There is nothing quite like a destination wedding- getting all of your friends and family together for the vacation of a lifetime is the ideal way to commemorate such a momentous event. Since you’ll be requiring everyone to buy a plane ticket and book a hotel, the pressure is on to make the destination a memorable one. For this, most people in the United States look towards the Caribbean: it’s luxurious, marked by extreme natural beauty and is easy to get to, making it the ideal choice for many brides and grooms. We rounded up our favorite locations in the near tropics that will guarantee the ultimate wedding in paradise.
Anguilla is one of our favorite Caribbean wedding destinations precisely because it’s a little harder to get to. Getting there usually requiring a few plane changes and a boat ride, so only the determined will succeed. Four Seasons is generally the first and last word when it comes to luxury properties, and their location in Anguilla is little exception. Beach receptions, 5-star dining for your reception spacious villas for your guests – what more could you want? Cap Juluca is another unique choice. Situated on a private bay, the entire property is up for grabs when choosing an event spot. Ocean views from the great lawn? Beachfront? Whatever you dreamed, they can probably make it happen. Their weddings can accommodate up to 50 people and resort buy outs are an option. Combined with a wedding planner who has 25 years of experience, a wedding at ethereal Cap Juluca is hard to pass up.
Anguilla Destination Weddings Photographer – Dianna Hart www.DiannaHart.com
The newest darling on the Caribbean travel circuit, Cartagena is an old colonial gem offering South American flair, old world architecture and a bustling city while having access to beautiful white sand beaches at the same time. Known for its stunning private properties, Cartagena’s villas are our first choice for hosting a bespoke wedding. Homes like this one invoke images of poolside mojitos and salsa dancing continuing late into the night – the perfect experience for a couple who wants a dose of culture along with their party. If you prefer the concierge and in-house planning services that a hotel offers, we like the Casa Pestagua boutique hotel, which offers similar beautiful colonial architecture plus all the bells and whistles of a full-service luxury property.
Cartagena Wedding Photographer – Christophe Viseux www.christopheweddingphoto.com
Stop number one on our wedding tour of the Caribbean is Jamaica. Think reggae, a cold Red Stripe, spiny lobster and jerk chicken and swaying palm trees over an azure sea. With its glut of luxury resorts, there are plenty of options for the discerning couple-to-be, but there are a couple of properties that stand out from the others. Round Hill is the ultimate old guard destination, sitting just outside of Montego Bay on the opposite side of the bay from the city. Its signature plantation architecture style and colonial-preppy decor set the tone for the classiest of affairs. Or, just down the road, you can make like Ian Fleming and James Bond and have a smaller, more intimate beachfront party at the GoldenEye estate, made famous in the movie adaptation of Doctor No.
Riviera Maya and Tulum, MX
There isn’t a Caribbean lover who hasn’t heard of Tulum or the Riviera Maya by now. Situated on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, this wind and sea-swept outpost is a must-visit for anyone who craves culture with their beach vacation. The Banyan Tree Mayakoba is the region’s de facto luxury wedding expert- they specialize in sustainable and custom events to ensure your big day goes off without a hitch. Their best package is their beach wedding package, which can accommodate up to 200 people and takes place on a pristine stretch of white sand. Tulum is a less-traveled outpost for the more creative set, where boutique hotels – and weddings – are key. We like Esencia, which was originally built as the vacation home of an Italian duchess and perfectly captures the secluded and irreverent atmosphere of Tulum.
Main image courtesy Danny Steyn Studios/Adept Wedding Photography