Destination love: where to get married now

Getting married? Destination weddings are on the rise — and they aren’t just happening abroad. These locales might be the perfect backdrop for your big day.

According to Brides magazine, destination weddings have grown by 250% since 2019 — and the variety of destinations has increased as well. Sure, we have celebrities like Simone Biles partying it up in ever-popular Mexico for her spring nuptials, but we also see internet ”It” girls like lifestyle blogger Aisha Beau hosting intimate affairs in Portugal. Other countries like Dubai and Kenya are also starting to appear on top destination wedding location lists, especially among Black couples. 

A destination wedding doesn’t necessarily require going abroad; many couples are opting to stay within the contiguous United States and host their big day in cities other than their hometowns, a trend the industry calls “domestic destination” weddings.

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Whether you’re staying local or taking your nuptials on the road, deciding where you’ll get married is arguably the most crucial decision you must make when planning your wedding. It’s a decision that impacts almost everything, from when you will get married to who you can invite. It may even impact your aesthetic choices for the big day. Need some inspiration? We’ve compiled a list of 20 top destinations that are tried and true, on the rise, and passport-optional below. 

Tried and true 

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Mexico remains a regular on top wedding destination lists because of the sheer range of venues and experiences the country has to offer, from traditional Catholic churches to vibrant artsy cities to upscale modern beach resorts. With the increase in remote work, there’s also a growing number of Black ex-pats migrating to the country. Mexico City, Cabo San Lucas, Los Cabos, Tulum, and Cancun remain major cities for weddings with a host of options throughout.  

The Bahamas 

With its famed turquoise waters, white and pink sand beaches, noteworthy hospitality, and close proximity to the U.S., it’s not hard to guess why the Bahamas is a top location for destination weddings. The Caribbean nation of over 700 islands and cays is home to some of the world’s top resorts, most of which offer all-inclusive packages that make hosting a destination wedding convenient. Check out Nassau, Harbour Islands, New Providence, and Little Exuma for a wide array of options offering easy, breezy Caribbean vibes. 


Like the Bahamas, Bermuda is another Caribbean nation in close proximity to the U.S., making it a popular destination for weddings. Bermuda is a small, quaint island nation with white sand beaches and a blend of historic cities and tropical beaches. There are luxury hotels and entire estates perfect for an intimate island wedding.


The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once said he felt “like a human being” in Jamaica, and it’s a sentiment shared by many Black travelers who visit the iconic island. It has become a top destination for Black couples to wed and honeymoon and is one of the world’s top destinations for weddings in general. A slew of options abound, from luxury all-inclusive resorts and hotels to private estates. 

Dominican Republic 

The Dominican Republic offers both Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean-facing beaches, a plethora of all-inclusive resorts to choose from, and tropical paradise vistas, not to mention tons of excursions to keep an entire wedding party entertained throughout their stay. Check out Punta Cana for a resort vibe or Santo Domingo for a more historic Caribbean city atmosphere.


France is home to the city arguably most associated with love worldwide, Paris. For over a century, the country has also become home to a large number of Black ex-pats and Black immigrants from all over the world. Whether a chic wedding in the City of Lights beckons you or a chateau in the South of France is more your love language, France has more than enough elegance, opulence and historical appeal to offer.    


Whether you are enjoying the beaches of Malaga or the streets of Barcelona, the party never seems to stop in Spain. The European country oozes with style, culture and a lively atmosphere.


The only seas that may be able to hold a candle to the turquoise pools of the Caribbean are the deep blues of the Mediterranean. With increasing frequency, Black couples have been jet-setting to Greece for weddings fit for the gods among its hilly landscapes and breathtaking ocean views. 

On the rise

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Dubai is bursting at the seams with luxury travel experiences and top-tier hospitality. It’s little wonder the decadent country is climbing top location lists for destination weddings. For a wedding that’s truly next level, Dubai may just be the place.  


The “It” girls and travel bloggers won’t stop going to Portugal, and for good reason. The country is popular with American tourists for its extreme affordability and cozy European city streets offering amazing cuisine and wine.


Couples looking for a South Asian jungle paradise with a strong spiritual history have increasingly been planning their nuptials in Bali. From intimate ceremonies on the beach to epic parties poolside, “The Land of the Gods” has plenty to offer — and for a price routinely lower than most other countries. 


Getting married in Kenya can include champagne safaris, open plains, giraffes, and a vibrant culture that takes marriage and wedding ceremonies very seriously. Couples have been flocking to the Eastern African nation to host destination weddings big and small, rustic or glamorous, and everything in between. 

Domestic destinations 

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Second only to Las Vegas, the most popular destination for weddings in the United States is Hawaii. The tropical cluster of eight islands hosts over 25,000 weddings each year. Weddings in Hawaii can range from grand complete hotel buyouts to intimate ceremonies on the beach complete with world-famous tropical views.

New Orleans 

“The Big Easy” is a lively American city with rich music and cultural history, and traditions alive and well today, including parading a bride and groom down Bourbon Street for a wedding-day “second line.” Whether you’re looking for a modern hotel, a historic music venue, world-renowned food, or even a little macabre influence, New Orleans has all of it and then some. 


Believe it or not, some hidden gem beach towns in the Sunshine State can transport your wedding celebration to what feels like a tropical paradise. From accommodations to event vendors, Florida is also flush with Black-owned options.    

Disney World

Walt Disney World is the place where dreams come true. It’s also the place where many dream weddings, big and small, happen. With plenty of resorts, venues, and packages, options abound —  and a little-known fact: while many may aspire to have their “Disney Princess” moment, your Disney wedding does not have to be Disney-themed in the slightest.

The U.S. Virgin Islands

It remains surprising to many that the Caribbean islands St. John, St. Thomas and St. Croix are actually territories of the United States. Together, they offer Caribbean hideaways lush with culture, soca music, art and history that you don’t need a passport to access. The three main islands’ options for a destination wedding span all-inclusive luxury resorts, art galleries, tropical botanical gardens, cozy bed-and-breakfasts, intimate oceanfront villas and more.

The Carolinas 

North Carolina and South Carolina are popular for domestic destination weddings because they offer a wide range of possibilities: woodsy valleys, scenic lakes, beaches, historic farms and plenty of Black-owned options.   

Las Vegas

“Sin City” is ironically the top place in the entire country where people come to make themselves an honest pair. The city sees more than 150 weddings daily and over 100,000 a year (we’ll refrain from noting the annulment stats). It’s an adult playground offering some of the world’s most unique wedding experiences, from a Taco Bell Chapel to hot air balloon rides over the desert and beyond.

Black-owned hotels and resorts 

While others travel to cities that may be special to them, some travel to specific venues. Black hotels and resorts are sparse throughout the country; it’s understandable if a couple opts to travel in order to host their wedding at one. Even better, the nation’s offerings of Black-owned hotels and resorts are diverse. For an equestrian paradise in the middle of wine-country Virginia, there’s Salamander Resort. For a cozy-chic city vibe, there’s the Ivy Hotel in Baltimore. For a warm and woodsy bed and breakfast, there’s Akwaaba in Philadelphia — or opt for full-on opulence at its Noble Lane mansion in the former Woolworth Mansion in the Poconos. For that classic American elegance, there’s Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, where Oak Bluffs has held onto its Black roots well.

Kay Wicker,

Kay Wicker is a lifestyle writer for theGrio covering health, wellness, travel, beauty, fashion, and the myriad ways Black people live and enjoy their lives. She has previously created content for magazines, newspapers, and digital brands. 

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