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Top Ten Beaches for Weddings

One of the most romantic notions of weddings is to get married on a beach. Because there is no church or reception hall to rent, beach weddings are sometimes less expensive than conventional ones, unless the beach is far away from where you live and guests must fly there and pay for accommodations.

Any wedding that is held primarily outdoors depends more upon consistency of weather than any other factor. Avoid locations affected by hurricanes and tropical storms in storm season, and if you’re getting married on a beach, try to find a cove that is protected from gusty winds. Make sure there are shady spots (trees or beach umbrellas) for older gusts and children. It is essential to ensure your passport is current and that you obtain a marriage license as required in the jurisdiction where you plan to be wed.

Ultimately, the main reason to get married on a beach is the sheer romance of it! There are companies that specialize in beach wedding planning, and they can help with all the details. We have rated what we feel are the top ten beaches for weddings based on a range of factors, from consistently good weather to the services provided to ensure your wedding day is a dream come true.

#10 - Cavendish Beach, Prince Edward Island, Canada

photo of Cavendish Beach
Cavendish Beach image courtesy of Mr. Moss
(click on image to enlarge)

Here is a spot perfect for a theme wedding; it’s close to Green Gables House, made famous by the Anne of Green Gables stories. What a lot of people don’t know is that Canada has the longest coastline in the world, and therefore hundreds of beaches. Plus, Prince Edward Island is situated right where the warm Gulf Stream flows and its sandy, beautiful beaches and ocean waters are warm in the summer months. The color of the sand runs from pink to rusty, and the surrounding rolling landscape is uniquely attractive. A PEI beach wedding means more than sand and sea; think golf, lobster and friendly hospitality.

#9 - Playa del Carmen, Mayan Riviera, Mexico

photo of Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen image courtesty of Jamie Guimond
(click on image to enlarge)

This would be rated higher if the cost was lower; prices for beach weddings in this area tend to be much the same as U.S., Canadian and European costs, so the advantage is reduced. However, Playa del Carmen boasts every amenity you might need, and the location is stunning. Beach weddings can take place on public beaches (you might get a few unexpected guests!), semi-private beaches, or on private stretches of beach if you work out your wedding details with the condominiums, restaurant or boutique hotel that owns that segment. The other option in this part of Mexico is to wed on a sailboat in sight of the beach.

#8 - Port Stanley Beach, Port Stanley, Ontario, Canada

photo of Port Stanley Beach
Port Stanly Beach image courtesty of GoAskAlice
(click on image to enlarge)

This north shore Lake Erie beach is relatively small, but abounds with charm thanks to the quaint town of Port Stanley and the dramatic cliffs at the eastern end of the beach. A place for summertime weddings, Port Stanley has a superb yacht club, excellent restaurants of all descriptions, galleries, and well regarded theater company, and a collection of unique inns, some right on the water. If your beach wedding isn’t just about sand and surf, this location might work for you. It’s only about two hours by car from Toronto, and roughly the same distance from Detroit, Michigan. And there are lots of interesting places for day-trips, including the Stratford Festival, the city of London, and Niagara Falls. Same-sex marriage is legal here.

#7 - Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia

photo of Surfers Paradise Beach
Surfers Paradise image courtesty of Anthony Cramp
(click on image to enlarge)

There is more to gold than rings; an increasing number of couples are choosing to get married on Australia’s Gold Coast, especially in glamorous Surfers Paradise. The city approves beach weddings and has come up with some unique ideas for beach weddings. They suggest a sunset wedding, very dramatic with the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop. Or a sunrise wedding on Mermaid Beach with a sumptuous brunch to follow. Enjoy fresh local cuisine and wines from the immediate area. A popular element to Surfers Paradise weddings is erecting a gazebo right on the beach, and surfing or swimming at the reception!

#6 - Albufeira Beach, The Algarve, Portugal

photo of Albufeira Beach
Albufeira Beach image courtesty of Guy Moll
(click on image to enlarge)

With dozens of villas, inns and hotels along its many beach areas, The Algarve offers a litany of beach wedding options. It is ideal for people who want the romance of a beach, but not necessarily the tropical heat of somewhere like Mexico or the Caribbean; Portugal has a warm Mediterranean climate. Here is where the exotic feel of a European location, resplendent with history and culture, can enhance a beach wedding. And Portugal, compared to some other European destinations, is affordable. Enjoy the great local wines and fish-based cuisine at your reception. Wed amid the Spanish-influenced architecture and music. The secluded beaches are usually large curves backed by rocky terrain facing south over the Atlantic Ocean.

#5 - The Cove, Makena, Maui, Hawaii, U.S.A.

photo of Makena Beach
Makena Beach image courtesty of Mr. Tavis
(click on image to enlarge)

It doesn’t get much more picturesque than this beach and if your wedding photographs are something you want to look at often, here is the ultimate backdrop. The dramatic scenery is filled with contrasts: warm beige sand, bright blue “big sky”, lush green trees and vegetation, starkly dark cliffs, and deposits of black lava against which waves break and shoot upward. One of the benefits of Hawaiian beach nuptials is the array of local flowers that can be plucked and placed in a bouquet, buttonhole, or sweep of hair. This beach might, given the waves and rocks, be a little noisy, but its beauty will frame the scene.

#4 - Laguna Beach (Inn at Laguna Beach), California, U.S.A.

photo of Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach image courtesty of kerotab
(click on image to enlarge)

With 7 miles of sandy beaches and a bevy of private coves, Laguna Beach is one of the most romantic beaches in America. An artists’ colony, it also boasts galleries and festivals, and a fine selection of accommodations and dining in a picturesque hilly setting. The Inn at Laguna Beach is right on the main beach, terraced, with balconies and all the amenities of an upscale full-service hotel. Wed on the beach and dine at the inn, perhaps at sunset. The inn offers champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries with its wedding and romance packages, and a rose-petal turndown at night.

#3 - Dover Beach (Southern Palms Beach Club), Christ Church, Barbados

photo of Dover Beach
Dover Beach image courtesty of Cat Delaney
(click on image to enlarge)

The south coast of Barbados is hugely different from the eastern shore that borders the Atlantic; the east coast is rugged, and great for a day trip. At the Southern Palms Beach Club there is a pristine, white sandy beach with azure waters and gentle tradewinds. The hotel itself is a long-established, elegant property with civilized bonuses such as complimentary afternoon tea. It straddles a long swath of beach and boasts two swimming pools, an excellent restaurant and bar, and an on-site beauty salon. Southern Palms has its own wedding coordinator to make the planning process simple. Be sure you like pink if you marry at this resort!

#2 - Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, Florida, U.S.A.

photo of South Beach
South Beach image courtesty of Phillip Pessar
(click on image to enlarge)

Big budget, but worth every cent, this is the consummate in luxury, patronized by the rich and famous. Perhaps best for very small weddings, renewal of vows or second marriages, the former South Beach Miami Hotel, designed in 1953 by Morris Lapidus, has been restored and is even better than its former glory. The “Ritz” boasts 375 large guest rooms, a 16,000-square-foot on-site spa, a massive swimming pool, marble bathtubs, a “pampered pooch” dog service (wonderful if your dog will be attending your nuptials!), and the only oceanfront restaurant on South Beach, the DiLido Beach Club.

#1 - Silvi Marina (Berti Hotels), Abruzzo, Italy

photo of Abruzzi Beach
Abruzzi Beach image courtesty of villasfor2.com
(click on image to enlarge)

Few places in the world capture the romantic imagination more than Italy, and our number one beach wedding destination has it all. This complex has been staging weddings for 35 years in an idyllic setting about 5 kilometers from the pretty town of Pescara on the Adriatic Sea. With a private beach, park, pool tennis courts, two restaurants, 350 guest rooms (and 12 suites), it is within a reasonable drive of the major airports at Rome and Milan. The Berti will do everything for your wedding: invitations to photography, music (live or recorded), flowers, hair and make-up, limousine and travel planning (they have their own travel agency). They also provide a translator and interpreter of you’re not fluent in the language of romance, Italian! Wed on the beach and have a reception around the pool or in one of the two restaurants. Bravo!

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