You don't like chain hotels or canned experiences, boring breakfasts or bland decor‚ but you do like friendly hosts and local flavor, meeting fellow travelers and exploring the authentic, tucked-away corners of the world. The most romantic day of your life, then, would be well spent at an intimate inn in a dreamy locale. Whether you're planning a 100-person wedding bash or an elopement for you and your soon-to-be-spouse, consider one of these seven B&Bs, inns, and chalets set in beautiful destinations from the Finger Lakes to Marrakech.
The undulating hills of the Italian countryside are the stuff of many a romantic dream. So why not get married among them? The fairytale-ready Casa Portagioia in the medieval town of Castiglion Fiorentino might just be your spot in the Tuscan sun. Hosts Terry and Marcello can house civil and religious weddings of up to 18 guests, even helping you plan little details (and navigate Italy’s infamously tricky bureaucracy). Throw your dinner-party reception at Casa Portagioia with handmade pastas paired with expertly picked local wines; your guests will love you.
To Do in Town: Rent cars and tour southern Tuscany’s many famous sights, including foodie-friendly Montepulciano and Siena, the charmingly gothic town with a cathedral packed with works by Michelangelo and Donatello.
St. Lucia is commonly considered a honeymooner’s paradise: luxurious and exotic all at once, with its majestic mountain views. So why not have the wedding there, too? At La Haut, an exclusive, award-winning island B&B, you can plan your ceremony facing the blue Caribbean Sea and the towering Twin Pitons. A number of pre-set packages make planning easy and include everything from the officiant to the bouquet to the cake (made with local fruits or coconut, of course). Add on extras like a reggae or calypso band, or just let the views speak for themselves.
Before You Take the Plunge: Take a day trip to Sulphur Springs to soak in the mineral-rich mud and wash off in a 50-foot waterfall.
Swantown Inn & Spa
A 19th-century Queen Anne nested in the heart of Olympia, the Swantown Inn is something of a historical refuge along the Puget Sound. Gourmet three-course breakfasts—such as souffles and puffed pear pancakes—and charming rooms with clawfoot tubs and fireplaces add to the building’s elegance, while on-site weddings up the ante. Big events of up to 100 guests can be hosted here. Yet the inn specializes in elopements and intimate ceremonies, setting aside the grand Astoria Room for your wedding night.
In the Area: Whether it’s just you and your partner or the whole family, take in Olympia’s vibrant downtown shops and cafes before heading out into the Puget Sound area. Endless parks and a wildlife refuge offer outdoorsy (typically Pacific Northwest) fun.
Riad Le Clos des Arts
Riad Le Clos des Arts is an uber-romantic hideaway in Marrakech, tucked away in the winding, chaotic medina. Seven suites and guest rooms surround a beautiful stone terrace. Lavish Moroccan breakfasts start each day, including home-baked pastries, fresh-squeezed local fruit juices, and cup after cup of soothing mint tea. On the roof, a small plunge pool and crisp white lounge chairs face the north African sun. The riad (or guesthouse) can host up to 17 people, so it’s perfect for the small but adventurous wedding party.
For Your Adventurous Guests: The day before the wedding, grab your jetlagged guests and hit up one of Marrakech’s many hammams for a day of traditional Moroccan relaxation and the most thorough body scrub you’ll ever receive. We recommend Heritage Spa.
This one is a little out there. OK, a lot out there. But it’s a stunning place to combine your elopement and honeymoon into one all-inclusive, bucket-list-topping affair. Villa Wastra, nestled in the lush greenery north of Ubud, is a home-very-far-away-from-home. Filled with Balinese textiles, marble floors, luxe linens, and rich natural-wood furniture, it’s unbelievably gorgeous. You can’t throw a massive event in this quiet retreat, but with one look at the Endek Honeymoon Suite and its mountain and valley views, you simply won’t miss the details and madness of a giant wedding party.
Explore the World: Cycle the steep Batur crater, tour local Balinese villages, go whitewater rafting, or spot a 500-year-old banyan tree.
Chalet of Canandaigua
CANANDAIGUA, NEW YORK
New York's Finger Lakes region is known for wine-country getaways and lakeside activities. Among the hustle and bustle is the Chalet of Canandaigua, a rustic three-bedroom B&B located in a willow-filled forest, next to a tranquil pond. The chalet and its peaceful surroundings offer a great spot for small weddings, while the suites' rich decor (gas fireplaces, Victorian soaking tubs, leather chairs) means that you can experience a true vacation. Before and after the big day, vineyards, antique shops, and the area’s galleries await.
Get Ungrounded: Directly from the chalet’s lawn, you can take off in a hot-air balloon trip and see the Finger Lakes from above. The chalet staff provides a picnic lunch before launch. What better way to quash wedding jitters?
Big life events should come with a sense of spiritual renewal. For a nurturing and soul-restoring wedding, try something completely different, like Dragonfly Ranch on Hawaii’s Big Island. Walk a rainbow-colored labyrinth, meditate in the organic garden, or relax on a sunset-facing lanai with your soon-to-be-spouse. A local non-denominational minister can write a beautiful and customized ceremony; maybe you’ll even have a fire and drumming circle. As host Barbara promises, “time is free and easy” at Dragonfly Ranch. Lifetimes should be, too.
An Unusual Wedding Day: The treehouse-like ranch is focused on health and happiness. Start the wedding day with pure Kona coffee and local organic fruits. Relax in the infrared sauna. Celebrate the day with a swim with spinner dolphins.