If you’re looking for the hottest places to tie the knot this year, here are my top picks for 2011:
1. Bora Bora
Famous for its overwater bungalows that hover above ridiculously gorgeous coral reefs, Bora Bora is a heavenly island just perfect for a tropical destination wedding. Recent changes to Tahiti and French Polynesia’s marriage laws means it’s now easier to get married there. Previously, the law required couples to reside in Tahiti for 30 days prior to getting married, which made it difficult for foreigners wishing to be legally married there. Not that most people would mind spending 30 days in paradise, but it could become quite costly to stay in luxury surrounds for an extended period.
|Image courtesy of InterContinental Tahiti|
Anywhere in Italy is perfect for a destination wedding, but Venice is an especially romantic spot to tie the knot against a backdrop of renaissance splendour. A must-do is to be expertly manoeuvred around the city’s famous canals in a Venetian gondola passing by countless centuries-old palaces and villas. Venice has an array of reception venues perfect for hosting a lavish reception or, if you’re arranging more intimate nuptial celebrations, you’ll have no shortage of traditional Venetian restaurants to choose from.
|Image courtesy of Venice Events|
One of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the only living thing on earth visible from space. Choose from secluded Lizard Island, beautiful Hayman Island or take a sea plane out to marry on the reef itself. A post-nuptial flight over Heart Reef (the heart-shaped reef that Oprah fell in love with on her recent tour) to admire its awesome beauty from above is the perfect way to end the day. No matter which location you choose, a Great Barrier Reef wedding is guaranteed to be one you’ll never forget.
|Image courtesy of Rendezvous in Paris|
Paris has become a popular romantic rendezvous point for destination wedding couples due to its central location. Elopements in Paris are all the rage or you could marry at home and have a symbolic ceremony in France. Although you can’t marry inside or atop famous Parisian landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame or the Sucre Coeur, it’s possible to have photos with them in the background. While in Paris, be sure to take a cruise down the Seine, visit some of the city’s famous sights and kiss under the stars on the steps of Montmartre.
5. Cook Islands
For the ultimate island paradise wedding, head to the Cook Islands. Rumours Luxury Villas and Spa in Rarotonga is one of the most romantic places to say "I do" on the planet (click on the link to view videos). The resort’s own onsite wedding coordinator becomes your personal wedding consultant, ensuring your wedding day is perfect in every way. The luxury, 'romance beachfront villas' provide an idyllic pre-wedding and honeymoon accommodation that will make you feel like a Polynesian princess.
|Image courtesy of Edgewater Resort and Spa, Rarotonga|
Stay tuned for my list of the top 5 destination wedding locations for 2012!
Destination: Wedding - A guide to planning the destination wedding of your dreams is available in paperback and digital formats at Amazon (UK), Amazon (USA) and from www.destination-wedding-book.com.