Having a wedding outdoors is an ambitious and flamboyant choice, yes, but there are plenty of reasons for risking the weather.*
First off, in the wedding-one-upmanship game (let’s not pretend we don’t play it), your super memorable special day will outdo the traditional style ceremonies of your friends and family.
Next, having a spectacular location means you can save on the décor costs. And lastly – cynical we know – an exotic faraway destination makes a great excuse for limiting the guest list.
Here’s our pick of the world’s most scenic outdoor wedding destinations.
Hanalei Bay Resort – Kauai, Hawaii, USA
This gorgeous resort (it’s our featured image too, courtesy of Hanalei Bay Resort) with extensive lush tropical gardens lines a stretch of Hanalei Bay, a two-mile half-moon white sand beach backed by majestic mountains.
When people imagine a Hawaiian paradise, they probably end up picturing this place.
Vail Mountain Wedding Deck – Vail, Colorado, USA
This stone amphitheatre overlooks Vail Valley, the Mount of the Holy Cross and the Gore Mountain Range.
Somehow vows are enthused with a little more meaning when exchanged before a 360-degree Colorado Rockies panorama.
Four Seasons Koh Samui – Koh Samui, Thailand
The smattering of palm trees give an enchanting feel to the Four Seasons’ private, immaculately white sand beach.
The gently lapping Gulp of Siam waves are on hand to calm big-day nerves.
Clouds Estate – Stellenbosch, South Africa
Right in the heart of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek Winelands, Clouds Estate has ridiculously picturesque views overlooking vineyards and the hills of Jonkershoek Nature Reserve beyond.
Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino – Piscadera Bay, Curacao
A handsome wooden pagoda dressed in white drapes sits on the edge of a peaceful beach as the warm crystal blue waters of the Caribbean stretch out as far as the eye can see.
The romantic vibe goes into overdrive at dusk, with the area cutely lit with candles and lanterns.
Jagmandir Island Palace – Udaipur, India
Weddings are all about a sense of occasion, and few things scream “this is a big deal” more than a boat ride out to a magical, whitewashed palace right out in the middle of a fairytale lake.
Plus you get to boast about getting married in Octopussy’s lair.
Coconut Grove – Taveuni, Fiji
A destination wedding doesn’t have to be all indulgent extravagance, with a price to match.
This bunch of beachfront cottages has a quaint, understated, rough-around-the-edges, and homely feel about them.
Nita Lake Lodge – Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
With a mountainside draped in pines on one side, and a calm glacier-fed lake on the other, Nita Lake Lodge is one seriously photogenic spot.
For our money the wooden lakeside walkway is the pick of the many ceremonial venues on offer here.
La Maltese Estate Villa – Imerovigli, Santorini, Greece
5-star La Maltese Estate Villa is widely lauded for key things like service and cleanliness, but we can see one problem with holding a ceremony here.
The stunning lofty Mediterranean vista might commit that ultimate wedding faux pas, and upstage the bridge.
Domaine d’Essendiéras – Saint-Médard-d’Excideuil, Dordogne, France
You’re having a big wedding and you need your 250-plus guests to stay nearby. Good news as Domaine d’Essendiéras has not one, but two chateaux/castles to accommodate them.
The majestic 16th century and 19th century abodes are set within majestic gardens. The pool’s awesome too.
*Top tip, every outdoor wedding venue worth its salt has a bad-weather backup plan.
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…Brett Ackroyd