Top Wedding Planners Reveal the Most Unique Places for a Destination Wedding in 2020

We asked the pros where you should say "I do."

Updated 07/10/19

Photo by Erich McVey

Wedding planners are world travelers, and it's not all for the Insta. It's part of a wedding planner's job to know, discover, and recommend the coolest places to wed around the globe. These talented pros know what couples want (and need!) in a destination wedding venue and are always searching for the next inspired location—think unique cities, historic resorts, and under-the-radar spots—that check all the marks for a memorable event. Which is exactly why we called on top wedding planners to share what destination wedding venues they're excited about right now.

Ever thought of a destination wedding on a ranch in Wyoming or in a fortress off the coast of Spain? Well, they did—and, believe us, their recommendations have it all. With breathtaking views, innovative cuisine, and a multitude of activities for guests, each of the ten unique locations below has all the makings for an epic weekend with your nearest and dearest.

So if you're looking to host a memorable destination wedding, take it from the pros and get married in a spot you and your guests will never forget. Find yours below!

This story originally appeared in the August/September 2019 issue of Brides, on sale beginning July 2.

01 of 10

Colin Cowie of Colin Cowie Lifestyle

Photo by Catherine Mac

His pick: Boschendal in South Africa

Why it's special: After 30-plus years of planning weddings, Cowie has chosen to host his own wedding at Boschendal, a storied winery and farm in the mountains outside Cape Town, next February.

The wedding: Have your ceremony on the big lawn with the Outeniqua Mountains, shown above, as a backdrop.

Insider advice: Guests can stay in beautiful restored farm cottages—the Rhodes Cottage was designed by architect Herbert Baker—and take tours of the farm and orchards as well as the surrounding bike paths and caves.

02 of 10

Jesse Tombs

Photo by Norman + Blake

His pick: Luna Escondida in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Why it’s special: The city is magical, with its terraced cobblestone streets lined with colorful haciendas, cafés, and shops.

The wedding: Transport the group to Luna Escondida, a 15- minute drive outside of town in the central highlands. It has vast lush gardens, two beautiful indoor dining options, and a shaded trellis garden that are perfect for the ceremony or day-after brunch.

Insider advice: Plan to go in the dryer months of April and May. Reserve a room-block at the charming Belmond Casa de Sierra Nevada or Hotel Matilda. San Miguel is famous for its rooftop bars (try Luna at the Rosewood hotel) and food scene (the Restaurant, Áperi, or La Única).

03 of 10

Lynn Easton of Easton Events

Wedding reception dinner tables

Photo by Alex Bramall

Her pick: Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming

Why it’s special: This small Western town has a big draw: Brush Creek Ranch, a working cattle ranch turned 30,000-acre luxury getaway that’s basically a grownup sleepaway camp.

The wedding: Take over Brush Creek Ranch’s Lodge & Spa, and have your ceremony on the open range or inside the Cowboy Chapel. For the reception, dress up the resort’s Trailhead Lodge (shown above) or the newly opened Saddle Barn for an authentic Western time.

Insider advice: Enhance the weekend with activities like horseback riding, ATV excursions, and fly fishing. Epic views make for memorable ceremonies and pre- and post-wedding parties that can go late into the night: There’s no need to worry about a noise ordinance!

04 of 10

Mindy Weiss of Mindy Weiss Party Consultants

Photo by Lauren and Abby Ross

Her pick: Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito, California

Why it’s special: An iconic coastal getaway that dates back to the 1800s, this beach community has some of the loveliest natural backdrops in the country.

The wedding: Host the big day at Rosewood Miramar Beach, which opened in March. The property feels like a grand estate and boasts fabulous event lawns with views of the ocean. After the ceremony, move inside for dinner in the elegant Chandelier Ballroom (it seats up to 350!).

Insider advice: Take your guests to Lotusland, a unique botanical garden in Montecito; stop at Jeannine’s for the best pancakes around.

05 of 10

Clara Boatto and Eva Trevisan of Design Anarchy by Chic Weddings

Photo Courtesy of The Heritage Collection

Their pick: Villa Astor in Sorrento, Italy

Why it’s special: Think of it as the gateway to the Amalfi Coast. It’s close to Capri and Positano, making guest excursions easy.

The wedding: Guests will be wowed by Villa Astor, a 19th century estate that sits atop a rugged cliff. The lovingly restored property has ancient ruins, a natural grotto, gardens with stone statues, and a stunning terrace.

Insider advice: Book rooms at La Minervetta in Sorrento or Il San Pietro Di Positano in Positano. Try Chez Black in Positano or Don Alfonso 1890 in Massa Lubrense for the rehearsal dinner. Plan a fun guest activity like sandal-making in Capri.

06 of 10

Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer Events

Photo by AGP Collective

His pick: Troutbeck in Amenia, New York

Why it’s special: Consider Troutbeck—a lovely, yet low-key, country estate that's just an hour and a half drive outside upper Manhattan—the ultimate city escape. This charming destination features well-appointed rooms (with Frette linens and plush armchairs) alongside 45 picturesque acres, where guests can relax by the pool, play tennis, ride bikes, enjoy a hike, or speed over to see what’s happening at the nearby Lime Rock racetrack.

The wedding: Plan the main event in the romantic walled garden; it feels like you’ve been transported to a magical place!

Insider advice: Locavores will applaud the fresh fare with ingredients from nearby purveyors like Rock Steady Farm & Flowers and Samascott Orchards.

07 of 10

Matthew Robbins of Matthew Robbins Design

Photo Courtesy of Ballyfin Demesne

His pick: Ballyfin Demesne in Ballyfin, Ireland

Why it’s special: Set in the heart of vibrant green Irish landscapes, the main draw of this village is Ballyfin Demesne, a historic manor house that blends old world surroundings with modern amenities.

The wedding: This exquisite spot works well for intimate weddings of up to 130 guests. With activities like falconry, archery, fly fishing, and horseback riding, your group will be well entertained. The glass conservatory is a gem for the ceremony. Hold cocktails at the cascading fountain; serve dinner in the formal dining room. Then, invite guests to the secret pub for the after-party.

Insider advice: Do a buddymoon on the Belmond Grand Hibernian, a dreamy train ride through the Irish countryside.

08 of 10

Alison Laesser-Keck of Alison Bryan Destinations

Photo by Light & Lace Photography

Her pick: Cap Rocat in Cala Blava, Spain

Why it’s special: The Balearic Islands sit in the picturesque Mediterranean waters alongside impressive architecture and towering limestone cliffs. In fact, Cap Rocat—a former fortress turned chic boutique hotel—is built right on a cliff overlooking the Bay of Palma.

The wedding: Greet guests (with glasses of champagne, of course!) at the dock south of the Palma de Mallorca airport and transport them by boat along the turquoise bay to Cap Rocat. The adults-only property features a panoramic terrace that makes for a scenic ceremony location.

Insider advice: Take a day trip to Ses Salines and Es Llombards, two adorable towns to visit; fit in a delicious lunch at Cassai, a fun choice. Or go to Calo des Moro beach for a swim in the pool-like water and a picnic of local wine and cheese.

09 of 10

Stefanie Cove of Stefanie Cove and Co

seaside cocktail hour

Photo by Lauren and Abby Ross

Her pick: Malliouhana in Anguilla

Why it’s special: The beloved Caribbean island is back (post Hurricane Irma) with renovated accommodations and the same pristine turquoise water.

The wedding: On arrival day, direct sun-worshippers to meet up at Blanchards Beach Shack. Host the rehearsal dinner at Picante—great Mexican food and margaritas. Say your vows in the sand at Malliouhana, a Auberge Resorts Collection property, on Meads Bay.

Insider advice: Book tiny Sandy Island for the day after and spend the time partying with tropical drinks and grilled lobster, and dancing to the amazing Omari Banks band. Omari is the son of legend Bankie Banx!

10 of 10

Jessica Sloane of Jessica Sloane Event Styling and Design

Photo by Natalie Watson for Goop

Her pick: Blackberry Mountain in Walland, Tennessee

Why it’s special: Known for its southern hospitality, innovative cuisine, and views of the Great Smoky Mountains, Blackberry Farm has a new sister property, Blackberry Mountain. The boutique hotel, which opened in February, has the same five-star amenities plus an emphasis on adventure.

The ceremony: Get married on the main lawn for a ta-da! entrance. Afterward, move guests inside the lodge for dancing and a delicious dinner at Three Sisters, courtesy of executive chef Josh Feathers.

Insider advice: Take advantage of the hiking trails around the property—they're breathtaking (in a good way)!

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