What's better than spending the day celebrating love between two people? Stretching the celebration across a long weekend and making it into a vacation is undeniably tempting, which is likely why destination weddings continue to grow in popularity. The destination-wedding industry brought in $28 billion in 2023, up from $21 billion in 2022, a growth of about 33%, according to the Research and Markets' 2023 Global Destination Wedding Report. Here are a few popular destination-wedding venues for Chattanooga couples looking to tie the knot outside of town but somewhere close enough to be an easy drive for guests.
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
From elaborate events in grand reception halls to barefoot ceremonies in the sand, Hilton Head Island provides an ideal setting for Chattanooga couples with a variety of visions for their big day. Also a common vacation spot for folks from the Scenic City, Hilton Head offers guests plenty of opportunities to put in some time on the beach or the golf course when they're not partaking in wedding festivities. The Montage Palmetto Bluff is another popular wedding venue, located on the mainland just across the bridge from Hilton Head in Bluffton, with views of the scenic May River.
Highlands, North Carolina
Exchanging vows with the stunning natural beauty of Highlands and the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop is a time-honored tradition among Chattanooga couples. The Farm at Old Edwards is a $35 million property with a handful of indoor and outdoor venue options for gatherings of various sizes. Some wedding packages include accommodations at Old Edwards Inn, which boasts a stellar spa perfect for getting gussied up on the big day or for booking a relaxing treatment to alleviate any wedding-day jitters.
Florida's Highway 30A
The shimmering turquoise water and white-sugar sand of the beaches along Highway 30A on Florida's Gulf Coast are like a siren song for Chattanooga couples in search of the perfect beach-wedding venue. Each beach boasts its own unique vibe, including the unspoiled, protected beaches of Grayton Beach State Park, the charming pastel cottages of Seaside, the rustic elegance of WaterColor and the aesthetically pleasing architecture of Rosemary Beach's quaint town center. While not directly on the beach, Eden Gardens State Park offers moss-draped oak trees and beautiful landscaping that will make for stunning photos.
Amelia Island, Florida
Whether they choose to tie the knot in a historic home, on the sand overlooking the Atlantic Ocean or in the luxury of a grand ballroom, Amelia Island has a dream venue for any couple. Guests can stay in the intimate setting of a historic hotel or in accommodations on the beach at one of the island's large resorts, which are equipped with amenities like multiple pools and golf courses that guests can enjoy while in town for the wedding.