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Destination wedding ideas for the United Kingdom

Written By: Stacey Hafner

Whether one prefers lush green hillsides, rugged coastlines, or charming urban centers the United Kingdom has the perfect spot for a destination wedding. The romance of Britain has long been a centerpiece in music, literature and art. And with the current popularity of shows like Downtown Abbey and Game of Thrones and fascination with the happy couple William and Kate, there has been a widespread romantic resurgence within pop culture of the region. Is it any wonder so many couples dream of having their big day on this particular locale?

Of course, United Kingdom is as varied as it is celebrated and anyone planning a destination wedding will first need to narrow down their many and varied options. Below are just a few options engaged couples may enjoy.

Recite vows under the shadow of a castle in England.

One of the most iconic images of England may well be that of the awe-inspiring medieval castle. While many of these structures have fallen to ruin or disappeared entirely there are still dozens peppered throughout the countryside. And the best part? Many of them are available for weddings. One such option is Augill Castle located in Cumbria with views of the North Pennines mountains. Wedding packages at Augill include accommodation, afternoon tea, and a champagne reception among other luxurious amenities.

Looking for something out of the way but still a bit more urban? Try Glasgow.

As the largest city in Scotland, Glasgow has a unique charm. With places like the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and the Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre, art lovers will have plenty to occupy their time. For folks looking for something a bit quirkier, A Play a Pie and a Pint Dinner Theater will be sure to impress. And the engaged couple can trust Sloans Bar and Restaurant with all the details. Planning weddings for over 200 years, they have three floors ready to host a small intimate gathering or a large party of up to 300 guests.

Celebrate the Great Outdoors in Wales.

Snowdonia National Park encompasses over 800 square miles of stunning mountain views, refreshing lakes, and relaxed hiking trails along the coastline. It is also said to be home to the legendary King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Couples can choose from one of the many towns within the National Park, Betws-y-Coed, Dolgellau, or Bala.

Recite vows on a beautiful beach, while still in the United Kingdom.

Northern Ireland is home to some of the most beautiful coastlines in Europe. One of the most notable beaches in the area is Portrush Whiterocks Beach near Giant’s Causeway and Dunluce Castle. Caves and dramatic landscapes abound offering an unforgettable and one-of-a-kind backdrop to the festivities. Guests will have plenty of activities to choose from, whether it’s hiking along the sea, playing a round of golf, visiting a medieval castle, or sampling some Irish Whiskey at Old Bushmills Distillery.

Before choosing a destination wedding in the United Kingdom be sure to investigate logistics well in advance. Just as each location has its own unique charm so too do they have different guidelines for wedding licenses and visas, depending on which country the couple is from. Some may require waiting periods of two weeks or more. For example, England requires non-citizens to register in person before ‘posting the banns’ a process that can take up to 22 days. Most rules can be found fairly easily by investigating the particular tourism website.

Opa! Destination Weddings in Greece

Written By: Stacey Hafner

Opa! Any couple interested in planning a destination wedding in Greece may first be struck by how many options even this tiny country has to offer. Narrowing down the list may not be easy but here is a quick sampling of what various islands have to offer the nuptials.

Santorini

Perhaps the most popular among tourists, Santorini is a breathtaking choice for any wedding celebration. Thought by some to be the site of the mythical Atlantis, this island features the white washed homes and blue roofs so associated with Greece. Couples can choose between the steep cliffs along the shore or the unique black sand beaches as a dramatic backdrop for the exchange of vows.

Unique opportunities:  

  • Visit a smoldering volcano and the neighboring hot springs at Nea Kameni.
  • Tast local wines made from one of the 36 grape varities grown on the Island.   

Rhodes

Couples with a preference for ancient castles would do well to consider Rhodes. Once the largest inhabited medieval town in Europe, Rhodes has an impressively preserved Old Town which is still teeming with charm. The walls surrounding the city are in places 40 feet thick, protecting the city from historic invaders. Outside of Old Town visitors will discover mountains, rocky shorelines, and an abundance of quintessential cypress trees.

Unique opportunities:

  • Although no longer standing, Rhodes is known as home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – the Colossus of Rhodes.
  • Swim across Saint Pauls Bay before relaxing on the beach.

Crete

Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands and home to the longest ravine in Europe, Samaria Gorge. Outdoorsy twosomes will appreciate the 11-mile hike through the White Mountains. Everyone else will love wandering the coastal town and port of Chania along the Libyan Sea.

Unique opportunities:

Mykonos

Couples enjoying the nightlife should choose to locate their destination wedding on Mykonos. Chora, the capital of this Greece party island is chock full of nightclubs, offering wedding parties plenty of choices for dancing the night away. And with over 400 churches on the tiny island there are numerous options for the ceremony.

Unique opportunities:

  • Visit Apollo’s birthplace on the neighboring island of Delos.
  • Have a photo taken with resident pelican along the shore.  Peter hangs out along the waterfront and delights guests.  

Athens

Love the idea of a beach wedding but don’t want to give up the bustle of a big city? Athens may be the perfect compromise. Home to over 4 million people, Athens has the world class museums, unique urban neighborhoods, and impressive restaurants one would expect from city life. But the nearby beaches of Palea Fokea, Vouliagmeni, and Varkiza offer the spectacular beach scenery worthy of wedding backdrop.

Unique opportunities:

  • Take in the view from the most visited ruin in Athens, The Acropolis.
  • See the largest collection of ancient Greek art and artifacts in the world at the National Archaeology Museum.

Logistics

As with all destination weddings, couples should make sure to investigate the requirements of tying the knot. Greece requires a passport, copies of birth certificates and an announcement to be published in a local newspaper eight days before the ceremony.

Greece is an ideal location for a memorable and personalized destination wedding. Local wines for the celebration, ancient ruins to tickle the imagination, gorgeous beaches for lounging before the rehearsal dinner – there are plenty of options to keep guests busy and the happy couple, well, happy. Want another bonus of tying the knot here? The bride and groom will already be at a perfect honeymoon location. No travel necessary. At least not until they have to travel home.

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