21 Dreamy Destination Wedding Ideas

Learn how to host an incredible weekend of events in a new locale.

Two brides celebrate down the aisle of red rugs after their beach wedding ceremony

Photo by Moni & Adri Photography

While some couples want to tie the knot close to home, a destination wedding is an incredible opportunity for brides and grooms to celebrate with friends and family across the globe. While you don't have to travel far on a plane ride, going to a new locale is a fun way to experience a new region and culture with your loved ones. Plus, the vacation will be peppered in with fun wedding events that can go far beyond the regular ceremony and reception formula.

From nods to the local cuisine to scenic venues, there are plenty of unique ways to turn your destination wedding into an incredible experience for you and your guests. Whether you are hosting a romantic beach wedding or an Italian escape, we rounded up 21 ideas to help you on your planning journey.

01 of 21

Showcase Your Destination on Your Invitation

Blue and yellow invitation suite with illustrated buffalo envelope liner, Montana postcard, wildflower illustration, purple flowers, and yellow ribbon

Photo by Norman & Blake

While you don’t have to highlight your destination locale with your invitation, it's a fun way to give guests a taste of the festivities ahead. Take a cue from this Montana wedding invitation suite, which featured illustrations of buffalo and local wildflowers and a postcard from the state.

02 of 21

Provide a Map

Blue, yellow, and green South Carolina invitation inserts with map of the area and wildlife illustrations, along with a shell and stamps

Photo by Corbin Gurkin

Planning to host wedding events at a few locations throughout the weekend? Ask an illustrator to design a map highlighting the different venues. Maps are not only helpful to guests, but also serve as a fun touch to set the tone of the event.

03 of 21

Buy Out a Hotel

French chateau with hedged gardens and statues

Photo by Kurt Boomer

If you have enough wedding guests to fill a hotel, consider buying it out to have all your loved ones in a single place. While it can be pricey, this option allows your wedding group to take over the space and host a number of events at the location.

04 of 21

Give Guests Welcome Bags

Welcome bag to a Westhampton wedding with "Out East" tote, Tate's cookies, Hampton popcorn, a "WHB" hat, water, Advil, and an illustration of the venue

Photo by Stephanie Sunderland

Once guests arrive at your celebration, give them a stylish welcome bag curated full of local goodies, snacks, and items that they might appreciate throughout the wedding weekend, like Advil and sunscreen.

05 of 21

Take a Hike

Bride and groom take a portrait at the Moab desert at sunset

Photo by The Foxes Photography

If your wedding takes place in an adventurous location, like the mountains or a national park, go on a hike to take in the sights and capture some beautiful photos. You can do this as a couple with your photographer or as a group activity with interested wedding guests.

06 of 21

Serve Local Specialties

Taco bar and quesadilla buffet with terracotta serving dishes

Photo by Lauren Fair Photography

If you're heading outside your hometown for a wedding, you should consider serving up local specialties to give your guests a taste of the region. If you don’t want to fully commit your menu to this kind of cuisine, offer a few regional hors d’oeuvres at cocktail hour.

07 of 21

Create a Scenic First Look

Bride and groom do a first look along the water on the Amalfi Coast

Photo by David Bastianoni Studio

Planning to do a first look before your wedding? Choose a beautiful location at your destination to have your photographer take stunning photos of the emotional moment.

08 of 21

Host a Pool Party

Aerial shot of wedding pool party with guests on pool floats

Photo by Sergio Sandona

The day after your wedding is the perfect time to host a pool party for all your guests. Offer brunch, mimosas, and plenty of pool floats for guests to relax and spend a few final hours socializing before they head back home.

09 of 21

Have a Beach Day

Bride in white bikini and lace coverup and groom in navy shirt and white swimsuit on the beach

Photo by Allan Zepeda Photography

Hosting a wedding near the beach? Invite guests to kick back and enjoy a day on the sand. Make sure to supply towels, snacks, and umbrellas so everyone is comfortable at the event.

10 of 21

Book Your Ceremony at a Local Place of Worship

Bride, groom, and guests outside of a peach and white striped Chiesa San Pancrazio Martire in Italy

Photo by Gianni Di Natale Photographers

The architecture of churches, synagogues, and mosques around the world can be absolutely breathtaking. If there is a place of worship that aligns with your beliefs at your destination, consider hosting your ceremony there. Pro tip: You should double-check if your officiant speaks your language before booking.

11 of 21

Exchange Vows at a Landmark

Wedding ceremony set up with baby's breath chuppah at the Altos de Chavón Amphitheatre in the Dominican Republic

Photo by Asia Pimentel Photography

Bring some gravitas to your wedding ceremony by saying "I do" at a landmark location. The beautiful backdrop will make for stunning photos.

12 of 21

Drive a Getaway Car Through Town

Bride and groom in convertible getaway car in the Amalfi Coast

Photo by Gianni Di Natale Photographers

Getaway cars are always a fun option for couples to speed away after their wedding ceremony, but they can be especially enjoyable if you tie the knot in a scenic locale. 

13 of 21

Take Portraits on a Boat

Bride with bouquet and sunglasses and groom with sunglasses celebrate on a boat with pink stripe cushions

Photo by Leah Marie Photography

If your wedding takes place along the coastline, schedule a journey on a boat with your new spouse and your wedding photographer before or after your ceremony. Not only will the portraits stand out, but it can serve as a nice moment for you to get a little alone time on the busy day.

14 of 21

Host an Event With an Iconic Backdrop

Bride and groom kiss while holding champagne on boat with Eiffel Tower in background

Photo by Oliver Fly

When booking a venue for a welcome party, rehearsal dinner, or the big day, consider finding a location where you can take in the iconic views of your destination. Guests will love grabbing photos with the Eiffel Tower or a charming vineyard in the background.

15 of 21

Plan a Themed Party

Western rehearsal dinner with blue check tablecloths, sunflower arrangements, and wooden bar in the forest

Photo by Megan Wynn Photography

A wedding weekend provides ample time for you and your spouse-to-be to host a number of events. If you are in a unique locale, consider planning a themed party, where guests can dress up and embrace the natural ambiance of your destination. A Western party in the woods, a ski soirée in the mountains, or a tropical beach bash are just a few fun ideas for a special celebration.

16 of 21

Channel the Locale With Décor

Wedding tablescape with neutral linen tablecloth, woven chargers, table numbers, taper candles, and spices

Photo by Rebecca Yale Photography

As you and your planner are curating items for your wedding décor, try to pull pieces local to the region. This beautiful tablescape at a Moroccan welcome party was composed of spices, linens, and ceramics found at Marrakesh markets.

17 of 21

Have a Parade

Bride and groom holding hands while surrounded by dancers at a parade through town

Photo by Grace Gatto Photography

If you have some distance between your ceremony space and reception venue, plan a parade to get you and your guests to your destination. Educate yourself about any special cultural parades in your region, and hire local musicians and dancers to guide you on your journey.

18 of 21

Play Some Games

Wedding guests in pink shirts take photo while holding groom during a field day

Photo by Scott Clark Photography

If you and your spouse-to-be love games, consider hosting a field day or a scavenger hunt around your destination. These fun activities are a great start to a long weekend to get guests acquainted with each other.

19 of 21

Party at a Local Pub

Bride and groom cheers Guinness beer outside of an Irish pub

Photo by Sarah Falugo

Toast to your new marriage at a local watering hole with all your guests. Going to a well-known bar is a great way to get a feel for the city you're visiting.

20 of 21

Put a Local Spin on Your Ceremony

Bride pours wine into the groom's glass at their wedding ceremony

Photo by Laura Schneider

If you're hosting a destination wedding at a vineyard, consider doing a wine pouring unity ceremony as you exchange vows. This meaningful tradition celebrates your two lives coming together and serves as a special nod to your venue location.

21 of 21

Hire Local Musicians

Bride in floral dress and groom in lace white shirt dance to a mariachi band on the beach

Photo by Lauren Fair Photography

Enhance the atmosphere of your wedding events with musicians that can play the traditional music of your destination. They can provide background tunes for your ceremony, or inspire dancing at your main event.

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