business, events, florist, photography, wedding

Destination wedding? Yes, please!

Trish Simitakos, and some of the best experts in the world, weigh in on the some fabulous options

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As we step into the second half of 2023, weddings continue to create cherished memories in our hearts. For couples, the choice of where to say their vows evolves into a quest for locales that infuse that extra touch of enchantment. In the words of renowned wedding designer David Tutera, “A wedding reflects the story of two lives; choosing the perfect destination adds beautiful chapters to that story.”

Join us on a journey through these fifteen exquisite countries, each uniquely captivating and approved by wedding industry experts from around the world, as we explore the trending destinations to craft your dream wedding:

Greece: Embrace the Mediterranean Dream

Image Courtesy: @epiclovephotography

Greece isn’t just a country; it’s a feeling. The harmonious blend of ancient ruins with sun-kissed shores, the melodies of traditional Greek music, and the delectable Mediterranean cuisine create a setting that’s both mystical and intimate. Opt for a beachside ceremony during the golden hour or a rustic village setting where the local charm adds to the romance. The hospitable Greeks and their age-old traditions will make your nuptials an event to remember.

Eric Sugiono from Poetyque Events from Indonesia eloquently captures the magic of Greece, specifically mentioning the charm of Santorini. With “its stunning sunsets, whitewashed buildings, and blue-domed churches, Santorini offers a romantic and picturesque backdrop for a wedding.” 

Greece, with its myriad of islands, especially the likes of Rhodes, Mykonos, Kos, Crete, Ios, Milos offers pristine beaches and promises a Mediterranean dream that remains unparalleled.

Italy: The Country of Endless Romance

Image Courtesy: @emilianorusso

If love had a home, it would probably be in Italy. Every corner tells a love story, every scent carries romance, and every dish is a celebration. Whether it’s the cobblestoned streets of Rome, vineyards of Tuscany, or the serenades in Venetian gondolas, Italy encapsulates everything that love represents. Besides, Italian weddings are known for their lavish feasts, soulful music, and timeless traditions.

From historic art and rich gastronomy, Italy effortlessly seduces its visitors. Nancy Barkley from Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways, USA beautifully captures the essence of Italy, stating how every corner, from the “romantic canals of Venice to the picturesque villages of Tuscany,” has a unique story to offer. Muriel Saldalamacchia, founder of The International Wedding Planner, France paints an evocative picture of the Amalfi Coast, “For an enchanting coastal affair, the Amalfi Coast beckons with its dramatic cliffs, pastel-hued villages, and panoramic vistas. Imagine exchanging vows on a terrace overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, the scent of lemon blossoms in the air. The Amalfi Coast’s intimate charm lends itself to both grand celebrations and intimate gatherings. With exquisite cuisine, azure waters, and the timeless allure of Positano and Ravello, your wedding here would be an embodiment of la dolce vita.” 

Lake Como, Tuscany and Amalfi Coast continue to win wedding experts heart year on year with their breathtaking views and landscapes. 

India: A Royal Affair

Image Courtesy: @Houseontheclouds

India, a land of myriad cultures and traditions, offers experiences that are nothing short of magical. Be it a royal wedding in a centuries-old palace or a serene beach wedding with folk music playing in the background, India ensures that every moment is drenched in grandeur and emotion. And let’s not forget the vibrant dances, eclectic music, and the array of mouth-watering delicacies!

Imagine tying the knot in a royal palace in Rajasthan or amidst the serene beaches of Goa. India, with its rich tapestry of cultures, traditions, and landscapes, promises an enchanting wedding, making every moment an unforgettable experience.” explains Alim Morani, director of Dome Occasions India.

United Arab Emirates: Where Opulence Meets Extravagance

Image Courtesy: @VangelisPhotography

The United Arab Emirates, with its iconic cities like Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah, offers a blend of opulence and extravagance that’s unparalleled. The awe-inspiring architecture, luxurious resorts, and desert landscapes create a truly unique wedding backdrop. Imagine exchanging vows against the backdrop of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, or on the pristine beaches overlooking the Arabian Gulf in Ras Al Khaimah or having the ultimate palatial wedding at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. The UAE’s commitment to grandeur and luxury promises a wedding that’s as extravagant as it is unforgettable.

 “Excellent Services, The UAE’s hospitality industry is known for its exceptional service and attention to detail, ensuring that couples and their families receive top-notch support throughout the wedding planning process.” shares Saniya Wahi, Founder of  Events by Saniya.

Celebrated Event planner Bhavnesh Sawhney from FB Celebrations Pvt.Ltd from India emphasizes the allure of Dubai, stating, “Dubai is the perfect blend of tradition and modernity, with its striking skyscrapers and rich Arabian culture.” The fusion of modern amenities and traditional elements makes the UAE a captivating destination for couples seeking a lavish and unique wedding experience.

Indonesia: Islands of Romance and Diversity

Image Courtesy: @Borodenok

Indonesia, with its diverse archipelago, offers a range of wedding destinations that cater to various tastes. The lush landscapes of Bali, with its vibrant culture and breathtaking beaches, provide a perfect backdrop for a tropical wedding. Alternatively, the tranquil ambiance of Ubud’s rice terraces sets the stage for a serene and intimate ceremony. With its mix of cultural heritage and natural beauty, Indonesia’s islands offer a variety of options for couples seeking a wedding that’s rich in both tradition and natural splendor.

Event planner Joelle Lozano from Wedding Concepts Indonesia highlights the charm of Bali, stating, “Bali’s spirituality and beauty create an ideal setting for couples looking for an intimate, meaningful, and authentic wedding experience.” The fusion of Indonesian culture and stunning landscapes makes the country an enticing choice for couples who wish to infuse their wedding with a sense of adventure and romance.”With crystal-clear turquoise waters, clifftop villa, and lush tropical landscapes, Bali is a paradise for couples looking for a dream wedding. The island’s natural beauty and serene atmosphere create a magical setting for exchanging vows.” Adds Eric Sugiono from Poetyque Events.

Thailand: Exotic Elegance and Serenity

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Thailand’s exotic allure, from the bustling streets of Bangkok to the tranquil beaches of Phuket, provides a perfect canvas for weddings that are both elegant and serene. The ornate temples, vibrant markets, and rich traditions offer a cultural experience like no other. Whether it’s a traditional Thai ceremony or a beachside celebration, Thailand’s diverse landscapes and warm hospitality ensure an unforgettable wedding journey.

Event planner Karen Slocombe from Samujana emphasizes Thailand’s versatility, saying, “Thailand offers a range of experiences, from the vibrant energy of Bangkok to the idyllic tranquility of the islands, allowing couples to curate a wedding that reflects their unique love story.” The blend of exotic elegance and cultural richness makes Thailand an enchanting destination for couples seeking a wedding that’s both captivating and authentic.

Islands like Phuket, Chiang Mai, Koh Pha Ngan, Koh Samui and Hua Hin are popular choices from destination weddings from Thailand according to experts. 

Spain: A Tapestry of Culture and Romance

Image Courtesy: @dallaskphoto

Spain’s rich history, diverse regions, and passionate culture create a tapestry of romantic possibilities for couples seeking a European wedding destination. From the enchanting streets of Barcelona to the historic elegance of Seville, Spain offers a variety of settings that cater to different styles.” says Debbie Skyrme from Celebrant Spain. Whether it’s a traditional Spanish fiesta or an intimate courtyard ceremony, the country’s architecture and vibrant traditions ensure a wedding that’s both charming and memorable.

Debbie recommends La Costa Tropical in southern Spain. “If you want a budget friendly tropical climate, then definitely consider this stretch of coast for your wedding in Spain. Another option can be LA HERRADURA on Spain’s Costa Tropical, an absolute gem of a horseshoe shaped bay and a resident pod of over 200 dolphins – the best uninvited guests at your wedding ever!!!”

“With five palaces on the World Heritage Site of the Alhambra Palace, Granada City,  there is history oozing from every brick in this Spanish city. With a backdrop of the Sierra Nevada and only 45 minutes to the coast, you really can ski in the morning and sunbathe in the afternoon, perfect for a “wedding-moon” combination.

Event planner Tracey Manailescu from Tracey M Events, Canada praises the allure of Spain, saying, “Spain’s diverse landscapes and culinary delights provide the perfect backdrop for couples who want a destination wedding full of romance and culture.” The blend of history, art, and culinary experiences makes Spain a captivating choice for couples looking to infuse their wedding with European flair and timeless beauty.

Turkey : Where East Meets West in Grandeur

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Turkey, where the cultures of Europe and Asia intertwine, offers a wedding experience that’s rich in history and grandeur. The city’s iconic landmarks, such as the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia, create an opulent backdrop for couples seeking a wedding that’s steeped in cultural significance. The Bosphorus Strait, connecting the two continents, provides a stunning setting for waterfront celebrations that blend tradition and modernity.

Event planner Selda Gurgen from Turkish Event expertly captures Istanbul’s charm, stating, “Istanbul is a city where history, architecture, and culture come together, making it a captivating destination for couples seeking a wedding that’s both timeless and extraordinary.” The juxtaposition of ancient landmarks and cosmopolitan energy makes Istanbul a compelling choice for couples who want to celebrate their love against a backdrop of historical splendor.

For celebrated wedding planner from India, Tina Tharwani from Shaadi Squad “Turkey hit a sweet spot in terms of planning an Indian wedding and at the same time offering a one-of-a-kind experience! The hospitality is comparable to none”.

France: Where Love Blossoms

Image Courtesy: @ BlancorazonPhotography

France, especially regions like Provence, French Riviera, and cities like Paris, is synonymous with romance. The chic sophistication of French design, combined with historical landmarks, makes it a coveted wedding destination. Muriel Saldalamacchia says “Imagine a wedding reception in a vintage chateau surrounded by vineyards or a simple, elegant ceremony by the Seine.Nestled in the embrace of rolling lavender fields and quaint villages, Provence exudes timeless romance. Imagine exchanging your vows under the provincial sun, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. The air is infused with the sweet scent of lavender, and the historic chateau provide a fairytale backdrop for your celebration. Provence effortlessly blends rustic elegance with sophisticated charm, promising an unforgettable wedding experience.”

She further adds: “The epitome of glamour and luxury, the French Riviera offers a stunning tapestry of turquoise waters, opulent villas, and vibrant culture. Picture a seaside ceremony along the Cote d’Azur, with the Mediterranean Sea stretching to the horizon. Your wedding can be a fusion of haute couture and timeless romance, where the glitz of Cannes and the elegance of Nice set the stage for a lavish celebration that will captivate your guests.”

Whether it’s the countryside’s rustic charm, the lavender fields, or the undeniable allure of cities like Paris, France guarantees a wedding backdrop that’s straight out of fairy tales.

St. Lucia: The Caribbean Gem

Image Courtesy: @ANomadicLove

“St. Lucia’s lush landscapes, dotted with volcanic mountains, vibrant flora, and the azure Caribbean Sea, offer a postcard-perfect backdrop. Local traditions, steel pan music, and Caribbean dances can add a unique flavor to the wedding celebrations.” supports Kelly A McWilliams founder of Kelly McWilliams Celebrations from USA

The Caribbean paradise of St. Lucia, with its azure waters, lush mountains, and golden sands, beckons couples for an intimate and scenic wedding.

Japan: A Blend of Tradition and Modernity

Image Courtesy: @linandjirsa

Japan’s allure lies in its seamless blend of antiquity and modernism. Ancient Shinto shrines can become the backdrop for a traditional ceremony, while the ultra-modern cityscapes of Tokyo can host an avant-garde reception. The meticulous Japanese attention to detail ensures perfection in every aspect.

From the traditional ceremonies in Kyoto’s temples to the bustling city vibes of Tokyo, Japan presents a rich tapestry of experiences, blending centuries-old traditions with modern aesthetics.

New Zealand: Nature’s Grandeur at Its Best

Image Courtesy: @WilliamsPhotography

Imagine a helicopter ride to a snow-capped mountain peak, where you say ‘I do’ with the world beneath your feet, or a lakeside ceremony with the Southern Alps as a backdrop. New Zealand’s unspoiled landscapes provide the most dramatic settings, making nature an integral part of your celebration.

New Zealand’s diverse landscapes, from the mesmerizing Lake Tekapo to the towering peaks of Queenstown, promise a wedding backdrop that’s nothing short of spectacular. Trish Simitakos, Founder of Trish Star Events from USA, beautifully puts it, “Lake Tekapo, New Zealand, when the lupins are in bloom. As a designer, I love it when nature does the heavy lifting – particularly when the result is this gorgeous.”

Morocco: Dive into an Exotic Tale

Image Courtesy: @rebeccacarpentarphotography

Moroccan weddings are a riot of colors, sounds, and flavors. The rich tapestry of Berber, Arab, and French cultures creates a wedding experience that’s both exotic and mesmerizing. Be it the historic riads or the vast desert under a canopy of stars, Morocco promises enchantment at every turn.

In the dance of destinations, each of these countries offers a rhythm that resonates with the heartbeats of couples in love. Choose one that matches your song, and let your love story echo in its landscapes.

Morocco promises a sensory overload. Nancy Barkley from Honeymoons & Get-A-Ways encapsulates the essence of Morocco, describing “its vibrant colors, exotic aromas, and diverse landscapes. Whether it’s the bustling lanes of Marrakech or the tranquil Sahara desert, Morocco offers a mosaic of experiences.”

Mexico: Fiesta of Love and Culture

Image Courtesy: @MemoryBoxPhotography

Mexico, with its vibrant culture, stunning beaches, and rich traditions, offers a wedding experience that’s truly a fiesta of love. From the picturesque shores of Cancun to the colonial charm of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico provides a diverse range of settings for couples seeking a wedding that’s both lively and romantic. The blend of colorful celebrations, mariachi music, and delectable cuisine ensures a wedding journey filled with joy and cultural richness.

“Mexico is a popular choice for a wedding destination because of how much of a treat the whole experience usually is. Beach weddings have the simplicity, elegance and natural beauty that today is a trend. You have 5 starts hotels with all-in-concept and amazing experiences for the whole wedding guests. There are many reasons to plan a destination wedding in Mexico. The opportunity to say “I do” in a tropical setting with a beautiful beach around you is the best experience for couples.” Says Romina Ferraretto, Romina Ferraretto Events Planners, Argentina.

Qatar: Modern Elegance and Arabian Nights

Image Credit : @doha.photographer

Qatar, with its modern cities and rich Arabian heritage, offers a wedding experience that’s a blend of contemporary elegance and Arabian mystique. The futuristic skyline of Doha and the desert landscapes create a unique juxtaposition that’s both captivating and enchanting. Whether it’s a lavish ballroom celebration or an intimate desert soirée under the stars, Qatar’s blend of luxury and tradition ensures a wedding that’s as sophisticated as it is magical.

“Qatar has a high-end luxury service, the same as high-end luxury hotels. Plus, there is the availability of supply of all the materials needed, and they have a very professional governmental service like customs. Moreover, Qatar has visa facilities for most nationalities that make an easy entry for the wedding guests, and they have one of the best reputable airlines in the world.” Share a renowned wedding designer from Lebanon- Walid Baz, Founder of Baz Events. The fusion of modern architecture, Arabian hospitality, and desert landscapes makes Qatar an intriguing destination for couples who seek a wedding that’s both luxurious and steeped in Arabian charm.

In conclusion, the venue of your wedding plays a pivotal role in crafting memories. As Colin Cowie aptly states, “the magic of a wedding is not just in the vows but also in the venue, making the chosen destination an enduring part of your love story.” So, here’s to finding that perfect destination that truly mirrors your unique love story. Happy wedding planning!