How romantic would it be to be married barefoot under a shady palm tree with the backdrop of a sparkling ocean twinkling in the sunshine? Imagine not having to deal with traffic, expensive limousines and the stresses that normally accompany weddings, and picture you and your loved one saying "I do" in the most relaxed setting possible.
A beach wedding is the ultimate dream for couples who want to celebrate with their nearest and dearest, all the while living it up in a fabulous destination where your every desire is a wish come true. Well here are, in our opinion, the top 5 overseas beach weddings that you can dream about or turn into a reality.
Say "Bula, I do" in Fiji – a South Pacific paradise
Not having to worry about weather problems is a big reason why people choose to get married in Fiji. Although the odd cyclone passes through occasionally, the climate in Fiji is usually pretty spectacular, with temperatures ranging from about 19 degrees to 33 degrees, depending on the season. For unrivalled privacy, Cloud 9 will rock your world. It is a two level floating platform anchored to the Ro Ro Reef just metres off one of the world's most fabulous beaches and features its very own woodfired pizza oven and fully stocked bar. Marry your beloved on the wooden deck where your outlook is ocean, horizon or beach, depending on which direction you face. You'll have complete privacy and you can invite up to 100 guests! Wine and dine in smart casual attire and enjoy your first dance as husband and wife under the sunshine, to music that is played on the impressive surround system on board. Not only is Cloud 9 a dream wedding destination – with first class accommodation back on shore – it's a true bucket list vacation destination.
Puglia, Italy – that's amore!
Situated in one of Italy's most stunning oceanside locations, Coco Beach Club is a bellissimo setting for any overseas beach wedding. Polignano a Mare in Puglia is at the point where the heel becomes the boot of Italy and the views are of the Adriatic Sea. It is poised on the edge of a ravine that is dotted with caves and is considered an important ancient settlement. As for weddings, Coco offers an array of settings to suit the happy couple's desires. Choose from the wooden terrace that overlooks the sea, the atrium garden or the panoramic pool. The dominant colour at Coco is white, reflecting the whitewashed style of hillside houses on the Mediterranean.
Coco caters for a variety of wedding styles. Perhaps it's a small, intimate wedding by candlelight as the sun sets. Otherwise, perhaps you'd prefer a huge feast that invites all to eat, drink and be merry to toast your nuptials. Even more formal occasions for small or large parties are catered for and can be as elegant as you desire. Cocktails overlooking the glistening sea? Of course. Healthy light lunch and local wine by the pool? Naturally, at Coco, you can book a suite for the wedding night and breakfast and you will have a personal wedding planner to attend to your every need.
"Goa way to India" – be an Indian bride for the day
Goa is an extremely popular beach holiday destination in India so naturally, it's also very popular for beach weddings. At Cidade de Goa, you can design your dream wedding to keep with the traditional royal Indian custom or choose instead to have a modern and very chic affair western style. The staff there can arrange for chudiwalas (bangle makers) and bindi makers, and even mehendi artists to apply the customary wedding henna to the bride's hands and forearms. When your guests arrive in Goa, they will adore the beautiful accommodation at Cidade de Goa which includes guest rooms and suites overlooking the turquoise bay. The resort will even arrange a special day out for your guests which could involve water sports and dolphin-watching or divine Ayurvedic massages and salt scrub treatments.
The blissful couple will also enjoy relaxing at the resort's spa and salon where hairdressers can create exotic styles or sophisticated classic up-styles for your big day. Allow yourselves to be tempted by the bride and groom packages that will have you feeling serene and devoid of stress in no time. If you intend to wear Indian garments, then the staff will also help with your sari draping. Exchange vows in view of the bay, with the balmy breeze caressing your skin. It promises to be an unforgettable experience for all.
"Spectacular Santorini" – White Washed Wonder
Greece may not be the first overseas beach wedding destination that comes to mind for most people but it truly offers something special. The island of Santorini provides a spectacular backdrop for a beautiful Mediterranean wedding. It also has a great climate and some of the most stunning coastline which is some of the most photographed in Greece. Take advantage of a full moon and dine by the light of the moon, along with scented candles and ambient lanterns. Nothing could be more romantic.
To make the preparations even easier, you can engage a wedding planner who will make all the local arrangements for you. They will order your cake, the food and the music and of course, the champagne. Just imagine standing on a terrace overlooking the Mediterranean Islands, holding hands in front of your celebrant and looking into each other's eyes, surrounded by your most treasured friends and family. With the gentle sound of the water lapping the shore, your wedding is set to be elegant in its beauty and its simplicity.
What's cookin', good lookin'?
To some, the Cook Islands is a surprising overseas beach wedding venue but for the many couples who have been married there, it's still a well-kept secret. Aitutaki, with its eight villages populated by around two thousand people is the second most visited island of the Cook Islands. You can also arrange for a traditional wedding dance performance by a Cook Islands maiden or have spectacular fire dancers enthral everyone with their act.
After the ceremony you can arrange for your guests to feast under the stars or in the brilliant sunshine, on local seafood and other delicacies and every person will take home with them precious memories not just of your marriage but of this very special place.
Our top 5 may not be your top 5
We know, we know. Everybody has their own idea of what makes a spectacular overseas beach wedding venue.
It's never too early to start daydreaming of getting married in your favourite spot in the world!