The Best European Destination Wedding Spots

Combine culture, gorgeous vistas, and dramatic flair with a destination wedding in one of these five European destination wedding locations.
  1. Amalfi Coast

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    Why: When the backdrop for your wedding is a citrus grove that overlooks Italy's jaw-dropping Amalfi Coast, "great wedding pictures" take care of themselves.

    Guest activities: The Amalfi Drive is one of the most scenic stretches of Italian coastline, comprised of a winding clifftop road offering dramatic views of the sea. Pay a visit to the ruins of Pompeii; visit the thirteenth-century Black Madonna in Positano; take a boat trip through the Blue Grotto off Capri; visit the seaside village of Sorrento; and walk the ancient, narrow streets of Naples's "Old Spacca Quarter."

    Best spots for weddings:

    Grand Hotel Ambasciatori ( hotel was once the home of a well-known fortune teller, which the town believes gives the property good luck. Close to the center of Sorrento, it offers a unique view of the Gulf of Naples and of Mount Vesuvius.

    Hotel dei Cavalieri ( family-owned hotel has a view of the Gulf of Salerno and is only a 10-minute stroll to the center of Amalfi. Make sure to request a room with a balcony.

  2. France

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    Why: The country is home to one of the most romantic cities in the world -- Paris. And just an hour outside the city is the chateau-rich and rolling Loire Valley, cherished for its fairy-tale castles, historic villages, charming people, wines, and food.

    When to go: April through June, and September through early November. While the weather is mild year-round, the rainy season varies by region and runs from mid-November through February; stay away during July and August unless you want to deal with huge crowds.

    Guest activities: The City of Light boasts world-renowned boutiques, cozy streetside cafes, grand avenues, jazz clubs, galleries, and museums -- and let's not forget the Eiffel Tower. Since the Loire Valley is so close, you and your guests can also enjoy the country life: take a wine-tasting tour; pay a visit to the Chateau d'Usee, said to be the setting of the French fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty," in the village of Rigny-Usee; and take a taste (or two) of the beloved tarte tatin (upside-down apple tart).

    Best spots for weddings:

    Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris ( is present here in spades (the event planning staff knows who all the best vendors in the city are, while the concierge is there to help your guests). The hotel's central location (blocks from the Champs-Elysees, within eyesight of the Eiffel Tower) is perfect for a chic old-school city celebration with a tres Francais flair.

    Chateau de Marcay, Loire Valley ( fifteenth-century fortress, surrounded by its own vineyard, is perched at the top of a slope overlooking the village. The rooms are done in a French provincial style, many under a network of rough wooden ceiling beams. And the restaurant is renowned for its gourmet cuisine, guaranteeing a sumptuous wedding day feast.

  3. Northern Italy

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    When to go: April through June, September, and October are the best times to explore Italy due to mild temperatures and smaller crowds. August is uncomfortably hot, and it's the month when most Italians go on vacation, so many shops, hotels, and restaurants may be closed. Winters in the north are cold and rainy (you may even see snow), while the south stays on the warmer side, with temps averaging around 50 degrees.

    Why: From the small villages lining the Lake Como region to the big cities packed with art, architecture, fine dining, and fashion, northern Italy offers old-world culture mixed with modern cities and historic attractions.

    Guest activities: Shop ‘til you drop in Milan (the epicenter of Italian design), and while there be sure to take a tour of the world's fourth largest cathedral. In Venice, hop on a gondola through the canals. In the lakes region, cruise around Lake Como and try to spot the celebrity-owned villas (George Clooney and Richard Gere both have homes there).

    Best spots for weddings:

    Fonte de' Medici ( de' Medici is a cluster of farmhouses tucked away in the Tuscan vineyards between Florence and Sienna. The brightly colored walls and charm of the Chianti region will suit the couple who wants a relaxed atmosphere, great food and wine, and an intimate setting where guests can all get to know one another.

    Hotel Principe di Savoia ( one-stop shop for couples looking to plan a sophisticated Italian weekend with a youthful edge. The staff here can help with everything: finding florists, booking spa treatments for the wedding party, planning the menu. All you have to do is arrive, enjoy, and say, "I do."

  4. Southern Italy

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    Why: When it comes to picturesque settings, it's hard to beat southern Italy, with its majestic peaks, gentle valleys, and miles of lovely coastlines.

    Guest activities: Tour the Catacombs of the Capuchins, which contain thousands of mummified bodies; shop for local fare at the Ballaro street market in Palermo; visit the cathedral at San Giorgio dei Genovesi, where Sicily's kings and queens are buried; drop by the cathedral of Messina at noon to see the world's largest animated clock perform; take a drive to Piazza Armerina, a town with a spectacular hilltop view and what's thought to be a hunting lodge with mosaics dating back to the fourth century A.D.; and take a gander at Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe.

    Best spots for weddings:

    San Domenico Palace, Taormina ( on the site of a fifteenth-century monastery, the San Domenico Palace offers sweeping views of the water and Mount Etna. Hold your ceremony in the property's lush garden, then move inside for the reception in one of the hotel's four banquet rooms, which can accommodate anywhere from 90 to 350 people.

    Massimo Plaza Hotel ( perfect setting for a princess bride, the palazzo has a striking outdoor staircase, which sets the tone for a weekend of royal treatment. The recent renovations (supported by the city of Palermo) retained the hotel's character while modernizing the amenities.

  5. United Kingdom

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    Why: If the words "fairy tale" define your idea of a dream wedding, get thee (and thine) to Great Britain. Amid the isles, heaths, and mist, not only does your chariot await, but so do your castles, gardens, and Royal Guard too.

    When to go: May through October. The best weather is usually from May to September, with short showers common throughout the year (don't forget to pack an umbrella or a slicker).

    Guest activities: In England, visit the incredible collection at the British Museum and get a history lesson at the Houses of Parliament (and see Big Ben). Hop on the Tube (subway) to Covent Garden and Soho for shopping and dining out, then take a stroll along the Thames before stopping at a pub for a pint. In Scotland: Take a tour through Edinburgh Castle, the seat of Scottish power before its union with Great Britain; play a round of golf at one of Scotland's many unbelievable courses; try to spot the Loch Ness Monster!

    Best spots for weddings:

    Hartwell House, England ( on 90 gorgeous acres, this castle-like property is a lush, regal choice for a wedding celebration. Reserve the Old Rectory (including four bedrooms, sleeping up to eight guests) with a private pool, tennis court, and staff, or take over the entire hotel.

    Dalhousie Castle, Scotland ( Castle is a thirteenth-century fortress set in vast, wooded parkland on the banks of the River Esk. And while each of the guest rooms is distinctive, the one to grab (after the bridal suite, where the property's original well is still located) is the Sir William Wallace room, which boasts doors leading out onto the castle battlements. To the delight of Harry Potter fans worldwide, a distinguishing characteristic of a Dalhousie wedding is the owl that delivers your wedding rings to the altar, if you so choose.

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