Rich in beauty, cuisine and culture, consider planning your wedding or honeymoon on one of these far-flung isles across the world. Some offer mind-blowing experiences for your guests (such as bear-watching tours), while others attract royalty for their sublime settings. Here are six incredible island wedding destinations you’ve likely never heard of!
Lizard Island, Australia
Considered one of the most beautiful places on earth, Australia’s Lizard Island Resort was once a contender for William and Kate’s royal honeymoon. It’s easy to see why: accessible only by chartered flight from Cairns, this all-inclusive luxury lodge is marooned over the Great Barrier Reef. All 40 rooms invoke romance, but the beachfront Anchor Bay Suites have a sheltered veranda with a double daybed — perfect for spooning while watching the sunset. Enjoy a seven-course meal served on the beach, or a gourmet picnic on one of the 24 white sand beaches. It’s no wonder that Kate Hudson called this resort “the most romantic place on earth.” Book out the whole island for your wedding ceremony, and snorkel in seclusion over the Great Barrier Reef with your guests.
Waiheke Island, New Zealand
A 35-minute ferry ride from Auckland leads to Waiheke Island, dubbed “the Island of Wine.” This magical isle offers a striking backdrop of vine-covered valleys and shimmering emerald waters for your special day. Many couples exchange vows on the beach, among the vines or on a cliff by the sea, and then host the reception at the vineyard restaurant, featuring exquisite Pacific Rim cuisine and local wines. No matter what, you’ll be swept away by the wondrous beauty of this idyllic island.
Tofino Island, British Columbia, Canada
A one-hour plane ride north of Seattle, Tofino is famed for its raw beauty and pristine beaches — a perfect setting for nuptial celebrations. In fact, it was here that Neil Patrick Harris toasted his 12th anniversary with husband David Burtka, and the duo couldn’t stop raving about Tofino’s raw beauty, incredible gastronomy and “hot spring heaven” on social media.
The Wickaninnish Inn specializes in creating weddings that incorporate the natural surroundings, whether it’s a sunset beach barbecue or an Arabian Nights-themed reception on the sands. Before saying “I do,” organize a celebratory surfing lesson or a whale (or bear!) watching excursion with your guests. Winter in Tofino is equally as magnificent: January brings storm-watching season, offering an incredible backdrop for photo shoots.
Mnemba Island, Tanzania
For utter isolation, how about retreating to a private island off the northeast coast of Zanzibar? &Beyond Mnemba Island is a barefoot beach paradise, accommodating only 20 guests in luxurious thatched-roof huts. Imagine snorkelling, swimming and kayaking in the turquoise Indian Ocean, enjoying a seaside couples’ massage, or exchanging vows on a desolate beach. Now those are legit #RelationshipGoals!
Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec, Canada
Off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada is Îles-de-la-Madeleine — a cluster of seven lonely islands connected by rust-red cliffs and wind-swept dunes. With its “singing sands” and incredible gastronomy, this tiny archipelago is ideal for weddings or honeymoons, dubbed “the Lobster Capital of Quebec” and National Geographic listed Grande Échouerie beach as one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. For an intimate venue, book the Domaine du Vieux Couvent, a historic convent turned luxury hotel that offers spectacular views and hearty French Canadian and Acadian cuisine. Très romantique!
The Azores, Portugal
Legend says that these nine lonely islands, approximately 800 miles off the coast of Portugal, are leftovers from Atlantis. In reality, the archipelago was born out of volcanic activity and first settled by Europeans starting in the 1400s. The Azores have flown under the radar for travelers, but the “Hawaii of the Atlantic” makes a gorgeous wedding or honeymoon destination — rich in gastronomy, spa-cation offerings and stellar volcanic scenery for photographs. And depending on the season, SATA Airlines offers a five-hour direct flight from Boston for as little as $500 round trip.
On São Miguel Island, the five-star Furnas Boutique Hotel and Spa makes a breathtakingly beautiful venue, surrounded by lush gardens and the largest concentration of geothermal springs in Europe. Aside from the elegant space, the resort boasts a luxurious spa with a mineral pool, as well as an upscale restaurant that’ll dazzle your guests. Toast your nuptials with a bottle of local wine: their vineyards have been trending since the 1400s (a favorite for centuries among Russian Tsars!) and no one in the world makes wine quite like the Azoreans.