Best Far-Flung Destination Wedding Spots

Mix romance with adventure by planning a destination wedding in one of these six exotic locations.
  1. Australia

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    Why: Besides being full of unbelievably friendly (and active) folks, there are a host of reasons to consider staging your nuptials in Australia. The land "down unda" features gorgeous landscapes -- from urban cities to the rugged Outback to the unforgettable Great Barrier reef -- as well as upscale eateries influenced by Europe, Asian, and home-grown spicing. And the local wines are world-class; try a cordon, shiraz, or a merlot.

    When to go: The climate tends to be balmy, and without extremes, since most cities are on oceans. During the summer (December to March) some areas can be fantastically hot. Be sure to pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and rain protection all year long.

    Guest activities: Check out the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland or the Ningaloo Reef out west for unbeatable scuba diving or snorkeling. The Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast offer jet skiing, parasailing, water-skiing, and windsurfing for your active guests, or thrill seekers can go whitewater rafting in Tasmania or take a four-wheel trek through the Outback. For guests who like their adventures a bit more contained, Australia boasts several amazing zoos, or visit Kangaroo Island for wildlife packed with seals, sea lions, wallabies, black swans, pink lorikeets, and, of course, kangaroos. For a truly aboriginal experience, sign up for a guided walk with a native. (And don't be afraid to eat the bugs if your guide suggests it -- if you dare!)

    Best spot for weddings:

    Park Hyatt Melbourne (Melbourne.Park.Hyatt.com)Let the Hyatt's professional staff take care of every wedding detail from flowers to music to so much more. They offer catering services and meeting advisors to ensure every detail goes smoothly. They even offer complimentary nights at the Hyatt Resort of your choice based on the wedding package you choose -- up to five free nights!

  2. Fiji

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    Why: About 300 islands in the South Pacific and two distinct cultures -- native Fijian and Hindu -- make up the alluring tropical nation of Fiji. Viti Levu and Vanua Levu are the two largest islands; many smaller islands also beckon. Known for its friendly people, lush foliage (one-third of which is endemic), and rich sea life, Fiji is the ideal destination for couples seeking castaway tranquility, an exotic culture, and unspoiled beaches.

    When to go: Fiji has the best weather during its dry season (called Fiji Winter) from May to October. Rates remain the same year-round, but yearly festivals (including the Hindu Holi, or Festival of Colors, in February or March and Diwali, or the Festival of Light, in October or November) could mean exciting celebrations for your guests to experience.

    Guest activities: Called the "Soft Coral Capital of the World" by Jean-Michel Cousteau, Fiji is the perfect spot for your nature-loving guests. Observe hard and soft corals, caves, grottoes, and a Carnival parade of marine life. Feed sharks, explore sunken ships and a WWII aircraft. Visit the Garden Island of Taveuni, southeast of Vanua Levu, and the Bouma National Heritage Park to stroll the Lavena Coastal Walk or take the guided Vidawa Forest Walk that endis with a natural water slide and swim in the idyllic Bouma waterfalls, which was a rainforest movie set for Return to the Blue Lagoon. Fiji also offers terrain to suit every action figure -- trek the Sigatoka sand dunes; scale the vertical face of Joske's Thumb or hike the Mt. Korobaba Range, both on Suva; tee off on palm-studded golf courses by the sea; or careen down the rock mazes of the Wainikoroiluva River on Viti Levu in a whitewater raft.

    Best spots for weddings:

    Sonaisali Island Resort, Nadi (Sonaisali.com)This island escape is only a three-minute boat ride from the main island of Viti Levu but you won't feel marooned! The luxury resort offers fine dining, exciting activities, and relaxing spa services. For weddings, they can't be beat. The hotel even provides Fijian flower girls and warriors in traditional costume to escort you down the aisle!

  3. Morocco

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    Why: Experience the mystery of this intoxicating city, complete with pungent spices, bustling bazaars, and the historic medina -- the oldest part of the city that's still surrounded by twelfth-century walls.

    When to go: Any season except summer, which is hot and dry with temperatures reaching 100 degrees. Because of the heat, though, you'll find the best prices from July to mid-September.

    Guest activities: Tour the palaces of this imperial city, like the La Bahia Palace, which was used in the filming of Lawrence of Arabia, or the Dar Si Said, now the home of the Marrakech Museum of Moroccan Arts. History buffs can lose themselves in the medina -- it's the oldest part of Marrakech, and the experience has remained virtually unchanged for centuries. Inhale the scent of cumin, mint tea, and baking barley bread as you journey back in time. The markets of Marrakech are another experience you won't want to miss and give you the chance to haggle for handwoven rugs, jewelry, and other handcrafted wonders. There's even golfing for your athletic guests! La Palmeraie Golf Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., features numerous bunkers, seven lakes, and palm tree-lined fairways, or try the newer Amelkis Golf Club for a tougher American-style course set against a landscape of the Atlas Mountains and olive and palm trees.

    Best spot for weddings:

    Les Deux Tours (Les-DeuxTours.com)This stylish boutique resort is situated in Morocco's Palmaraie and features traditional-style villas surrounded by the hotel's lovely gardens. There are 35 rooms, including seven Pool Suites, to create the perfect setting for an intimate wedding where your guests can get to know each other. Chic bars and a Michelin-starred on-site chef, as well as a spa make this the perfect spot to lose yourself for a few days -- or more!

  4. Tahiti

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    Why: There's a reason why French painter Paul Gaugin staged his most famous works in Tahiti -- the island is known worldwide for its picturesque landscape, packed with palms, fragrant vanilla farms, vivid blooms, and rain forests. And there's an even better reason why it makes the far-flung list: relatively few tourists (more people visit Hawaii in 10 days than visit Tahiti in a year!).

    When to go: The dry season runs from May to October, but evenings can be cool so remind your guests to pack wraps and sweaters for the evening.

    Guest activities: Tour the capital city of Papeete to visit the Marche du Papeete (central market) for black pearls, carvings, shells, vanilla, coffee, and perfumes. (Just don't try to haggle -- it's considered rude!) In the evening, take in a Polynesian show with traditional music and twirling flaming torches. Or, hit the surf at popular spots like Papenoo, Punaauia, and Paea, or visit Huahine or Moorea for less crowded swells. The multiple lagoons offer the chance to swim with dolphins, moray eels, sea turtles, and even sharks! (Don't worry; they're only small reef sharks.)

    Best spots for weddings:

    Le Meridien Tahiti (StarwoodHotels.com/LeMeridien)One of the world's premier resorts, Le Meridien Tahiti overlooks white sand beaches and majestic mountains. Located in the capital of Tahiti, Papeete, the hotel offers four sophisticated meeting rooms, a sandy-bottomed swimming pool, and exquisite French and Polynesian fusion cuisine.

  5. New Zealand

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    Why: Leave behind bustling crowds for the more remote landscapes of New Zealand. Water lovers will appreciate the miles of golden beaches, while landlubbers can appreciate the country's pristine forests.

    When to go: New Zealand's seasons are the opposite of the United States', so the warmest months are December, January, and February and the coldest are June, July, and August. The mildest temperatures are between September and April.

    Guest activities: Adventure seekers can book a helicopter tour through the snowcapped Southern Alps for a stunning view of the waterside canyons or book a ferry to one of the many offshore islands, such as Waiheke Island, known for its vineyards and olive groves. Great Barrier Island features a more rugged landscape, famous for wildlife sightings and its secluded hot springs.

    Best spots for weddings:

    Villa Toscana, Whitianga (VillaToscana.co.nz)Indulge your guests in Tuscan-style luxury on New Zealand's Coromandel Peninsula. The hotel offers spectacular views of the surrounding ranges, valley, and bay. Hold your ceremony on top of the ridge for a stunning backdrop of the New Zealand bush and the water below.

  6. Thailand

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    Why: There's a reason why the locals commonly describe this Southeast Asian kingdom as sanuk, meaning "fun." From the ornate palaces to the rich coral reefs and other wildlife (not to mention the tasty cuisine), Thailand is truly an exciting trip for the senses.

    When to go: November to January is the official "dry and cool" season, though the rest of the year can be just as fair. Heat and humidity can strike at any time, but there are three recognizable seasons: summer from February to May, rainy from June to September, and cooler from November to February. The best prices are usually from mid-May to mid-October.

    Guest activities: For an exciting urban experience rivaling the pace of New York City, get your guests to Bangkok. This huge metropolis consists of kitschy souvenir shops, dance clubs, the must-see Grand Palace, the notorious red-light district, and plenty of traffic. Or get back to nature with a hike through northwestern Thailand. Chiang Mai is the gateway to this mountainous region, where you can scale the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep mountaintop, take an elephant ride, and explore the Doi Inthanon National Park. And of course, there are plenty of beaches to satisfy ocean-lovers. Check out Phuket, Thailand's largest and poshest island for diving and sailing or just lounging on the sand.

    Best spot for weddings:

    Banyan Tree Phuket, Phuket (BanyanTree.com/Phuket)Bordered by the Andaman Sea, this luxury resort has an atmosphere of tranquility your guests will appreciate. Stay in classic Thai pool villas, dine on delectable cuisine, or indulge in a spa treatment for ultimate pampering and an unforgettable experience.

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