These days, the more unique and fun weddings are, the more memorable and fulfilling they can be. Couples are finding ways to pay homage to time-honored traditions while creating customs of their own, and they’re favoring smaller gatherings where guests are treated to highly personalized festivities.
More nuptials are taking place in and around the home, a sacred and sentimental space that carries infinitely more meaning than an offsite venue. There are two general themes gaining popularity: fairytale weddings where the cottage garden takes the stage, and a picturesque castle or estate forms the backdrop; and destination weddings that bring the vows to the beach, but forego the large crowds and all-inclusives.
Turning the Fantasy Into Reality
Some brides and grooms are capturing imaginations with a fairytale wedding — gathering with close friends and family in a garden fully in bloom, perhaps with an ivy-clad palace adding a dash of Regency romance to the backdrop. It’s like something out of a beloved storybook — but with the right design and location, it can be lifted from the pages and rendered in real life as a chic, modern ceremony. Classic features such as hanging florals and sumptuous bouquets can be complemented by a new appreciation for sustainability, natural colors and textures.
Just envision an altar at this stately mansion, where pristine white walkways, manicured hedges, and century-old architecture provide everything necessary for a nearly-royal wedding. Because this home was built in 1900, it brings together enchanting craftsmanship and noble sensibility with simple contours and clean lines — the best of both the old and new worlds. A ceremony here could feature all the timeless touches while seamlessly embedding more of-the-moment trends, from silver accents and hand-painted candles to earthy palettes accessorized with rattan and macrame.
With its pillars, turrets, and panoramic verandas, this contemporary seaside chateau also elicits a fairytale wedding vibe. And to suit the theme, many couples are using their ceremony and reception as a way to narrativize their love story in unique and unforgettable ways — whether through a menu inspired by the food they ordered on their first date, or visual decor and motifs that allude to the milestones they’ve reached together.
An Exotic Destination, Sans Travel
The perennial challenge with destination weddings is that guests are expected to travel great distances, only to post themselves in hotels and resorts that lack the comforts of home. But when the destination is a fabulous beachfront property, inviting attendees to an intimate outdoor ceremony and private party is an entirely different — and far superior — prospect.
There’s no shortage of aisles to walk down in this tropical villa. The main living space, with its vaulted wooden ceilings and chic modern layout, leads straight through double-size glass doors to the white sand beaches of Oil Nut Bay, while gardens, patios, ports, and courtyards provide a wealth of hidden gems where a stunning ceremony could take place. It’s also ideal for housing guests. There are two primary suites that feature their own outdoor spas, while four additional bedrooms with private bathrooms line the residence’s perimeter.
A wedding in a remote destination can act as a beautiful metaphor for the act of falling in love — there will be challenges and adventures in the journey, all made worth it by the grandeur of the final destination. That could certainly be the case for this luxurious residence on Parrot Cay, a private island resort with dunes and a nature preserve adjacent to the oceanfront property. The fact that the primary suite is located in a separate poolside pavilion makes it an ideal — and idyllic — place to trade “I do’s” standing barefoot in the sand and waves.
Nothing compares to a wedding at home, in a space of meaning, memory, and belonging, surrounded by loved ones. Rather than spending thousands of dollars on an impersonal venue, it may be worth investing instead in a residence that resonates with you — one that makes hosting meaningful private events a reality, and that continues to serve as a home and a haven for decades to come.
Trying to pick the next bouquet for your own nuptials? Check out Brett Cole’s ideas on how to bring florals into your everyday life.