When planning a destination wedding (be it domestic or abroad), you’ll want to consult the pros. An expert wedding planner can help choose the location, the venue, and navigate the ins and outs of working in a foreign country. Many will also source the best local teams to aid on the ground if they aren’t based in your chosen destination; the goal? To create an event that has a sense of place, and just as many personal touches as it would if you were to wed in your hometown.

Regardless of where you have your sights set for your upcoming destination wedding, be sure to check for safety and travel bans before asking friends and family to travel across the world. Always work with your planner to contact embassies in advance (if needed) to check for various passport or health regulations, and make sure to incorporate local elements into your planning, design, and décor to make the experience authentic for your guests. 

To help you answer the question of where in the world you’ll wed, we reached out to expert planners to share their top destination wedding locations for 2021 weddings, and what venues to consider in each area. Here are our favourite destinations across the globe to consider for your upcoming celebration.

Amalfi Coast, Italy

The Amalfi Coast is known for its rugged shoreline dotted with small beaches and pastel-colored Italian fishing villages—but when it comes to weddings, it offers so much more. 

“The best wedding venues along the Amalfi Coast are the locations that are a bit off the radar—the ones that don’t have websites because they are historical locations owned by the government, or private islands which book by recommendation only,” explains Diana Sorensen of Sugokuii Events. To access these types of wedding properties for a truly unique event, you must work with a local planner who knows the area.” 

Some of Sorensen’s favorite scenes? The chic Villa Tre Ville in Positano, the lemon-infused scenery of Da Paolino restaurant in Capri, the lush outdoor gardens of Villa Astor in Sorrento, and the bohemian feel of Quattro Passi restaurant in Nerano. For a classic Amalfi experience, opt for a vintage Italian sailboat to cruise the coast whenever possible, rather than traveling to your event locations by car.

Puglia, Italy

uglia, a southern region forming the heel of Italy’s “boot,” is known for its whitewashed hill towns, centuries-old farmland, and miles of Mediterranean coastline. “The best part about Puglia is its variety in scenery and styles for weddings,” says Norma Cohen of Norma Cohen Productions. When chatting with Cohen, she described a spectacular wedding event she produced at Borgo Egnazia, which was able to accommodate 480 wedding guests on-site and provide a plethora of activities and vibes for the full wedding weekend, which was packed with various dinners, parties, and celebrations.

Cohen’s #1 piece of advice when planning a destination wedding internationally? Work with local vendors as much as possible. You’ll be grateful you did when you’re looking to coordinate details in advance, and avoid excess taxes and fees attempting to bring in supplies from abroad.

London, England

With world-class facilities, available international air links, and an unparalleled selection of unique venues—from 5-star luxe hotels to medieval and royal palaces, London offers a truly unique experience for a destination wedding. In terms of style, finesse, and authentic 21st-century glamour, our vendors have experience at the very highest-end of the spectrum. Having worked on weddings for A-list royals, state banquets for Her Majesty the Queen, and unique celebrations for the world’s leading international families. For those looking to plan a wedding in London from abroad, “Contact the embassy or high commission of the country you wish to be married. In most countries (including the UK), it is possible to organise civil or religious ceremonies, the former usually being simpler to arrange” adds Kate Boston, a published London Wedding Photographer

Couples considering London as a destination could marry at any of our working palaces which are conveniently overseen and run by Historic Royal Palaces. Imagine a Rehearsal Dinner at the Tower of London, a Wedding Ceremony in the Kensington Palace State Rooms, followed by a reception at Banqueting House, and a farewell event at Hampton Court Palace. For an authentic wedding fit for a queen (literally), there is no better location. 

Marrakech, Morocco

Unique textures, patterns, and vibrant colors highlight this Moroccan city—gaining popularity as an adventurous destination wedding location. Need proof? Check out BAZAAR Bride couple Jane and Shane’s Marrakech wedding, complete with camel riding, ATVing, and playing with falcons (pictured here). 

Bruce Russell typically works on 1-2 weddings per year in Morocco and recalls how “very laid back” it can be. He suggests couples hire a wedding planner with experience in the area who is in the know when it comes to the culture, but also to the hotels, food, vendors, and more. “Visit your venue before signing a contract, do the research, and get trusted recommendations to ensure that the vendors you hire meet your expectations,” he adds. As for where to celebrate, Russell has a few recommendations. “The Royal Mansour is the ultimate in luxury with premiere food & beverage; La Mamouniafeatures the most beautiful gardens; Beldi Country Club is all about classic Moroccan style, and the grounds are a photographer’s paradise.” As for the events surrounding the ceremony, Riad El-Fenn is the perfect location for a welcome party, and The Capaldi Hotel sits at the base of the Atlas Mountains, which offers panoramic views that are out of this world.

Istanbul, Turkey

Famous for its rich history, culture, and incredible scenery, Istanbul “can be so much more exciting for an active group than a beach destination,” says Marcy Blum of Marcy Blum Associates. There are a plethora of things to do for guests that have traveled far, and there are so many artisans to work with when it comes to creating a one-of-a-kind wedding experience.

For those planning a destination wedding in Istanbul, Blum suggests moving guests by sea if you must relocate for various parts of the wedding weekend. Traffic can be a challenge, and like Lake Como and the Amalfi, sometimes it’s just better by boat. For those considering importing food and florals, “couples should love a destination for what it is and what it has to offer,” Blum adds. As for venue ideas, Blum recommends Çubuklu 29 from a recent wedding, which has spectacular views.

For those planning a destination wedding in Istanbul, Blum suggests moving guests by sea if you must relocate for various parts of the wedding weekend. Traffic can be a challenge, and like Lake Como and the Amalfi, sometimes it’s just better by boat. For those considering importing food and florals, “couples should love a destination for what it is and what it has to offer,” Blum adds. As for venue ideas, Blum recommends Çubuklu 29 from a recent wedding, which has spectacular views.

Bali, Indonesia

Bali is an extraordinary location for a wedding. But “one thing to keep in mind is that it requires almost 24 hours of travel time from New York City,” notes Lisa Vorce. That said, a destination wedding in Bali is well worth it—it’s a lush and verdant location, and well off the beaten path. Bali’s rainy season is from October to April, so you must make sure to have weather backups in place (i.e., a tent instead of an open space.). “One of my favorite things about Bali is the Rain Stoppers, who perform a ritual with incense and fire that creates smoke, believed to push the rain clouds away,” Vorce adds.

When it comes to the look and feel of your event, “My best design advice for couples is to partner with local artisans. Balinese artisans can provide handmade décor, such as Capiz-shell chargers, and create many different hand-woven textiles—from chandeliers to placemats,” she says. In addition, hand-strung jasmine is readily available, and makes for a dramatic ceremony structure. “We often hang strung jasmine on the backs of the bride and groom’s dinner reception chairs for an extra-special touch,” she explains. 

Expert planning also avoids long lines at the airport. An essential travel tip from Vorce: Work with your hotel to pre-plan “Visas on Arrival,” which almost all guests will require; they are social, tourist, and cultural visas for their stay. When it comes to venues, “both of the Aman properties in Bali, Amandari and Amankila, are incredibly beautiful; of course, the Aman hospitality is 5 star,” Vorce recommends. 

Cartagena, Colombia

A compact, bright, and charmingly beautiful city, Cartagena has quickly become a travel and wedding hotspot. Case in point: Virginia and Ian’s tropical wedding, featured on BAZAAR Bride. “It’s colorful colonial streets filled with history—and the beautiful romantic light—make it a very desirable destination with natural charming backdrops for your big day,” explain Matthew Robbins and Luis Otoya of RobbinsOtoya Destination Weddings & Events

Cartagena books up very quickly so planning with sufficient time is key. “We recommend to starting to plan a year out (at minimum), and working with a team that knows the ins and outs of the city; a local team can help you facilitate the process with all the local vendors,” adds Robbins and Otoya. Cartagena is a tropical destination, so it’s warm year round. “The best months for outdoor celebrations in Cartagena are December, January, February, and March,” says the experts, RobbinsOtoya. This is considered dry season, so the boutique city is at its best. 

Galle, Sri Lanka

If you’d like to combine city and beach, look no further than this Unesco World Heritage site. Galle’s historic city streets are utterly ravishing, and after a day’s exploring there are plenty of beach resorts to repair to. After the wedding, stay on to discover more of this captivating country. The Fortress Resort & Spa is effortlessly stylish, with the most wonderful infinity-edge pool. For a similar feel, there’s Anantara Peace Haven, or for historic charm, try Amangalla Hotel.