Spring Weddings: Domestic Destination Wedding Ideas

Destination wedding spots perfect for the season and a little closer to home.

Photo: © istockphoto.com/ivanomak

by Charli Penn

Miami, Florida

Why Here? If you want a warm, sweet ceremony followed by a red-hot reception, Miami can certainly set the scene. The coastal city welcomes diversity and celebrates life, making it the perfect destination for couples who want their guests to relax and let their hair down. Southern Florida gets great sun and very little rain during the spring months. (Summer, on the other hand, can be unbearably hot, and the city's official hurricane season begins in June.) Guests who want to extend their stay beyond the wedding can enjoy motorbike rentals, great ocean views, boutique shopping, and a variety of water sports.

Where to Wed: Anywhere outdoors. Miami offers every kind of backdrop imaginable -- beach, city, cruise, garden -- all under beautifully sunny skies. Many resorts in South Beach offer package deals and great beachfront property with lots of family-friendly amenities.

Local Inspiration: Miami has a significant Cuban influence in the local art and culture, so consider incorporating elements like cigar rollers and mambo dancers into your reception. Take salsa dancing lessons a few weeks in advance for a high-energy first dance.

What to Avoid Spring breakers -- think intoxicated college students, wet T-shirt contests, and your grandparents. Not a good mix!

Venue Ideas:

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Mackinac Island, Michigan

Why Here? The quaint Victorian character of this island located in Northern Michigan makes it an ideal place to host an elegant spring wedding. The island is tucked into the space between the state's Upper and Lower Peninsulas -- where lakes Michigan and Huron meet -- and is home to only 500 permanent residents. Automobiles are prohibited, so once your guests arrive at Mackinac City, they can travel to the island by air taxi or ferry. While visiting the island, guests can get around by horse-and-buggy (how romantic), bicycle, and, of course, by foot.

Where to Wed: In an outdoor garden at a local resort or at one of the island's romantic inns.

Local Inspiration: In the late spring, the island hosts the annual Lilac Festival, which is home to one of the largest "All Horse Hitch" parades in the country. The event is known as one of the nation's top tourist attractions, and carrying the lilac theme into your wedding could inspire a pastel color palette.

What to Avoid A large wedding with more than 300 guests. Logistically speaking, trying to get your visitors to adjust to the transportation on the island will be much easier with a smaller guest list.

Venue Ideas:

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Savannah, Georgia

Why Here? The spring is one of the best times of year to visit this city because the temperatures are moderate, the flowers (azaleas and dogwood trees) are in full bloom, and the color of all the foliage is picture-perfect. Savannah's prewar buildings add a touch of Southern charm to your wedding day. And there are plenty of ways to keep guests occupied: They can enjoy one of the oldest celebrations of St. Patrick's Day in America in March, or feast on succulent white Georgia shrimp at the Riverfront Seafood Festivals in May.

Where to Wed: Outdoor options abound. Whether you're wooed by the dramatic mansions or feel a blooming garden would better suit your wedding style, Savannah venues are beyond delightful.

Local Inspiration: Savannah's Southern roots run deep, and the city is overflowing with rich history and landmarks. Channel another era and hold your ceremony at a local museum or landmark.

Venue Ideas:

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Las Vegas, Nevada

Why Here? Do you even need a reason? For starters, forget the idea that all Sin City has to offer is casino tables, drive-thru wedding chapels, and Elvis impersonators. The city has elegant ballrooms, beautifully landscaped resorts, and great natural ambience. Plus, it's the perfect setting for carefree bachelor and bachelorette parties, and between the shops and the casinos, your guests will be fully entertained.

Where to Wed: Vegas is home to hundreds of resorts and hotels that offer wedding packages for every budget. If you prefer to skip all of the heavy-duty planning, there's always a 20-minute speedy ceremony in one of the city's many little wedding chapels. The best part is that if your families join in the fun, you won't have to call your folks to tell them you just got hitched in Vegas -- they'll be standing right there.

>Local Inspiration: The opportunities are endless if you want to play up the Vegas theme: Host a reception or rehearsal dinner with table games and celebrity impersonators, or give your guests dice, cards, and other casino-inspired favors as a reminder that you've been lucky in love.

Venue Ideas:

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