alcatraz. Wedding venues with amazing scenic views in the area include Angel Island State Park and the Aquatic Park Bayview Room.
4. Miami: Miami’s two most popular wedding venues are The Zen House, a gorgeous mansion on lush grounds, and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a national landmark that offers exclusive access for nighttime ceremonies and receptions. Honeymooners can lounge on the beach and enjoy the perpetually awesome weather of Miami or take in the nightlife for which Miami is well known. Daily shuttle buses to and from Disney World and Universal Studios are available at many resorts.
5. Las Vegas: Some may think Vegas only offers tacky weddings with Elvis impersonators officiating, but a few of the large hotels, such as the Bellagio and the Renaissance Hotel, offer luxurious wedding packages featuring on-staff wedding planners, live flower arrangements, gorgeous dining halls and five-star cuisine for wedding guests. Honeymooners will enjoy shows, gaming, shopping and tours.
6. New Orleans: If you’re looking for a unique destination wedding, consider New Orleans. The town has struggled but tourist spots, like the Garden District and the French Quarter, have been restored to their original glory. The residents know how to throw a party, and even if you’re not getting hitched during Mardi Gras, you can still expect a small parade in your honor, complete with live jazz, costumes and lots of local flavor.
7. Aspen: Everyone knows Aspen is a great place to cuddle up next to a fire and enjoy the company, so of course it’s a romantic getaway for engaged couples! Resort packages offer group rates on activities like skiing, snowboarding and snow shoeing in the winter, and dinner cruises, whitewater rafting and hiking/biking tours in the summer. Aspen has dozens of restaurants, bars and clubs open late so wedding guests will never be bored while the bride and groom snuggle in front of the fire back at the lodge.
8. Lake Tahoe: Beautiful beaches are the reason lovebirds flock to this Nevada hot spot. Average beach wedding packages include ordained ministers, scenic drives by limousine, fresh flowers, champagne, music and photo packages. Couples can relax and enjoy the breathtaking views or enjoy the area’s sporting activities like skiing, whitewater rafting and fishing. Sunset dinner cruises with dancing are also popular for newlyweds.
9. Martha’s Vineyard: Like most destination weddings, Martha’s Vineyard is a scenic area with lush vegetation and beautiful waterfront properties. But this island is different because it offers a quaint small-town appeal with sprawling bed and breakfasts, a rich history, and even lighthouses for wedding venues. Traditional church weddings are the most popular here, but a few of the bed and breakfasts do offer wedding packages. Honeymooners can enjoy art galleries, fine dining, golfing, and playing on the beach and historical walking tours.
10. Napa Valley: This romantic area is known for its wineries and picturesque views. Honeymooners can go hot air ballooning, attend wine and gourmet food samplings, take biking tours, and enjoy a day at the spa or lounge on the beach. Wedding packages are available at a few of the inns and breweries, but do not typically include a minister, music or photography
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