Top destination wedding locations Black Sands Beach, California

Top 7 Under-the-Radar Destination Wedding Locations

Planning a destination wedding creates more than just a memorable experience. It offers unforgettable opportunities for adventure and romance. And, it gives you and your loved ones a special memory to look back on fondly for years to come. Best of all, the beauty in the nature of destination weddings is that you have infinite options to explore – quite literally, the world. 

From Monaco to Maui, the right destination wedding spot allows you to nurture your inner wunderlust and make your special day all the more special. Leave familiar surroundings at the door! It’s 2021 — time to step somewhere new, where you can honor your commitment and cherish the one you love in a place that’s more meaningful. 

Despite what many think, a destination wedding doesn’t have to mean hours of traveling. In fact, your ideal destination wedding might just be right around the corner.

At Clane Gessel Studio, we know exactly what couples want when it comes to nuanced destination wedding venues. From hidden spots like historic castles and towns off the beaten path to mountaintop ranges, we can assure you that these locations will check all the boxes — and then some.

From the rolling coasts of Ireland to the black sandy beaches of California, here’s the ultimate list of the top seven under-the-radar destination wedding spots.


1. Loire Valley, France

Top destination wedding venue Château de Chambord, Chambord, France

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While Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world, Loire Valley has its fair share of appeal. In fact, the area has grown in notoriety as the central heart of France’s natural wine renaissance. As can be seen by its elegant châteaux surrounded by miles of vineyards along the Loire River, there is an enlightening contrast between luxury estates and rolling fields of breathtaking greenery. The Loire Valley truly offers the best of both worlds. And, let’s not forget the exquisite wine and food! Miles of appellations offer floral vinuets and neoclassical accommodations for you and your guests to lounge. The Hotel Chateau du Grand-Luce can schedule a hot air balloon ride – perfect for a unique setting to capture the bond that you and your partner share on camera.


2. Boschendal, South Africa

Top destination wedding location in Boschendal, South Africa

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A globally cherished wine and food destination, Boschendal gains its notoriety from centuries of intriguing history coupled with breathtaking landscapes. Nestled in the Drakenstein Valley, the World Heritage site treats visitors to visual delights including scenic mountain ranges, lush gardens, and winding vineyards. The destination also features wholesome farm-to-table cuisine and established accommodations. There is the exclusive Rhodes Cottage and the distinguished Werf Cottages to name a few. Cottage guests can peruse the entire farm throughout their stay. Cycle the trails on the mountain range fynbos and dine under the stars in exclusive areas. Then, try fly fishing in the nearby dams followed by a quick dip in the pristine mountain waters for a sun-drenched soak. From intimate affairs to larger gatherings, the Boschendal grounds offer a sentimental embrace for you and your partner to be wedded in bliss.


3. Bangkok, Thailand

Top destination wedding venue in lobby of Thailand resort

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Despite the long flight, the country of Thailand has some of the most unique cities and exquisite beaches. A top global tourist destination, the country has fascinating urban hubs that are rich in culture. Moreover, the food is incomparable to what you might find around the corner. Together with astounding architecture to remarkable wildlife refuges home to animals you definitely won’t encounter in such close proximity in most places, Thailand offers a plethora of distinctive venues that make the long-distance journey all the more worthwhile. Best of all, this wedding destination is a quick and efficient way to cut back on costs and refine that growing guest list.


4. Black Sands Beach, California

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Nestled on the coast of Sausalito, California, this unique beach is known for exactly what it sounds like — the black sandy beaches! If a traditional beach wedding isn’t for you, consider this nuanced alternative. Between the exquisite hills and intricate rock formations along the shoreline, your wedding photos are sure to be stunning. The venue backdrop creates a moody, mysterious allure that will encapsulate the transcendent connection between you and your loved one. Bonus, this beach will be significantly less populated than bay area beaches, which will be great for a quiet and intimate affair. Don’t forget to make a quick stop to capture a phenomenal view of the Golden Gate Bridge on your way there!


5. Newport, Rhode Island

Top destination wedding venue inside Breakers Mansion interior in Newport, Rhode Island

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Ever dreamt of saying your vows in a castle? Consider the Gilded Age Mansions in the seaside city of Newport, Rhode Island. More than just historic estates with a preserved relic, this venue offers something close to a French château or English manor house without having to leave the country. After the occasion, you and your guests can take a boat tour into town and celebrate with boho frill at local spots. Luxurious hotels with years of history can be graced by your guests as well, as you caress your loved one by a stunning waterfront.


6. Malliouhana, Anguilla

Top destination wedding locations in the British Caymen Islands

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Planning to elope? Your romantic getaway in Malliouhana, Anguilla is waiting off the coast of the azure-blue sea! You and your partner can tie the bonds set atop a high bluff overlooking spectacular views. From luxury resorts to bespoke hidden locales, this island is a top Caribbean choice for magical unions. Accommodate guests with oceanfront arrangements featuring everything from a cascading infinity pool to dynamic culture and cuisine. From nestling under the stars with your loved one in the privacy of Turtle Cove to strolling the pristine shores, the idyllic spot offers unique essence of place paired with a flair of modern charm. Best of all, the venue serves as the perfect backdrop for both intimate and large-scale events. The expansive view of beautiful wildlife and white sandy beaches will surely be memorable for years to come.


7. Narin Strand, Ireland

Top destination wedding locations in Dongeal, Ireland

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Picture this – you and your partner for life are standing in front of your family and closest friends on top of one of Ireland’s exceptional cliffs. You glance to your right and have to pause, as the luscious greenery along the seaside takes your breath away and melts your heart. Sounds like a dream, right? Well, you can make that dream a reality at Narin Strang in Donegal, Ireland. Behind the grassy cliffs that overlook the ocean, your wedding photos can capture the magic and color of this natural beauty. And, there’s a bespoke seaside village nearby for charming celebrations and shop perusing for you and your guests.


See yourself in wedded bliss at one of these top global venue destinations? We can help you break free from a traditional-style wedding. Contact us today to learn more. We would be honored to capture your soulful celebration.

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