When most people think of a destination wedding, they think of boarding a plane and going to a paradisiacal island in the Caribbean or somewhere in Europe for an authentic cultural experience. But, for those that don’t want to travel too far and still want to offer their guests an adventure, there are incredible venues throughout the United States that offer steep competition for a dream destination wedding.
Whether you are seeking the charm of North Carolina, the nautical allure of Rhode Island, a coastal setting in Georgia, the desert-like canvas of Arizona, a sexy locale in southern Florida, the chic backdrop of southern California or a sophisticated soirée in New York—the options are endless.
Offering the appeal of a city with all that comes with an 8,000-acre George Vanderbilt estate set amidst the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, The Biltmore, in historic Asheville, N.C., receives more than one million guests every year. Commencing with daughter Cornelia’s 1924 nuptials, The Biltmore has continued its tradition of hosting weddings up to 550 for almost nine decades. From Diana at Biltmore, their newest venue inclusive of “the best of everything” from its views to its location next to a marble statue of Diana, to their more intrinsic spaces like the Stable Courtyard and Gardens, Barn in Antler Hill Village, Deerpark Restaurant, and Champagne Cellar at the Winery.
A Relais & Châteaux property, Castle Hill, is located in Rhode Island on Newport’s famed Ocean Drive on a very private, 40-acre peninsula. Ideal for the discerning couple who is looking to have an intimate wedding at a venue known for top-notch cuisine and service, the inn boasts weddings on the Lawn followed by a reception in the Chalet or Terrace. There is also the option to charter the Schooner Adirondack II for up to four hours with your wedding party.
Residing on St. Simons Island, just off the coast of Georgia, is The Cloister and The Lodge at Sea Island. Encompassing five miles of private beach, Sea Island Resorts is one of Georgia’s unrivaled luxury destinations since 1928. Whether you desire sunset vows in the sand or an indoor gathering up to 300, all weddings are inclusive of white-glove service and pair southern hospitality with a tradition of excellence.
Complete with an award-winning culinary team, the boutique-style Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa in Paradise Valley, Ariz., a quick 10-minute drive from Scottsdale, prides itself on exclusivity: no matter when you hold your wedding, it will be the only one. From 15 to 150, options for your desert wedding nestled in the shadows of Camelback Mountain include the patio or verdant lawn. Notably, indulging at the spa before your stay is over, is also a must.
Acqualina Resort and Spa in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., is a Mediterranean-style oceanfront retreat juxtaposed between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Embodying the spirit of serenity, weddings at the 4.5-acre villa are handled by an on-site planner that will guide you through every detail including whether to exchange vows on the beach, near the tranquility pool or in a banquet room. Reception facilities range from indoor rooms to tented soirées on the lawn.
Montage vaunts four destinations, one of the most renowned being the Montage Laguna Beach in southern California. Perched on a coastal bluff off of the Pacific Coast Highway, the resort overlooks sweeping vistas of the white sandy beaches below. Determined to make your dream wedding a reality, Montage weddings take guests on a journey from the private valet entrance, down meandering garden paths that bring you to an oceanfront lawn for the I Dos. Afterward, garden hors d’oeuvres are followed by a convivial celebration.
New York City conjures many thoughts; think of New York City weddings and The Plaza is synonymous with luxury. From the Grand Ballroom to The Terrace Room, collaborate with CPS Events, The Plaza’s very own in-house planner—a joint venture between Great Performances, New York’s prestigious event and catering company, and Delaware North Companies, one of the world’s leading hospitality and foodservice providers—to attend to every detail of your vision. Since it reopened in January of 2008, CPS Events’ mission for every wedding, is to deliver a new standard in catering and service that pays homage to the historic hotel.
With seven resorts in California alone, the Four Seasons is no stranger to The Golden State and the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills in L.A., remains a Hollywood icon. Located on a quiet, palm-tree lined road minutes from the center of Beverly Hills, the hotel possesses expansive terraces, balconies, landscaped panoramas, the Wetherly Gardens, the main Ballroom and several other rooms, each appointed with unique views, for your wedding celebration.
Each of these properties has something different to offer every style couple, from those seeking a destination rich in history to something a bit more contemporary. The unifying thread: you don’t have to leave the country to fulfill your vision of a dream destination wedding.
Location: Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC