Planning a wedding is no small feat. Planning a destination wedding — well, that’s a different conversation. Beyond the bits and pieces all great ceremonies require, destination weddings have the added steps involving flights and hotels for you, your family, and your guests, even if you’re not personally buying. Fortunately, when you’re lingering poolside after your big day, letting the breeze off the ocean lull you to sleep, the strain will have faded to some distant memory. Trust us: it will all have been worth it.
Let’s simplify things a bit, though. If you need a beautiful reception site and a place to stay, why not hit two birds with one stone? Luxury hotels and all-inclusive resorts are all about stress relief, and for them, checking as many steps off the wedding checklist as possible is simply par for the course. Grouping hotel rooms and reception venues within walking distance — plus, of course, beaches, restaurants, pools, spas, gyms, and so on — will simplify the start to your new life and keep planning tension to an absolute minimum.
At the Hitch, of course, we love a good destination wedding, and we have plenty to choose from. Below, we gathered our favorites nationwide to get you off the computer and onto the beach.
Viceroy Hotel Group has been around since 1999, when it first opened the Avalon Hotel in Beverly Hills. Since then, it has grown rapidly and deservingly around the world, opening luxury resorts across North America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. In each city, Viceroy builds its attractions around the cultural spirit and mood of its surroundings, creating an escape within an escape without sacrificing the underlying purpose of travel: discovery.
Two of these resorts, the Viceroy Santa Monica and L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, have captured the sophistication and class of two of California’s most polished cities. The Viceroy Santa Monica, which prides itself on its environmental responsibility, has all of the makings of an idyllic beach wedding: picturesque backdrops, top notch service, two plunge pools, ocean views, five-star food, and wedding reception ideas and expertise. Only at Viceroy Santa Monica weddings is proximity to globally renowned attractions and Hollywood itself a side-note, and certainly not an item to be overlooked.
L’Ermitage Beverly Hills succeeds in perfecting a difficult combination — extreme privacy in a jetsetting city. Though Rodeo Drive, perhaps the most famous shopping stretch on earth, is just a few blocks away, L’Ermitage is nearly residential, tucked away on a tree-lined street with views of California’s rolling hills beyond it. On the roof, you’ll find a pool with city views and private cabanas, while on the ground, you and your guests will travel by way of complimentary car service. For everyone involved, L’Ermitage Beverly Hills weddings are as effort-free as they are emotional, and as far as ceremonies go, that’s about as good as it gets.
What makes the Wythe Hotel perfect for Williamsburg, Brooklyn? To start, before it was a breathtaking 70-room hotel, the Wythe was a factory — we have a few of those around here — built in 1901. Fortunately, the conversion from abandonment to opulence was handled with near perfection. All the makings of Williamsburg-at-its-prime are here: restored brick, iron columns, timber beams, Brooklyn-designed wallpaper, and a three-story roof deck with sweeping Manhattan views. Alas, it's obvious why we named it a top Brooklyn wedding venues. Wythe Hotel weddings benefit from a remarkable range of reception options, including private (extremely so) dining spaces, a private theater, award-winning chefs, stellar service, and of course, those rooftop views.
Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Arizona, is mid-century-modern to a tee. Designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, it opened in 1956 and quickly built a reputation as a hangout for celebrities, athletes, and socialites drawn to its warm climate, fine dining, and poolside retreats. After falling, oddly enough, off the radar, it was added to the Scottsdale Historic Register in 2001 and renovated by Allen+Philp Architects in 2005 to much acclaim. Today, its seven-story tower includes guest rooms and condominiums, the widely celebrated ZuZu American restaurant, and five Hotel Valley Ho wedding sites: the SoHo Room, the Valley Ho Room, the Main Place Courtyard, Palm Court, and Sky Line Rooftop. All have regained their status as one of the Southwest's coolest and most romantic places to be.
The historical splendor of the East Coast lends itself to dozens of high profile vacation destinations, but few are as charming as Martha’s Vineyard. Even President Obama agrees. Since opening in 1891, the Harbor View Hotel has been Edgartown’s most prized resort, a celebration of the history and New England mood of the island on the whole. This spirit, of course, carries through to Harbor View Hotel weddings, which, in addition to fine dining and first-class service, offer guests the opportunity to golf, sail, deep sea fish, and cruise into the sunset. Don’t let the quaintness of Martha’s Vineyard fool you — Harbor View Hotel is as luxurious and up-to-date as resorts come.
Hotel Casa Del Mar, also in Santa Monica, bills itself as an authentic California beach club, and it has the look to prove it. Beyond the grand staircase, the grand ballroom, even the two-story high ceilings, is the Pacific Ocean, which sparkles here beneath the light of the famous Santa Monica Pier. Hotel Casa Del Mar weddings are diverse in both their mood and era, ranging from the Bow — perfect for an elegant, albeit very social, gathering — to the Colonnade Ballroom, as grand as it is tasteful, and their pricing includes both food and the rental fee, with rooms at a reasonable (and worth it) additional cost. Rare are the places where you can spend the day in your swimsuit and the evening in your finest gown, and Hotel Casa Del Mar is one of them.
Bedford Post Inn is just a quick shot from New York City in Bedford, New York, but the mood suggests a distance much greater. As an inn, its intimate, with eight luxurious rooms, a yoga studio, and the Barn and the Farmhouse, two widely celebrated restaurants that book out months in advance. This warmth extends itself to Bedford Post Inn's outdoor weddings, during which guests can escape the city to the woodlands of Bedford, enjoying the amenities and surrounding quaintness before gathering for a reception dinner prepared by a Michelin-starred chef.
Are you also an all-inclusive resort that doubles as a beautiful wedding venue? Join the Hitch!