Exchanging your vows in a different city than where you and your partner grew up or live now is a memorable way to start your marriage. Your honeymoon doesn’t have to be the only excuse to explore a new place! But you don’t have to jet off to another continent to make the experience special — the top wedding destinations in the U.S. are just as charming and romantic. Our picks are built for any budget, ranging from intimate and scenic to grand and chic.
Planning a destination wedding
There are generally two main ways to plan a destination wedding: choosing an all-inclusive package or doing it à la carte. An all-inclusive package typically makes the process a little easier because the venue’s events team will arrange many of the logistics for you and already has preferred vendors or in-house options for things like catering, decorating and seating arrangements. On the other hand, selecting everything à la carte allows you to explore a wider range of options and gives you more control over every aspect of the wedding, but can be more time-intensive even if you hire a wedding planner to help.
Both options are possible to arrange from a distance, no matter which of the top wedding destinations in the U.S. that you choose. However, you may want to spend a few days in town well in advance of the wedding to complete some tasks in person, like hair and makeup trials, walk-throughs of potential venues and tastings with caterers or cake makers. Otherwise, you can handle a lot of the other decisions remotely via email or on video calls. Even if you don’t have a wedding planner to help with vendor selection and other preparations, you may want to hire a coordinator to oversee logistics during the big day to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Once the date and location are set, you should send out save the date cards so guests have adequate time to plan their schedules accordingly. For destination weddings, experts recommend sending the official invitation three to four months before your wedding date. This gives guests plenty of time to book travel and make other arrangements.
Top U.S. destination wedding locations
1. Agave of Sedona
Sedona, Arizona, is undeniably a top U.S. wedding destination, with its picturesque views of the red rocks, all-inclusive packages and plenty of hotel options. The Agave of Sedona is a beautiful place to hold a wedding here. At the Agave, you can choose from several venues for your special day including the Montage Ballroom, Ceremony Terrace and Celebration Terrace. The Montage Ballroom has floor-to-ceiling windows and offers panoramic views of the red rocks.
2. Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa
Huntington Beach, California
The Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa resort will leave you in awe with its photogenic venues on the lawn and stunning ballrooms with views of the beach. The size of this resort allows you to book a room far away from your guests if you’re seeking a more private stay, while still having the ability to meet up with family and friends. The property has more than 500 rooms, upwards of 50 suites and a 20,000-square-foot spa. There are also many stunning backdrops for photos around the property.
3. Garden of the Gods Resort and Club
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Your destination wedding at Garden of the Gods Resort and Club will unfold among incredible views of the Rocky Mountains, Pikes Peak and the iconic red rock formation of Garden of the Gods — all just an hour’s drive south of Denver. The ceremony can take place outdoors or in one of the ballrooms that features floor-to-ceiling windows. The resort offers club rooms and suites with breathtaking views of the Garden of the Gods Park. They also have casita options: one-, two- or three-bedroom luxury residences that can connect and are well-suited for larger families and friends to stay together.
4. Key Largo Lighthouse’s Hidden Beach
Key Largo, Florida
Getting married at Key Largo Lighthouse’s Hidden Beach feels intimate and secluded, because it actually is. This carved-out piece of paradise provides three private acres for your wedding and features multiple locations to host your ceremony and reception, which can accommodate up to 150 guests. Hidden Beach also offers professional wedding planning and coordination services so you can kick back, stress less and make new memories with family and friends.
5. Cold Creek Farm
Cold Creek Farm is a working farm, so when you arrive, you will be greeted by the horses in the front pasture. Nestled in the North Georgia mountains, here you will find a large, whitewashed arbor that makes the perfect backdrop for an outdoor ceremony. Retreat to the 5,500-square-foot reception barn or the large patio deck, which is perfect for a pre-reception cocktail hour.
6. Haiku Gardens
This destination on the outskirts of the He’eia State Park of Oahu offers many gorgeous backdrops, with manicured lawns, a lagoon, forests, mountain views and a garden that you can use to capture your wedding photos. Haiku Gardens makes it easy to plan your wedding by offering several complete packages at a range of prices and à la carte options in every category, from videography to floral decor.
7. Historic BK House & Gardens
New Orleans, Louisiana
Spend your wedding day in the heart of the French Quarter at Historic BK House & Gardens on Chartres Street, just a couple of blocks from the Mississippi River. The Beauregard-Keyes House is a National Historic Landmark built in 1826. You won’t be disappointed with the elegant indoor space decorated in creamy yellow, sky blue and forest green. There are plenty of options where you can host your ceremony, such as the famous parterre garden. This could serve as the ceremony and then later you could go into the courtyard and house for the reception.
8. Halim Time & Glass Museum
Say “I do” within the walls of the Halim Time & Glass Museum, a museum that was built to celebrate the passing of time. Stained glass pieces light up reception rooms with vivid tones and can accommodate small and large wedding parties. The space, which is just a 30-minute drive north of Chicago, offers four wedding packages to choose from, with flexible add-ons to ensure your special day unfolds just how you pictured it.
9. Crystal Springs Resort
Hamburg, New Jersey
Crystal Springs Resort is considered a four-seasons luxury resort — because you can have beautiful scenery for your photos any time of year. Choose from eight elegant indoor and outdoor spaces for your ceremony and reception, the largest of which can accommodate up to 300 guests. The property also has two spas that offer pampering services to help you look your best on your wedding day. For your guests, Crystal Springs boasts a wide array of activities including archery, fishing, hiking, biking, golf and an indoor pool.
10. The Plaza Hotel
New York City, New York
Have you ever dreamed of getting married in New York City at the famed The Plaza Hotel? The hotel is filled with luxurious and Old World decor that will create a timeless and sophisticated wedding day. The Plaza is located right in the heart of the city at the intersection of Central Park and 5th Avenue. There are several reception options, including the famous Grand Ballroom, The Terrace Room and The Edwardian Room. Guests can book their stay at The Plaza Hotel too, making it a convenient wedding destination for the entire guest list.
11. The Farm at Old Edwards
Highlands, North Carolina
Looking for a unique wedding destination in the mountains? The Farm at Old Edwards is known for its stellar views and picture-perfect surroundings. It offers a 33-acre breathtaking pastoral setting surrounded by the lush landscape of the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains. Several settings are available at The Farm, including an indoor barn and pavilion, an outdoor chimney with a grand porch and a charming rooftop terrace.
12. Crook Point
Crook Point is a 3,000-acre, historic family estate offering stellar views of the Pacific Ocean, making it one of the top wedding destinations in the U.S. This venue has three private beaches available for wedding ceremonies and a clifftop reception area where you can hear the waves crashing against the rocks. There are also on-site vacation homes that can be rented during your wedding, offering occupancy for up to 18 people. If you are worried about rain, be sure to rent venue tents because this location doesn’t offer indoor space.
13. The Barn at Silver Spur Resort
Want a resort that offers a relaxed, welcoming feel and a Texan down-home flair? The Barn at Silver Spur Resort sits on 35 acres in East Texas and has multiple venues, both indoors and out, to make your day a dream come true. The Resort offers many different packages, including reception-only packages if you choose to hold your ceremony elsewhere. The Barn holds up to 300 guests and the doors can remain open after the ceremony, allowing guests to mingle on the surrounding grounds. An outdoor wedding can be held at the scenic pond, with outdoor fire pits used during the reception. The Silver Spur Resort offers both lodging and dining as well and can hold up to 50 guests between the 11 cabins, 2 tiny houses and glamping options.
14. TreeHouse Point
The woodsy TreeHouse Point resort is just a 30-minute drive from Seattle. Celebrate your big day with a beautiful forest backdrop along the Raging River. Stay overnight in an enchanting private treehouse filled with modern amenities. Holding a wedding here gives you exclusive use of the entire four-acre fairy tale forest for up to 22 hours, including a homemade breakfast for your guests the morning after the wedding.
15. The Hay-Adams
This historic landmark hotel is on the site of the former homes of Secretary of State John Hay and Author Henry Adams. Conveniently located in the heart of the nation’s capital, The Hay-Adams overlooks Lafayette Square and the White House and offers access to elegant event spaces and an outdoor perimeter terrace. History buffs can’t go wrong planning their destination wedding here.
Avail can get you there
As you plan your big day at one of the top wedding destinations in the U.S., don’t forget to book a rental car to get around. If you’re headed to a location near Chicago or Denver, consider using Avail car sharing. Borrowing a car with Avail can save you time and get you on your way faster with self check-in at every location. Your booking will be protected with Allstate insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance to ensure everything runs smoothly. And you can add a second driver at no additional cost, in case you want to share the wheel with your better half too.