Getting engaged is not only one of the most exciting times of your life, but also one that is filled with a checklist of decisions to make – like when and where you want to tie the knot and where you want to spend your honeymoon. It’s really important to choose these locations based on the month and season, so we created this list of destinations that are perfect for winter weddings and honeymoons. These are simply thought starters, so if you need more ideas, you’re going to love Vacation’s Honeymoon and Wedding Destination Scheduler.
European River Cruise
Visit storybook villages, snow-capped castles and festive Christmas markets filled with colorful crafts, gingerbread and warm, spicy glühwein. Take a 7-night cruise along the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland, to visit cities including Cologne (Germany), Heidelberg (Germany) and Strasbourg (France). Exchange vows before an 11-day romantic AmaWaterways cruise down the Danube River from Prague, Czech Republic, to Budapest, Hungary, with stops along the way in Vilshofen (Germany), Vienna (Austria) and Bratislava (Slovakia). It’s the perfect way to experience a few countries while spending quality time together as newlyweds. Because it’s really about the journey together… not just the destination.
Vacation Expert Tip: It’s OK to skip those hiking and biking excursions in lieu of the slower-paced excursions. It allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture and find those secret spots to mingle with locals. That’s what will make your journey truly unique and unforgettable.
Winter marks the end of Austin’s festival season, which allows you more time to really experience the city during mild temperatures and without the large crowds. Hotels offer lower rates and some (like InterContinental Austin) have trained wedding pros to help with everything from pre-wedding events to your honeymoon. Austin has several live music venues, tasty BBQ joints such as the famous Franklin Barbecue, and art galleries, like the Austin Art Garage and GrayDUCK that feature artwork by local artists.
Vacation Expert Tip: For truly authentic country & western music, head out to the Broken Spoke dance hall where locals line dance and two-step late into the night. Take your cowboy or cowgirl for a spin on the wood dance floor, but make sure you order a couple of longneck Shiner beers and the best chicken fried steak in the city.
Australia’s summer is from December through February, making Sydney an ideal place for a wedding or honeymoon. Fill your need for adventure! Head to Sydney’s sandy shores, like Bondi Beach or Manly Beach, for a beach wedding you’ll never forget or where honeymooners can learn how to surf at an accredited surf school or relax and catch some rays. Sydney Opera House, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Taronga Zoo and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia are just a few must-see sights, but a day trip to Port Stephens to go sandboarding at the Stockton Bight Sand Dunes or a cruise to see the bottlenose dolphin is a must! A Vacation travel agent can help customize your Sydney adventure.
Vacation Expert Tip: Traveling together is all about bonding, and there’s no better way to bond in Sydney than climbing the Harbour Bridge at dusk to watch the sun set from high above this gorgeous city. It’s a great place to propose (just don’t drop that ring!), and several couples have tied the knot up there!
In January, Asheville is relatively mild with high temps reaching the 60s. It’s perfect weather for gallery and museum hopping in the Downtown Art and River Arts Districts, where renovated factories are now home to artists’ studios. Don’t leave Beer City without a proper brewery, distillery and or winery tour, ending with a stop at one of several local restaurants, ranging from the contemporary Southern cooking at Rhubarb to the new innovative bar and restaurant Edison Craft Ales + Kitchen – the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains here is spectacular. And if you want to feel like a kid again, visit the eclectic Asheville Pinball Museum with more than 70 pinball machines and classic video games. Quarters not required! Ok, well after you pay the $15 admission fee.
Vacation Expert Tip: Plan a destination wedding at the world-renowned Biltmore Estate where the wedding options offered include a four-hour open bar, customized wedding cake, bride & groom overnight stay, carriage rides, spa services, private wine tastings, and yes, even fireworks!
Whistler, British Columbia
Find chills and thrills for less at one of the most celebrated ski resorts in North America. Whistler is the perfect destination for honeymooners who enjoy skiing and spending time getting cozy by the fireplace. Consider staying at the Four Seasons Resort. Located on the base of Blackcomb Mountain, this popular destination features ski packages that include two daily lift passes, a personal ski concierge, shuttle service and daily wine and hot chocolate – we’re all for it and you will be, too! After a day on the slopes, soothe your fatigued muscles in your suites’ soaking tub or schedule a massage in the resort’s world-class spa.
Vacation Expert Tip: Head to Whistler between late January and mid-February when snow conditions are perfect and the resorts are less crowded. And for a quick day trip, visit Vancouver. It’s only an hour and a half drive south of the popular ski destination.
Big Sur, CA
Plan a destination wedding with the jaw-dropping panoramic views in Big Sur as your backdrop or commune with nature for an amazing honeymoon. Believe it or not… it’s not uncommon to see gray whales, dolphins and elephant seal while driving along Highway 1 in the winter. And far from big city lights, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and Jade Cove Beach are great stargazing spots, or if you prefer, try a local restaurant such as Sierra Mar at the Post Ranch Inn or The Sur House at the Ventana Big Sur Resort for an intimate dining experience.
Vacation Expert Tip: Night bathing in the healing waters of the local hot springs has long been a tradition—you shouldn’t visit without taking a dip. For the quintessential Big Sur experience, head to the Esalen Hot Springs built on a precipice overlooking the ocean; it’s a well-known clothing-optional retreat open to the public each night.
Wine and dine your way through Paris’ charming neighborhoods like Marais and Montmartre. The weather doesn’t stop the City of Light from being one of the most romantic places in the world, especially romantic spots such as the Eiffel Tower, Palace Versailles, and Wall of “I Love You’s.” In the late Winter and early Spring, experience the city’s true joie de vivre as you take a romantic stroll through the beautiful gardens at Luxembourg Castle and the Tuileries Garden between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde. Enjoy the open-air markets and street fairs along the way with minimal crowds and comfortable temperatures. It’s the ultimate wedding and honeymoon destination for true romantics.
Vacation Expert Tip: For a romantic dining experience, make a reservation in advance at Gare de Lyon’s Le Train Bleu. The decadent food served here may be expensive, but the opulent, French décor and service will make you feel like royalty.
Afar, Travel + Leisure and Frommer’s ranked Nashville high on their lists for best places to visit in 2017. And Vacation also gives the city high marks as a wedding and honeymoon destination in the winter. In March, enjoy the blues and country music in the balmy weather minus the spring break crowds. Music Row, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Honk Tonk Highway, The Grand Ole Opry are a few hot things to see, but its flea markets and antique stores are just as popular among locals and tourists. Enjoy dinner and jazz at Sambuca, two-stepping at the Wildhorse Saloon, wine tasting at Arrington Vineyards, and if it’s warm enough, pack a picnic basket and head down to Love Circle.
Vacation Expert Tip: Planning your wedding in the Music City? Avenue, the Belmont Mansion and Bloomsbury Farms are popular venues to say, “I do.” Try the Cactus Creek Barn for a more country or rustic atmosphere for your nuptials.
Inspired by this article and want to speak with a Vacation travel agent about how you can plan an unforgettable destination wedding and honeymoon? Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts connect you with a specialist to plan your important day and a post-nuptial getaway.
Check out Vacation’s Honeymoon and Wedding Destination Scheduler below for more options for where to tie the knot or plan a romantic post-nuptial getaway.