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6 Alternative Spots For A Stylish Destination Wedding

The destination wedding has become a byword for sun, adventure and (usually) a more palatable bill at the end of it all. Choose your location wisely and guests will take little persuading – plus you can kick-start your honeymoon straight after the ceremony.

We’ve rounded up a list of alternatives to well-trodden Tuscany, Bordeaux, Ibiza et al, all with the same magic but less of the crowds. It’s worth noting that a mix of logistics and local requirements mean that many couples will register their marriage in the UK, and choose a blessing (without all the technical bits) for the day.

Swap the Amalfi Coast for Sicily

 

The crowds have well and truly clocked on to this picture-perfect stretch of southern Italian coastline, with Amalfi hotspots like Positano now something of a poster child for overtourism. For a slightly different take on la dolce vita consider Sicily, the Mediterranean’s largest island. Swish resort town Taormina – of White Lotus fame – rivals any on the Amalfi Coast in the sophistication stakes, while capital Palermo is lively and walkable.

 

There’s a wealth of historical venues across the island, but select your date with care – Sicily sizzles in summer, with highs of 40 degrees far from unheard of in July and August. The city of Syracuse currently holds Europe’s all-time temperature record.

Swap Santorini for Halkidiki

 

With sunshine to spare and a well-earned reputation for convivial hospitality, Greece offers an embarrassment of riches to would-be wedders. Some islands, like Santorini, offer something of a set formula – a clifftop ceremony at sunset, perhaps in picturesque Oia or Fira. One alternative is the three-fingered peninsula of Halkidiki, which stretches out into the Aegean Sea with a seemingly endless coastline. Middle ‘finger’ Sithonia is less developed than northerly neighbour Kassandra, and gratifyingly light on traffic.

 

There’s a practical consideration here too. While travel to the tiniest islands can be tricky and suppliers limited, Halkidiki is just over an hour away from Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city.

Swap Paris for Toulouse

 

A enduring beacon of romance, the French capital has inspired – or at least elegantly facilitated – many an elopement. Getting the guests in can be a tougher task, as larger ceremonies at grand civic buildings or top hotels will invariably come with a price tag to match.

 

For a more relaxed alternative (with brilliant train connections to boot) we’d suggest foodie Lyon or pretty Toulouse – both offer plenty of Gallic charm, plus an easier escape into the countryside for ceremonies at local chateaux or farmhouses. The latter, so named La Ville Rose for its pinky-hued renaissance architecture, is sunny, soulful and perfectly-sized for a mini-moon.

Swap Ibiza for Menorca

 

Less established than fellow Balearics Ibiza and Mallorca, Menorca is a wilder and more laid-back little sister. There’s a party scene here but it’s decidedly low-key, so those less familiar with the ins and outs of the island are unlikely to make a misstep with certain towns, venues or beaches that cater to the clubbing crowd.

 

And – whisper it – many suggest the beaches are better than on The White Isle. A wedding here might take place on one of more than 100 that dot the coastline, or further inland at a finca, Spain’s answer to the traditional stone farmhouse and surrounding estate.

Swap Tuscany for Puglia

 

Though this region in Italy’s heel is no longer the hidden gem it once was, Puglia can pull off many of the same tricks as Tuscany – and without the summer hordes. Olive groves are in abundance, as are plates of locally-made orecchiette (around 80% of Italy’s pasta is produced here) but there are better beaches for lingering honeymooners.

 

Its distinctive pointy trulli are famous, though it’s the traditional masseria farmhouses, with their internal courtyards, that make excellent venues. Average temperatures here are a few degrees higher than the central region of Tuscany, which will boost your chances of catching a decent spell in the ‘shoulder’ season of April, May, September and October.

Swap Bordeaux for Sussex

 

The appeal of a wedding in Bordeaux is hardly a mystery – especially if you’re a believer in the idea that a bottle of red tastes best at source. While somewhat lacking in chateaux, the UK has its own burgeoning rival to the grape heavyweights of France, Spain and Italy: Sussex.

 

Bear with us. A label touting English sparkling wine is far from the warning it once was – last year, Sussex was recognised as a protected origin in the same way as Champagne or Rioja. Highdown, Bluebell and Oatbrook Estates are all popular vineyard venues, as is the bells-and-whistles Rathfinny Wine Estate near Alfriston on the South Downs, where weddings take place in and around a cluster of carefully restored flint barns.

Words by Cat Olley

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