Thursday, August 22, 2013

Destination Weddings in the USA

Want a destination wedding but don't want to travel too far? Here are some beautiful locations for tying the knot away from home.


WHAT’S TO LOVE A sunny Arizona steals the hearts of many engaged couples searching for a dreamy place to say “I do.” Some couples find a desert sunset especially dreamy, while incurable romantics are seduced by Southwestern ambiance. Phoenix and Scottsdale boast some of the best resorts on earth, which have been the sites for many legendary Hollywood weddings.
WHAT’S WEDDING WORTHY The newest luxury resort in Paradise Valley is the InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa ( featuring Old World charm and Spanish architecture, locally grown, globally inspired cuisine and a variety of elegant wedding venues. Castillo Lucena at Montelucia welcomes weddings with architecturally stunning details such as cathedral ceilings accented with exposed wood beams and hand-laid parquet floors. Bridal parties in Castillo Lucena are also provided access to Isabella’s Parlour, a private bridal suite complete with a flat screen television that broadcasts a live feed of the wedding venue as guests enter the room allowing the bride to can take in the moment while preparing to walk down the aisle. The resort offers a more intimate and secluded multi-purpose wedding venue, Camelback Villa and Wedding Suite and Lawn, including 2,800 square feet of living space and two private poolside cabanas. The two-bedroom villa is an idyllic locale to prepare for the big day with privacy and convenience, all within an enclosed, exclusive area of the resort. There is also an expansive Great Room designed for family and guests to congregate and celebrate after the event. Or opt for the 2,000 square feet of manicured lawn for the reception and has a breathtaking unobstructed view of Camelback Mountain….The legendary Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired Arizona Biltmore (, set on 39 beautifully manicured acres, has long been a top choice for weddings. And it’s easy to see why this is one of the Southwest’s most popular places to say “I do.” Venues range from the Grand Ballroom, to sublime outdoor sites and historic rooms that are architectural masterpieces such as the Aztec Room. Gorgeous outdoor venues include Squaw Peak Terrace, the Cottage Court and Paradise Garden. Every wedding is completely customized and the resort’s highly experienced wedding planning staff works closely with the bride and groom to personalize every detail of the event. Couples also have the newest option: Ocatilla at Arizona Biltmore, an exclusive 120-room wing offering luxurious club accommodations and the resort’s most enhanced guest services—a boutique hotel within the resort featuring club accommodations, a private pool and special complimentary amenities.
SPECIAL TOUCHES Baseball fans have a field day when spring training takes over the Greater Phoenix area, with numerous locations to take in a major league game. And, no visit to the area would be complete without a trip into the Sonoran desert. For a wonderful afternoon, contact Old West Trails Tours ( and ask for Lenny Dee—the best guide around. —Clint Brownfield


WHAT’S TO LOVE Orlando is the epicenter of fun and excitement with family-oriented Walt Disney World (, being its top draw for visitors. About the size of San Francisco, Walt Disney World Resorts boasts more than 20 hotels to meet every couples budget and style. From the wildlife driven Animal Kingdom Resort to the Martha’s Vineyard themed Yacht Club, there’s something for everyone.
WHAT’S WEDDING WORTHY There’s a reason why more than 30,000 couples have had their dream wedding at the place that’s known for bringing fantasy alive. Luxurious and exotic, the Disney wedding team will assist in planning your wedding and reception with ease. From the affordable Escape Collection for couples who prefer small and intimate (and want the option of adding on a honeymoon) to the more grand Couture Wedding Collection by David Tutera, any Disney Wedding will be high on style and low on stress. Consider the Wishes Collection if your vision has already been mapped out. Among the amenities, are great spas and restaurants. Pamper yourself and wedding party with a Citrus Zest Sugar Scrub at the Grand Floridian Spa & Health Club while the groom enjoys a relaxing round of golf as you anticipate what will surely be a magical day. Also, there are numerous ways to make your grand entrance. Arrive at the ceremony in a horse-drawn Landau coach or classic vintage Ford. A ceremony at the Wedding Pavillion means a view of Cinderella’s Castle as you walk down the aisle.
SPECIAL TOUCHES Whether you want Swarovski crystals incorporated on your cake or a three layer confection of lemon, red velvet and chocolate, the pastry kitchen will create a design to your heart’s desire. Disney brides have been known to shed tears of happiness at the sight of their final product. —Baria Bailey


WHAT’S TO LOVE Palm Springs’ majestic outdoors and sophisticated desert lifestyle blend seamlessly into one another so well, the whole resort town feels likes its been designed from scratch. Nestled under 10,000-foot snow-capped peaks, this fabled hideaway of Hollywood stars retains its grandeur with millions of dollars worth of recent renovations to its legendary hotels, as well as ongoing preservation of its ‘50s mid-century modern architecture. With nearby draws like the nearly 800,000-acre Joshua Tree National Park, you couldn’t ask for a more perfectly mystical yet refined spot to spend your honeymoon.
WHAT’S WEDDING WORTHY The 406-room Riviera Resort & Spa ( is famous as the hangout of Sinatra and the Rat Pack in the ‘50s and ‘60s. At one time its cabaret hosted performances by Elvis and Bob Hope, and the whole place was fashioned after major Vegas hotels of the era. In October of 2008, the Riviera reopened with a stellar $70 million renovation that reinstated a lot of the vintage colors, wallpaper, and moldings of the original hotel, wrapped in a swanky 21st Century neo-retro vibe. There are glittering mosaics of ‘60s celebrities made out of Guatemalan pennies, a lobby bar with a 30-foot video wall, and an 18-room, 11,000-square-foot Asian-inspired indoor spa with Watsu pool treatments. Moreover, the property hosts over 10,000 square feet of outdoor lawn space with dramatic mountain backdrops, making for the perfect wedding setting. A magical oval-shaped 19,670-square-foot Grand Ballroom, decked out with sparkling crystal chandeliers, creates the perfectly elegant fairytale-like reception you'll always remember.
SPECIAL TOUCHES On the blocks between the Riviera and downtown Palm Springs lies the burgeoning uptown design district, which celebrates the town’s mid-century modernist roots with hip and eclectic boutiques and galleries. You can spend days in the design shops which sell everything from minimalist leather couches and shag rugs to vintage light fixtures and consignment clothing. —Matthew Link


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