bride taps grooms shoulder for first look with Lake Como and mountains in background

The Best Destinations to Have Both Your Wedding & Honeymoon

CATEGORIES 

April 23, 2024
Words by Meghan Ely
Photos courtesy of various

For many adventure lovers, tying the knot in a faraway destination is the ultimate way to celebrate such a momentous occasion. From tropical waters to snow-capped mountains, there’s a setting to suit every couple’s budget and preferences.

But planning two trips—one for a wedding and one for a honeymoon—can seem like too much to handle during a busy engagement. That’s why destination wedding pros often recommend combining the two experiences into a full-on celebratory getaway.

An outdoor wedding ceremony under a vine-covered archway, with guests seated on either side of an aisle decorated with pink and white flowers.Photo by Blancorazon Wedding

In addition to fewer planning responsibilities, combining your wedding and honeymoon allows you to maximize your budget. For example, instead of spending money on an extra set of plane tickets, you could add an extra excursion or even extend your stay!

Plus, you can ease right into celebrating your newlywed status without needing to rush off to the airport before the post-wedding bliss wears off.

So, where are the best two-for-one destinations for couples to jet off to for their wedding and honeymoon? Here’s what the experts have to say.

Olowalu Plantation House in back with Maui mountains and couple kissing on black beachPhoto by Lauren Scotti

Hawai’i

Hawai’i is the quintessential tropical paradise, making it a popular wedding destination. But more than the perfect weather and fruity cocktails, its chain of islands offers couples a chance to explore new terrain and enjoy unique cultural experiences after their big day.

“Because there are multiple islands, you can have your wedding on one and then fly to another for the honeymoon,” confirms Jamie Chang of Mango Muse Events. “Flying between islands is easy and fast, and it’s all in the US, which means no customs or immigration to deal with.” 

A bonus: “Hawaii is super romantic but also has opportunities for both adventure and relaxation and is a good option for many different couples,” Chang says. So whether you’re up for hiking the Kalalau Trail on Kaua’i or taking in the volcanoes of the Big Island, there’s plenty to fill your honeymoon itinerary. And don’t worry — no matter which island you choose, there are countless beaches to relax and catch a romantic sunset!

Wedding on the beach with colorful flowersPhoto by Memories by Lindsay

Florida Keys

Looking for a sunny destination that’s a little closer to home? Carin Hunt of Celebration Pros says the Florida Keys is the way to go. 

“Caribbean blue waters, fiery sunsets, and no passport needed, the Florida Keys is a popular destination for wedding-honeymoon combinations,” she shares. 

Like Hawai’i, the Florida Keys is an archipelago offering unique experiences throughout the islands. “Hosting a wedding in the upper Keys and honeymooning on Little Palm Island or vice-versa allows couples to share an exotic experience with their loved ones and still take advantage of the midnight getaway car,” Hunt explains.

For example, if you’re looking for a funky city to party the night away, look no further than Key West. If you prefer a quiet, romantic retreat, Islamorada’s resorts are just the answer. Can’t decide? Plan an island-hopping adventure with your partner!

Sailboats moored in a calm harbor at sunset with pastel pink and blue sky, with buildings and a crane in the background.Photo by Rebecca Love Photography

Coastal New England

For those dreaming of a wedding with big nautical vibes, New England is the place to be. Sailboats, lobster rolls, and lighthouses—what else could you need?

For a multi-stop celebration, Rebecca Love of Rebecca Love Photography recommends the Cape and islands of Massachusetts. 

“A Nantucket summer is paradise,” she assures. “Not only can the couple enjoy the island after the wedding, but the guests can make a vacation out of it as well. They can finally put their feet up, relax, and take in the beauty of the island and all it has to offer.”

With Cape Cod, Nantucket Island, and Martha’s Vineyard all within throwing distance of each other, it’s easy to explore the distinct cultures of each place while soaking in the calming nature of the New England seaside throughout the region.

bride and groom beam as they climb side stairs at a lakeside stone buildingPhoto by Jessica K. Feiden

Italy

If your goal is to use your passport for your wedding jaunt, you’ll love the diverse experiences that abound in Italy. (And the wine — you’ll love that, too!)

House of Joy’s Samantha Leenheer suggests the central region of Tuscany for wine drinkers and countryside lovers alike. “With easy access through Florence, it allows your wedding to be hosted in the city or in one of the nearby borgos or small villages,” she explains. “The countryside is filled with villas, gardens, and intimate resorts to host.”

If sweeping views of cypress-covered hills, olive groves, and vineyards weren’t enough, Tuscany also boasts a distinct regional cuisine with Mediterranean influences. History buffs will also find plenty to see, from Florence’s Renaissance-era art and architecture to the ancient ruins of Volterra.

“The Tuscany region gives your guests unique access to historic Siena and some of the oldest wineries and olive groves to enjoy during their stay,” Leenheer adds. And with accessible transportation throughout the country, “it is an easy 2-3 hour train ride to explore more of Italy for you and your guests.”

No matter the draw, you’ll find endless activities, sights, and culinary delights to enjoy in Italy. But before you go, you might want to brush up on some basic Italian! Buon viaggio!

bride and groom facing away from camera toward a vineyard with rolling hillsPhoto by Amanda Wei Photography

Livermore, CA

Searching for an area with a lush landscape, romantic views, and rich with history? According to Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services, Livermore in California is a must-see.

“Livermore is a go-to destination for weddings and honeymoons alike,” says Dennis. “As California’s oldest wine region, you and your partner have your pick from over 50 local wineries – many of which are family-owned and include other activities for you and your loved ones.”

Located only 30 minutes from the Bay Area, this idyllic spot is perfect for couples to host their wedding against a backdrop of rolling hills, and then extend their stay to enjoy Livermore’s delicious food and wine scene. You can even try your hand at wine blending classes where you can bottle your own wine to mark the special occasion!

If you are considering a destination wedding, consider elevating the experience by adding a honeymoon and celebrating with a once-in-a-lifetime trip. You’ll make memories that last a lifetime!

A couple walks hand in hand down a vineyard path, surrounded by lush green fields and trees, with rolling hills in the background.Photo by Fabrizio and Romina Photography & Films

About the Author: Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.

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