When planning a destination wedding, the first locations that come to mind are likely postcard-perfect beaches in the Caribbean or some other exotic sandy setting. However, if you’re not quite ready to spend a fortune — or you don’t want to put that burden on your guests — there are tons of gorgeous, inexpensive (or shall we say, less expensive) destinations in the U.S. that make for memorable weddings. And it’s always nice a change of scenery! Just because you’re not Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner doesn’t mean you can’t have your own beautiful destination wedding, so we’ve put together a list of our favorite spots for a more affordable event to help you decide.

Destination #1: Vermont

Vermont, with its quaint villages and scenic landscapes, is probably your best bet for a back-to-nature inspired wedding. If you can totally see yourself posing for the pre- or post-wedding photos along tumbling streams, thick woodlands and gorgeous views, search no more. Its small, cozy inns and B&B’s are perfect for intimate weddings and small receptions, and the green meadows and steep mountains make for great backgrounds when saying your “I Do’s.” You will probably need a car or a shuttle to move your guests around, as Burlington’s is the only major airport serving the entire state, but the scenery and the vibe will prove to be well worth it.

Oyster’s Fave Value Wedding Spot: Swift House Inn

The Swift Room at the Swift House Inn; Mid Vermont, VT

Vermont's kitschy B&Bs are perfect venues for intimate weddings and family affairs.

The historic Swift House Inn is located within walking distance of downtown Middlebury, a picturesque New England town, with traffic-free streets lined by locally owned shops, art galleries, and restaurants. The hotel’s 20 rooms are spread throughout the Main House (formerly a Governor’s Mansion), the Carriage House, and the Gate House. Room decor varies, allowing guests to choose a room depending on personal style. Some rooms offer a classic New England B&B vibe with floral wallpaper, fireplaces, and four-poster beds, while others are more understated, with soft-toned walls and tasteful furniture. One of the inn’s highlights is its delicious and free breakfast, and an on-site restaurant, Jessica’s, is a popular destination for both guests and locals.

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Two-Bedroom Mesa Suite Lockoff at the Sedona Summit Resort; Sedona, AZ

The Sedona Summit Resort is already making us wanna take a snooze -- how comfy does it look?

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Sedona Summit Resort is looking to “redefine the guest sleep experience” with custom-made, three-pound pillows for each guest.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? A jury has ordered the owner of Hotel Shangri-La Santa Monica to pay over $1 million to a group of Jewish customers for discrimination.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Hotel Casa Del Mar is trying to improve the lobby bar service with a gadget that reads the guest’s mind and sends orders to a computer used by the bartenders.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? No need to fret if the Mandalay Bay’s wedding chapel is booked up and you just need to tie the knot — Sin City now boasts the Wedding Wagon, which is a van that drives around the city and can marry couples on the spot.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The teen concierge at all Omni Hotels will double as a babysitter and tour guide, and take your kids out while you relax (or do just about anything else).

Check out the answers after the jump!

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The Best Road Trips is a weekly summer series highlighting our favorite getaways from major cities all over the United States.

Nicknamed Valley of the Sun, Phoenix is known for its sub-tropical desert climate, where temperatures can skyrocket beyond 100° Fahrenheit in the summer. With a host of museums and galleries, top-notch Tex-Mex cuisine, and cactus-dotted landscape, Arizona’s state capital is one of the most unique metropolises in the country. But the city’s 4.2 million residents need to venture out every once in a while and take advantage of myriad vacations spots within (somewhat-reasonable) driving distance. So pack your bags, crank the A.C., and hop in the car — we’ve got some miles to cover.

Road Trip #1: Phoenix to Sedona, AZ

  • Total Driving Time: 2 hours, 6 minutes
  • Distance Covered: 117 miles
  • Take This Trip If: You need a spiritual re-awakening.

The iconic red rock formations of Sedona are surrounded by natural energy forces known as vortexes.

Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa

The Rouge Hotel offers visitors a world-class stay in an incredible setting.

Bell Rock Inn

The Bell Rock offers a family-friendly atmosphere for those with kids in tow.

With its iconic Red Rock landscape and spiritually-charged environment, Sedona is an other-worldly paradise for earthbound explorers. The city is practically ensconced by endless hiking trails, and has four vortexes — natural energy fields said to possess mystical powers. But Sedona is also a blossoming cultural center, filled with eclectic local galleries, Native American craft shops, and indie boutiques. For a truly indulgent experience, check out the Sedona Rouge Hotel and Spa. The property boasts incredible vistas of the Rocks from the fire pit on the observation deck, as well as from the private, in-room balconies. But the hotel’s real draw is the lavish spa, with treatments inspired by the vortexes and daily outdoor yoga classes. For a no-frills yet family-friendly stay, the Bell Rock Inn is a great budget option that still has the scenery and amenities necessary for a proper Sedona stay. The inn has two heated pools, a BBQ and picnic area, and an outdoor playground for kids, all with the same magnificent views of the rocks.

  • Top Driving Tip: Jerome, a 30-mile detour on the trip to Sedona, is about 45 miles outside of your final destination. Past the Old West ruins, this legendary ghost town is actually home to a thriving winery owned and operated by the frontman for the heavy metal band Tool.

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The West has some of the best scenic hiking in the entire country.

One of our favorite summer pastimes is hitting the dirt road and taking to the hills for a nice, long hike. And because of its clear skies, open pastures, and low humidity, there’s no better place in the U.S. to hit the trail than out West. Boasting countless National Parks and some of the most spectacular wildlife in the nation, the West is an adventurer’s paradise. Whether you’re in search of New Age stimulation or a adrenaline-filled adventure, grab your walking stick because we’ve found some of the best hiking spots the West has to offer.


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10 Best Mountain Views

Can you figure out where this picture was taken?


Although the snow is melting, ski destinations can be just as pleasurable when the weather heats up — and they’ve got the serious scenery to back it. And even if you’re not into a rugged vacay, there are still plenty of spots for you to chill out with incredible mountain views. Check out our ten favorite now!


If you’re citified but like to hike, a foodie but ride your bike more than your car, or use your Patagonia Solar Wind Jacket for a city blizzard, you can consider yourself Urban Rugged by Oyster’s standards.

These destinations and hotels are rustic-chic with lots to do, whether it’s hiking, cycling, shopping, going to art galleries or eating in top notch restaurants. At these eight hotels, you can always tap into your natural — and metropolitan — side.

The Travaasa Hana, Maui, Hawaii

The Travaasa Hana hotel overlooking Hana Bay delivers rustic luxury in the middle of Maui’s lush, secluded east coast. It has incredible service, a long list of stuff to do and only 70 rooms on acres of uncrowded property. The rooms are large, clean, sleekly furnished — and stripped of TVs, clocks and radios. Though it’s hard to reach, it’s worth the trip. The gorgeous, secluded location near hikes, waterfalls and beaches, excellent cuisine using local products, one of the most beautiful spa facilities on the island and unmatched personalized touches make this hotel one of your best choices in Hawaii.

Travaasa Hana, Maui, Hawaii

Travaasa Hana, Maui, Hawaii

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Foto Friday: What A View

by Hilary on September 16, 2011

L’Auberge de Sedona has one of the most stunning natural settings in not just the Southwest, but the country, with the picturesque Oak Creek running underneath shady trees, and Sedona’s soaring red rocks suspended in the background. The 87 guest rooms and woodsy cottages are spread across 11 acres, allowing guests plenty of privacy, and most come with fireplaces and private decks. It’s a premier destination for a romantic getaway or a corporate retreat.

View at the L'Auberge de Sedona

View at the L'Auberge de Sedona