Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday idea, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. As Valentine’s Day beckons, he checks out the world’s most romantic wedding venues.
The perfect wedding deserves the perfect location – and increasingly couples are heading abroad to find it.
Tying the knot overseas can mean some extra admin and you should check the official gov.uk/marriage-abroad website to ensure your ceremony is legally binding. But don’t think the planning will be harder overseas. All the photo-friendly locations here have English-speaking wedding planners on hand.
Tie the knot in style: The Wedding Chapel at Jamaica’s Sandals Ochi Beach
Waterside wedding: Walk on water before taking your vows in the new ‘over-the-ocean’ chapel at Sandals Ochi Beach in Jamaica. The wooden chapel can accommodate 56 guests and offers 360-degree views of the Caribbean – and a crystal-clear view through the glass floor to the waters below. You choose how the chapel is decorated, and the more guests you invite to the resort, the more extras – such as room upgrades – you get for free.
Book it: The wedding venue is free if you stay at all-inclusive Sandals Ochi Beach, where seven nights in spring 2020 starts at £1,639pp, including flights. sandals.co.uk/weddings/venues
Legendary location: Head to Cyprus and marry in the birthplace of Aphrodite, goddess of love. It’s hard to find a more beautiful place for a ceremony than the white-walled Ayia Anathasia chapel in the grounds of the luxury Anassa hotel. Exchange vows in the chapel, then have photos in the hotel’s olive groves, gardens or on its beach.
Book it: Wedding packages and rooms at Anassa start at £2,224 a week in spring next year. anassa.comanassa.com
Cinematic choice: For a Gone With The Wind vibe plus lashings of Southern charm consider the ivy-covered chapel in the grounds of the Sea Island hotel in Georgia in the Deep South of the US. Outside you can celebrate beneath ancient oaks or alongside lines of swaying palms. Take BA’s new direct flight to Charleston (from April 4) and the hotel is a scenic drive down the coast.
Book it: Weddings in the chapel start at £1,900 and rooms at Sea Island cost from £3,000 for a week this autumn. seaisland.com
So cool: For a one-of-a-kind wedding venue head to the Arctic Circle and the Ceremony Hall in Sweden’s original Ice Hotel. It’s unique as the hall melts every summer and is rebuilt, in a different style, each winter. Up to 40 guests can watch you exchange vows at an altar made of solid ice. If you don’t fancy spending your wedding night in an igloo, there are ‘warm rooms’ on site.
Wow-factor: The Ceremony Hall at Sweden’s Ice Hotel
Book it: Full weddings in the Ceremony Hall, including photographer, drinks and a night at Ice Hotel, from £3,750. icehotel.com
Home of romance: Italy’s Amalfi Coast is one of the world’s most romantic destinations, and the medieval Cloisters de San Francesco in Sorrento make a stunning location. After a ceremony amid the marble interiors, most couples have a reception on the terraces of the neighbouring Grand Hotel Ambasciatori.
Book it: Weddings at the cloisters cost from £1,925, with a week at Ambasciatori from £2,439 per room in spring 2020. perfectweddingsabroad.co.uk