Increasing numbers of couples are choosing to get married abroad, and it’s easy to see why. Even with far-flung romantic locations, an exotic wedding in Europe or further afield can cost less than a traditional British ceremony with all the trimmings.
Many countries make it easy with residency requirements ranging between one and seven days. Some of the best options include Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Southern Africa and Bali.
Here, Jane Anderson, editor of 101 Honeymoons, picks 10 of the world’s most impressive resorts where you can get married in style…
The Anassa, Cyprus
For a classic Mediterranean wedding, the Anassa on the westerly tip of Cyprus offers a picture postcard setting. There’s even a Byzantine Chapel where you can say ‘I do’.
Pre-wedding, couples can pamper themselves in the extensive Roman-style Thalasso Spa. Whether you want a gala banquet for 100 guests or a candlelit reception for two, the staff will make your day special.
Alila Villas Soori, West Bali
Bali is a very spiritual place to tie the knot. Alila Villas Soori on the wild west cost offers a volcanic-sand beach and rice-paddy setting on a large estate with just 10 bedrooms, all with uninterrupted views of the coast. There are few things that can’t be arranged for a wedding including fire-eaters, dancers, stilt walkers and firework displays on the beach.
Couples can even arrive in style, touching down on the estate’s own private helicopter pad. Post-wedding, newlyweds can indulge in oversized bathtubs and grand shower rooms, a personal butler, a private gym and spa and private yoga classes by the pool.
Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, Amalfi Coast
Italy’s Amalfi Coast is one of the most romantic in the world, and the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria has a prime position on the cliff tops with views over the Bay of Naples and Vesuvius that will live on in your memories and wedding photos long after your big day is done.
Weddings can be held in the extensive orange and lemon gardens as well as the intimate Limoncello Garden. There are even Roman ruins in the grounds. Book the romantic Caruso Suite with its sweeping terrace.
Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort, Provence
The South of France has got to be one of the classiest regions in the world to tie the knot. Choose a sublime hotel like Terre Blanche in the Provencal countryside and you have wedding chic guaranteed.
With its dedicated wedding planning service, couples can arrange a truly bespoke day. And there’s plenty to entertain guests from golf to pampering in the spa, whilst newlyweds can explore the French Riveria in a vintage car.
Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa
The Seychelles were thought to be the setting for the Garden of Eden. Their exotic beauty exudes romance, especially when you opt for a private island resort. The Hilton Seychelles Labriz offers bespoke Wedding Experiences inspired by Earth, Fire, Water and Air.
For example, couples who choose the water wedding package enjoy a gourmet four-course dinner under the stars followed by a perfume-infused bath at their private villa. Ceremonies take place on the powder-soft white sand against the backdrop of Mount Dauban and the emerald green foliage of the island.
Shanti Maurice, Mauritius
The Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has long been a winner when it comes to overseas vows with its idyllic white sand beaches and turquoise lagoon. The bohemian-chic Shanti Maurice has a new ‘Elopement Package’ designed to allow couples to escape the pressures of wedding organisation and focus on one another instead.
After the ceremony, newlyweds step aboard a private catamaran to enjoy a sunset cruise with champagne and a picnic of fruit and rum cupcakes, instead of a traditional wedding cake. Once back on land, a bonfire on the beach seals their union with the release of a ‘Love Wish Lantern’.
Sugar Beach, St Lucia
The Caribbean is an easy destination to say I do with little red tape. It also offers some of the most romantic resorts in the world and some of the most spectacular settings.
Sugar Beach on the island of St Lucia nestles between the island’s conical mountains, the Pitons, in acres of tropical rainforest. This resort offers old world glamour with state of the art touches, whether you want a secret elopement for two, or a grand affair.
Mont Rochelle, South Africa
With no jetlag, South Africa is a super choice for weddings, particularly during the British winter. For a ceremony with a touch of millionaire magic, Richard Branson has two resorts that both offer stunning weddings.
Ulusaba offers memorable safara weddings, whilst Mont Rochelle is a 22-room hotel and vineyard just under an hour’s drive from Cape Twon in Franschhoek, considered to be the food and wine capital of South Africa.
The Datai, Langkawi
Set amongst ancient rainforest on the magical Malaysian island of Langkawi, The Datai is an icon of luxury. Whether a romantic beach wedding or a traditional Malay blessing, the team here take pleasure in personalising every celebration.
The Datai Bay makes for a truly memorable barefoot beach wedding. Walk down a rose petal path to a bridal arch of roses, orchids, gerbera and lilies, or make your vows beneath a billowing muslin and organza blessing tent, surrounded by white sand, emerald water and sapphire sky.
New York City
New York City has got to be one of the most exciting and glamorous places on earth to tie the knot. Countless people meet and fall in love here and it’s the setting for iconic movies about love from When Harry Met Sally to Manhatten.
Everyone is welcome to tie the knot here including same sex couples. Those who want to keep it simple can get wed at the recently revamped Manhatten Marriage Bureau, or how about the New York Public Library as seen in the first Sex and the City movie? For true NYC loft apartment chic, check out Studio 450, a deluxe penthouse loft in a former chocolate factory in Chelsea.