Destination Weddings from Nantucket to the Masai Mara

July 13th, 2021

Now that travel is gaining traction and so rescheduled weddings are popping on the calendar, we foresee a boom in destination nuptials. Here are our top picks from nearby (the Hamptons) to a bit of a hop (Ireland) to more exotic (the Masai Mara).

A Hop (close to home)

Shou Sugi Ban House, Hamptons, NY – for a Hamptons soirée

Shou Sugi Ban House, the wellness retreat and destination spa in the Hamptons hamlet of Water Mill can now accommodate a tent that can hold 120 seated or 150 standing guests. The Glass Pavilion, lined with sliding glass doors on either side, can fit 50 people seated or standing and offers seamless transition between interior and exterior. With its floor to ceiling windows, it is the perfect spot to take in the landscape architecture designed in collaboration with Studio Lily Kwong (The High Line). The cherry blossom trees are in full bloom come spring and the outdoor firepit offers a cozy ambiance during the winter months. The Hamptons vernacular-style Main Barn can accommodate 50 people standing and has an oversized projector for photo and video screening. The property is also available for buyouts and can now accommodate up to 52 guests. There is also an option to do a partial buyout of 13 guest studios accommodating up to 26 guests. The team works closely with groups to arrange experiences they are interested in, including wellness programming, spa treatments and meals designed by Chef Mads Refslund, co-founder of Noma in Copenhagen, who oversees the culinary program. The three house Teslas are even available for use. Onsite amenities include a private tennis court, a variety of pools, a thermal suite, a kitted-out fitness studio, and a rooftop deck. Shou Sugi Ban House is located next to the Herzog & de Meuron-designed Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill. For larger weddings taking place at the museum, it is a great option for bridal party and wedding guest accommodations.

Images courtesy of Fredrika Stjarne for Shou Sugi Ban House:

Super Special: Newlyweds looking for a deep connection can participate in the Couple’s Shamanic Healing. The onsite Shaman will clear energy, bring in light, and cut any energetic cords causing stagnation and concretion.

White Elephant, Nantucket, MA – for a picture-perfect New England fête

Located a few steps from town, the White Elephant has been a favorite Nantucket retreat since the 1920s; the height of preppy New England elegance with grey shingles and white trim. This is the place where families visit for generations and brides dream of being married. From the elegant Ballroom to intimate spaces overlooking the harbor, White Elephant can accommodate parties from two to 300 guests – or throw a grand celebration by reserving the entire property. Begin with a ceremony on the Harborview Lawn, then wine, dine and dance under the stars on the Harborview Terrace. The wedding party can indulge in renewing treatments at White Elephant Spa by Darya, relax in cushy wicker lounges overlooking the water, cruise the harbor in a Hinckley Picnic boat or top off the celebration with a lavish brunch. A stone’s throw from the center of town, the property has accommodations including suites on the harbor, garden cottages and two in-town Lofts, Easy Street and the Loft at 32 Main and multi-bedroom Residences with kitchenettes. The White Elephant’s Brant Point Grill is a staple restaurant on island and known for their famed Sunday Brunch and Lobster Bloody Mary. The hotel also has a partnership with BMW so wedding guests can sign out cars to explore the island on their own.


Super Special: White Elephant Resorts offers the Hy-Line Ferry Package to wedding couples to assist with roundtrip transportation for their guests to and from the island. The package can be added to a Harborside Terrace wedding or a full buyout wedding weekend.

The Wauwinet, Nantucket, MA – for an elegant, beach-side wedding

Situated on the northeast end of Nantucket located between two private beaches, the 32-room Wauwinet is an adults-only escape with the ambiance of storybook romance. Smaller, more intimate parties can take place in one of TOPPER’S private dining rooms. TOPPER’S, a don’t-miss dining spot on island, where the seasonally inspired menu shines with local produce and seafood. A highlight of the menu is the Retsyo Oysters – sourced 300 yards from property. For larger weddings, the inn has a special option of reserving the entire hotel for the weekend. It offers the feeling a private luxury home. The entire wedding party can enjoy a rehearsal clambake on the beach, followed by a tented wedding ceremony and reception on the lawn as well as a goodbye brunch on the following day. During the spring and fall months, The Wauwinet offers complimentary activities, including boating, lobstering, cooking classes, and scenic drives of neighboring ‘Sconset in the hotel’s 1948 Woody. Guests also receive have access to a BMW SUV for use throughout the stay, available on a complimentary, first-come first-served basis. Buyouts start at $13,500 per night.


Super Special: For larger weddings, the inn has a special option of reserving the entire hotel for the weekend, welcoming up to 64 guests – offering the feeling a private beach home on island.

Dupont Circle Hotel, Washington, DC – for a city elopement

Right on Dupont Circle, the hotel is the perfect spot for an elopement. Its signature Terrace Suites give couples the chance for an al fresco ceremony looking over the rooftops of DC. Seeing an uptick in interest in intimate weddings, the property – which recently reopened after a top-to-bottom renovation with designs from Martin Brudnizki and Clodagh – launched a new elopement package which includes a two-night stay in a Signature Terrace Suite, florals, assistance in sourcing a photographer at a preferred rate, a champagne toast, a justice of the piece, and parking. Rates start at $6,000.

Images Courtesy of The Doyle Collection

Super Special: For a bigger group, one can book the Penthouse Suite with its sweeping views from the large terrace – perfect for a cocktail reception or intimate dinner party.

A Skip (a bit further away)

Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel, Anguilla – for the picture-perfect Caribbean escape

Located in the British West Indies on the serene shores of Anguilla, Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel is a sanctuary for total escapism with 108 guest rooms and suites, all with large private verandas or balconies overlooking the pristine white sandy shores of Maundays Bay. The property features four dining destinations, a show-stopping infinity-edge pool, an authentic Arawak Spa and a 1,800 square foot events pavilion overlooking the bay. Every detail is taken into account for the couple’s preferences with options to recite vows beside the water, indulge in an Anguillan barbeque on the beach, or throw an intimate reception in one of the private pool villas. An island retreat for the entire party, the resort also offers a roster of daily programming, all available for private reservations, including wine classes, sunset sails, rum tastings, early-morning bird-watching, salt-scrub-making classes and more.


Super Special: Just a smooth 25-minute ride across the Caribbean Sea via a private boat transfer, newlyweds can continue the celebrations at sister property La Samanna on St. Martin. Travelers can seamlessly experience two Leeward Islands in one trip.

The Fife Arms, Scotland – for a dramatic, highland celebration

The Fife Arms is a former 19th century hunting lodge set within the striking Scottish Highlands. The property was purchased by the celebrated art world couple Iwan and Manuela Wirth (co-presidents of Hauser & Wirth) and opened in 2018. Interiors are a charming blend of old and new, deeply luxurious with surprising, eclectic touches and 16,000 works of art. Nearby castles and the Cairngorms National Park, the largest National Park in the UK, make it an especially enchanting setting for a wedding. The in-house team can create events that celebrate the best Scotland has to offer from whisky tastings, golf excursions and art tours to private chef lunches on a grouse moor, picnic teas in the forest and bespoke spa packages. They also work with local vendors including florists and photographers. The Fog House can seat up to 50 people. The room, with its large, wood-burning fireplace and impressive antler chandelier looks out onto the internal courtyard.

Images courtesy of The Fife Arms:

Super Special: With a collection of art done by the likes of Picasso, Man Ray and Queen Victoria, getting married here is like saying ‘I do’ in a world-class museum. Where else can you take your bridal portrait in front of a Gerhard Richter painting? Guests can even join a guided tour of the hotel’s collection.

Dromoland Castle, Ireland – for a fairytale wedding in a castle

Dating back to the 16th century, the grand Dromoland Castle sits on a 450-acre estate replete with an 18-hole golf course, spa, several restaurants, a walled garden designed by the same designer as the gardens at Versailles, and what castle would be complete without turrets and authentic suits of armor lining the expansive corridors? The castle can host anything from an elopement for two (with a ceremony on the Cliffs of Moher and an elaborate celebration dinner back at the castle) to a full buyout of its 97 rooms for up to 200 people. Ceremonies can take place in the walled garden or under a marquee tent with a castle backdrop or in any favorite spot on the grounds. From horse drawn carriage arrivals, champagne receptions on the lawn, dancing under the stars or in the Brian Boru Hall, night caps in the jewel box bar… the experts at Dromoland Castle will create the dreamiest castle celebration.

Images Courtesy of Dromoland Castle

Super Special: For a very authentic feel, Dromoland Castle can arrange traditional Irish dancers and musicians to add a fun and local feel to the celebration.

Nayara Tented Camp, Costa Rica – for a super-romantic, intimate I do

On a private deck surrounded by rainforest with the imposing Arenal Volcano in the background, couples can opt for an intimate wedding ceremony at their own luxury tent at Nayara Tented Camp. With a day leading up to the wedding of pampering in the spa, soaking in the hot springs under the rainforest canopy, private yoga and mediation sessions, and any wedding hairstyling, brides and grooms will begin their lives together in a complete state of zen. Celebrations post-ceremony can be a private dinner cantilevered over the canopy or a wine-paired feast taking over the balcony of Nostalgia Wine Bar. The honeymoon begins in the sprawling tent with its private plunge pool filled with naturally warm hot spring water, indoor and outdoor double showers, a complimentary mini bar, and beautiful four-poster king-sized bed. Couples can’t forget about the complimentary room service breakfast set up on the private deck.

Images Courtesy of Nayara Tented Camp:

Super Special: A sloth sanctuary envelopes the entire property, so there may be wedding photo opps with a sloth in the background.

Kalesma Mykonos – for the dreamiest, Grecian ceremony

Greece opened in May and has been welcoming tourists with open arms. Kalesma opened on May 20 and is the dreamiest spot for a destination wedding. Nuptials can take place outside of the on-site chapel – a classic Cycladic-style chapel with a domed roof. The celebration can continue around the aloni – an original threshing stone found on the property – and at restaurant Pere Ubu with sunset views over the water. With 25 suites and two villas (all with private full-size pools) it’s perfect for a buyout to host all the couples’ nearest and dearest. The concierge can arrange activities for the group such as beach picnics, sailboat cruises around the island, reservations at beach parties, and historical tours of nearby Delos island.

Images courtesy of Kalesma:

Super Special: With both sunset and sunrise views, there wedding photos will be dramatic and beautiful with the sea, the sky, and the white villas dotting the hillside.

Splendido Mare, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino – for the chic sposa and sposo

Located down the hill from sister property Splendido, the 14-room Splendido Mare reopened on April 16, 2021 following a complete restoration led by Paris-based designers FESTEN Architecture. Inspired by its history in a fishing village – where there has not been a new house built since 1935 – Splendido Mare features antiques and locally sourced elements such as  terracotta tiles from Impruneta and marble from Carrara. For intimate celebrations, opt for the Ava Gardner spanning the top floor of the property, outfitted with subtle nods to the actress who stayed at the guest house while filming Barefoot Contessa. Make the 14-room retreat a private summer home with a full buyout, accommodating up to 32 guests. The 100-piece art collection sets the scene featuring specially commissioned items by Italian painter Gabriele Cappelli as well as cinematic photography and abstract pieces by local artists. The new restaurant, DaV Mare focuses on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, and signatures dishes includes a humble tomato pasta (paccheri alla vittorio). For dessert, do not miss the little gelateria in the heart of piazzetta. Buyouts start at $29,000 per night with a minimum two-night stay.


Super Special: For intimate celebrations, opt for the Ava Gardner Suite spanning the entire top floor of the property and outfitted with subtle nods to the actress who stayed at the guest house while filming Barefoot Contessa.

Royal Mansour Marrakech, Morocco

Owned by the King of Morocco and situated on nearly seven acres of gardens in the heart of Marrakech, couples will be hard-pressed to find a more majestic setting than Royal Mansour for their destination wedding. The property is composed of 53 three-story riads (private homes), lending itself nicely to either a full-property buyouts or an intimate elopement for two. Royal Mansour’s three-story, white latticework spa is a bridal dream come true, and available for hair/nail styling for the big day as well as pre-wedding treatments such as four-hand massage and traditional hammam. Centered around a hand-tiled fountain, the hotel’s open-air lobby is a favorite amongst couples as the location for their vows. Other options include The Grand Riad, a hotel-within-the-hotel with a glass-enclosed split-level terrace and private property entrance; or for a more intimate micro-wedding, the newly built The Nest, an open-air space elevated above the newly expanded gardens with views overlooking Marrakech, accommodates up to eight people.


Super Special: Book The Grand Riad for the ultimate private retreat. A veritable hotel-within-a-hotel, the 19,375-square-foot crown jewel of the property features a glass-enclosed split-level terrace, a hammam, cinema, two swimming pools and a private property entrance.

A Jump (a bit of a journey)

andBeyond Bateleur Camp, Kenya – for an unforgettable savannah ceremony

Wedding parties can take over one or both camps at Bateleur Camp on Kenya’s Masai Mara for a truly unforgettable safari wedding.  With twice-daily game drives, sundowners in a different picturesque spot each night, and culminating with a traditional Maasai ceremony, andBeyond can create the wedding of a lifetime.

Images Courtesy of andBeyond:

Super Special: The on-property gin bar has a selection of 16 different types of craft gin for tasting flights or specialty cocktails infused with fresh botanicals grown in the lodge’s organic vegetable garden.

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