5 States to Say “I Do” In

Fall Wedding Couple

Travel insights from Taylor Coulson, associate editor of The Compass

Mexico and Europe aren’t the only places for a destination wedding. And you don’t need a passport to visit these five stunning states where you can exchange vows and turn your wedding into a vacation for you and your guests.

1. Hawaii

If you want your wedding on island time, Hawaii is the perfect place. In fact, 7% of travel advisors on VAX said that this is where they send their destination wedding clients. The Aloha State is unparalleled when it comes to romance and adventure. This tropical destination is covered with natural beauty and incredibly lush landscapes that make great backdrops in wedding photos. While Maui is considered the most romantic Hawaiian island, there are plenty of other pretty places across the archipelago to say “I do.” Kauai is for the couples seeking a more secluded spot to tie the knot. Oahu is the most convenient island for a destination wedding because it has the biggest airport with the most frequent flights from the mainland. There are also stunning places to stay like Kualoa Ranch, Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, or Four Seasons Resort Maui at Waileau.

When to wed: With temperatures around the 70s to 80s during the day, anytime year-round.

Hot spots to get hitched: Sherwood Forest, Noelani Gardens, or Magic Island.

2. Rhode Island

Nautical couples hoping for a classy wedding on the east coast should consider Newport, Rhode Island. This seaside retreat ranked No. 10 on U.S. News’ best affordable destination wedding spots. Located on the southern tip of Rhode Island’s Aquidneck Island, Newport is a ritzy weekend escape inspired by the Old World. This classic coastal port town offers a mix of New England charm and old-fashioned glamour. From the magnificent Newport bridge to the sailboats that take over Narragansett Bay, this port town’s simple elegance is worth the splurge for a wedding weekend escape along the shores. Spend the night at popular hotels like The Chanler at Cliff Walk or Castle Hill Inn.

When to wed: Newport weather is warmest (and busiest) during the summer months with highs in the 80s. From May to September, temperatures are typically in the 60s and 70s.

Hot spots to get hitched: Romantic inns and cottages inspired by European castles and reconfigured, magical mansions along cliffs make for gorgeous venues.

3. California

Couples can’t stop California dreamin’ when it comes to having a wedding in wine country. Vistas of vineyards, lush valleys and rolling hills set the scene for wedding bliss in California’s wine country. Wine lovers can get a taste of what a wedding in wine country is like in various vineyards and valleys. Cheers to forever and choose from gorgeous castles, rustic barns and elegant estates in Napa Valley. Here you can sip and stay at The Estate’s sophisticated Hotel Villago and its sister hotel, Vintage House nearby one of the most stunning wedding venues in the state of California. For a more intimate experience, spend your big day under Sonoma Valley’s sunny skies, just north of San Francisco. Stay at the award-winning wine country destination located here in the Valley of the Moon, Kenwood Inn and Spa. Exploring Temecula Valley’s expansive and verdant wine region is another option that is filled with famous wine estates, low-key wineries and hot-air balloon rides, too.

When to wed: Summer months and October are the best times to visit California’s wine country.

Hot spots to get hitched: The Estate Yountville in Napa Valley or Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma Valley.

4. Colorado

Snowbirds who always imagined their winter wedding under a blanket of fresh powder should consider Aspen, Colorado. Perched perfectly atop Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, this posh ski resort town is renowned for its winter sports and wow-worthy views that will thrill any outdoor enthusiast. Your guests who are more comfortable indoors will also be entertained with high-end shops and incredible hotels and restaurants with panoramic views at up to 11,200 feet in the sky. After your wedding festivities and fun in the snow-covered forest, stay at Aspen Meadows Resort or Buttermilk Mountain Lodge.

When to wed: While winter is wonderful in Aspen, it’s also picture-perfect year-round.

Hot spots to get hitched: The Little Nell or The Aspen Meadows Resort.

 

5. Arizona

Live out your desert wedding dreams in Tucson, Arizona – the city of turquoise jewelry, saguaro cacti and southwestern sunsets. This city in southern Arizona is nestled between Phoenix and the Mexican border. Tucson is a dreamy destination wedding location for active couple who love the outdoors and warm weather year-round. Plus, wedding party favors are easy to find while perusing the art galleries and local shops filled with Native American and Mexican textiles and jewelry.

When to wed: Sunshine, clear skies and warm weather is year-round in Arizona.

Hot spots to get hitched: Hacienda del Sol or Casa Tierra.

Bonus Destination:

6. Florida

As if Disney World wasn’t already the most magical place on Earth, their newest wedding venue has some of the best theme park views in all of Orlando. The Walt Disney World Swan Reserve is a 14-story, 349-room hotel with magical amenities for your big day. There is a 4,000-square-foot event space with floor-to-ceiling windows with space for 160 guests. Plus, the 1,000-square-foot rooftop terrace has magnificent views for the couple and their guests where they might see fireworks from all three parks during nightly show-stopping firework shows.

When to wed: This new theme park is coming soon with plans to open in fall 2021.