Destination Weddings: Unique Places to Get Married

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From charming resort chapels to intimate small cruise ships, these dreamy places to tie the knot will make you say, “wow”

Posted by: Xanterra on May 8, 2019

Picture this: exchanging your vows under a canopy of ancient oaks while sunlight peeks through the dripping Spanish moss and birds serenade your union.

A Spanish Mission-style chapel in the Rocky Mountains. Under a canopy of ancient live oaks at a Georgia resort. Aboard a stylish yacht in the Caribbean.

Idyllic venues such as these are perfect for couples who want to say their “I dos” in a novel location. They offer everything from a romantic setting for the ceremony to rooms for getting ready, food and beverage services, and accommodations for all the guests. Apart from picture-perfect backgrounds, they allow friends and family to gather in a beautiful place for a celebration that turns into a mini-vacation for all.

Here are four that will create memories of a lifetime.

Couple on Ship Deck

Windstar Cruises

Love the romance of the sea? Then tie the knot on a small cruise ship that feels like your own private yacht. Let a Windstar captain perform a ceremonial marriage on one of the line’s small luxury sailing ships or all-suite power yachts that carry just 148 to 310 guests. From the uncrowded ships and luxurious cabins and suites to the attentive crew and sophisticated dining, Windstar offers unparalleled features for a destination wedding at sea. In fact, you can charter the entire yacht for your wedding and bring your entire guest list with you to celebrate.

By visiting the most romantic places in the world — such as the islands of the Caribbean, the South Pacific, and the Mediterranean — each intimate Windstar cruise promises magical moments. Stroll the beach at sunset hand in hand. Dine under the stars in a secluded cove. Dance the night away under the palms. It doesn’t get more romantic than that.

Wedding

The Oasis at Death Valley, California

Forget glitzy weddings in Las Vegas. Instead, seal your love with a ceremony at The Oasis at Death Valley — just two hours from Sin City but a world away in ambiance. Embrace the romance of the Old West married with the desert’s stark natural beauty for a one-of-a-kind nuptial event. From the palm gardens with their natural spring to the historic Inn at Death Valley’s rooftop terrace overlooking the endless desert valley, a wedding at the Oasis can be magical under starry, starry skies.

The newest venue, the Mission Gardens, features Spanish-style, whitewashed adobe walls with decorative details crafted from Mojave Desert stones. Open to the desert skies and surrounding mountains, the gardens boast blooming bougainvillea along trellises that add a splash of brilliant color, while a seasonal creek and towering palm trees are reminders that The Oasis at Death Valley is, in fact, a genuine oasis.

So trade in Las Vegas’ high-octane mega-hotels for the serene Oasis resort in the heart of sprawling Death Valley National Park. And toast the wedding of your dreams.

Broadmoor Golf

The Broadmoor, Colorado

Imagine walking down the aisle of a fairytale Spanish Mission-style chapel at the AAA Five Diamond, Forbes Five Star Broadmoor resort high in the Colorado Rockies. At the Pauline Chapel, you’ll be enveloped in an intimate church with tall white pillars and arches, dark wooden pews, and religious art and artifacts collected by The Broadmoor’s founder, Spencer Penrose, and his wife, Julie, during their travels through Europe in the early 1900s. The beautiful artwork represents the rich history and tradition of the early Catholic Church, making the chapel, which celebrates its centennial in 2019, perfect for those seeking a traditional Catholic wedding.

Looking for alternatives to a religious locale? The Broadmoor offers a wedding bouquet’s worth of settings throughout the 5,000-acre resort from the gorgeous Lake Terrace Dining Room and rustic Cheyenne Lodge to the elegant Broadmoor Cottages and historic Estate House to lush outdoor lawns and terraces. Want something more down to earth? Consider one of the exclusive wilderness properties surrounding the resort where Nature plays a starring role: the Ranch at Emerald Valley in Pike National Forest, Cloud Camp an aerie on the summit of Cheyenne Mountain, or Fly Fishing Camp on the peaceful Taryall River.

With so many choices, the resort can arrange intimate ceremonies of 20 to extravaganzas of more than 1,000 guests — most with soaring mountain vistas. Plus, you can choose from a dozen reception locations with dance floors, from cozy to grandiose. What a way to celebrate your nuptials!

Beach and hotel

Sea Island, Georgia

Picture this: exchanging your vows under a canopy of ancient oaks while sunlight peeks through the dripping Spanish moss and birds serenade your union. That’s what a ceremony at Sea Island resort’s Cloister Garden promises. But it’s only one of many storybook settings at the world’s only resort to earn four Forbes Five Star awards 11 years in a row.

You can also get hitched at the ivy-covered Cloister Chapel, where up to 100 guests can watch you say “I do” amid stained-glass windows, hanging candelabras, and an arched-beam ceiling. Or in one of two glittering ballrooms — the Cloister Ballroom or Mizner Ballroom — both with wood-beamed ceilings, chandeliers, and outdoor patios. Prefer a riverbank backdrop for your big day? Try the Black Banks Terrace, Black Banks Lawn, or Rainbow Island, all boasting views of the Black Banks River, perhaps aglow with a setting sun. There’s also the traditional Spanish Lounge with its massive stone fireplace, the Clubroom with sparkling chandeliers and Mercury glass doors, the romantic and rustic Wine Cellar (with your own sommelier!), and even the 71-foot-long river vessel, Sea Island Explorer.

Whether indoors or out, by candlelight or twilight, simple or sophisticated, Sea Island offers a setting for every couple’s taste and fancy.

How to Explore

Recognized by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler on the 2016 Gold List of Favorite Cruise Lines and by USA TODAY readers for Best Boutique Cruise Line, Windstar Cruises’ fleet of small luxury sailing ships and all-suite power yachts with 148 to 310 guests bring you closer to smaller ports and exclusive local experiences around the world. Visit windstarcruises.com or call 888-460-5098 for more information.

The Oasis at Death Valley is situated in a lush oasis surrounded by the vast and arid desert of Death Valley National Park, Calif. — just 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas and 275 miles northeast of Los Angeles. This is one resort with two hotels — the historic, AAA Four Diamond, 66-room Inn at Death Valley and the family-oriented, 224-room Ranch at Death Valley. The entire resort has undergone a complete renaissance with an extensive renovation in 2018. It includes natural spring-fed pools, an 18-hole golf course, horse and carriage rides, world-renowned stargazing, and is surrounded by Death Valley National Park’s main attractions. Visit oasisatdeathvalley.com for more information or call or call 800-236-7916.

The Broadmoor, located in Colorado Springs, Colo., is the longest-running consecutive winner of both the AAA Five-Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star awards. The Broadmoor offers guests a unique way to experience the beauty of the American West, with their Forbes Five-Star day spa as well as 20 restaurants and lounges (including the only Forbes Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond restaurant in Colorado, Penrose Room), 54 holes of championship golf, zip lining, falconry, fly fishing outings and instruction, tennis, indoor/outdoor pools, distinctive retail shops, specialty tours, activities and programs for guests of all ages and interests. The Broadmoor recently introduced The Broadmoor Wilderness Experience, blending the rugged adventure of the Colorado mountains with the luxury, elegance, and superior service on which The Broadmoor built its reputation. Visit broadmoor.com for more information.

Since 1928, Sea Island has been known as an exceptional destination appealing to those who appreciate gracious service and heartfelt hospitality. It is the only resort in the world to have received four Forbes Five-Star awards for 11 consecutive years. Located on the coast of Georgia, Sea Island features five miles of private beach; a beach club; tennis and squash centers; yacht club; shooting school; Camp Cloister; three championship golf courses, including Seaside and Plantation, home of the PGA tour’s RSM Classic; as well as the nation’s finest golf performance center. Guests may also enjoy nearby Broadfield, a Sea Island Sporting Club and Lodge, offering a variety of seasonal hunting, fishing, sporting, and organic culinary opportunities. Visit seaisland.com for more information.

For more travel experiences available from the Xanterra Travel Collection and its affiliated properties, visit xanterra.com/stories.


Author

Written by: Veronica Stoddart

Award-winning travel editor and writer Veronica Stoddart was the former editor in chief of the Travel Media Group at USA TODAY. She has written for nearly two dozen publications and websites.

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