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  • Callie Riesling

5 Places That You Haven't Considered For Your Destination Wedding


If you follow any large wedding blogs you've undoubtedly seen a few locales that are constantly featured. Iceland, Mexico, Santorini, Banff, Jamaica... I'm sure you know what I am talking about.  Those of you who know me that I am a HUGE travel nerd. I love traveling for destination weddings, I love traveling with my family. I love walks through gardens and on beaches. I love hiking in rain forests and up mountains. I love cities and the middle of nowhere. I just love adventuring.  I drive my family CRAZY because everywhere we go... I say things like "I need a wedding HERE!" or "I could put the bride right there" or "the light is perfect and I don't have a couple."  So today, I share with you a few of the spots I have dreamed of photographing a beautiful couple. 

 1. NORWAY


This past spring, I visited the fjords in Norway and I completely fell in love with it. This is what drives my passion as a destination wedding photographer.  Norway is the greenest place I have ever visited. The water is some of the most beautiful and richly colored water I've seen.. I'm sure it's a little chilly since it is glacial melt. The mountains and peaks really do come right out of the water and tower above. And there are so many waterfalls, some of the big ones don't even have names. So imagine here for a minute, you could get married with the fjord as your background. You could have a waterfall destination wedding. Your guests could stay in those cute little cabins right on the lake that have pansies growing on their roofs. You could elope in a field of wildflowers or on a glacier. The types of weddings you could have in Norway are endless... and generally you can find all of these areas and styles in ONE town.  You could have a seaside wedding... or better yet a fjord side wedding.  You could have a mountain top wedding.  You could get married on a glacier or elope in an ice cave.  You could have a farmhouse wedding.  You could have a waterfall wedding.  You could do a hiking elopement.  You could even have a vineyard elopement.  You could even get married at a Reindeer farm. Yes. THAT'S A THING. With snow and sleighs and the northern lights.  You could have a big destination wedding in Norway.  You could have an intimate wedding in Norway.  You could even elope in Norway. The options here are endless. The backdrops are endless.  FOR AN: Upscale elopement, adventurous couples, avid hikers and mountainside wedding lovers

Norway is a ways a way. Some of these smaller towns are not easy to get to and can be pricey but the views are endless, the towns are safe, English is spoken well, food and water are safe. 

Here is some useful information about getting married in Norway:  https://www.norge.no/en/life_situation/getting-married http://www.skatteetaten.no/en/person/National-Registry/Marriage-and-cohabitation/Marriage/Getting-married-in-Norway/Two-foreign-citizens-intending-to-marry-in-Norway/

 Our favorite venues Torvis Hotel Wedding in Marifjøra, Norway Pulpit Rock, PREIKESTOLEN Wedding The Lofoten Islands GEIRANGER Fjord Wedding Travel Information:  FLY - The main international airports in Norway are in Oslo, Bergen, Stavanger, Tromsø, Trondheim, Ålesund, Haugesund and Sandefjord. LANGUAGE - English is widely spoken. Norwegians learn it in elementary school. 

 2. Antigua, Guatemala


UNESCO World Heritage site, Antigua, Guatemala would be a GORGEOUS backdrop for your wedding photos. The colorful shops around the cobblestone streets pave the way through the Colonial capital of Guatemala. The volcanoes tower above the city. The earthquake of 1773 left huge cathedrals in ruins that are still standing today. The people are incredible and helped push Antigua, Guatemala to the top of my favorites list.  For an adventurous couple. Guatemala is off the beaten track. There are still dangers of crime here. You need to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings. Drink purified water, be aware of what you are eating, stay in tourist areas and protect yourself from mosquitoes. 

Here is some useful information about getting married in Guatemala:  https://gt.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/marriage/

Our favorite venues San Jose El Viejo Wedding

Iglesia y Convento de las Capuchinas  - Las Capuchinas Church and Convent Wedding (Ceremony + large reception hall)  Lake Atilian Wedding Hotel Casa Santo Domingo Wedding (Many of the images pictured above) La Recoleccion Wedding  Travel Information:  FLY - Guatemala City - 30 min taxi or transfer drive LANGUAGE - Some Spanish is helpful, English is spoken by many but not all Guatemalans. 

3. Abbeys and Castles and the UK 


Gardens, ruins, farmhouses, castles and fields of wildflowers await you in the UK. It is a bit more difficult to get married in the UK, as you need to obtain a visa to do so. But in the lands of Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Emily Bronte romance is alive and well. Imagine a Cotswolds barn wedding or a Welsh castle wedding. Elope on the shores of the Scottish Lochs. Get married at the Globe Theater in London. The UK screams classic romance.  For the romantic heart. 

The UK requires a bit more time to process your paperwork since you need a Marriage or Civil Partnership Visitor visa if you are not from the EEA or Switzerland and will need to leave the country within 6 months. It seems like it should be pretty easy to get, just extra paperwork and time are needed. 

Here is some useful information about getting married in the UK:  https://www.gov.uk/marriages-civil-partnerships/foreign-national https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/weddings

Our favorite venues: Dumbleton Hall Wedding - The Cotswolds Bodnant Garden Wedding - Wales St Dunstan in the East Wedding - London Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden Wedding - Yorkshire

Manorbier Castle Wedding - Tenby, Wales

Hidcote Gardens Wedding - The Cotswolds

Caswell House Wedding, Brize Norton, Oxfordshire Stone Barn Wedding, near Upper Windrush, Cheltenham​ Ellenborough Park Wedding, Cheltenham

Tredegar House Wedding, Wales

Quarry Bank  Wedding

Bodiam Castle Wedding

Waddesdon Manor Wedding - Buckinghamshire

Stowe Wedding - Buckinghamshire

Dinefwr Wedding - Wales

Pendennis Castle Wedding - Cornwall

Old Wardour Castle Wedding - Wiltshire

Travel Information:  FLY - Direct flights from Newark, USA to London/Heathrow, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh.    LANGUAGE - English

4. St Kitts and Nevis


Sadly, many of the islands in the Caribbean were leveled by Hurricanes Irma and Maria this year. This completely breaks my heart. We have spent so much time in the Leeward Islands and I can't help but think of all of the people who have been so kind to us over the years. As soon as they are ready, lets all get back and bring in some tourism money. For now, I will shift my focus to two of the Caribbean Islands that were spared this time around.  St Kitts and Nevis are incredible wedding destinations that offer everything from black and white sand beaches with crystal clear water, to volcanic peaks, to incredible cliffs with views of the Caribbean and volcanic formations, to luxury resorts and even monkeys. These islands have so much variety to offer and I cannot help but think of all of the venue and style options you would have! A destination elopement on a black sand beach? You've got it! Resort wedding receptions set up on the sand. Sugar Mill Ruins for your wedding ceremony or on a golf course. How about a wedding on the lush green cliffs at the Brimstone Hill Fortress? Or under the 350 year old Saman tree at Romney manor?  For the: Adventurous couple who loves hiking and watersports or for the destination resort wedding hosted by a bride and groom who love luxury. 

St Kitts and Nevis are both very safe. Crime still exists as it does anywhere and there is still quite a bit of petty theft and the occasional violent crime does occur, make you take precautions and watch your surroundings. Zika is also a risk there so make sure you spray for mosquitoes. 

Here is some useful information about getting married in the St Kitts and Nevis:  https://www.tripsavvy.com/st-kitts-wedding-info-1863680 https://www.brides.com/story/caribbean-hurricane-resorts-open

Our favorite venues: The Four Seasons Nevis Wedding Nisbet Plantation Nevis Wedding

Montpilier Plantation and Beach Resort Wedding - Nevis

St Kitts Marriott Beach Resort Wedding - St Kitts 

Brimstone Hill Fortress Wedding - St Kitts

Romney Manor and Gardens Wedding - St Kitts  Travel Information:  FLY - Robert L Bradshaw International Airport is on the northeastern outskirts of Basseterre. It is served seasonally by Air Canada (Toronto), American Airlines (Miami, New York City, Charlotte), British Airways (London-Gatwick), Delta (Atlanta) and United Airlines (New York-Newark). ( CREDIT: LONELY PLANET) LANGUAGE - English

5. Southern California


If you don't have a passport, you aren't limited to a wedding in your hometown. I actually did a destination wedding in San Clemente, CA. It was perfect because we were able to get married in a place that was special to us and all of our closest family and friends could join us. And that is one of the best parts... just family and our CLOSEST friends. The people who came made it a priority to be there... which meant they weren't just acquaintances. Anyway, on to the locations.  From San Diego to Laguna Beach to Santa Barbara, there are an incredible amount of beaches and so long as you don't have amplified sound, you can get married on pretty much any of them with just a permit. If you do want chairs and amplified sound, you will be a bit more limited but there are still a lot of options. If the beach isn't your thing, there are options in places like the many Catholic Missions that dot their way up the coast, Balboa Park or the wineries in Temecula or have a Joshua Tree wedding. And for the brides who want a little extra magic... you could always have a Fairytale Wedding at Disneyland.  For the: couple who wants something different but wants to stay close to home. for the couple who loves surfing and surf towns. And for the couple who loves classic romance. 

Our favorite venues: Balboa Park Wedding - San Diego Wedding Photographer Casa Romantica Wedding - San Clemente Wedding Photographer

San Juan Capistrano Mission Wedding - San Juan Capistrano Wedding Photographer

The Montage Wedding - Laguna Beach Wedding Photographer

The Surf and Sand Laguna Beach Wedding - Laguna Beach Wedding Photographer

Sunset Cliffs San Diego Wedding - San Diego Wedding Photography

The Ritz Carlton Laguna Beach Wedding - Laguna Niguel Wedding Photographer

LA County Beach Weddings (PERMITS and Information) - Los Angeles Beach Wedding Photographer

Orange County Beach Weddings and Orange County Park Weddings - Orange County Wedding Photographer

Fess Parker Double Tree Wedding - Santa Barbara Wedding Photographer

Disneyland Wedding Photographer - Anaheim Wedding Photographer

Saddlerock Ranch Wedding Photographer - Malibu Wedding Photographer

Temecula Creek Inn Wedding Photographer - Temecula Wedding Photographer

The Ocean Institute Wedding Photographer - Dana Point Wedding Photographer

Hilton Mission Bay Wedding Photographer - San Diego Wedding Photographer 

Rancho Las Lomas Wedding Photographer - Orange County Wedding Photographer

Sacred Sands Wedding Photographer - Joshua Tree Wedding Photographer

Lodge Torrey Pines Wedding Photographer - San Diego Wedding Photographer

Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines Wedding Photographer - La Jolla Wedding Photographer

Kona Kai Resort Wedding Photographer - Coronado Island Wedding Photographer

Overlook Hall Wedding Photographer - Catalina Island Wedding Photographer Moorten Botanic Gardens Wedding Photographer - Palm Springs Wedding Photographer

Omni Rancho Las Palmas Wedding Photographer - Palm Springs Wedding Photographer

Casa De Monte Vista Wedding Photographer - Palm Springs Wedding Photographer

The Pinerose Lake Arrowhead Wedding Photographer - Big Bear Wedding Photographer

Travel Information:  FLY - SNA John Wayne/Orange County, SAN San Diego International Airport, LAX Los Angeles International Airport, PSP Palm Springs Airport

LANGUAGE - English


We hope you enjoyed this blog post about Destination Weddings! We would love to talk to you about being your destination wedding photographer and adventuring with you near or far. Please contact us as soon as possible so we can get to work on a custom destination package for you.  Have a great Sunday!  Callie Riesling

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Callie Riesling Photography is a Colorado Wedding Photographer

based in Colorado.  We specialize in mountain weddings + 

adventurous destination wedding photography worldwide. 

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