One of the best things about weddings is how it brings people together, literally. But it always goes by too fast! So we love the idea of extending your event. Instead of a two-night room block, offer them three or four nights, so you and your guests can make the most of it and maximize the memory making. Below are some of the best venues for an extended wedding weekend.
One Destination, Two Vibes
A wedding locale takes on a different personality depending on where you stay. Take Santa Barbara. The Ritz-Carlton Bacara is a classic coastal resort experience, with two beaches, three infinity pools and one of most lavish spas in California to unwind with your wedding party. Embrace the sun with a ceremony on The Bluff; a lawn overlooking a golden curve of sand with the Pacific beyond, followed by cocktails on the Ocean Terrace and dancing under the wrought-iron chandelier in the Rotunda room.
A mile south, The Steward, Santa Barbara, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel reflects Santa Barbara’s wine country roots. This farmhouse-chic, all-suite hotel centers around a lush communal lawn — ideal for welcome events, but also a chosen place for people to meet up when they’re back from visiting local wineries, soaking in the pool or getting a workout in the barn-turned-fitness center. Hold your ceremony at the hotel’s historic Sexton House, a gorgeous Italianate mansion from the 1880s. With a longer stay, guests staying in one vibe have plenty of time to sample the other in their downtime.
Heart of the City
Cities are great for weddings, but with multiple nuptial engagements, you and your guests barely have time to scratch the surface. Extend your room block in a hotel with a prime location, and that problem is solved.
At Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, must-see sites like Navy Pier, Millennium Park, Riverwalk and the Art Institute of Chicago are all within walking distance, and for casual meet-ups, there are 138 bars and 170 restaurants within an eight-block radius! For your hospitality room, select a specialty suite with a wet bar and pool table and you have a drop-in gathering space. Chicago-themed bites at your reception are a must, be it a cheesecake tier in your wedding cake or a deep-dish pizza at the after-party. The perfect end note to your Windy City wedding itinerary: a last-day charter cruise on Lake Michigan.
The Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel has a prime location on 16th St. Mall, a pedestrian promenade. Fresh off an $80 million dollar renovation, the Grand Ballroom sparkles with art deco touches. The new indoor/outdoor event space, Parlur, spans 7,000 square feet, with cozy velvet furnishings and focal points like fireplaces and crystal chandeliers give it a chic, modern feel. Between events, guests can practice their swing at the lobby-level TopGolf, hit the heated rooftop pool, walk to museums and shopping, or head out for a hike at Red Rocks, just 20 minutes west. Each event comes with a community event specialist, your go-to to help you make the most of your stay.
At harbor-front Boston Marriott Long Wharf, guests get into the mood right away by arriving via water taxi from Logan Airport. Have your ceremony and cocktails overlooking it all on Harbor View Terrace, before moving inside for dinner and dancing in the adjacent Harbor View Ballroom, where wraparound windows embrace the panorama. You’re walking distance to storied attractions like Faneuil Hall, Union Oyster House and the Freedom Trail, but an extended stay means you can also share unexpected outings like a cruise around the city’s harbor, departing from the hotel pier.
Historic with a Modern Twist
Intrigue your guests with a hotel that takes history and evolves it into something new.
Opening in 2024, the Plaza San Antonio Hotel & Spa, Autograph Collection takes its Texas pedigree seriously. Three 19th century buildings have been preserved and transformed into one hotel, centered around a garden oasis. Indoor-outdoor event spaces feature Mission-style stucco walls, beamed ceilings and lush greenery, for a sense of place. The pool bar is a natural gathering place, and guests can stroll over to Riverwalk and delve into the artsy Southtown neighborhood. With an extended trip, arrange a day of wineries and wildflowers in Texas Hill Country.
JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District spans three period buildings, each with its own eclectic vibe. The city’s original Power Plant is industrial chic, its brick walls the backdrop for dramatic uplighting and contemporary art. The natty, maritime-themed Atlantic recalls the classic seafaring yachts of old, and at Three Muses, pale hues, polished marble and elegant furnishings recall Gilded Age elegance. Choose your rooftop venue based on vibe, or mix things up with events in each section. Guests can walk the mansions and squares in the city’s historic district, and embrace the Low Country landscape with an outing to beachy Tybee island, or a photo session among the moss-draped oaks at the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge.
Something for Everyone
Make things easy for families by choosing a spot with loads of options close at hand.
You don’t have to choose between parks at Orlando World Center Marriott; guests can pre-book shuttle service to both Magic Kingdom and Universal Studios. They’ll also want to spend time onsite enjoying the lazy river pool and River Falls Water Park, with three tube slides aimed at different ages and thrill levels. Put your confidence in the onsite Marriott Certified Wedding Planners; they know the spaces and vendors, so you can make anything happen, be it an understated affair on the terrace lawn or a vibrant, colorful affair for up to 1,000 in the ballroom.
If the Gulf is more your style, look to Fort Myers. Luminary Hotel & Co is located on the Catalahoosee River, in heart of the Edison Park Historic District. Kick things off with a casual party at Oxbow, an airy waterfront restaurant and event space. Hold your ceremony on the hotel’s fourth-floor pool deck, overlooking the yachts in the city’s marina and featuring fresh seafood caught nearby. For group fun, book a day cruise from the hotel pier. Surprise your foodie friends with a cooking class in The Workshop, the hotel’s one-of-a-kind culinary theater. Plan a day of beach combing on Sanibel Island. As for those other two Florida staples, golf and fishing—with an extended stay, they’ll have time for both.
Intriguing and Intimate
Boutique hotels make it easy for guests to connect, and ones with unique history and design will get people talking.
Take Hotel Forty Five in Macon, Georgia. With only 94 rooms, its ideal for intimate events and the name is a cheeky nod to its musical heritage (as in 45 rpm records). Hold your ceremony on the outdoor terrace at Hightales Rooftop Bar, which celebrates local legends like Otis Redding, Little Richard and Jason Aldean. A Macon-made reception soundtrack goes perfectly with a Southern-infused menu: think pimento cheese fritters and fried green tomatoes, paired with cocktails like the Little Richard-inspired Reddy Teddy, made with tequila, jalapeno-agave, cilantro and lime. The hotel is walkable to music of all kinds, from the Macon Music Revue at historic Grant’s Lounge (where the Allman Brothers got their start) to live jazz at JBA.
Hotel Blackhawk, Autograph Collection in Davenport, Iowa, was the epitome of elegance when it opened in 1915, welcoming presidents and titans to the Quad Cities area. A $46 million restoration brought back its former glory as a 130-room boutique overlooking the Mississippi River. Who wouldn’t want to wed in the gorgeous art deco-style Gold Room, which hosted socialites and celebrities in the big band era? The onsite spa and barber shop make it easy to pamper your bridal party, while quirky fun is built in courtesy of the retro-chic Blackhawk Bowl and Martini Lounge, which has a dedicated VIP lounge for private events. Get to know the nation’s beloved waterway with a riverboat cruise, and fill your mobile passport with stamps from the Quad Cities ale trail, hitting 16 breweries on both sides of the IA/IL border.
Big City Adjacent
A venue that offers big-city accessibility without big-city cost can be a great compromise.
Located on the Virginia side of Washington D.C., the Falls Church Marriott Fairview Park is close to two major airports. Their outdoor patio was redesigned with events in mind, with ambiance from fire pits and twinkle lights, and it connects to their striking bi-level atrium for larger affairs. Guests can fill a weekend exploring the charming cobblestone streets of historic Alexandria, the shops of Fairfax’s vibrant Mosaic District and sites like George Washington’s Mount Vernon. And with complimentary shuttle service to the Dunn Loring Metro station, D.C.’s many admission-free monuments and museums are within easy reach.
If the Big Apple is more your style (but not your budget), Marriott Saddle Brook has a prime location in Bergen County, New Jersey, easily accessible from all directions via plane, train and automobile. The hotel is undergoing a major renovation, with attention to the Grand Ballroom for events up to 400 guests. Make the most of your extra time with a game or concert at MetLife Stadium, or wander the acres of flora at New Jersey Botanical Gardens. And New York City is just 20 miles away, with frequent train service from New Jersey Transit’s Plauderville station, making it an easy, affordable day trip for guests who stay longer.
No matter where you plan your extended destination wedding, giving the gift of time is the ultimate treasure for not just you and your betrothed, but your entire guest list.