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As the COVID-19 pandemic has besieged the globe over the last six months, many of us have been forced to skip over life’s biggest moments. High school and college students have missed their graduations, Olympians have lost their shot at this year’s gold, and millions have had to ditch traditional birthday parties. But among those massive losses are also the countless weddings originally planned for the spring, summer, and even fall. While Zoom graduations and drive-by birthday parties have proven suitable plan Bs for most of these momentous occasions, wedding alternatives have been less obvious, and some couples are now considering some off-the-beaten path options that allow them to celebrate their love safely without having to postpone their nuptials for a year or more.
Whether your initial plan was a backyard wedding with hundreds of guests or a destination wedding with just your closest friends and family, eloping to a beautiful place has become an appealing option—and with plenty of stunning resorts’—including these American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts properties— extending special wedding offerings catered specifically to the current climate, tying the knot at one of these incredible spots is sure to be a magical experience.
Las Ventanas al Paraíso, Los Cabos, Mexico
Sitting alongside Cabo’s pristine Sea of Cortez with impeccable grounds and unparalleled services, Rosewood’s uber-luxurious Las Ventanas al Paraíso has been a popular getaway for Americans and internationals alike since it first opened its doors more than 20 years ago. After a three-month closure, the resort reopened to much fanfare on July 1, and to kick things off with a bang, it’s offering guests “Escape and Elope.” The all-inclusive experience includes everything a couple would want for a stress-free and beautiful celebration and honeymoon, from a personalized wedding ceremony with photography, flowers, and a violinist or guitarist to in-suite roses and champagne and a private chef’s dinner on the beach. Á la carte options are also available in the form of fireworks, videography, and hair and makeup, and if ‘just the two of you’ isn’t your style, you can snag up to six additional suites for close friends or family at a preferential rate. Without any extras, the all-encompassing elopement is available for $2,900, excluding tax and service charge, Monday through Thursday, and it will be on offer through December 2.
Amangani, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
When it comes to hotel names that consistently deliver the best of the best, it’s hard to beat Aman. With beautiful properties around the world, the resort chain is synonymous with extravagance, and the Amangani in Jackson Hole is no exception. Perched atop the East Gros Ventre Butte overlooking the Teton valley, the all-season resort, whose name means ‘peaceful home,’ boasts 40 suites and four homes and is immersed in nature. With something for everyone, Amangani offers venues for every type of occasion and every type of couple, from a ceremony in a hot air balloon to a post-wedding horseback ride. Since reopening June 1, the property has welcomed several proposals, elopements, and micro-weddings, and a dedicated team works with guests to perfect every detail.
Belmond El Encanto, Santa Barbara, California
Situated high in the hills of Santa Barbara, Belmond El Encanto is known for its impressive views of the Pacific and its seven acres of lush greenery, lily ponds, and wildlife, and it’s these surroundings that make it the ideal venue for a wedding of any size. Couples can choose to say “I do” next to the hotel’s historic Arbor and Lily Ponds, or they can opt for a ceremony at the El Encanto’s romantic wishing well or inside the Oak Tree Suite & Terrace, doubling as the perfect honeymoon suite. Weddings at the resort are available to both guests and non-guests, making it the a viable option even for locals, and the expert team will arrange everything, including activities for the remainder of the trip, like a tasting in El Encanto’s wine room, a day at the beach, or an afternoon of shopping on State Street.
Fairmont Orchid, Waimea, Hawaii
While many people dreamt of getting married in beautiful Hawaii long before “coronavirus” was even in our collective vocabulary, it remains an incredibly alluring option, even in the midst of the pandemic. With the state’s travel quarantine scheduled to end on September 1, Hawaii’s gorgeous Fairmont Orchid is ready to once again welcome visitors to its sandy beaches, and for couples looking to tie the long-awaited knot, the hotel is offering a newly reimagined elopement package. For just $1,500 for a morning ceremony and $2,000 for a sunset ceremony, the experience includes personal event coordination and marriage license arrangements, a circle of flowers, lei exchange, and a ceremony officiant all at the couple’s choice of wedding location. And if you’re hoping to include some friends and family in the celebration, the Fairmont Orchid just launched an intimate wedding package, including all sorts of signature Hawaiian amenities and available for up to 25 guests. The small gathering would include a discounted celebratory dinner at the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant, and the team at The Orchid will work with couples to ensure all setups adhere to physical distancing protocols so that everyone can enjoy the day safely.
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California
Known as one of the most luxurious hotels in America, the legendary Post Ranch Inn boasts incredible ocean views from its high-up perch on Big Sur’s cliffs, truly unique, eco-friendly design, and sustainability initiatives like no other. Priding itself on delivering the best possible experience to its guests, the adults-only, highly secluded Post Ranch Inn only ever hosts elopements or very small weddings, with 10 people at maximum, on its 100-acre property, so it’s well-versed in the matter. The hotel has seen many couples schedule their big day in recent months and expects to have some of its largest wedding traction ever following a county mandate that forced many nearby venues to cancel their planned weddings this summer and fall. “Post Ranch strives to make the process as effortless as possible for our couples, many of whom have had to endure the disappointment and stress caused by postponements and cancellations,” says the hotel’s Events & Activities Director, Hana Nishiguchi. To make planning easy, she and her team will provide everything from officiant and photographer to flowers, champagne, and even wedding cake, and a marriage commissioner will even meet couples on-property to issue marriage licenses within 10 minutes.
Six Senses Laamu, Maldives
Nestled deep in the Indian Ocean and the only resort in Laamu Atoll in the Maldives, the Six Senses Laamu is the ultimate destination for barefoot, beachfront luxury, and after reopening on August 1, the hotel is excited to welcome visitors from all over the world back to its grounds. Six Senses Laamu offers both on-land and over-water villas with views of the ocean or the lagoon, and many feature private pools, upper and lower decks, and viewing platforms, but the over-water options are best known for their sunken glass bathtubs that sit atop the bright blue ocean and all of its colorful marine life. For guests hoping to tie the knot on the stunning property, the resort has created a wedding and vow renewal package, which includes a ceremony at the beach or on a private sandbank, an hour-long sunset cruise, a traditional Maldivian band, flowers, a wedding cake, a romantic dinner with champagne, and a Wedding Journey experience at the Six Senses Spa.
Rosewood Baha Mar, Nassau, Bahamas
As part of the multi-property Baha Mar enclave, the Rosewood sits alongside two other hotels, but its beachy elegance and air of exclusivity make it a truly one-of-a-kind setting for a dream wedding. The resort’s beachfront location and modern Bahamian design allow for endless choices when it comes to the celebration, all ideal for elopement or micro-weddings. Couples can select a toes-in-the-sand ceremony, opt for “I Do’s” in the gorgeous library, head to Long Cay, the hotel’s private island, or work with the Rosewood team to find another spot on the beautiful property. Wedding specialists will work with couples to coordinate personalized arrangements and accommodations to ensure that everything comes together seamlessly.
Meadowood, Napa Valley, California
There are seemingly endless options when it comes to finding a great hotel in Napa, but none have mastered the balance of luxury, comfort, and service quite like Meadowood. Situated in the woods of St. Helena, with miles of hiking trails, a first-class spa, and excellent athletic and wellness offerings, Meadowood would feel akin to Canyon Ranch, Miraval, or even a country club, if it weren’t surrounded by some of the world’s most renowned vineyards. The resort has been a go-to for weddings long before the Covid-19 pandemic arrived, but now, as most California weddings have been put on hold indefinitely, eloping at Meadowood is more appealing than ever. With the property’s elopement offering, beginning at $8,350, couples will enjoy a two-night stay in a Croquet Suite or Estate Room, daily breakfast, consultation with Meadowood’s specialist, a ceremony officiant, flowers, sparkling wine, and a petite wedding cake. In addition to the ceremony, you can also add some notable experiences to your elopement, including dinner at the acclaimed The Restaurant at Meadowood, private wine tasting, and couples’ massages at the spa.