Destination Wedding Hot Spots

Get out of town and bring the whole wedding party or just a few of your nearest and dearest for a festive, and painless, destination wedding.
By: Jennifer Plum Auvil
Moon Gate in Bermuda

Moon Gate in Bermuda

Destination weddings aren't just for those lovebirds looking for a quiet elopement and an escape from the wedding mania that comes with a crowded roster of guests and to-do lists. Bring the whole wedding party with you or just a few of your nearest and dearest for a festive and painless destination wedding where you simply need to show up.

Bermuda attracts blushing brides with its mild weather, great beaches and lovely resorts. It's also a great option for East Coasters as quick direct flights make for limited travel time. As for location, you may opt for a classic church wedding or an outside ceremony on the beach, cliffs or a vibrant stretch of lawn outside of one of the area's tony hotels. Popular wedding spots include the Gibb's Hill Lighthouse, the beachfront park at Astwood Cove or the curved swath of pink sands ringed with limestone cliffs at Horseshoe Bay Beach. Celebrate the reception at Elbow Beach in a ballroom or on the private beach where your guests can dance under the stars and munch on tuna tataki and pork belly skewers while sipping rum swizzles and dark and stormys. Pose for a picture under a curved stone Moon Gate, a curved architectural structure said to bring good luck to newlyweds as they step through the gate.

Requirements: There are no residency requirements and minimum paperwork; simply complete the Notice of Intended Marriage, and send it with a check for the fee to Bermuda's Registrar General's Office for a wedding license that is good for 3 months. Bring along 2 witnesses to make things official.

Las Vegas
Las Vegas is often the punch line in destination-wedding jokes revolving around drive-thru chapels, hasty nuptials after a late night of partying in the casinos and an Elvis impersonator presiding over the ceremony. But there's another side to Las Vegas destination weddings, with classy affairs characterized by 5-star dining and glamorous reception settings. The Bellagio is the jackpot for unique Vegas nuptials with unlimited choices to personalize your event. The hotel has 2 wedding chapels on-site with refined touches like hand-blown Italian glass chandeliers and amethyst glass windows with stained glass. Take the ceremony outdoors overlooking the Lago Di Como and kick off married life with an eruption of water from the dazzling fountains. With live broadcasting of the affair for an additional fee, guests at home can observe the fun proving that what happens in Vegas doesn't always need to stay there. After vows are exchanged, there are sprawling ballrooms up to 45,000 square feet or smaller spots for more intimate affairs. You can add customized floral arrangements and horticultural masterpieces and coordinate a menu fit for a foodie.

Requirements: Vegas is a popular spot for quick weddings with good reason: there's no waiting period or blood test requirements, and only a small fee required if you're over age 18 and have the paperwork to prove it.

Jamaica has plenty of all-inclusive resorts that make tying the knot simple and inexpensive for guests traveling from afar. And if you plan a wedding in the off-season, between May and November, you can save even more on accommodations and extend that honeymoon for a few days. Embrace Jamaica's laid-back vibe, and have a casual wedding with island flair: a steel-drum band, grilled foods and plenty of rum punch. The Caves offers intimate ceremonies in the limestone caves or overlooking the ocean at the small and hip resort while Sandals has partnered with wedding guru Martha Stewart for classy affairs by the sea at their couples-only all-inclusive resorts around the island.

Requirements: You don't need to be a resident of Jamaica to get married here, but you do need to apply for a license ahead of time through the Ministry of Justice. With the proper IDs and marriage license, you can be married 24 hours after you arrive in the country.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
The appropriately named Playa del Amor--Lovers' Beach--is a romantic seaside option in Cabo San Lucas where you can get hitched overlooking the Sea of Cortez on the Baja Peninsula. If you prefer to keep all of the wedding festivities contained in one spot, work with the wedding planners at Esperanza Resort for an unforgettable oceanfront wedding. Start your day at the spa with some pampering before exchanging vows by the sea. If you're hoping for an intimate affair with just your sweetheart, enjoy a customized dinner for 2 on the beach and splurge on a mariachi band or even fireworks to mark the occasion. For an affair with Hollywood glamour, plan a sunset ceremony at Las Ventanas followed by a Mexican beachside BBQ and bonfire.

Requirements: While there's no residency requirement, you'll need to bring your passport and take blood tests in Mexico 2 business days before the wedding. You'll also need 4 witnesses, though most of the resorts are happy to provide these if you're traveling only as a pair.

Walt Disney World
Push the fairytale wedding dream to the extreme at Walt Disney World with a ceremony and reception fit for a princess. Brides may arrive at the festivities in Cinderella's glass pumpkin-shaped coach and married couples can make a splash with canon blasts of confetti over guests, private fireworks or a visit from Mickey and Minnie. While you can stick with the classic beachfront or ballroom ceremony, the theme parks also offer quirky options. Enjoy an impromptu trip around the world at the Animal Kingdom Lodge or Epcot with a reception at a restaurant in far-flung destinations including France, China and Italy. Infuse the reception with rock-star charisma with a party outside of the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, or channel your inner diva and work with a celebrity wedding planner for an elaborate affair with the Couture Collection. And if you want to take the whole thing out to sea, that's possible, too, with a wedding at sea aboard the Disney cruise ships. Guests can enjoy discounted rooms and admission to the theme parks.

Requirements: The couple must apply for a Florida marriage license in person with IDs and a social security card. While there is a waiting period for local residents, non-Florida residents have no waiting period before they can marry in the state.

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