Travel and weddings just go together. Imagine a barefoot beach wedding under palm trees underneath the setting sun. Or a church wedding in a tiny ancient stone chapel with a history that's both epic and personal to your new family. Or an exotic location that you or your partner have always longed to visit. Happily, getting hitched at a fabulous destination doesn't have to leave you in debt for years to come.
One of the most popular spots for weddings, the DR is a well-run hospitality machine set in a year-round sunny climate with spectacular beaches ringing the island. Punta Cana especially balances luxury resort event planning with a laid back Caribbean vibe. Some resorts may even provide free services in exchange for block booking guests. Elsewhere in the DR, head to the Samana peninsula for an even lusher tropical experience and post-wedding whale watching in Samana Bay.
Negril is a beach community on the western tip of Jamaica. Known for its relaxed ambiance, the region has been hosting weddings for decades. Go luxe with private villas and grand colonial venues or keep it affordable at an all-inclusive resort; the great thing about a longstanding tourist destination such as Jamaica is the wide range of options available for catering, accommodation, and glorious Insta-ready natural backdrops.
The Mayan Riviera has it all – stunning beaches, seasoned hospitality infrastructure, and a tropical climate. And all at a surprisingly affordable price – Mexico continues to offer great value for destination events. Civil marriages held in Mexico are fully legit in the States, though religious ceremonies without a civil component are not. You'll need a tourist card, blood work results, and some time for paperwork processing. Plan to spend a few days in the country prior to the wedding. For accommodation, there's lots to choose from. Playa del Carmen offers a rustic beach village vibe, Tulum has spectacular views, and Cancun is after-party central. And there's tons of activities all along this glorious coast to keep guests busy.
Many families look to "the old country" as a travel destination. And Ireland has that mythical fairytale feeling that many engaged couples are looking for in a destination wedding location. Though the emerald green island can be rainy and pricey for travel, cheaper options for magical event locations abound. In the capital city of Dublin, the charming Smock Alley Theatre, a former church overlooking the Liffey River, has an extensive menu of reception packages. And the Irish countryside is dotted with picturesque ruins such as Corcomroe Abbey in County Clare, or Dunluce Castle in North Antrim, Northern Ireland, both of which have just enough covered space for the alfresco party to continue in the event of rain.
As an affordable wedding destination, the string of 700 or so Caribbean islands known as the Bahamas provides tremendous choice. Grand Bahama Island is an obvious base with lots of infrastructure and transportation options, but you could also devise a full-on castaway experience for your wedding party in the secluded Exumas or Abaco. One note: when planning dates, beware tourist high seasons such as March Break and Easter, and hurricane season, which typically runs September to February.
The romantic island of Santorini is a popular destination for couples looking for an affordable yet picturesque locale. Dotted with cliff-side white and blue villages and terraces that seem to defy gravity, the island welcomes wedding parties with minimal paperwork and restrictions. Here photo opportunities abound amidst resorts, villas, and restaurants that are well equipped to host any size nuptials.
If you're an American bride and groom, your dollar goes way further in Canada. Quebec City is just a short flight from New York, but it's like entering another century, say the 17th? The old part of town resembles Europe at its most ancient and cobbled, with a range of chapels and stone military buildings available for nuptials and parties. During summer, green spaces and parks abound. And in the winter months, the spectacular Ice Hotel, a temporary event venue constructed entirely from ice, would make a one-of-a-kind wedding reception location.
Along the coast and south of Mexico, Belize is an ideal tropical destination for wedding parties looking for extras. Many resorts in this tiny country provide wedding packages loaded with all kinds of freebies – dinners, spa treatments, and help with licenses and documents if needed. Save a bundle on an intimate celebration for close family and friends by choosing a resort that specializes in wedding planning either beachfront or among atmospheric Mayan jungle ruins.
Tropical Costa Rica is an eco-conscious budget choice for couples wanting a warm destination wedding. Civil ceremonies conducted here by an approved officiant are recognized in most home countries, and no blood tests or police checks are required. That makes it easier to splurge on activities for guests, whether beach vibes or jungle excursions are preferred.
It's a long flight, but once you've arrived on the island of Bali, the cost of a wedding ceremony in this serene and spiritually uplifting setting is manageable. Ubud is an arts-friendly community in the middle of the island, a center for traditional dance and music culture. Surrounded by leafy rainforests, the area has abundant options for outdoor or temple ceremonies and a robust infrastructure designed to support wedding parties from all over the world.