7 Great Cities for Getting Married

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Planning a wedding can be stressful.  You have to find a caterer, a florist, a photographer, a videographer, a banquet hall, an officiant, a tuxedo, a gown, some rings, a bridal party and a chocolate fountain.  Brides- and grooms-to-be spend so much time sweating these details, they often bypass the basics. For example, how much thought have you given to which city should host your wedding? There’s no rule that says you have to get married in the city or town where you live or grew up. Destination weddings are becoming more and more popular and there are some cities that are particularly well-suited for tying the knot.

MainStreet thought we’d help couples plan their dream wedding by suggesting some cities tailor-made for nuptials.  

Wailea, Hawaii

Located on the island of Maui, this beautiful resort village is where Jon and Kate Gosselin renewed their vows in 2008. But don’t take that as a bad omen. Wailea is a popular place to tie the knot. Soon-to-be-married couples are drawn, primarily, to the beautiful beaches, but they commit to the island because of its reputable service providers.  

The Grand Wailea Resort, with its oceanfront chapel, is the perfect place for a ceremony (though other luxury hotels, such as the Four Seasons Resort Maui and the Fairmont Kea Lani, host nice receptions). Local caterers, flower shops and photographers can fill in as needed (so no need to fly in your local florist). And the island’s got an abundance of swanky luxury shops, including Tiffany’s, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, just in case someone forgot to pack a gift.

Destination weddings in Hawaii are admittedly pricey. Wedding packages at the Grand Wailea Resort, for example, start at $5,100 (and we’re talking about an intimate, though classy wedding ceremony here, not a reception, airfare, room or board.) However, there are ways to pinch pennies. Most resorts offer discounts on room fees for member of wedding parties and booking airfare well advance will lower the cost of airfare. You can check out this article from SmartMoney for more ways to save.

Provincetown, Mass.

This rural town makes the list because everyone can get married here. Massachusetts was the first state to recognize same-sex unions in 2004 and picturesque Provincetown has the largest concentration of wedding facilities in the state.

The town is home to many gay-owned businesses that specialize in same-sex unions, including The Commons and The Red Inn, but, really, any couple would find this place convenient. Like Wailea, Provincetown has many reputable caterers, DJs, videographers, photographers and event planners.  Its Wedding Chapel by the Sea also offers a beachfront ceremony for those who want to skip the courthouse, church or plane ride to Wailea.

New York City

Sure, maybe we’re biased because we live here, but many little girls dream of a June wedding at The Plaza (or so say Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway). Having your big day there will likely set you back. It’ll cost you more than $75,000 just to rent one of the hotel’s two ballrooms.  But New York City’s real appeal is its pre-wedding entertainment options.

Element Nightclub hosts a buzzworthy live show for brides and their bachelorettes (an all-male revue) every Friday and Saturday between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., but there are many local party planners on hand to find you some other options. Bachelors have plenty of places to take the groom, including The Penthouse Executive Club and Gallagher’s (if they are into the strip club scene), and couples can pick a place to host their rehearsal dinner just by walking up and down the city streets.(New York City Weddings by TheKnot also has some good suggestions.)

Those concerned with the actual wedding can enlist the services of renowned wedding planners Marcy Blum, David Tutera and JoAnn Gregoli, who are all based in New York City. (Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Star Jones, Regis Philbin and Jennifer Lopez are some of their clients.)

Charlotte, N.C.

The largest city in North Carolina, Charlotte is known locally as the “City of Churches,” making it a practical place to tie the knot if you want a Christian service. Some of its large, beautiful churches include the Cathedral of St. Patrick and St. Matthew Catholic Church.  There are plenty of other denominations represented as well. According to City-Data.com, 23% percent of Charlotte’s congregations are Southern Baptist, 15% are Presbyterian, 11% are Methodist, 4% are Church of God, 2% are Catholic, among a few others.

Additionally, Charlotte’s Moorehead Inn, a bed and breakfast originally built in 1917, is one of North Carolina’s most notable reception halls. And it’s affordable. Reception room rental rates run from $400 to $1,750, depending on the size of the party.  

Of course, the city’s favorable climate, laid-back atmosphere, picturesque neighborhoods and stable job market might entice couples to stick around well after the wedding is over.  

Las Vegas

Try as we might, we can’t deny that Las Vegas is a favorable destination for brides and grooms looking for a quickie wedding. (You can get cheap chapel packages for as little as $75.) Las Vegas nuptials, even ones not induced by drunken all-night free-for-alls, can be planned with little notice. You are, after all, surrounded by resources. Tacky chapels aside, there are plenty of salons for hair and makeup, tons of clubs for bachelor/bachelorette revelry and hotel banquet rooms designed for your post-wedding party. (The Bellagio and The Wynn in particular are both known for their lavish wedding receptions.)

Of course, we’re hoping your union negates the city’s tagline and what happens in Vegas follows you home.  

Costa Careyes, Mexico

Mexico has long been regarded as a great place to have a destination wedding. The country itself is beautiful and the travel accommodations are more affordable than other coastal locations. Many Mexican cities qualify for our list, but we’re going with Costa Careyes because, well,it’s the next big thing. The VIP destination, which served as the backdrop to Heidi Klum’s and Seal’s very recent May 8 vow renewal, features white beaches, sprawling cliffs and some beautiful real estate.

It’s also home to some great luxury resorts, such as the Costa Careyes Polo Club and the El Tamarindo Golf Resort, which will gladly host your wedding reception. The El Tamarindo, in fact, will practically plan your entire celebration for you.  The resort offers to find you a photographer, florist, DJ, and translator (if needed) in addition to providing the hotel accommodations and reception hall. This package might be a little pricier (renting a single room alone at the El Tamarindo can cost your between $275 - $1125 a night!) than that wedding chapel in Vegas, but this is your wedding, remember? You only get married once (hopefully).  

Rockford, Ill.

If you aren’t looking for all the bells and whistles (and you’re not interested in being married by Elvis,) you can head over to Rockford, Ill. The city’s $15 marriage license fee is one of the lowest in the U.S., no blood tests required.

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