Great Emerging Wedding Destinations

Find a trending location for your dream wedding.

Choosing a location for your wedding is a big decision. You’ll want to factor in how far guests will have to travel, and if they're staying for a few days, you’ll want attractions and activities they can enjoy. Megan Velez, of Destination Weddings, shared her suggestions with us about some emerging sites for unforgettable weddings.

Nina Henderson Photography

Velez says Queenstown, New Zealand, is considered the adventure capital of the world, but it’s also home to luxury accommodations and fine restaurants. “In this idyllic atmosphere where outdoor opportunities abound, couples who want to take their wedding off the beaten path will enjoy the fun yet tranquil atmosphere of this Pacific paradise. Couples can also look forward to a particularly memorable honeymoon by taking advantage of the short travel to Australia or Fiji.”

Click here for information on what you must do to get married in New Zealand. And if you want to venture beyond Queensland for your ceremony, consider Bay of Islands, about a 35-minute plane ride from Auckland. It’s known around the world for its excellent deep-water fishing and sailing, and offers spectacular beaches, boutique vineyards, elegant art galleries and charming eateries.

Destination Wedding Photography 

Nina Henderson Photography

Don't forget to research whether your New Zealand wedding will be legally recognized when you return to your place of birth or residence. Images are courtesy of Nina Henderson Photography.

“The 'city that never sleeps' is ideal for any urbanite, featuring countless dining options, Broadway shows and nightlife that seemingly never end,” says Velez. “There are also plenty of options for those who are looking for more creative activities for guests, such as a sunset cruise on the Hudson or taking in the multiple art museums the city has to offer.”

Syed Yaqeen | SYPhotography

You’ll find incredible venues for your ceremony here: consider the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, where you can skim across the lake in a rowboat or a Venetian gondola; your gondolier might even sing something romantic for you. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is another romantic site, especially if you time your event to coincide with the blooms on the roses. The Garden’s Palm House seats up to 275 guests, while its Atrium has a capacity up to 130.

New York's Office of the City Clerk provides guidelines for obtaining a marriage license and tying the knot. Images are courtesy of Jay Seth Photography and Syed Yaqeen of SYPhotography.

Wedding Photography with the Manhattan Bridge

Syed Yaqeen | SYPhotography

Looking for a more exotic wedding destination? “A gem of the southern hemisphere, South Africa serves as a draw for adventure-loving couples seeking diverse opportunities,” says Velez. “They, along with their guests, can grab a pair of binoculars and take a safari, catch some waves at high tide or just relax with a glass of wine at one of the many local vineyards. Cape Town in particular is a hot spot, known for its romantic atmosphere and unique offerings.”

 South Africa, The Elephant Camp

The Elephant Camp

Franschhoek, a village in the Cape Winelands, is home to the Allee Bleue estate, a popular spot for weddings. Its Cape Dutch buildings and grapevines are surrounded by lavender fields, and many couples choose to exchange their vows outdoors under the big trees or on the open lawn. If you’re concerned that the weather might not cooperate, you can opt for Le Grand Hall, a covered courtyard that accommodates up to 120 people or the smaller, more intimate Manor House.

Cape Town’s Clouds Estate, in Stellenbosch, is a boutique hotel atop Helshoogte Pass, also in the Cape Winelands. The Simonsberg Mountains are visible from its lawn, making a spectacular background, along with the estate’s gardens and vineyards, for wedding photos. Or opt for a safari theme at The Elephant Camp, a luxury lodge where visitors have spectacular views of Victoria Falls and the gorges between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Images are courtesy of The Elephant Camp.

 South Africa, The Elephant Camp

The Elephant Camp

The country’s Department of Home Affairs website explains the process for getting married in South Africa. You’ll also want to research whether your marriage will be recognized once you return to the U.S. or your country of birth or residence.

Mexico, An Emerging Wedding Destination for South Asian Couples

While Mexico is a classic spot for weddings, Velez says that several “world-class Mexican resort towns are emerging as top contenders for the business” of South Asian brides and grooms who want big, colorful, Indian weddings. “The Riviera Maya region of Mexico is convenient to the international travel hub of Cancun, with a feeling of privacy and seclusion set amidst Mayan ruins and lush rainforest.”

South Asian Wedding

Jay Seth Photography

Puerto Vallarta is also trending for South Asian brides and grooms. Velez describes it as a “thriving coastal village… (and) a hidden gem with quaint cobblestoned streets and world-class shopping, dining and art galleries along the Malecon boardwalk.” Riviera Nayarit, Mexico’s newest beach destination, and located just a short distance away, boasts 200 miles of pristine coastline, palm-lined beaches, and dozens of seaside towns and pueblos. It offers plenty of surfing, swimming and sailing opportunities to keep guests busy before and after the festivities.

South Asian Wedding

Jay Seth Photography

“With these locations, select hotel and catering management groups warmly welcome Indian couples, creating unique experiences that fuse local flavor and the couples’ cultures. These packages include specialty menus prepared by chefs familiar with Indian cuisine, and informed wedding planners who can help with the many events and rituals vital to Indian wedding tradition."

The Mexcian Tourist Board has information on the legal requirements for getting married in Mexico. Again, check the laws in your country of birth and/or primary residence to make sure your Mexcian wedding will be recognized when you return.

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