Destination Weddings

Ok, it’s time for some real talk. We here at Oyster adore Hawaii. And, of course, we love Paris – any day of the year. But as travel experts, not only do we look forward to returning to destinations that will forever stand the test of time, but we also strive to uncover lesser-known, and lesser-thought-of, destinations that will really knock our — and your — socks off. When it comes to honeymoons, we know couples look for something (and somewhere) romantic and charming, but how about – originalThere are plenty of gorgeous spots around the globe, but we love a duo that’s not afraid of going slightly off book in the pursuit of a one-of-a-kind getaway. Here we’ve selected nine dream picks for an atypical honeymoon that’s anything but ordinary — just like your love, right?

1. Flam, Norway: Fretheim Hotel

norway

The tiny village of Flam is located in a valley surrounded by steep mountains. It’s the final destination for the Flam Railway, which visitors take through the mountains to reach the village, and is considered one of the most scenic train stops in Europe. From Flam, you can also catch a cruise to the Sognefjord, which is arguably the most beautiful and famous fjord in Norway. Couples choosing this atypical getaway can also choose an aytpical hotel: The Fretheim Hotel dates back to the late 19th century, and its common spaces have charm to spare. The hotel makes the most of its unique, naturally beautiful location with soaring glass windows in the lobby and restaurant that frame the mountains. Read More »

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Stunning views of Big Sur's cliffs can be seen throughout the property.

This week we’re taking a behind-the-scenes look at the Ventana Inn & Spa in Big Sur, which hosted billionaire Sean Parker’s nuptials this past weekend. Parker, of Napster and Facebook fame, wed singer-songwriter (and baby momma) Alexandra Lenas in a ceremony at the resort on June 1. Situated on more than 200 acres of picturesque oceanfront land, the property looks like a rustic cabin nestled in the woods — making it a gorgeous setting for a wedding. And Parker isn’t the first big-wig to notice that fact either: Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied tied the knot here last year (albeit in a much more low-key ceremony). Find out what makes Ventana so swoon-worthy — and get details on Parker’s $10 million wedding — after the jump »  Read More »

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Some hotel weddings are gorgeous, some not so much, but they often all kind of feel the same. That’s where we come in — we’ve discovered some of the most beautiful and unique wedding venues in hotels around the world. Whether you want to say “I do” on safari, in a cloud forest, or at a Gatsby-esque mansion, these hotels deliver on the romance. Check them out here, and get inspired for your own big day (or vow renewal)!

For the Nature Enthusiasts: Selva Negra in Nicaragua 

Chapel in the middle of a rainforest? Check that off your list.

For outdoorsy couples looking for an authentic eco-lodge experience on their wedding day, Selva Negra is the real deal. This family-run organic farm and coffee estate in Nicaragua has accommodations ranging from hostel rooms to private bungalows, as well as a lush, cool mountain setting that’s rich with wildlife (expect howler monkeys, lizards, agoutis, and all types of birds). Couples can get married at the on-site chapel — which the owners built for their own daughter’s wedding — beneath Selva Negra’s cloud forest.  Read More »

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With three pools at the resort, couples will have plenty of places to slip away to during their stay.

The Four Seasons Resort Nevis sits on a large, attractive beach on the small, secluded, and relatively unknown island of Nevis. Nevis is a tiny island in the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, separated from St. Kitts by just a two-mile stretch of sea. It features beautiful waters, friendly people, and lush rainforests. Less developed than St. Kitts, the island’s remote location makes it a popular choice among newlyweds.

Couples staying at the resort — many of whom choose to wed in this far-off locale, as well — can celebrate their recent nuptials with a private dinner on the beach — complete with their own chef, server, and entertainment — or opt to set sail on a romantic sunset cruise. The gorgeous rooms here are a romantic highlight: The updated decor has a Ralph Lauren-like look, with a blue-and-yellow scheme accented by pops of color and dark wood furniture, while the massive bathrooms feature separate showers and tubs. Plus, almost all rooms have beautiful views, of either mountains or the ocean, which couples can enjoy from their expansive private decks. Check out more honeymoon-inspired photos of the Four Seasons Resort Nevis » Read More »

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The Standard appears to sprout right out of the West Village, making it perfect for the quintessential NYC couple.

On this Wedding Wednesday, we’re showing off our West Village neighbor, the luxe Standard New York from renowned hotelier Andre Balazs. Balazs capitalized on the popular, elevated High Line park that opened in the summer of 2009 when he debuted this feat of design prowess: His 338-room hotel is propped up on huge concrete stilts so that it straddles, and hovers above, the park. For this, the Standard has garnered the praise of architecture critics, who marvel at how, from inside the building, one seems to be floating in the air.

The interior design is just as striking as the architecture, featuring hip, modern furniture and open bathrooms with deep soaking tubs or huge rainfall showers which, surrounded by clear glass panes instead of shower curtains, create the impression of bathing beside the Hudson River. Plus, floor-to-ceiling windows offer stunning views of the city. (The windows also offer views from the outside in, making for some interesting exhibitionism, if couples are into that sort of thing.)

For a wedding, The Standard’s unique architecture makes for a truly one-of-a-kind ceremony. This is a dream location for the stylish couple (with deep pockets) looking to indulge in the impeccable, but laid-back, city-chicness that is the Standard. Possible ceremony and reception spaces include the High Line Room, which features a covered terrace overlooking High Line Park and the Hudson River, and a stunning, exclusive rooftop space (which might require that the happy couple have some celebrity connections). Still, service at the hotel is never stuffy, nor short of excellence. Check out more wedding inspired photos of The Standard New York here >> Read More »

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Built in 1900, this neoclassical mansion is the perfect place for a true Southern wedding.

The upscale, 48-room Mansion at Judges’ Hill is steeped in Southern history, making it an ideal spot for a wedding, darlin’. Housed in the neoclassical Goodall Wooten House — dating back to 1900 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places — the hotel combines old-fashioned charm with modern comforts. And the mansion, with its columned facade and wide veranda, looks like it was picked up from a storied estate and dropped on the residential street southwest of the University of Texas, just a 5-minute drive from downtown Austin, where it sits. The common areas maintain the elegance instituted by the entrance with hard-wood floors, coffered ceilings, white wainscoting, rich rugs, and original artwork. The library, a small room off the bar, is cozy, and the dining room features pretty crystal chandeliers. The rooms are perhaps a bit less impressive than the public spaces; they’re quaint, but not quite luxurious.

But for weddings, the Mansion pulls out all of the stops. The staff, which has coordinated many a wedding in the past, is dedicated to making the bride and groom as relaxed as possible on the big day. They assist couples with menu planning, ceremony and reception set-up, and ceremony personalization so you’ll leave your own stamp on the Mansion’s grand backdrop. There are eight reception sites available, the most popular being the grand ballroom (seats 50 to 250 guests), the Goodall Wooten House (seats 50 guests), and the central courtyard. See more wedding-inspired photos of the Mansion at Judge’ Hill here »  Read More »

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The pool area is an inviting, romantic spot ready to be transformed into a picturesque reception site.

Owned by the same couple for decades, the historic Gallery Inn is a charming boutique hotel in Old San Juan, perfect for an intimate exchanging of “I dos.” Run like an informal B&B, guests at the Gallery Inn are greeted by name, much of what the restaurant serves is grown in the garden, and no two rooms are the same (though they do share lots of Spanish-style charm). But also like a B&B, the hotel lacks amenities such as TVs and a fitness center. The property’s main draws include the convenient Old San Juan location, ocean views from the wine deck, and the artsy, laid-back feel. The pool is also a picturesque spot: Built around ancient walls that have stood on the property for hundreds of years and featuring two water falls, the space is utterly unique. The innkeepers are both artists, and it’s evident they put thought into every detail of the restoration — expect beautiful old-world details like brick floors, wood beam ceilings, rich rugs, sculptures, and antique knickknacks.

Weddings at The Gallery Inn are as unique as this eclectic property. The inn’s dramatic spaces — including the candlelit Sunken Wedding Garden, panoramic rooftop deck, and Ventian-style music room — serve as the romantic backdrops for wedding parties. Weddings held here can be intimate affairs of just ten people or large parties of 150 guests (though with just 26 rooms on-site, some attendees will have to seek lodging elsewhere). An on-site event coordinator will aid couples in customizing a menu, arranging table settings, and selecting florists, photographers, and musicians. Check out more wedding inspired photos of The Gallery Inn here »

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This romantic boutique in California's Sonoma County is perfect for an intimate — and luxe — exchange of "I dos."

The Kenwood Inn and Spa is an award-winning boutique that’s a popular spot for tying the knot. Located in Sonoma County, the hotel evokes Tuscan charm from every nook and cranny: Lush gardens, European-style courtyards, and exquisite fountains and pools provide gorgeous backdrops for a wedding, and the 29 private and spacious rooms, individually decorated with romantic Mediterranean-inspired decor, are furnished with cozy fireplaces, quality Italian linens, oversized showers, and personal balconies (some with stunning vineyard views). Extensive freebies (such as in-room drinks and gourmet snacks), plush robes, and an ultra-luxurious spa help ensure that guests feel pampered — particularly important for the bride before her big day. The hotel’s restaurant serves local cuisine using ingredients from nearby ranchers, cheesemongers, and farmers, meaning a delicious feast is in store for all of your wedding attendees. Overall, it’s one of the most romantic boutique picks in Sonoma Wine Country.

The hotel is extremely well-equipped to help couples plan their nuptials, offering the ideal setting for everything from intimate gatherings to fairytale-like receptions for up to 100 guests. An on-site wedding coordinator will help design your unique experience at one of four venues: the lovely Centro Court, the large Pool Courtyard, the intimate Wine Bar, or the Tuscany Room. In addition, treatments at the hotel’s award-winning spa can be arranged in advance (the hotel is known for its vinotherapy services) and menu tastings with the hotel’s executive chef, pastry chef, and sommelier will assure every dish tastes delicious. For more wedding-inspired photos of the Kenwood Inn & Spa, click here »
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The Marriott Wailea Resort is a romantic honeymoon locale on Maui.

Honeymoons must be two things: romantic and memorable. Any old trip to the beach is just not going to suffice for a couple’s post-nuptial getaway. But thankfully, there are plenty of unique and luxurious properties out there for newlyweds. Remote jungle hideaways, cozy mountain lodges, luxe European grand dames, and gorgeous beachfront properties are waiting with a bottle of champagne at the ready to toast your “I dos.” These romantic hotels around the world are perfect honeymoon locales; go ahead and swoon over them in this slideshow.

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The Red Inn in Cape Cod is a lovely spot for a beachy New England wedding just as fall approaches.

The Red Inn is where history meets luxury in the Provincetown area of Cape Cod. A local hot spot thanks to a delicious seafood restaurant, the inn draws visitors from far and wide looking to get hitched in a cozy beachside locale. Even Franklin Delano Roosevelt saw fit to visit this tranquil spot. The rooms — of  which there are only eight — have upscale, beach-chic decor, and some offer romantic fireplaces. But all of them exude a touch of whimsy and romance, with expansive decks overlooking the water.

Couples can choose to wed in the gardens, on the waterside deck, or in any space of the inn’s intimate interiors. Staff can coordinate tent rentals, floral arrangements, musicians, cake design, and menu customization. They have a good selection of vendors they’ve worked with in the past, but couples can bring in their own choice of vendors as well. Just remember that because of The Red Inn’s small size and legitimate cool factor, it tends to sell out fast, so book early (especially if you want your bridal party to be able to stay at the hotel). Check out more wedding-inspired photos of The Red Inn here »
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