It’s not all about exotic honeymoon destinations. With worldwide weather options, there’s no shortage of great locations for a destination wedding any time of year. From winter wonderlands to summer fiestas, every bride has a unique idea of what her dream destination wedding is. So, to help you plan according to the best time of year for you, we’ve put together our favorite destination wedding locations by month. Just one thing: Can you be sure to invite us to your wedding once it’s planned? 🙂 But first, let’s get into some basics:
What to Look for in a Destination Wedding Location
Before you go jetting off to look at destination wedding venues, it’s important to have a basic understand of what makes a good destination wedding location. Here’s what tops our list:
Weather and Seasonality: Can we just talk about how crucial the weather is when it comes to picking a wedding destination? It’s like picking the right beach wedding dress—you gotta choose what makes you comfortable and sets the mood right! If you’re a summer child, a beach wedding might just be your thing. If you’re more into the idea of a winter wonderland, a snowy mountain lodge could be the perfect backdrop. But remember, Mother Nature isn’t always the most reliable, so having a solid Plan B is a must!
Budget: Now, let’s get real about the money talk. Just like how you wouldn’t buy a designer dress without checking the price tag, you shouldn’t pick a destination without considering the financial implications. From travel and accommodation costs to local pricing for services, your wedding budget can make or break your destination choice. And let’s not forget about the expenses for your wedding guests! It’s much more expensive to fly from Tennessee to Italy than it is to Napa. Can you achieve the same vibe/landscape you want for your big day without making guests fly 8+ hours?
Guest Accessibility and Comfort: Let’s face it, we all have that one friend who wouldn’t be caught dead in a rural setting, or that aunt who can’t stand the thought of a bustling city. Balancing everyone’s comfort levels is like trying to find a song everyone likes—it’s tricky but totally worth it when you see everyone enjoying themselves. Consider the distance, transportation, and accommodation options before sending out those save-the-dates!
Local Vendors and Services: Just like a band without a good drummer, a wedding without reliable vendors is a no-go. You need to know what’s available locally—be it flowers, catering, or photography—and whether they fit your vision. Are there vendors that align with your wedding theme? Is there a local caterer who can serve up your favorite cuisine? These details matter, my friend!
Legal Requirements: Okay, this one might not be as exciting as picking out your first dance song, but it’s super important. Every country has its own legalities when it comes to marriage. Some places require residency before the ceremony, others need specific documents. You wouldn’t want to arrive ready to say “I do” and find out that you can’t, right?
Choosing a wedding destination is like putting together a playlist—it takes time, consideration, and a good understanding of what you and your partner love. But in the end, it’s all about creating an unforgettable experience.
Winter Destination Weddings – December, January, February
Winter weddings get a bad rap. Sure, there are travel issues like snowstorms — but what season doesn’t have its weather woes? We especially love destination weddings in the winter when rates are a little lower and people have some more room on their social calendars since it’s not peak wedding season. The weather may be a little on the cooler side in some U.S. destinations, but that’s totally okay — and if not, there’s plenty of other warmer options to choose from.
With the threat of hurricanes lurking around the Caribbean islands, it’s important to be well-informed about which ones are more likely to get hit than others, and what a Plan B should one arise. Our friends at DestinationWeddings.com shared their favorite islands for throwing the best destination wedding ever.
Also known as “Happy Island,” Aruba is a great bet year-round since it’s not within the Caribbean’s hurricane belt. There are plenty of high-end resorts to choose from, and the weather averages in the low 80’s during the day and low to mid 70’s at night. Even though December & January are the coolest months, we’d say that’s pretty great.
Honestly though, Jamaica is one of our favorite destination wedding locations. There’s awesome yet affordable options as far as hotels and wedding vendors. December through April is a great time to plan a wedding here weather-wise, with average winter temperatures in the low 80’s during the day and low 70’s at night.
We love St. Kitts for its beautiful beaches and luxury atmosphere. The Park Hyatt St. Kitts is new here, and it’s a great hotel for those seeking a modern beach wedding. There’s also the Four Seasons on Nevis — St. Kitts’ sister island — and a number of other luxury hotels to choose from. With a ton of nonstop flight options from the U.S. now, this beach destination is a definite favorite. Winter temperatures are in the low 80’s during the day and low 70’s at night.
It’s not just the beautiful ocean. With lush rainforests, waterfalls, horseback riding, volcanos, and black and white-sand beaches filling the land between its Caribbean and Pacific Coasts, Costa Rica offers so much for couples looking for a unique destination wedding location for their special day. December to May is dry season, so the winter is a great time to book a wedding here. The temperatures during the day are in the low 90’s and the low 70’s at night.
The Florida Keys
With a unique old Florida charm and tropical atmosphere, the Keys make for a great destination wedding location for those seeking a bit of the Caribbean in the U.S. We love locations like Key Largo and Key West, and from barefoot ceremonies to luxe hotels, the options are there for just about anything. Winter temperatures are in the low 70’s during the day and high 60’s at night during the coolest months.
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US & Canada Ski Destinations
Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Aspen, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; Whistler, BC, Canada and other ski destinations are a winter lover’s dream to exchange vows in. The snowy weather, the winter white photos — it’s all a magical winter wonderland. Since its peak season, prices will be high, which is why we also love these locations in the summer when there is still plenty to do but prices are more affordable. If you are hoping to hit the slopes in the winter, consider a smaller, more intimate event to help you save.
Spring Destination Weddings – March, April, May
Though some of our winter destinations are great year-round, there are a few locations that are just perfect for spring travel. We especially recommend the Southeastern and Southwestern U.S. where temperatures are perfect just before the peak summer travel season. Here are our favorite spring destinations!
Though the winter is also a good time to visit the Bahamas, we’re adding it to the spring list because it’s still a great location during this time of the year. However, we recommend avoiding key spring break weeks when it’s a little louder at the resorts. There’s plenty of awesome places to plan a wedding here, the Bahamian culture is wonderful and the weather is pretty great. The temperatures are low 80’s during the day and mid to high 60’s at night.
We must say Hawaii is great any time of the year, making it one of the best destination wedding locations. However, it makes our spring list because it’ll be less expensive to plan a wedding here in the spring than during peak holiday travel seasons like December and January. In general, every island’s northern shore gets more rain than the southern, and this is especially true for Kauai and the Big Island in Hawaii. The weather varies on each island, but on average, temperatures in Maui are mid to high 70’s during the day and mid to high 50’s at night.
Charleston, Savannah, Sea Island, Kiawah Island
We can’t say enough great things about a destination wedding in the low country. Not only do these locations offer a ton of great venue options, they are also warm and semi-tropical for a bit of an island vibe. Spring is the perfect time to plan a wedding here before the weather gets super warm for the summer and hotels and businesses are crowded. Temperatures in Charleston jump from mid to high 60’s during the day and low 50’s at night in March, and in May, it’s high 70’s during the day and high 60’s at night.
Scottsdale, Palm Springs, Santa Fe, Las Vegas
Welcome to the Southwest – i.e a destination wedding in the desert. From the bright lights of Vegas, the luxe resorts of Palm Springs and Scottsdale and the unique culture of Santa Fe, the desert offers so many awesome and unique options for a destination wedding. Spring weather in Scottsdale hovers around the high 70’s during the day and high 40’s at night in March, and low 90’s during the day and mid 60’s at night in May.
Summer Destination Weddings – June, July & August
Ahh summertime. It’s nice almost anywhere in the U.S., though definitely hotter in some locations than others. And as for international travel, who doesn’t love a great summer beach vacay? We definitely do. Here are our favorite destination wedding locations for the summer months.
We love Bermuda but it doesn’t have the longest travel window for destination weddings. The weather here basically mimics the east coast of the U.S., so planning a wedding in the summer here is definitely the best time. Though resorts are expensive, the location is absolutely beautiful with its pink sand beaches and great summer weather. The temperatures here averages low to high 80’s during the day and low to high 70’s at night.
Is there anything more romantic than an Italian wedding? Just picture the coast with its blue waters and citrus trees, Tuscany favorites like Chianti and Montepulciano, and beautiful cities like Florence and Rome. And don’t forget the Amalfi Coast and our favorite Lake Como! Keep in mind many restaurants and businesses close in August for summer vacation. If you’re keen on a late summer or early fall wedding, September and October are still beautiful times to plan a wedding here. The weather varies by location but in Tuscany, for example, temperatures are in the low to high 80’s during the day and high 50’s to low 60’s at night.
New England offers such a wonderful selection of boutique hotel venues for summer and early fall weddings. From beach ceremonies to clam and lobster bakes, there’s something so special about coastal New England weddings. Venues are plentiful in locations like Maine and Cape Cod, and these locations really seem like a vacation for guests. Weather varies in each state, but the temperatures in Cape Cod are low to high 70’s during the day and high 50’s to low 60’s at night.
Fall Destination Weddings – September, October, November
While wedding season is definitely in full swing in spring and summer, we have to say the fall has become a key time period for brides. On the east coast, fans of fall foliage can enjoy beautiful photos, while there are still a ton of international locations that are perfect for destination weddings like Europe. Here are our favorites for the fall season!
West Coast, U.S
Napa Valley & California
We love a great Napa Valley wedding. Not only does it remind us of Italy without having to travel as far, it offers beautiful fall weather. September is harvest season and will be more crowded and more expensive, but October and November are still wonderful times to plan a wedding here. The temperatures in Napa range from high 80’s during the day and low to mid 50’s at night in September, and mid 60’s during the day and low 40’s at night in November.
Fall in New York City is beautiful. The cool weather is brisk and perfect for a wedding in the city or upstate (with key fall foliage in upstate early October, this would definitely be our choice!). There’s a ton of great upstate resorts to choose from, and plenty of outdoor activities like hiking. The temperatures in upstate New York vary based on location. In Lake Placid, temps range from high 60’s during the day to low 50’s at night in September, and mid 40’s during the day to mid 20’s at night in November.
Mackinac Island, Michigan and Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
The Midwest offers great fall weather, beautiful foliage and traditional activities like apple picking that we all love. While Mackinac Island and Lake Geneva are both beautiful in the summer, early fall is also a great time to plan a destination wedding here when the crowds are less crazy and there’s more availability. Weather on Mackinac Island ranges from mid 60’s during the day to high 40’s at night in September, and low 40’s during the day and high 20’s at night in November. Early fall weddings are probably a better choice here.
Destination Wedding Location FAQ
Among the most popular destination wedding locations is the Bahamas, Jamaica, Cancun, and Cabo. In Europe, Italy takes the cake.
Like any wedding location, the venue, number of guests you invite, as well as your decor and catering choices are going to be a big factor. With that said, you should budget at least $10,000-$30,000+ for the average destination wedding if you are planning on inviting more than a handful of guests.
While guests and wedding party members are expected to pay for their own airfare, lodging, and non-wedding activities, keep in mind that your costs might be more elevated. That’s because at a destination wedding you will likely be throwing more events where all guests are included (unlike a wedding where most of the guests are local). That could mean a welcome cocktail party or dinner, weekend activities, as well as a day-after brunch. Keep in mind you do not HAVE to throw all of those events, but true destination weddings typically include an array of events for the wedding weekend to thank guests for traveling.
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