By Jeri Clausing
Like most things luxury, the focus in weddings has become about unique experiences, both for the happy couple and their guests. And whether a soon-to-be bride and groom are looking for an urban setting or a unique beach experience, luxury hotels are raising the bar on destination wedding packages.
For couples looking for the ultimate seaside ceremony, the Four Seasons Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru has just unveiled a floating wedding pavilion in the midst of the Baa Atoll, a Unesco biosphere reserve.
Accessible only by boat, the freestanding, pillared structure with vaulted ceiling has a shimmering titanium-polished concrete floor with a glass-bottom "aisle" above a turtle enclosure. It also has folding floor-to-ceiling glass doors on three sides that open onto timber decking. It can hold up to 24 guests.
In Cape Town, South Africa, the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa offers exotic options, from fairy tale weddings for up to 80 guests to midweek getaways for smaller wedding parties that include the ceremony and legal arrangements, indigenous flowers, a small wedding cake, rose petal turndown with sparkling wine and a set of embroidered towels with the couple’s initials. The wedding packages start at $645, in addition to the room rate, with a two-night minimum stay.
Consistently ranked as one of Africa’s top luxury hotels, the Red Carnation-run Twelve Apostles offers a romantic venue overlooking edge of the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain National Park.
For couples seeking the urban wedding experience, Denver’s JW Marriott, the only luxury hotel in Denver’s tony Cherry Creek shopping and dining district, is offering one couple the opportunity to become its “Wedding Couple of the Year.”
Photo Credit: A wedding couple at the JW Marriott Denver
The package, which will only be available to one couple, with a price tag ranging from $25,0000 for 100 guests to $35,000 for 150, includes the wedding reception with plated dinner and open bar, a wedding-night suite, a discounted room block for guests and assistance though the entire planning process. But VIP perks include pre-wedding massages, free valet parking at the hotel for a year, a $1,000 spa credit for pre-wedding pampering, up to 150,000 Marriott points the couple can use for their honeymoon and a complimentary stay on the couple’s first anniversary.