Strictly Weddings is captivated by the magic of a magnificent sunset wedding. Something mysterious and spiritual happens when we take in the fleeting glimpse of a setting sun and the sky’s kaleidoscopes of color as wedding vows are exchanged. It’s inspiration for the soul and, more specifically, soul mates! Imagine exchanging your wedding vows in paradise, perfectly timed as the sun slowly sinks below the horizon.
Strictly Weddings has scoured the globe and selected our “TOP 10″ exquisitely romantic sunset settings that will fulfill your wedding wishes and make for a magical, unforgettable celebration.
1. Santorini, Greece – Santorini is the renowned, fairytale island of white-washed buildings cascading down 900-foot cliffs toward the glistening Aegean below. It also happens to host one of the world’s most beautiful sunsets stretching as far as the eye can see over bright blue waters, a caldera, and even an active volcanic island. Claim a private terrace in the charming towns of Oia or Fira and take in the serene panoramic views.
2. Bora Bora, Tahiti, French Polynesia – The magic of refracting light is exceptionally breathtaking on your own private island. At Sofitel’s Bora Bora Island, the private island and its 21 over-the-pristine-water bungalows are available for exclusive bookings. Imagine saying “I do” standing barefooted in white-powdered, palm-fringed sands surrounded by 360-degree, postcard-perfect views.
3. Playa Virador, Papagayo Peninsula, Costa Rica – “The consummate destination for eco-adventurers and beach bums,” Costa Rica is an exotic haven for all. This is especially true of the spectacular Papagayo Peninsula, which is home to the fabulous Four Season’s Resort Costa Rica and its two secluded beaches. Whether planning a private beach wedding for 2 or 250, Playa Virador (one of these two beaches) is perfection. This remote, palm tree, golden sand setting offers breathtaking sunset views of the Pacific Ocean with a tropical rainforest backdrop.
4. Hamilton Island, Australia – Those seeking the extraordinary and exotic will delight in beautiful Hamilton Island. Neighboring the Great Barrier Reef and lying in the Whitsundays, a group of 74 continental islands lying off central Queensland’s tropical coast, this island is surrounded by warm, turquoise waters which sparkle in the glow of the setting sun.
5. Princeville, Kaua’i, Hawaii -Treat yourself to the sensory experience of Hawaii’s setting sun at the St. Regis Princeville. “Perched above Hanalei Bay, with sweeping panoramas of the emerald-green No Molokama Mountains,” Hawaii’s newest luxury resort can accommodate a sunset wedding on pristine Hanalei Beach or on one of their two terraces with mountain and ocean views. A true tropical oasis!
6. Dubrovnik, Croatia – Known as the “pearl of the Adriatic Coast” and “the city made of stone and light,” Dubrovnik, Croatia in eastern Europe hosts a spectacular sunset. Whether on the craggy Dalmatian coastline or amid the ancient walls and pedestrian-only streets of Old Town, you’ll fall in love with the ever-changing views with the last rays of sunlight.
7. Atacama Desert, Chile -Chile has been described as “a playground for lovers of the great outdoors, a country blessed with limitless deserts, ancient volcanoes, emerald lakes and the magnificent Andes as backdrop wherever you travel.” With its other-worldly landscape and rugged beauty, the remote Atacama Desert in Northern Chile offers stunning views of the sinking sun over magnificent million-year-old mountain ranges. Consider arranging a wedding at one-of-a-kind luxury hotels such as the Awasi, San Pedro de Atacama or the Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa, which offer an exceptional oasis as remarkable as the natural surroundings.
8. Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California -Yosemite National Park is an inspiring place like no other. A spellbinding and spiritual experience is guaranteed when taking in the last rays of light ricocheting off 3,000-foot cliffs, including Half Dome and El Capitan. With its abounding natural beauty of meadows, trees, towering waterfalls, and soaring mountains, Yosemite Valley makes for a stunning backdrop, made all the more special when kissed with sun-setting light.
9. Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve, Clanwilliam, South Africa -Perhaps you’re dreaming of a wedding on the wild side? Journey to the top-rated, five-star luxury retreat of Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve in Clanwilliam, South Africa. This venue sits amid an expansive South African Natural Heritage Site, a sanctuary for many endangered species. Bushmans Kloof offers several options for holding your event on the premises of either the lodge or reserve, and a bevy of unique activities to entertain pre- and post-wedding. Sunsets here are especially exhilarating as they bathe the sprawling, untamed wilderness and 500 million-year-old Cederburg Mountains in golden hues.
10. Castello Di Casole,Tuscany, Italy -Tuscan sunset paradise can be found at the Castello Di Casole. The hotel, built on the ruins of a 10th-century castle and encompassing a 4,200-acre wine estate, offers couples one of the best views of magnificent Tuscany and an incredible sunset to boot.
Our latest featured wedding is a gorgeous wine country wedding in Napa Valley held at the Vintage Estate in Yountville, a 23-acre luxury destination with lush gardens and a grand outdoor pavilion.
What was most special about Jen’s wedding day? “I had always secretly hoped we’d get married back in my home state of California, so that in itself was very special. We did our first look and bridal party photos at our families’ favorite winery, Quintessa– the first winery we went to together several years before,” Jen tells us. “It was also very special in that this wedding was truly a family affair,” she continues to say. Joe’s sister, Lauren from LK Events, helped with the entire planning process and his eldest sister, Jenny and her band“Deja Vu,” sang at the ceremony and reception.
Click here to view Jen & Joe’s wedding photos.
We’re certain Strictly Weddings is not alone in thinking a castle wedding is the epitome of ultra-elegance and classical romance. What could be more glamorous than an extravagant fairytale setting to tie the knot? Stunning gothic architecture, magnificent grounds, sweeping vistas, abounding flora and fauna – all this magic and more can be found in our top five picks of exclusive castle grounds perfectly suited to kick off your own “happily ever after.”
1. Vaux le Vicomte, France
The magnificent and legendary Vaux le Vicomte just outside Paris is as idyllic as castles come. Stately architecture, sprawling gardens, ornamental moat, lavish interiors…this palace is just as glorious as your dreams. You may opt for one of the many refined rooms inside the chateau for your nuptials such as the Grand Salon, the central point of the castle. With grand dome overhead, this room is large enough to accommodate 400 guests for dinner or 800 guests for cocktails. Or you may prefer the 1,200 acres of outdoor formal French gardens and courtyards to set the stage. No matter the location at Vaux le Vicomte, you’re guaranteed grandeur.
Look no further than Mindy Weiss Party Consultants, whose crème de la crème wedding experience can help you plan an exceptional Vaux le Vicomte event.
2. Luttrellstown Castle, Ireland
Breathe a sigh of romance as you take in prestigious Luttrellstown Castle on the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland. You may recall Victoria and David Beckham’s “posh” wedding here in 1999. This exclusive estate has continued to inspire since the 15th century with its charming architecture, serene atmosphere and lush surroundings.
For more information on venue rental and wedding planning, check out the castle’s website.
3. Chateau de Chambord, France
Encompassing all the romance and celebrated style of France and in the heart of the celebrated Loire Valley just a couple hours drive outside of Paris, the exquisite Chateau de Chambord harkens back to an era of opulence. With its classical soaring turrets above and sparkling moat below, Chambord is one of the most recognized castles in the world and is a photographer’s/travel enthusiast’s/princess’s dream.
Image 1: www.privateloire.com, Image 2 & 3: “La Vie en Rose” by www.axioo.com, Image 4: Kim Le Photography, Image 5: “Summer in France” by www.axioo.coma, Image 5: Chris & Lynn Photographers
4. Skibo Castle, Scotland
Renowned for its five-star facilities and amenities, Skibo Castle in Dornoch, Scotland exudes timeless elegance. Though you must seek Carnegie Club membership to hold an event on grounds, it will be well worth the investment for this truly royal treatment. On site of an ancient Viking fort, Skibo Castle was built by Andrew Carnegie and is surrounded by 7,500 acres of majestic Highland countryside.
The Carnegie Club is currently accepting applications for membership. Please inquire at: http://www.carnegieclub.co.uk/contact-us.html
5. Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland
If you fancy old-world charm, rugged romance, picturesque scenery and exclusivity, have we got the castle for you. Perched atop its own island and surrounded by the stunning contrast of mountains and sea, the iconic mid 13th-century Eilean Donan Castle is Scotland’s gem. Imagine bagpipes sounding as you make your way down the dramatic causeway towards the seemingly enchanted castle grounds.