Here in sunny South Africa, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to wonderful warm weather wedding destinations, from the bushveld to the beach, the forest to the desert, and the mountains to the midlands. Whilst wedding tourists flock to our beautiful land in their thousands, why not buck the trend and go the other way? Cool off from the summer heat with our top five winter wedding destinations…But be warned: These are blow-your-budget, so best start saving!
Aspen, Colorado, USA
The home of America’s most famous luxury ski resorts, Aspen is where you might run into celebs like the Kennedy’s or the Kardashians. Named for the Aspen trees which flourish in the region, this ski haven is situated in a remote area of the rugged Rocky Mountains. Once a gold mining town, Aspen is now said to boast the most expensive real estate in the entire United States. Toast your Christmas nuptials with some of that all-American eggnog!
Celebrity Weddings in Aspen:
- Kevin Costner and Christine Baumgarter
- Kate Hudson and Chris Robinson
Check out: Aspen Chamber Resort Association.
Venice is a coastal city on the Adriatic Sea comprising a group of over 100 small islands linked together with a network of canals. This centuries-old city has a cinematic quality about it – and it’s been the backdrop for many a movie, including The Tourist, The Italian Job, Moonraker and Casino Royale, amongst many others, as well as providing the setting for Shakespeare’s classic The Merchants of Venice. Its rich history only adds to the romance – this is the city of The Bridge of Sighs and gondolas, after all! (P.S. Visiting in winter takes the edge off the pong from the canals…).
Celebrity Weddings in Venice:
- George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin
- British TV star Tamara Beckwith and Italian millionaire Giorgio Veroni
Check out: Turismo Venezia (Venice Tourism).
Gretna Green, Scotland
Said to be the first village in Scotland, Gretna Green became the go-to destination for eloping couples from the 1700s, particularly those crazy-in-love guys and gals who didn’t have parental consent (they were able to take advantage of a loophole in Scottish Law), or whose families did not approve of the match. Today, it’s one of the world’s most popular wedding destinations and has been described as history’s most famous wedding venue – history aside, it’s a scenic village with some of the best views in the Dumfries and Galloway region of Scotland. Perfect place for a Highland Fling and a Scotch beside a roaring log fire!
Celebrity Weddings in Gretna Green:
- Hollywood icon Jean Harlow and Hal Rosson
- Atomic Kitten’s Kerry Katona and Mark Croft
This tiny Swedish village is tailor made for Ice Princesses! Isolated and with a permanent population of less than 600 people, Jukkasjärvi’s main draw card is the spectacular Ice Hotel and its wooden church, which dates back to the early 1600s. Jukkas (as the locals call it) offers a unique Artic wedding experience – all shimmering ice and glistening snow. The Ice Hotel and Ice Church are hand-sculpted each year by specially chosen designers and ice artists. For the wedding reception, how about a reindeer-sleigh ride to the Absolut Ice Bar for a celebratory drink, where you can watch the Northern Lights putting on a light show for you and your guests? Book well in advance!
Check out: The Jukkasjärvi Ice Hotel
A magical place, especially during the festive season, sophisticated Vienna has been dubbed The City of Dreams. Wien, as it’s known in German, has been a leading European centre for the arts and music for centuries, and is both classic and contemporary. Enjoy the palaces, opera houses, theatres, art galleries, museums, restaurants and those famous Viennese coffee houses. Then there are the Viennese balls – over 200 of them are still held every year, ball gowns, gloves, tiaras and all! The grandest ball – Vienna’s New Years’ Eve Ball, where guests dance the Viennese Waltz until the early hours. Vienna is style all the way!
Celebrity Weddings in Vienna:
- Celebrity stylist Caroline Sieber and Derek Blasberg
- Brother of Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, Juan Zorraguieta and Andrea Wolf.
Check out: Vienna – Now or Never (Vienna Tourism).