NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - With the wedding of the century just a week away, engaged couples everywhere are looking to Britain’s royal couple for wedding inspiration.
Tradition dictates William and Kate marry in London, but luckily commoners in love are bound by no such restrictions. Genevieve Shaw Brown, senior editor for online travel advisers Travelocity.com (www.travelocity.com), suggests these top destinations to tie the knot. Reuters does not endorse this list:
1. Amalfi Coast, Italy
Imagine a wedding in a centuries-old church followed by an intimate dinner party in a tucked-away family-owned Italian restaurant, glasses clinking while wine and laughter flows. There is perhaps no place in the world more romantic than Italy and perhaps no region there more picturesque than the Amalfi coast. Perched high above the coastline, Ravello is an ancient town with spectacular vistas well-suited for sophisticates. For a more casual seaside affair, choose the tiny and stunningly beautiful town of Positano.
2. Las Vegas, Nevada
Despite what Hollywood would have us believe, most Las Vegas weddings are planned, well-thought out events as opposed to quickie ceremonies between people who’ve met mere hours before. Though more than 100,000 people choose Sin City for their weddings every year, Las Vegas is still the perfect destination for cutting-edge couples who rebuff tradition. Choose anything from an intimate ceremony on Bellagio’s Terraza Di Sogna with the waters of the world-famous fountains dancing in the background to The Graceland Chapel -- site of many celebrity weddings and equipped with the capability to broadcast your wedding online for friends who can’t make the trip.
3. Maui, Hawaii
There are more than a few reasons Maui is one of the world’s top honeymoon destinations, among them top-notch resorts, world-renowned surf, activities aplenty and sandy beaches ranging from white to black to red. These same traits are what make Maui such an idyllic wedding locale. Romantic moments are around nearly every bend in Maui, whether watching the sunrise atop Haleakala or simply strolling barefoot on the beach. An added bonus of tying the knot in Maui? You and your honey can just stay put for the honeymoon.
It’s been called “the island that inspired heaven,” so what better place to begin a life of heavenly wedded bliss? It’s relatively remote location - 500 miles east of Madagascar - has helped to preserve its pristine white-sand beaches, lush green mountains and cobalt-blue waters, but that’s not to say there’s any shortage of accommodations for you and your wedding guests. Luxury hotels like the Four Seasons Mauritius at Anahita are well-staffed with professionals able to assist with plans for a wedding on Mauritius from far away.
5. Megeve, France
For couples who prefer snow to sand, a winter wedding in the French Alps is a natural choice. With its cobblestone streets, upscale shops and world-class restaurants, Megeve is everything one would expect from a tony Alpine ski resort. Despite the plethora of high-end tourists it attracts, moderately priced hotels and family-run bed-and-breakfasts are available in addition to the luxury hotels. Cozy up underneath a blanket in the back of a horse-drawn carriage or bundle up and wander the narrow streets hand-in-hand, either way, be prepared to succumb to romance.
6. Nevis, British West Indies
When a bride imagines taking her vows on a beach at sunset, it’s likely the Caribbean she’s picturing. If it’s solitude you seek, make a beeline to Nevis, part of the two-island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis. The islands, though a short ferry ride from one another, have entirely distinct personalities, with Nevis being the quiet, untouched sister island to St, Kitt’s hustle and bustle. Nevis is all that’s right with the Caribbean - beautiful volcanic ash beaches, full-service resorts and easy to get to - while still managing to feel like a well-kept secret. Nevis’s legendary sunsets are the perfect backdrop for a Caribbean beach wedding and the stuff wedding photographer’s dreams are made of.
7. New York, New York
New York City has been the inspiration of countless songs, been the setting to blockbuster movies aplenty and is home to some of the world’s most iconic sites. What better place to provide the backdrop for the most important day of your life? Forgo the traditional limo and use a taxi for transportation, choose an ornate hotel ballroom or stark loft for your reception, and afterwards, continue the celebration into the morning hours by taking part in New York City’s unrivaled nightlife scene. There’s nothing cookie-cutter about this city, and no shortage of ways to have a one-of-a-kind wedding.
8. Orlando, Florida
Princess dreams die hard, which makes Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando the ideal place for regular ladies who’ve managed to find their own Prince Charming to begin their happily ever after. With locales ranging from exotic gardens to waterfront pavilions, there’s likely a place for nearly every taste. There’s no location, however, better suited to carrying out a princess fantasy than Swan Boat Landing with Cinderella Castle as the backdrop. Complete the dream by choosing Cinderella’s Coach, complete with six Welsh ponies and two footmen in full costume, as your transportation.
9. Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
Even couples who’ve traveled to Mexico many times have likely not been to Riviera Nayarit, a short drive north but seemingly a world away from the bustle of popular Puerto Vallarta. Stretching 100 miles along the Pacific Coast from Nuevo Vallarta in the south to San Blas in the north, the region is the home of all-inclusive megaresorts to tiny boutique hotels and everything in between. Depending on preference, a couple might choose to begin their lives in the laid-back surfer enclave of Sayulita or at one of Punta Mita’s ultra-luxe beachfront resorts, like the St. Regis Punta Mita.
10. San Diego, California
Weather is always at the top of the list of worries for brides to be. Though there are no guarantees, the odds of a sunny day are much higher when the wedding location is San Diego, California, home to some of the world’s loveliest weather. 70 miles of white sand means plenty of options for laid-back lovers looking for a barefoot-on-the-beach ceremony, while the bustling Gaslamp Quarter is a perfect choice for couples who want a cosmopolitan locale in which to say “I do.”
Editing by Paul Casciato