10 Most Beautiful Destinations for Dream Weddings and Honeymoons
Brides want their wedding to be perfect. It takes a great deal of time, money and effort to plan a dream wedding; from the gown, to the wedding invitations, to the flavor and design of the cake, to the wedding vows, the music, the number of guests, the food, the wine and drinks, the give-away, the venue, the honeymoon and yes the wedding destination...
Dream weddings don't just happen in anyone's backyard. The destination is carefully thought off and planned and paid for...it doesn't have to cost a fortune; in fact, dream weddings need not be extravagant, but in order to have a perfect dream wedding the location should be perfect. A simple wedding in a perfect location is perfect...and what's more? You don't need to travel for your honeymoon somewhere else because the wedding location is already perfect!!!
So here are the 10 perfect destinations for the wedding of a lifetime...
10. St. Lucia, Caribbean
There is nothing more symbolic of a wedding union than the iconic twin peaks of the Pitons in St. Lucia. This beautiful volcanic island in the Caribbean is quite remote and expensive to get to but it is definitely worth every penny. The island's white sandy beaches are perfect for that dream beach wedding.
Wedding Requirements in St, Lucia:
St. Lucia may be pricey for couples from the far East but wedding process in itself is quite easy. The minimum number of days required for the couple to be married in civil is just 2 days and wedding fees are more or less 250 dollars inclusive of marriage license and notarial fees. For church weddings, the waiting period is longer because the church requires that the couple's names be posted on the church door for 15 days before the wedding date. Couples who delight in sunrise and sunset will definitely be happy to get married here because it is a legal requirement to conduct the wedding ceremony after sunrise and before sunset otherwise the marriage is invalid. The wedding license is given after the ceremony. The documents needed to be provided are: Birth certificate, passport, marriage application (2 days before the wedding date) and the immigration form upon arrival to the country.
When to go:
St. Lucia is blessed with very good weather all year round. If money is not an issue then the best time is between December to March since it is the high season. Low season is between June and November.
9. Castle and Boat Weddings, The Netherlands
There is no other place perfect for fairy-tale weddings than the Netherlands. The country is very small yet it is lined with numerous castles perfect for wedding venues. The castle offers not only a venue for the wedding ceremony but also restaurants and catering services as well as suites for the newlyweds and their guests. This saves the couple a lot of time choosing a restaurant and a hotel after the ceremony because everything is already provided once you rent the entire castle ensuring absolute privacy and solemnity.
A perfect fairy-tale wedding is never complete without a castle. But if fairy tale is not your thing, don't despair. The Netherlands has a lot of other things to offer. The country is surrounded with canals so a boat wedding is also a very good and romantic option while cruising. Instead of limousine, the newlyweds can also use the bicycles after the ceremony to make it a little bit more extraordinary since the country is famous for being the bike capital of the world. In the spring, the tulips are in season and so brides can definitely take pride in showing off their bouquet of tulips while walking down the isle.
Wedding requirements in the Netherlands:
The Netherlands is the first country to legalize same sex marriage so gender is definitely not an issue here. However, only civil weddings are recognized in the Netherlands as legal so church weddings are not enough to make it official. To get married in the Netherlands, one must be a resident of the country or a dutch citizen; so it is not a place for tourists to get married. The documents required are: passport, birth certificate, proof of nationality, proof of address, proof of civil status and the intention to marry submitted to the municipal hall.
When to go:
Dutch weather is very unpredictable. Outdoor weddings need to be carefully planned and there should be some umbrellas or roof for the venue in case it rains all of a sudden. The best time to go is in the spring when tulips are in full season and in the summer when it is generally warmer.
What is your dream wedding?
8. Santorini, Greece
There are so many reasons why people from all walks of life want a piece of the Greek paradise. First, Greek weddings are very traditional, romantic and beautiful. Second, the country is rich in beautiful beaches and scenic mountains. Third, food in Greece is very delectable. And of course, it is the home of the sought-after Santorini. There is no other place in Greece perfect for a Greek wedding theme than Santorini. It could be expensive depending on the wedding plans but it is definitely worth it. You can have a wedding anywhere you like; inside caves, along the beach, in a balcony or in a resort overlooking the volcano. You also don't need to go anywhere else for honeymoon because Santorini is already an ideal place to be.
Wedding requirements in Santorini:
If you like to have a civil wedding in Santorini, you need to stay for at least 8 days on the island before the wedding to allow the authorities ample time to process the application. For church/religious weddings 2 months at least is required for the process of papers because there are more documents required by the church before the wedding day. The documents required for civil weddings are: birth certificate, consular registration certificate, certificate of no impediment (obtained from the Superintendent registrar- 2 separate copies), Decree Absolute (if divorced), Death certificate (If widow/widower), Change of Name Deed (if name was changed) and if applicable Adoption Certificate. Weddings are usually held in the early evening at 6pm and civil weddings are officiated by the mayor.
When to go:
May to October are the best months for a dream wedding because the weather is not so warm and all the facilities on the island are at your service. July and August are the warmest months though and it is also the busiest.
7. Cape Winelands, South Africa
The Cape Winelands is composed of 5 municipalities of Stellenbosch, Witzenberg, Drakenstein, Lange Berg and Breede Valley. Here, you will see acres after acres of vineyards, towering mountains, cheetahs, oak trees, olives, and green pastures for the horses and donkeys. The Cape Winelands is also the culinary capital of South Africa so feast your taste buds with delightful South African cuisines. Savor the local produce like cheese and olives. Taste their exquisite local wine. Go to their farms and pick strawberries, ride donkeys to your wedding, and enjoy a bath time in one of their mineral hot springs. Cape Winelands offer many things for the couple and their guests to enjoy. It is also heaven for artists and photographers alike. The mountains and scenery make for a perfect wedding moment that you'd want to preserve for a lifetime.
The cost? For foreigners it is very affordable thanks to the exchange rates...but it still depends on the wedding plans and ideas put in place...
Wedding requirements in Cape Winelands:
There is no required number of days of stay in South Africa in general before the wedding however, it is advised to allow 2 days before the wedding for the process of application and to get to know the wedding facilitator. You can marry anywhere in South Africa but the legal part of the wedding should be conducted inside the church or religious building, inside a government office or a private house with proper witnesses and open doors.
The documents required are: Birth Certificate, Visitor's permit and passport (for tourists), Death certificate for widowed, Parental consent (for under 18 years of age) and Final Decree of Divorce (if divorced)
When to go:
Best time for weddings is between November and March because it is summer. You can enjoy the outdoors and take a hike anywhere in the region. June to August can be wet and cold so plan carefully if you like to be a June bride.
6. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thailand is home to numerous islands and white sandy beaches and so it is an ideal place for beach weddings. However, as much as beach weddings are popular it is important to note that a beach can be anywhere and people won't notice that it is indeed a wedding that happened in Thailand. If you love Thailand and you want to capture it's true beauty and incorporate it in your wedding, you should go to Chiang Mai. This is in the north of the country and here you will discover the other side of Thailand.
Couples can light a lantern, go to national parks and enjoy the gorgeous mountains that surround the province, eat exotic foods that can only be found in Thailand, talk to people although locals do not speak very good english, get a blessing from the elders before your wedding day, feed the elephants and if lucky you may even borrow an elephant for your wedding ceremony (but never ride them please...) and experience the traditional lanna-style wedding that you will forever cherish with your partner.
Wedding requirements in Chiang Mai:
For foreigners who want to marry in Thailand, a minimum of 4 days is required to stay in the country before the wedding. Process of documents take a lot longer as everything needs to be translated to Thai and then some other documents in Thai will have to be translated in English or any other language used by the couple getting married. This has to be taken into account before planning the wedding. Report of the wedding will have to be conducted in respective consulate offices by the couple after the wedding.
Documents required are: Passport, Affidavit of Freedom to marry (from one's embassy in Thailand and this has to be translated to Thai and legalized) and Marriage application. In other cases like if one of the party is widowed or divorced, some documents will have to be provided.
When to go:
October to January is the best time to have the wedding because the temperature is not so warm. Avoid Mid-february to Mid-april as this is the time for farmers to prepare their crops for the season of planting and so there will be heavy smog in the air caused by the burnt fields.
5. Palawan, Philippines
Philippines is a very beautiful country. It's pristine waters are usually lined with white sandy shores perfect for beach weddings. The rugged landscape is also ideal for nature lovers where one can see numerous waterfalls, rivers, lakes, caves and towering mountains which can all be used as a natural backdrop for wedding photos. Anywhere you go there will always be a nice little spot to capture and add to your wedding album.
Among the 7107 islands in the country, Palawan is considered to be one of the most beautiful. Boracay island is famous for it beaches and perfect for beach weddings but Palawan offers that and much more. Both Palawan and Boracay were ranked 1st and 2nd best island in the world for 2016 by Travel + Leisure magazine respectively. If you like a small and intimate wedding with just your loved ones, it is very easy to go to an isolated island or go to a secret beach where you can be alone with nature and enjoy your privacy. You can also rent a car or a motorbike and tour the entire island as you wish. The Philippines is a good destination for honeymoon so you don't need to go anywhere else. One more thing, the Philippines is a lot cheaper compared to other countries on the list in terms of food, wedding packages, hotel accommodations and services.
Divorce and same sex marriage are not legal in the Philippines. The paper processing also takes more time in the Philippines than other countries because there are a lot of requirements for church weddings. Philippines is a predominantly catholic nation so there are more options for catholic weddings than other religious denominations...
Wedding Requirements in The Philippines:
There is no minimum number of days required to stay in the country before the wedding but it is paramount to allow at least 2-3 weeks waiting period before the marriage license is released by the authorities. The couple will have to attend a seminar (mostly if it is a church wedding) before the wedding. The documents required to be submitted are: Birth certificate (original), Baptismal (for catholic church wedding), Certificate of attendance (from the seminar attended), Community tax Certificate (for Filipinos), Valid ID and passport (for foreigners), Certificate of Legal Capacity to Marry (for US citizen) or Certificate of no Impediment (for Euro Countries).
If one of the couple is aged 18-21, a parental consent is required and if 22-25, parental advise is necessary before getting married.
When to go:
Summer is the busiest time of the year in the Philippines because schools are closed. The best time to visit the country is from November to April. The weather is more pleasant and typhoon season is over.
4. Banff, Canada
If you wish to have a wedding that will wow you and all your friends and loved ones for life, choose to celebrate it in Banff, Canada. The setting is just too perfect that all you need to do is wear your wedding gown, drag your loved ones, find a priest or pastor or the city mayor, set a table and walk down the aisle. No more decorations whatsoever because the place is already too perfect to take your breath away.
The most famous location for weddings in Banff is Lake Louise. Here, you will find world-class resorts and hotels where you can celebrate your nuptial with the love of your life. The options are endless. You can have the wedding along the scenic lake shore looking straight into the sunset, you can have it somewhere on the mountain top, or you can rent a castle for a day and be a princess walking down on a frozen lake. Restaurants abound in the area with fine Canadian cuisines to choose from, the accommodations are romantic and the scenery is magical. What more can you ask for?
Wedding requirements in Banff, Canada:
In Banff, you can get married on the same day you arrive as there is no required number of days of stay before the wedding. However, it is advised to allow 2 days to get your body a little bit adjusted to the weather and time difference. If all the documents are provided, the marriage license can be released on the same day of application. The required documents are: Passport, Valid ID, Full name and birth place of father, Decree Absolute (for divorced), Full name, maiden name and birthplace of mother, and death certificate (for widowed). For tourists and people not residing in the province, they can contact Banff Bureau to have their marriage license processed in advance. 2 witnesses of legal age is required.
When to go:
Banff weather is unpredictable and cold all year round so it is always advised to bring with you a fur coat or a warm jacket to keep you warm. Generally summer is the best time to visit but winter in Banff is also very beautiful.
3. Rotorua, New Zealand
Rotorua in New Zealand is perfect for people who prefer a different kind of setting for their wedding day. Forget about beach weddings or church weddings, more adventurous people and extremely nature-loving couples would opt to have their wedding in the forest surrounded by tall trees and huge ferns or go to a hot spring for a unique background for their wedding photo or take a hike and say "I do" under a waterfall or better yet, board a catamaran and cruise along the beautiful lakes while exchanging your vows with your loved one. You can also hire a helicopter and celebrate your nuptial on top of the mountain if budget is not an issue!!!!
So if you are an extraordinary person who want an extraordinary but still beautiful wedding, Rotorua is your ideal wedding destination. From small and intimate weddings to big and grand celebrations, Rotorua has the perfect spot for you. It is also very accessible because it is the tourist hub of New Zealand so your guests can easily find accommodation and restaurants around the area. There are numerous activity choices around which makes it an ideal place for your honeymoon as well.
Wedding requirement in New Zealand:
For the application of marriage license, there is a 3-day waiting period before the wedding. You need at least 2 witnesses. If you are marrying with a registered celebrant, you need to provide all the information needed about him and the place where you like to have the wedding. Take note that in New Zealand there are 2 ways to get married. First, with a registered celebrant where the couple can decide where to conduct the wedding, say their own vows and and choose their own celebrant. Second is the boring and straight forward kind, in a registry office. Here, you cannot say your own vows and it is in the registry office during office hours. So if you like a customized wedding then go for the first one.
For tourists who want to get married in NZ, there is a form that needs to be filled out called Notice of Intended Marriage where parties ordinarily Resident Outside NZ. They also have to sign a statutory declaration before getting their marriage license.
When to go:
The best season is summer from December to February. However, the weather can be unpredictable at times so no matter what time of year you decide to get married, you still get a chance to celebrate with a beautiful day...
2. Snæfellsnes peninsula, Iceland
Imagine yourself being in a surreal place saying "I do" under the blackest nights and staring up into the sky where the northern lights dance in front of you. The jaw-dropping panoramic view of mountains and glaciers to feast your eyes with everywhere you go is just beyond your imagination. The midnight sun and the long summer nights give you endless time to bask in the beauty of nature. The land of fire and ice...Iceland...is the second best if not the best wedding destination in the world in my opinion.
The Snæfellsness peninsula encompasses a huge array of options for your dream wedding location. Here, you can find numerous hotels like the Budir hotel which is a popular and highly recommended hotel for wedding celebrations. Beside the hotel is a black church where most church weddings in the area are officiated. There are also numerous waterfalls, black sand beach, the Snæfellsjökull National Park and the famous kirkjufell which is the most photographed spot in Iceland. This is where you can dance and say your vows under the northern lights.
Wedding requirements in Iceland:
Iceland is cold even in summer season that is why it is important that when going outdoors for photo shoot and ceremonies, a warm jacket or blanket should always be handy. The Northern lights is not an every night thing in Iceland. Certain weather conditions have to be in place for the dazzling light display to happen so don't always expect to see it. The best time to see the northern lights is when the nights are longest and that is between November and February.
There is no minimum number of days required to stay in Iceland for the wedding but the paperwork needs to be submitted to the registry office 2 weeks before the wedding. To obtain the certificate of marital status, two witnesses form must be filled out and a declaration of Freedom to marry must be made before the Notary public. This process can take 4 weeks.
The documents required are: Passport, birth certificate, residence permit (if applicable), flight tickets, witness forms, certificate of marital status, divorce certificate (if applicable) and death certificate (for widowed).
Best time to go:
If you are after the northern lights then your best chance is during the winter season between November-February where the nights are longest and temperatures are lowest. Tourist flow is also minimal so you can choose the best location for your wedding with no hassle. Summer is the busiest time in Iceland but it is also where a lot of festivities take place. You do need to plan 10-12 months in advance so you can choose the best location and hotel for the wedding.
1. Lake Como, Italy
The first time i laid my eyes on Lake Como, i truly fell in love with the place. It was way more beautiful than the pictures. I was invited to a wedding and when i saw where the wedding was, i suddenly wished i could take it home so i can go there anytime i like. The wedding was in Villa del Balbianello. We went there by boat and from the gate to the wedding venue, it was just spectacular! The garden is huge and green and lined with roman statues surrounded with a lot of flowers. The villa is very popular in fact many celebrities from different countries celebrated their wedding there. The views are unlike any other. Since the villa is kind of remote, it gives the feeling of being alone in the world with nothing but romance, beauty, and nature...and nothing is ever more perfect...
Lake Como is not cheap at all. But such beauty really comes with a price and it is really worth it. There are a lot of hotels to choose from but most weddings take place in beautiful villas surrounding the lake. The most popular is Villa del Balbianello although it only caters to very intimate to small-sized weddings. There are other bigger villas to choose from for bigger weddings like the Villa D' este, Villa Carlota, Villa Erba among others. Different villages surrounding the lake were also as beautiful like Tremezzo, Varenna, Lenno, Belagio and Menaggio. Numerous hotels and restaurants can be found along the lake as well. We stayed in Albergo Lenno.
So here is a definition of a perfect wedding for me: Beautiful scenery unparalleled anywhere else, comfortable accommodations with 5-star services, fine restaurants, authentic local cuisine, good music, romantic ambiance, the company of loved ones, personalized vows and the promise of forever with your one true love.
Wedding requirements in Lake Como:
It is recommended to be in Lake Como 2 days before the wedding for the marriage application. Since Lake Como is very popular as a wedding destination, it is also necessary to book in advance - a year before the wedding - to secure the best venue of your choice on the date of your wedding. The documents required are: Birth certificate (where parents' full names are shown), Deed Poll Certificate (for UK residents if applicable), valid passports, Death certificate (if widowed), and Divorce Certificate (if applicable). Documents will have to be translated to Italian and Marriage Certificate can be translated to English as well.
As of June, 2016 same sex marriage is now legal in Italy.
When to go:
The best time to go to Lake Como is from April to September. The weather is fantastic and the nights are cool. Take into account though that summer months are also the busiest. In autumn, the best time is between September and October.