The 7 Best Places for a 2018 Destination Wedding

by Colleen Stinchcombe
Feb 22, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Weddings — something many of us dream about and yet still when it comes to the actual planning of one, we’re overwhelmed with the number of decisions we have to make. Where do we go? Who do we invite? What means the most to us?

Destination weddings have become a popular way to blend what’s important to couples: being surrounded by their closest friends, seeing something new and having as much relaxation as possible. By picking a place far from home, you get to make the most of the vacation time you’d be using for your ceremony anyway.

Another benefit is that guests see the weddings as travel opportunities too. Many couples are sending guests on local excursions while the couple relaxes and enjoys their new union in private. With resorts hosting events like nature walks, scuba diving and paddleboarding, it’s getting easier to do.

Sold? Here are the best places for a destination wedding in 2018.

1 /7: Riviera Maya, Mexico

1/7 :Riviera Maya, Mexico

Where: Andaz Mayakoba

An hour south of Cancun, Riviera Maya gives you incredible scenery without the party atmosphere, perfect for a wedding ceremony. The Andaz Mayakoba resort is new to the area, established in 2016, and features two outdoor pools and four on-site restaurants featuring local cuisine.. It has created a luxurious but friendly atmosphere perfect for a destination wedding and is also out to do good. They've partnered with RED to create a red cabana package that gives 30 percent of the proceeds to fight HIV/AIDs.

Before your big day, have a meditative spa treatment at Naum Wellness Spa. Dine on fresh octopus at Casa Amate or sip on a house-exclusive tequila at OllaCeviche. Plan your ceremony on the beach or by the Riviera Maya, and keep your guests entertained with nature walks to spiritual cenote caves, an eco-cruise tour around a lagoon home to more than 100 species of birds or kayaking at the resort’s beachfront. Want to relax after your big day? Unwind in your own personal balcony hot tub overlooking the ocean. 

2 /7: Kent, England

2/7 :Kent, England

Where: Leeds Castle

Did you ever dream of getting married in a castle? Well, a destination wedding is the perfect time to make it come true. Surrounded by a lake, Leeds Castle in England was originally built in 1086 and was once owned by King Edward I. It has been stunningly preserved (and remodeled) in the century since and has rooms for rent, a restaurant with a view of the moat and gorgeous landscaping for a wedding. There’s a reason it’s been called the “loveliest castle in the world.”

3 /7: Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa

3/7 :Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa

Where: Twelve Apostles Hotel

South Africa is a country of incredible beauty, and there are few better places to take it in — and host the biggest party of your life — than at Twelve Apostles Hotel. Nestled among the Twelve Apostles mountain range, the location is scenic and gorgeous.

The resort is equipped to do everything from guiding you through the legalities of marrying abroad to photography to providing a string duo for music. They also give back to the community through programs like The Amy Biehl Foundation, which works against youth violence, and working to protect Table Mountain National Park, which borders the hotel.

4 /7: Estes Park, Colorado

4/7 :Estes Park, Colorado

Where: The Estes Park Resort

If your idea of a perfect wedding is one that celebrates the outdoors and provides a relaxing getaway for guests, then The Estes Park Resort is the place for you. Set your wedding against the stunning backdrop of the Rocky Mountain National Park and dine on customized catering menus. Once you’ve said I do, take a romantic stroll around Lake Estes at sunset.

5 /7: Krabi, Thailand

5/7 :Krabi, Thailand

Where: Rayavadee

If you’ve never had a chance to visit Thailand before, your wedding day might be the perfect time to do it. Beautiful beaches, peaceful atmosphere and diverse natural habitats make it a must-do wedding destination. The Rayavadee resort, located in Krabi in Southern Thailand, is a top-notch choice. Their wedding package includes a spa treatment and half-day island excursion as well as a traditional Thai ceremony or monk’s blessing.

6 /7: Sedona, Arizona

6/7 :Sedona, Arizona

Where:  L'Auberge du Lac Resort

Sedona is one of the most stunning natural settings in the world, and what better way to celebrate it than to make your vows there? L’Auberge resort has the perfect setting that celebrates the iconic red rocks in the area whether you want to elope or invite your entire Facebook friends list.

Explore the tranquil Oak Creek, unwind at the L'Auberge spa and send your guests on a Pink Jeep tour of the Red Rock State Park.

7 /7: Montego Bay, Jamaica

7/7 :Montego Bay, Jamaica

Where: Half Moon

Jamaica is no stranger to being a wedding-destination front-runner, and it's easy to see why. This stunning Caribbean paradise sits on 2 miles of pristine beachfront. Pamper yourself at Half Moon's award-winning spa, take a romantic horseback ride with the sound of waves whispering in your ears, or have a romantic private dinner in the resort’s gazebo. Plus, your guests will be entertained with everything from scuba diving to parasailing or even just sunbathing at one of the resort’s 50 pools.