10 Top Destination Wedding Locations 2020

Destination weddings are amazing – they allow you and your guests to all experience an amazing location together while sharing the joy of your love.  Choosing the destination can be a bit challenging, especially if you’ve never been there before.  We’re here to help!  It’s important to choose a photographer that understands destination weddings, and that’s what we do best.


We’ve shot on 6 continents and dozens of countries, we’ve compiled our 10 top destination wedding locations for 2020.  We think these will be the hottest wedding destinations for 2020, based on what we’ve seen.  New wedding destination locations that have recently seen a huge spike in popularity like Lake Como in Italy, and the tried-and-true destination wedding locations like Bora Bora, Santorini, and Hawaii.  We’ve been there, we’ve shot that, and we’ve got the rundown of our 10 top destination wedding locations, and are happy to share our insights with you.

villa Balbiano lake como wedding

Lake Como wedding – Top destination wedding locations 2020

1. Top Worldwide Destination Wedding Location for 2020 – Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como weddings have really exploded in popularity over the last couple of years, and top our list of top destination wedding locations for 2020.  We’ve shot a lot at a few different venues out there from Villa Balbiano and Villa del Balbianello to Villa Erba and Villa Flori.  Just 20 years ago, Lake Como had only Villa Flori and most of the houses there were private residences.  Tuscany and the Almafi Coast had long been Italy’s top destination wedding locations, but once word got out that you can enjoy the quaint beauty of a lake while also being in Italy and the same standard of food, wine, and service, this whole region exploded.


Lake Como is close to Milan, but you can also fly into Geneva, Zurich, or Venice and make a road trip out of it.  The Swiss Alps are nearby, allowing your guests to make a long vacation out of it.  The wedding venues in Lake Como offer the same top-notch service you’d expect at a five-star resort in Venice or Rome, and the beauty of the lake is unmistakable.  Families and lovers alike can appreciate the beauty and culture of Italy, and we don’t see destination weddings in Lake Como cooling off anytime soon.

For more images from some of our Lake Como weddings, please shoot us an email info@clanegessel.com


2. Top Island Destination Wedding Location – Santorini

destination wedding santorini

Santorini destination wedding – Top destination wedding locations 2020


We wrote an entire blog post on Santorini weddings, and as one of our top destination wedding locations, and we’ve had some great emails inquiring about it since.  Santorini hasn’t always been a top destination wedding location, but after National Geographic shot there back in the late 1980s, it became a tourist destination, followed by weddings.  Who doesn’t want to get married on a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean with quaint villages and hundreds of little blue and white churches!?  Santorini is a must if you’re considering a destination wedding, especially if it’s one in Europe.


The locals are friendly, and having a wedding there is relatively easy, especially if you’re Greek Orthodox.  Santorini has only one way in and out (except for a very long and undesirable ferry from the mainland) – airplane.  So unlike Lake Como, your guests will all have to stay on the island.  It’s a blessing in disguise – even though it’s expensive, you’ll already have everything and everyone you need right there, so you can kick back and enjoy the scenery and famous Santorini sunsets after your wedding.  Bonus- Harper’s Bazaar just named Santorini as the #1 honeymoon spot, so you can stick around after your guests leave and have a built-in honeymoon!


3.  Top Asia Destination Wedding Location – Vietnam

destination wedding vietnam

Vietnam destination wedding – Top destination wedding locations 2020


Stunning white beaches, friendly locals, beautiful weather, and ultra exotic culture – Vietnam has it all.  It really is an ultimate paradise, with thousands of miles of pristine coastline and dozens of high-end wedding venues to spoil the senses and delight your guests.  We recently shot a wedding at Amanoi and found that every guest had a delightful experience, the venue offered off-site tours of local fishing villages, markets, and hiking in the jungle.  There was plenty to do on-site though, the massages and food were everything you’d expect from a five-star resort.  The coastline of Vietnam is lined with resorts such as these, and if you can get past the ridiculously long flight time from the states (20 hours from NY), you and your guests will share an experience you’ll never forget.  A destination wedding in Vietnam is a great choice for couples of all ages.


4. Top USA Destination Wedding Location – Hawaii

hawaii destination wedding

Hawaii destination wedding – Top destination wedding locations 2020


Hawaii is a perfect destination wedding spot for those who want to get far away from everything but hate long flights and want to stay in the USA.  There’s something to be said about asking your guests to fly to a different country that uses different currencies and speaks a different language.  Hawaiians do all of the aforementioned (except, arguably, the English language lol).  Hawaii offers beautiful beaches, great resorts, and ample places to showcase this beauty while tying the knot.  Hawaii is the tried-and-true destination wedding location, it’s been on our top 10 destination wedding locations for years – and will always likely make the cut.  Plenty of places offer nice beaches, but Hawaii has so much more, and 7 amazing islands which to choose from.

Our pick for a destination Hawaii wedding would be Kauai, but we’ve shot on 4 (Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Big Island), and they’re all spectacular.  Kauai is definitely more for outdoor lovers, nature lovers, and adventure seekers.  If you’re thinking of a destination wedding anywhere in the world, put Hawaii on your shortlist.


5. Top Beach Destination Wedding Location – Bora Bora

bora bora wedding

Bora Bora wedding – Top destination wedding locations 2020


What more can be said about a destination wedding in Bora Bora?  It’s often on the top of many lists, including the best beaches in the world, top honeymoon spots, and top luxury resorts in the world.  Bora Bora is literally the pinnacle of destination, and so worth the long travel times.  Snorkeling and parasailing, diving and beachcombing, Bora Bora has the best of all of it.  Stunning blue waters and unbeatable views have put this tiny French Polynesian island on the top of most people’s bucket list.  A destination wedding here is a great reason to knock it off yours!  Bora Bora weddings are best for small groups, as it’s hard to get to from the USA.

Transportation can be difficult, the only way to get to and from each resort is by boat.  Bora Bora weddings are often officiated by a local.  The tahua wearing red and yellow (sacred colors of royalty) and bowing a conch shell as the bride rides up in a canoe.  He calls on the ancestors to welcome the bride and groom and wraps them in a blanket together to signify their unity.  The ceremony is magical and a site for everyone to behold.  Bora Bora weddings are like none I’ve ever seen, and we’d recommend it as one of our top 10 destination wedding locations.


6. Top Mountain Destination Wedding Location – Norway

norway destination wedding

Norway destination wedding – Top destination wedding locations 2020


Far from it all in a mountain hideaway, northern lights and white mountain tops, quaint fishing villages, and stunning fjord landscapes.  Norway has become a top destination wedding location for Americans and Europeans alike, looking to get away from it all with your guests.  If a beach wedding doesn’t appeal to you, or one of our above destinations sounds too hot, consider a destination wedding in Norway.


Norway has multiple major airports to fly into, and great public transportation options to get to the town of your choosing.  For such a mountainous country, I was surprised at how easy it was to get around, in planes, trains, and automobiles.  The weather here is stunning in the summer, but you can also get some amazing shots in the white-covered landscape throughout the winter.  Bergen, Helsinki, or the Lofoten Islands, you really can’t go wrong with a destination wedding in Norway.


7. Top Remote Destination Wedding Location – Iceland

Iceland destination wedding

Iceland destination wedding – Top destination wedding locations 2020


Not many places beat the landscape of Iceland in this world.  It’s stunningly beautiful and far removed from anything you’ve seen before.  Iceland is a perfect destination wedding location for those looking for something different.  Iceland is a small island by size and packs so many amazing geological formations into one tiny island.  It’s the perfect place for couples that love the outdoors and aren’t afraid of something different.  Guests can enjoy dozens of delightful tourist activities including the Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle, and waterfalls everywhere.


A destination wedding in Iceland brings the couple closer to the earth, closer to nature, and closer to each other.  What more could you ask for in a destination wedding?  Travel can be tricky – be sure to plan extra time when getting married in Iceland.  The roads around the island take longer than you’d think and allow ample time to stop and see the dozens of waterfalls.  Beaches also abound and are a very short walking distance from the main highway.


8. Most Beautiful Destination Wedding Location – Canadian Rockies – Banff National Park

banff wedding photography

Fairmont Banff Springs – Top destination wedding locations 2020


Regardless if you’re getting married here or not, you NEED to visit Banff National Park in your lifetime.  It’s one of the most stunningly beautiful places I’ve ever seen.  The Fairmont Banff Springs or Fairmont at Lake Louise are both amazing wedding venues and would be a great destination wedding location for your guests.  Pristine mountains and blue glacial-fed lakes surround this landscape.  Most locations are closed in the winter, but you can get married there year-round.  If you’re thinking of having a destination wedding in Banff National Park, I’d recommend hiring a wedding planner that lives in Alberta or the Canadian Rockies, having someone local on the ground is a MUST.


Destination weddings in Banff seem like just a hop-skip-and-jump away from the USA, but it’s an international country with customs, so getting things from the USA to Canada (such as place cards, welcome bags, wedding dress, or anything you’re bringing) may be a struggle.  Never underestimate the power of a local wedding planner.  The locals are accustomed to destination weddings and you’re guaranteed to have a blast.


9. Top Cheap Destination Wedding Location – The Philippines

philippines wedding photography

Philippines destination wedding – Top destination wedding locations 2020


With thousands of islands and beaches abound, The Philippines makes our top 10 destination wedding locations for 2020.  The locals are unbelievably kind and the infrastructure has come a long way.  The dollar goes very far, and there are resorts everywhere.  The Philippines have so many places to host groups large and small for a destination wedding, your guests will have a delightful time 2020 is a great year to look for up-and-coming destination wedding locations, places that are a bit off the beaten path and somewhere I predict will be a big hit in 2020.  People are just discovering the potential of this beautiful chain of islands, and it comes without the costs of Bora Bora or Bali.  If you’re thinking of having a destination wedding on a budget, consider The Philippines.


10 – Top desert destination wedding location – Horseshoe Bend – Lake Powell – Page, Arizona – Amangiri wedding

amangiri wedding photography

Horseshoe Bend – Amangiri wedding – Top destination wedding locations 2020


Horseshoe Bend is the only one on our top 10 destination wedding locations that’s in the continental USA.  If you’re looking for something stunningly different, think about this place!  The venues in the quiet desert of Southern Utah or Northern Arizona are unique among wedding venues.  Think about the pros – you’re in the USA, it’s (almost) always sunny, it’s easy to get to the most beautiful locations.  You can get married at almost any of them.  Amangiri is a new(ish) venue down there, known for hosting the wedding of Tiesto and other celebrities.


The beauty of Amangiri and the surrounding Utah desert will leave your guests talking for a long time.  There are tons of local attractions if you’re looking to entertain your guests at your destination wedding.  Think Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, The Wave, Antelope Canyon, or one of the dozens of hikes into the desert.  The beauty of this place was the first broadcast to the world when Utah got its 5 national parks in this area.  More recently resorts like Amangiri offer weddings and experiences to guests.  An Amangiri wedding is amazing, but the resort only has 30 rooms.  Luckily there are plenty of hotels in nearby Page, so you and your guests could experience all of the extracurricular activities together.


We know there are many amazing places to get married.  We took a lot of consideration into choosing our top 10 destination wedding locations.  Runners up include Chefchaouen, Morocco, Dubai, New York City, Dominican Republic, Cancun, South Africa, Bali, and the Maldives.  All amazing places to tie the knot.  No matter where you get married, your day will be full of love, family, and (hopefully) magical photos.  Regardless of where you get married, we’d be honored to be a part of your special day.  If you’d like beautiful photos like these, please shoot us an email and we’d be happy to be a part of your special day – info@clanegessel.com



If you have questions, comments, or want to learn more about these destinations, we’d be happy to hop on a call.  Please email us for more info.

If you’re getting married and want beautiful wedding photography like you see here, be sure to contact us today and we’d be honored to shoot your wedding!


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