12 Most Underrated Romantic Locations for a Beach Wedding

Escape the crowds and say “I do” on a beach less traveled.
Updated May 8, 2024
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bride and groom on the seashore

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Gathering your friends and family for a wedding celebration that feels like a vacation sounds like a dream. The rehearsal dinner is filled with tropical drinks and a breeze blowing through the palm trees. Everyone hangs out by the pool the next day. Then, when it’s time to walk down the aisle, the sound of waves crashing and the sand in your toes provides the ambiance.  

In theory, many people assume that planning a wedding outside of the United States is less expensive. And it can be — if you pick the right destination. Avoiding the most popular beach destinations can give you a chance at a more affordable celebration (while avoiding crowds, too!). Here are 12 of the most underrated locations for a beach wedding.

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St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

emperorcosar/Adobe Caribbean St Thomas US Virgin Islands

The U.S. Virgin Islands make planning a destination wedding easy — you don’t need a passport to travel to any of the islands if you’re coming from the U.S. That means you won’t get a desperate last-minute phone call from your cousin who forgot to renew his passport.

Saint Thomas is also a stunning destination with beautiful beaches, top-notch snorkeling, and great resorts that know how to throw a wedding.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

napa74/Adobe castle el morro on coastline with blue water waves in puerto rico

Another place where there’s no passport required, Puerto Rico is a stunning place to say “I do.” Tying the knot in San Juan means you have the option of going to a beach resort where you can celebrate by the water or finding a chapel within Old San Juan.

With its colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and historic architecture, the memories — and the photos — will be unforgettable.

Tulum, Mexico

jkraft5/Adobe Tulum Ruins and palm tree

While Tulum has become more popular in recent years, it’s still known as slightly off the beaten path in terms of Mexican beaches. There’s a more bohemian, artsy feel, and, depending on where you go and whether it’s a boutique hotel rather than a resort, you could find a more secluded place to celebrate your big day.

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Sand Beach, Maine

allard1/Adobe sand beach in acadia national park

No one said beach destination weddings had to be warm! Sand Beach in Maine is a serene beach near Bar Harbor. If you’re planning a small wedding or elopement and you want a natural, rustic aesthetic, Maine is where you should look. With the waves crashing, the cool salt air blowing in, and the rugged landscape behind you, you’re in for a magical celebration.

Bali, Indonesia

None Bali, Indonesia

Bali may be on many people’s radar as a dream vacation destination, but what about weddings? It’ll take time and money to get there, but if you’re planning a small wedding or elopement, it’s a surprisingly affordable beach wedding destination. You’ll pay a fraction of what you would in the United States to plan a wedding with a wedding planner.

Port Clinton, Ohio

Jeff Warneck/Wirestock/Adobe coastline of port clinton

If your wedding day vibe is low-key, and you’re looking for a stateside place to say “I do,” then look to the Great Lakes. Port Clinton, Ohio, is a small Midwest beach town where you can gather friends and family for a casual beachside ceremony. The Port Clinton Lighthouse is also available for weddings if you want to lean into a nautical backdrop.


Simon Velazquez/Adobe caye caulker beach during day time

When you’re thinking of planning a destination beach wedding, look at Mexico, then keep going south.

Belize offers more affordable prices because it’s still seen as an under-the-radar destination, and it’s not top of mind for travelers planning weddings. But you’ll get all the beauty of a tropical destination with the addition of rainforests, Mayan ruins, and a landscape that’s captivating.

La Romana, Dominican Republic

MJGEH/Adobe lighthouse on the beach

You can go to the Dominican Republic to get married, but steer clear of Punta Cana. Instead, go to La Romana, where you can get a quieter experience. Without the crowds, you can explore the picture-perfect white sand beaches, the lush gardens, and the surreal landscape. There are a few resorts and venues here, and you can find the right one for your budget.

Druif Beach, Aruba

Nataraj/Adobe druif beach at sunset

Eagle Beach is a well-known spot to escape in Aruba, but if you have a more secluded wedding in mind, head to Druif Beach. You’ll get all the picturesque beauty but without the crowds. There are several venues here that are perfect for accommodating your friends and family who are along for the destination wedding ride.

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St. Lucia

Simon Dannhauer/Adobe paradise beach at soufriere bay

St. Lucia has a few quieter destinations than some of the other islands, with hidden waterfalls and beaches that feel practically private. One of the reasons it’s great for a destination beach wedding is that you can get a same-day wedding license — just in case you forgot to cross that off your to-do list.

Cartagena, Colombia

JorgeIvan/Adobe beautiful and colorful houses with flowers in balconies in streets of cartagena colombia

People often think of Cartagena as a party destination, but it’s also a wonderful place for a beach wedding. You can have guests stay in the Old City, then bring them out to one of the beaches for a romantic Caribbean ceremony. The entire group could go to one of the islands for a night or choose a resort that’s right in Cartagena.


Tilo Grellmann/Adobe Willemstad city in Curaçao

Curacao is an under-the-radar Caribbean destination that offers both the colorful architecture and the stunning natural beauty that you get on many of the other islands. There are resorts here where you can bring your nearest and dearest and say “I do” under the setting tropical sun. Because it’s still a hidden gem, it’s more affordable than many of the other islands.

Bottom line

Rawpixel.com/Adobe wedding day at the beach

When you’re planning a destination wedding, make sure you factor in costs and logistics beyond the obvious travel and venue.

You’ll need to consider where and how you’re getting your marriage license, whether you and your guests have passports, and how much it’s going to cost to transport any necessary items for the celebration (yes, the dress has to get there!). You may save money booking a wedding in a lower-cost destination, but make sure you’re considering all the costs along the way.

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Heather Bien Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.

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