From hot air ballooning to saying “I do” in the snowy Rocky Mountains, these covid wedding-friendly options prove that destination micro-weddings are here to stay.
The last year was many things, and among them wedding-interruptus. Long-term planned weddings were cancelled, delayed or reimagined as drive bys, street weddings or even Zoom ceremonies. The entire landscape of weddings was turned on its side, and some couples looking for an elevated experience found they couldn’t hurry love.
As an alternative to postponing getting hitched, we’ve seen a massive influx of couples opting for micro-weddings, destination weddings and private elopement ceremonies instead. Fortunately, with so many incredible destinations and options to choose from, your love doesn’t have to wait.
Jason Dewey / St. Regis Resort
IN THE MOUNTAINS | St. Regis Resort in Aspen, Colorado
The snowy St. Regis Resort in Aspen, Colorado is an ideal destination wedding worthy of any trek. Nestled at the base of Aspen Mountain, this five-star luxury resort provides sweeping Colorado Rocky Mountain views fitting for such a special day. St. Regis boasts both indoor and outdoor venue spaces, including dedicated wedding specialists and tailored wedding packages. We recommend opting for the outdoor Fountain Courtyard—which features prime views of the enchanting Aspen Mountain—for a Winter Wonderland-esque ceremony, followed by a small reception in the resort’s 14 different rooms to choose from.
@infinitybeyondkait / Grand Canyon
IN THE DESERT | Cloth & Flame in Arizona
With multiple wilderness venue locations throughout Arizona and beyond, Cloth & Flame offers immersive outdoor weddings perfect for any bride and groom’s Covid wedding. Among the list of drop-dead gorgeous destinations to choose from is the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Sedona, Superstition Mountains, the Tucson desert and more.
Unlike other stationary venues, Cloth & Flame creates temporary venues—outdoors at that—event set-ups and one-of-a-kind culinary experiences just about anywhere—and their wedding packages include just about everything.
@suzygoodrick / Superstition Mountains
Packages range from full-service—which includes your choice of stunning wilderness venue; ceremony and reception set-up; chef prepared four-course meal; wood tables and seating; decor rentals; desert-inspired floral garlands, tableware and string lights; to elopement and micro-wedding, a pared down version of the full-service package. Plus, you can bet that for anything Cloth & Flame doesn’t include in its wedding packages, they have a vendor hook-up for.
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Grand Wailea Maui
BY THE OCEAN | Grand Wailea in Maui, Hawaii
Hawaii has long been a destination wedding hotspot with some of the world’s most romantic hotels. And while guest lists may have gotten smaller these days, Grand Wailea Maui proves that your dream beach wedding doesn’t have to be any less special.
Scott Drexler / Grand Wailea Maui
This iconic, luxury beachside property is nestled on 40 acres of lush, tropical gardens adjacent to Maui’s Wailea Beach. The resort features a wide variety of distinctive ceremony venues, including its own seaside chapel. Or, for a more secluded venue option, the resort offers ethereal tropical gardens filled with authentic Hawaiian Hales (grass huts), bridges and waterfalls that flow into lily pad filled ponds. Whatever venue you choose, Grand Wailea’s resident wedding specialists are prepared to guide couples through each and every aspect of planning their special day.
Cameron Clark / Amangiri
IN A CANYON | Amangiri in Utah
Hidden in the ICONIC canyons of the Southwest, Amangiri in Canyon Point, Utah provides a spacious yet secluded setting for destination weddings. Residing in 600 acres of the Colorado Plateau, this earthy yet ultra-luxe locale offers a dedicated event coordinator and personalized itinerary for elopements and micro-weddings.
Also included in Amangiri’s elopement wedding packages are planned activities and spa treatments in addition to ceremony and reception celebrations (which include a private reception dinner). For small wedding packages, a maximum of four rooms booked and a minimum stay of three nights at the property is required.
ON A FARM | Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee
Tennessee offers idyllic scenery and luxurious accommodations at Blackberry Farm that make for an elegant yet rustic wedding. Located on 4,200 acres in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. This mountain haven has been an escape for guests with incredible cuisine, outdoor experiences and natural beauty.
This luxury hotel features a farm that generates heirloom produce. The farmhouse is built using reclaimed wood, which gives so much personality to any event. This is a beautiful venue for a charming micro-wedding with comfort and elegance at the same time.
Malibu Rocky Oaks
IN THE HILLS | Malibu Rocky Oaks in Malibu, California
If you are looking for breathtaking views, check out Malibu Rocky Oaks in the hills of Malibu on a helipad surrounded by vineyards. A wedding here will give your ceremony an amazing 360-degree view of the Santa Monica Mountains that makes you feel like you’re in the clouds. Follow the ceremony with dinner on long tables next to the pool deck at the villa.
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Jen Jinkens Photography / Rainbow Ryders
IN A BALLOON | Rainbow Ryders in New Mexico
For a destination wedding like no other, turn to the sky. The official hot air balloon operator for the world-renowned Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Rainbow Ryders, is now offering hot air balloon elopement packages—perfect for a socially distant Covid wedding. Couples can opt to exchange vows either on the ground or up in the air with 360-degree views of the sky as a truly unique setting.
Jen Jinkens Photography / Rainbow Ryders
Elopement packages also include a pilot, two witnesses and the newlyweds-to-be in one hot air balloon, with the option of accommodating additional passengers in other nearby hot air balloons. After the ceremony, the newlyweds and their guests are greeted at their next destination with a champagne toast. The Rainbow Ryders wedding team also handles catering, flowers, photographer, videographer and more.
Completing each “mini-monie” are panoramic views of either the majestic Sonoran Desert in Scottsdale, Arizona; the Rio Grande in Albuquerque, New Mexico; or the Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Caroline Allison / Noelle
IN COUNTRY MUSIC LAND | Noelle in Nashville, Tennessee
Creative couples will love this experiential hotel—located in the heart of downtown Nashville, Tennessee—for their Covid wedding. Known as a gathering place for those seeking an authentic Nashville encounter, Noelle is the collaborative effort of some of the area’s finest artists and makers. Recently, Noelle launched its “Intimate Wedding Package” made with micro-weddings in mind.
Highlights include a 30-minute ceremony in the stunning Saidee Gallery followed by an exclusive cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres in the Trade Room, plus two hours of beer, wine and “bubbly” with a dedicated bartender, as well as an optional dinner add-on.
IN A VINEYARD | Sunstone Villa in Santa Ynez, California
Feel as though you’re in a coastal Mediterranean castle. Sunstone Villa in Santa Ynez is a charming winery is comprised of 55-acres and magnificent Old World-inspired architecture. In fact, it was built from imported limestone from a small village in France, and the wood beams and roof tiles are reclaimed from a 19th Century lavender factory.
Sunstone also offers intimate weddings and elopement packages for experiences 25 or fewer guests. The Villa has five luxurious master suites, each with their own private baths. Each suite is appointed with genuine European antiques, fine Italian Gentiili linens, and of course, Sunstone Wines. Throughout the stunning Provençal structure, are real, wood-burning fireplaces, a billiards room, an authentic farm kitchen, and gorgeous 360-degree views of the Santa Ynez Valley.
ON A RANCH | The Resort At Paws Up in Greenough, Montana
If you haven’t been to Montana, you should know it’s one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places. With clear, starry night skies and stunning wilderness, Paws Up Resort provides a scenic backdrop for a wedding of any size, especially a small, exclusive experience.
Since its claim to fame is the beauty of nature, any style or type of wedding will feel right at home at this stunning, picturesque setting. We love that they offer cabins and glamping for your guests as well as a ceremony outdoors, reception in a barn and rehearsal dinner outdoors by the creek.
A smaller wedding means you may have the opportunity to splurge a bit or create a more personalized experience. According to Bride’s magazine, a smaller wedding, say 10 to 20 guests max means you can spend a little more per person on the things that matter to you. Plus, a smaller gathering will make it possible to create personalized arrival baskets and handwritten invitations. In the end, you may just get to spend more quality time with your guests, too.
Rachel Ollson / Grand Wailea Maui
• Take more time with family photos. In fact, you might invest more to get some really creative compositions.
• Consider a restaurant venue, family home or AirBNB for your venue.
• Seat everyone at a single linear estate table for an inclusive experience.
• Use family heirlooms, maybe even family vintage dishes.
• Create personalized place cards.
• Make a handwritten menu.
• Splurge on dinner. Plan a dinner with a chef who can create a multi-course food and wine pairing.
• Bring out the really good wine. Select a vintage year that means something to you.
• Write a handwritten note to each guest.
• Design a beautiful, but small cake.
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