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If you’re a travel addict and can’t sit stay put long enough to exchange vows, a destination wedding might be for you. And you wouldn’t be alone. Aestimated that one out of every five engaged couples plans a destination wedding — and if you’ve got a stash of points and miles, there may be .
Though the top destination wedding spots are typically scattered across the Caribbean and Mexico, travelers don’t need to tie the knot under a thatched roof palapa. To really wow your wedding guests, consider one of these over-the-top ceremonies instead.
In a Hot Air Balloon
We’re all obsessed with planes and aviation here at The Points Guy — so the idea of getting married up in the air has us all swooning. Couples can plan a sky-high ceremony with various companies, including operators based inand . Some of the balloons are big enough to fit 12, meaning the bride and groom can bring the whole wedding party along to witness the nuptials.
TPG Tip: Brides may want to swap stilettos for a more comfortable ‘ballooning’ shoe, such as a flat sandal or sneaker.
On a Vintage Plane
AvGeeks, pay attention: you can get married (and dance the night away) on a retired Boeing 747. Both the plane — as well as the operational control tower — are able to host civil ceremonies, so while you won’t actually be able to kiss the bride or groom in the air, it’s still a one-of-a-kind experience ideal for serious aviation enthusiasts. The reception can also be held onboard the 747, though the event can continue at the airport’s on-site restaurant, AV8. The 747 has space for a stage, makeup and dressing rooms too.
TPG Tip: Civil ceremonies in the control tower can’t start until after 5:30 p.m. (outside of operating hours).
At a National Park
If you want to tie the knot in the great outdoors, you can do so at many national parks around the United States. Some of the most famous sites for destination weddings include, , and . (Though is currently closed because of seismic activity, thrill-seeking travelers can even wait to get married atop a volcano.) Before booking, however, make sure to consider factors like the age and mobility of your guests; your flexibility with the weather; and specific park rules. Many reserves don’t allow food, flowers or speakers.
TPG Tip: Because you’ll most likely need to secure a permit to hold your ceremony at a national park, be prepared to plan a year or more in advance.
In the Middle of the Desert
Starwood’s, located in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, offers weddings of all kinds: on the desert dunes, on horseback (Arabians, of course) and even on camels. The resort is only an hour from bustling Dubai, but the property feels completely serene and isolated, accessible only to the onyx and gazelles that roam the grounds and untamed desert.
TPG Tip: Although you can’t pay for the wedding festivities with points, you can use them to book your room. Expect to spend 60,000 SPG points per night, but the all-inclusive rate covers your meals and two activities per day.
Near Ancient Mayan Ruins
If a standard destination wedding in tropical Belize just isn’t enough, you can get married at the foot (or on top) ofsuch as the Altun Ha temple. With the impressive monuments and lush Central American jungle as your backdrop, you won’t miss the traditional trappings of a banquet hall. In some cases, you — and your guests — may have to ford rivers and follow moderate hiking trails to reach the ruins: an important consideration for couples.
TPG Tip: Warn your officiant to speak loudly, as guests may have trouble hearing your vows over the sound of howler monkeys in the background.
Inside Caverns and Caves
Want to hold your destination wedding in a natural church? Try Cathedral Cave, part of thein Australia. You’ll walk down a candlelit aisle and your music will resonate throughout the space — after all, caves have some pretty impressive acoustics. If Australia is just too far to manage, there are several cave venues in the United Kingdom, such as in Somerset.
TPG Tip: Although you can’t use points for your stay, travelers can get married in the underground chapel at the SPG Design property, the, in Cappadocia. This way, your first wedding gift will arrive in the form of Starpoints.
On a Pirate Ship
You can always get married on a boat, but if you want a truly unconventional wedding, why not have one on a pirate ship? Treasure Island Hotel in Las Vegas offers wedding services on their pirate ship in Sirens Cove. The only kicker? You’re not actually out on the open seas. Consider this an ideal way to prevent seasickness from interfering with your wedding day.
TPG Tip: The ship wedding packages don’t include room rates. That means you can get married at Treasure Island Hotel, but bed down at a nearby property where you can.
In a Fairytale Castle
If you want to feel like a prince or princess on your wedding day, get married in a castle. Close to home, of course, getting married in front of theat Walt World is a popular option. But if it’s a real castle you’re after, head to Europe. Castle weddings are fairly common in France and Spain, where châteaus and castillos are scattered across the countryside.
TPG Tip: You can’t get married inside Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle (thought to be the real-life inspiration for the aforementioned Cinderella Castle) but you can use it as your magical backdrop.
Up in a Treehouse
Embrace your inner child (while making a very adult decision) in a whimsical treehouse wedding. Various treehouse-style venues all over the world host weddings, but our favorites includein the United Kingdom, which can accommodate 65 people at a ceremony held beneath a woodland canopy, and the in Jamaica. Here, you can tie the knot in a treehouse with sweeping ocean views.
TPG Tip: Make sure to ask about accessibility options at your treehouse if any of your guests will require special assistance.
Under the Sea
is a well-known underwater officiant in the Florida Keys, and he’s even in the Guinness Book of World Records for having presided over the largest documented underwater wedding (110 costumed guests were present). But many venues in destinations such as the and also offer underwater weddings if you’d like to scuba your “I Do’s” farther away from home. As an added bonus, brides won’t have to worry about selecting a dress, as many venues provide white neoprene suits for the special occasion.
TPG Tip: Just because you want to get married underwater, doesn’t mean your guests have to get wet, too. They can typically watch a live video stream of the ceremony from a boat or on shore.
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