‘Tis the season for wedding festivities! If you’re newly engaged and in phase one of your planning stage – first off, congratulations! Next, it’s time to find your dream venue. Weddings are the perfect reason to have all your favorite people in the world come together to celebrate love. Destination weddings on the other hand, are the perfect excuse to have all your favorite people explore a new city together in honor of your special day. On top of that, destination weddings weed out the wedding crashers, and limit your guests to the ones who truly matter most.
If a destination wedding is an idea that you’d love to incorporate in your own personal fairytale, we are in full support because it’ll be an incredible experience that you, your wedding party, and your guests will enjoy. To help you zone in on a few possibilities, we asked over 1,000 wedding-goers which four cities are the best location for a destination wedding in the U.S.
#4: Newport, Rhode Island
Starting off in the city of Newport on the south end of Rhode Island, this waterfront town is primarily bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, giving you various country clubs, hotels and resorts to scout for your big day. One of Newport’s largest and most well-known venues is Fort Adams, which serves as both a National Historic Landmark and an official State Park. This coastal fortress alone has six beautiful locations to host your day of matrimony, including The Eisenhower House, also known as 34th U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower’s “Summer White House.”
If you want to live like The Great Gatsby for a day, you can also book a wedding at the Rosecliff Mansion, just fifteen minutes away from Fort Adams. Aside from Great Gatsby, other movies that have turned this space into a movie set are 27 Dresses and True Lies.
Across the water from Fort Adams is Goat Island, a secluded area in Newport that’s home to Belle Mer, a glamorous oceanside venue with equally stunning indoor and outdoor spaces. If we could describe this location in one sentence, it would be your ideal vision of an elegant East Coast wedding. The private venue is surrounded by seven acres of immaculate greenery and a panoramic view of Narragansett Bay’s blue waters. Get a virtual tour of this gorgeous location here.
For anyone looking for an all-inclusive venue that can host all your wedding events and accommodate your guests onsite, we have two delightful options for you. The first is the OceanCliff Resort, a waterfront estate with a luxurious grand ballroom and 24 guest rooms to house your closest loved ones. OceanCliff was awarded “2019 Top Pick – Best of Weddings” by The Knot and “Best Reception and Ceremony Venue” by Newport Wedding Magazine. Another hotel that can provide everything you need for your special day is the Castle Hill Inn. This space has several types of rooms to accommodate your guests, a boutique spa for a little pampering, and they even pride themselves on their world-class dining experience.
Once you’ve found the right venue, you can relax and unwind over a glass of wine at Newport Vineyards. If you’d like to bring your guests with you, you can also inquire to host a private event at their facility. Their website clearly lists all their availabilities for the remainder of 2019. If you’re more of a beer lover, then you can also check out the newest addition to Newport Vineyards: the Taproom Brewing Company. Aside from a tasty selection of local beer, on Wednesday nights, the Taproom hosts live music from 4:00pm to 7:00pm.
Ready for an extravagant East Coast wedding? Find a waterfront escape in Newport now.
#3: Charleston, South Carolina
For any hopeless romantics who are fans of the famous film The Notebook, take a seat and start researching because Charleston, South Carolina might be the perfect wedding destination for you. Many of The Notebook‘s scenes were filmed in the city of Charleston itself. Relive the love story of Allie and Noah with your soon-to-be life partner by taking a boat ride through Cypress Gardens, or visit the Boone Hall Plantation, where Allie spent her summers. You can also take a stroll down Charleston’s King Street, where the pair exchanged a dance outside the American Theater on their first date.
Charleston houses over one hundred wedding venues to scope out. Some of our favorites include The Cedar Room at the Cigar Factory, the Instagram-worthy Mills House at the Wyndham Grand Hotel, and the historic, yet modern Founders Hall located near the Old Town District. All three of these spaces are incredibly unique locations that surround you with Charleston’s timeless charm.
Your guests are in for a treat because there’s tons of places to explore in between all your wedding festivities. For starters, show up with an empty stomach to Lewis Barbecue for beef brisket by the pound that’s made to perfection by barbecue master, John Lewis. Lewis began his culinary career in the home of American BBQ – good ol’ Texas – and took his talents to Charleston to introduce South Carolina to mouthwatering Texan barbecue.
Once your bellies are satisfied with southern-style meats, you can find your way to one of Charleston’s many rooftop bars! Three bars we’d recommend are within a twelve minute drive from one another. If you’re on the north end of Charleston, you can start at Revelry Brewing Company, a dog-friendly bar with house-brewed craft beers. A short drive down Meeting Street is Citrus Club, an exclusive rooftop bar with phenomenal views of the city. They typically prioritize reservations for The Dewberry’s hotel guests, but limited slots are available for non-hotel guests if you make a reservation 14 days in advance.
Saving the best for last is The Rooftop at Vendue, located on top of Charleston’s Art Hotel. Dubbed as “The Best Rooftop Bar” by the Charleston City Paper since 2007, the space is so in-demand that they do not accept reservations. Be sure to stop by if you get the chance!
Reserve a beautiful rental for your wedding party in Charleston.
#2: Key West, Florida
If you’re in search of a breathtaking beach wedding, Key West in Florida is your answer. Located on the furthest end of the Florida Keys strip, and within seven square miles of this tiny town, are a plethora of jaw-dropping seaside venues to choose from. It would be an absolute dream to have all your wedding guests spend a couple nights in paradise together, and at Key West, you can turn that dream into a reality.
We’re all familiar with the saying “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” and when you’re at Margaritaville Resort & Marina, it’s 5 o’clock (aka Happy Hour) all the time. Yes, there is actually a place called Margaritaville – and yes, it’s basically a slice of paradise. At this heavenly resort, you can choose to have a sunset wedding by the beach, a reception in a tropical garden, a catamaran celebration to explore Key West’s tropical waters, and more! The best part is, the resort itself can accommodate up to 300 people, so if you plan ahead, you’d be able to have all your guests stay at Margaritaville.
Another enchanting location is the Southernmost Beach Resort, where you can get a taste of the glamorous island life. Before all the wedding madness ensues, you and your fiancé can treat yourselves to a couples cabana massage with a view of the ocean right in front of you. By the end of your 80 minute massage, any stress that tries to take over will melt away completely. On your wedding day, you can exchange vows right on the beach with palm trees and beautiful shades of blue as your backdrop. As you stand at the end of the aisle, with the tropical breeze passing by, and the love of your life right in front of you, we hope you take a mental picture and embrace that ethereal moment forever.
For an experience you and your entourage will never forget, why not get a helicopter tour of the island? If you and your friends are thrill seekers who aren’t afraid of heights, Air Adventures is a unique tour that allows you to see Key West from a completely different perspective. They offer six different types of packages that vary in price range, but you can book an Air Adventures tour for as low as $69 per person. Talk about taking your destination wedding to the next level.
Interested in a tropical celebration? Find the perfect rental Key West for all your loved ones.
#1: Napa Valley, California
Last but not surely not least, our final wedding destination is none other than Napa Valley, home of California’s most world-renowned wineries! People from all over the globe travel here to get a taste of the region’s award winning wines, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that Napa Valley takes the cake as the #1 location for a destination wedding in the U.S.
Once you drive into Napa Valley, you will notice lush mountains and vast vineyards as far as the eye can see. It’s a remarkable sight that can dazzle anyone who gets to witness it for the first time. Napa’s landscapes will be a warm welcome for your guests, but to top it all off, you can savor a wine tasting together at one of Napa’s 400 wineries!
We understand that it may be a challenge to choose the right one, so if you ask us, two must-see wineries are the famed Castello di Amorosa pictured below, and Hollywood Director Francis Ford Coppola’s own personal winery. Coppola’s winery even has a movie gallery where you can catch a glimpse at props from some of his most prominent films including Don Corleone’s desk from The Godfather.
There are just as many wedding venues in Napa Valley as there are wineries, so you’ll definitely have to dig in to find the venue that impresses you the most. One noteworthy location is the Meritage Resort and Spa right on the edge of Napa Valley. At this establishment, you can book spa packages for your bridal party, or spoil them with a wine tasting at one of Meritage’s nine tasting rooms. At Meritage, you can select to have your ceremony at a variety of locations, including a Vineyard Deck with a gazebo, an intimate Estate Wine Cave, or several ballrooms and terraces.
After exploring Napa’s beauty for your wedding, your guests will leave with happy hearts, smiling faces, and most likely a suitcase filled with a few bottles of wine. We can’t blame them though, because we would do the same.