Featured in MunaLuchi Bride Magazine, Issue 28, MunaCoterie member Oniki Hardtman of Oh Niki Occasions shares her top wedding destinations for 2023!
Thinking of having a destination wedding and simply don’t know where to start with the planning!? I get it, Sis. You “love to travel” and explore the world but the logistics for organizing a group seem entirely TOO MUCH to handle on top of all the stress you’re experiencing at work this year!
It’s “so much more simple” to book a getaway when it’s just you and Bae flying to Tulum to swim in a cenote. Your dream wedding destination is halfway across the world but you’re simply “unsure if it’s too unreasonable” to have your family and friends fly there with you and you don’t want your grandparents to miss your big day, right? Or maybe you figure that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience your dream and you can always celebrate with friends with a party when you get back home – cause “a party costs less than a wedding, right!?!”.
Well, take it from me. my name is Oniki Hardtman of Oh Niki Occasions and I’m a Destination Wedding Planner and Luxury Travel Advisor based in South Florida and New Jersey who plans incredible destination experiences for busy clientele from all over the world.
I love hearing exactly what my clients’ dreams and challenges are for their wedding, then making those dreams come true based on their lifestyle + budget and what makes the most sense for them – anywhere in the world!
Here are a few of the hottest wedding destinations to choose from and why they likely make sense for you, too – in 2023 and beyond!
Let’s just say it: there is never NOT going to be a time when the island of Jamaica is not a HOT location for Destination Weddings! No matter your budget, vision, or how many times you’ve visited this well-rounded island in The Caribbean – there is always something new and unforgettable to experience and explore.
There is SO much to love about Jamaica:
- Rich culture.
- Flavorful food and beverage (hello Rum Punch & Blue Mountain coffee!).
- The loveliest landscape where lush green mountainous terrain meets the turquoise ocean in 6 distinctly different resort areas with calm rivers and climbable waterfalls flowing throughout its 14 total parishes.
- Daily airlift from most major US airlines and cities throughout the world.
- Affordability for any and every budget – from very economical to the highest level of effortless luxury – means that no matter what your vision is for a destination wedding, you can have it in Jamaica.
Hire a Jamaica Wedding Expert to help you choose from an array of venues such as Historic estate homes and castles too, toes in the sand on the beach or terraces and rooftops with unforgettable views, modern mansions, and villas, quaint boutique hotels with garden gazebos or even Over the Water Chapels at sprawling all-inclusive resorts with every convenience that you and your guests can imagine.
One of the most romantic countries in the world is Italy and there are so many beautiful cities within this European destination to host your wedding – each with its own unique charm and attributes.
- Florence is simply magical. Say your I-Dos with picturesque views of the Arno river and the rolling hills of Tuscany within a stone’s throw. Your guests will love traveling here to enjoy premium handmade pasta paired with a beautiful Chianti Classico, followed by enjoying gelato for dessert while strolling along the cobblestone streets in the days leading up to and after your wedding.
- If guests are making a Trans-Atlantic flight from the states, encourage them to extend their stay and take the train to other Italian cities such as Venice or Rome if they truly want to immerse themselves in this culturally rich destination.
- For those that truly want to live like the jet set and wed in coastal villas just as their favorite celebrities do, a Lake Como wedding is truly on trend for 2023 and just a 40-minute train ride from Italy’s fashion capital – Milan!
It only makes sense that a cultural melting pot like Miami can suit any and every wedding size and vibe that you are going for! From beachfront suites to big ballrooms for hundreds in the hottest new hotels, private presidential suites, and legit tropical gardens, too – Greater Miami is the answer to having the domestic destination wedding of your dreams with no passport required.
- Searching for a charming European garden? Vizcaya or an Ancient Spanish Monastery is just the place!
- Want a chic rooftop pool deck to party on? Just about every hotel downtown has one.
- Want to show off your Caribbean Culture through cuisine? The menus here are never lacking in flavor because our people make up the very fabric of this community and the booming hospitality industry in South Florida.
#4. Martha’s Vineyard
Name a better place for ‘Jumping the Broom’ than on Martha’s Vineyard during the warm summer months when this tiny island off the coast of Massachusetts becomes a haven for America’s Black Elite.
- June, July, and August are the perfect months to pack up the car to hop on a fast ferry along with it and the family or grab your companions and fly in commercial from the Northeast or private from anywhere you please.
- The most popular on-island accommodations include vacation rental homes which are typically available by the week – but please be careful about understanding the owner’s rules regarding hosting weddings & events if you decide to rent one for use during this special occasion.
- The best options for hosting your Destination Wedding include one of the island’s many fantastic restaurants with indoor or outdoor space for tented weddings, whimsical cottages, quaint inns, and beautiful boutique hotels throughout Edgartown, Chilmark, Vineyard Haven, and historic Oak Bluffs where you will likely run into friends – particularly if you attended or your spouse attended an HBCU.
Couples wanting an island wedding that is convenient for travel yet likely not previously visited by the vast majority of your guests can often find that in Bermuda!
- This pristine and picturesque island off the coast of the Carolinas is a quick 1.5-hour flight from NYC and also boasts direct flights from Atlanta, Miami, Toronto, London & more.
- You will not find any massive all-inclusive resorts here on this island of 21 square miles, but rather a lovely assortment of luxurious hillside hotels from which to choose.
- Whether you are planning your wedding on a pretty pink sand beach, an unfinished outdoor church structure, the gorgeous gardens of a private island estate, a terrace perched above the sea at a modern boutique hotel, or one of the island’s many lush golf courses – Bermuda will provide you with the intimate feel of a luxury island location curated perfectly to your tastes and one that your guests will never forget.
- If you want to marry here, April through August will be your best bet for perfect weather to catch those sunsets!
#6. Turks & Caicos
When most people tell you they’ve just come back from Turks & Caicos and had an amazing time (as everyone does), more than likely they have visited the island of Providenciales or “Provo” as it’s more affectionately called by locals. We fell in love with the island a few years back and I have to say it is one that I return to most frequently for many reasons.
- It’s a hop, skip and jump just over the 700 Islands of the Bahamas which make it less than 1.5 hours from South Florida and just as easily accessible for my friends & family members up and down the East Coast.
- Much of the island is so untouched and primed for development so there is no shortage of modern hotels of varying vibes, sprawling private villas, and luxe, fun resorts to choose from – whether you seek family-friendly to adult-only luxury playgrounds.
- With private islands just a speedboat away, you can have as much seclusion or all-inclusion as you’d like for your special day to celebrate with family and friends.
#7. South Africa
There is something very special about Cape Town that makes all who visit want to immediately return! It could be that feeling of being on top of the world when you reach the top of Table Mountain or the connectedness you feel to history when your ferry reaches Robben Island where Mandela was imprisoned.
- The stunning scenery and modern hotel and restaurant wedding venue options found in this uncostly coastal city will leave you feeling like Kings and Queens – not just on your wedding day, but every day because the exchange rate is unbelievably good!
- If you love wine as I do, hire a driver and take time to explore the nearby Stellenbosch Wine Region which is also the perfect place to host a beautiful wedding in a sprawling vineyard!
- Want to see the Big 5 on your Big Day!? That can be arranged if you dare do a Luxury Safari Wedding!
Stretch your imagination and see that a Destination Wedding Can be more than you have ever dreamed.
This soon-to-be shining star of a wedding destination may not be as well known as its’ more Americanized neighbor next door, Aruba, but with a good handful of All-Inclusive resorts and popular hotel brands to choose from, including the newest romantic Sandals Adult Only resort which opened just last year, you will find:
- Curacao boasts the same favorable climate (including a general lack of hurricane threats) as well as fewer tourists which will allow you and your guests to feel like you’ve truly found a hidden gem on this very European-feeling Dutch island.
- Marriage laws also make it a favorable destination for Same-Sex Couples to show that love is love and that’s all the more reason to love Curacao for your Destination Wedding in 2023 & beyond!
#9. Napa Valley
Let’s toast to my very favorite mainland destination on the West Coast – Napa Valley! As a wine lover myself, this area of the country is a dreamland.
- Whether your guest list is full of fellow oenophiles or not, there is always something to do such as luxuriate at the spa, indulge in scenic drives, and enjoy multi-course dinners at Michelin-starred restaurants followed by hours-long conversations with friends around the firepit at a variety of boutique hotels, resorts, and inns.
- If you are dreaming of getting married with the grapevines as your backdrop, you will want to do so when the leaves are lush, so consider the high season which is late April through early October. Beyond that, it may be too sparse for optimal photographs to capture the true essence of this magical landscape.
- Just as some of us love the glamor of sipping an effervescent sparkling wine and others appreciate a full-bodied glass of red, the same can be true for finding your idyllic venue to match depending on your vibe – from elegant resort ballrooms to regal yet rustic wineries in the heart of Sonoma, this region truly has something for every couple. Cheers!
Looking for more top wedding destinations?
- Planner & Designer (All Photos): Oh Niki Occasions
- South Florida Wedding: Art Photo Soul Photographers
- Cake: Sweet Tiers
- Catering: Sensory Delights
- Florals: Leah T Williams Events
- Miami Wedding: Stanlo Photography
- Miami Tablescape Photographer: M by Michaela
- Bermuda Tablescape: Nana Annan Photography
- Turks & Caicos: Nana Annan Photography
- Jamaica Photographer: Kareem Virgo for REEM Photography
- South Florida Bride: Kareem Virgo for REEM Photography
- Bride: Renee Alexandra
- Oniki Headshots: Nana Annan Photography (blue blazer)