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... Or Actually Skip Town

Escape before the honeymoon even begins with these choice destinations.

The Mount  

If you want cold cocktails on a hot beach, try
Southeast of the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands have gained popularity in recent years because of their pristine white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, and proximity to New York—direct flights to the island of Providenciales take just three hours. The Somerset on Grace Bay Beach, regularly rated the top beach in the Caribbean, can host weddings for groups as intimate as two, or as large as 200. Options include a barefoot ceremony on the beach, or a reception on the manicured croquet lawn, and the resort will handle processing your marriage license. Wedding guests often stay at the moderately priced Sands Resort next door. An added perk for the budget conscious, “most of the accommodations on the island are suites, which means guests don’t have to go out for every meal,” says Lisa Light of
Cost: Small groups start at $2,800.

If architecture and history delight you, try
“It is simply extraordinary,” says Lee, of the Mount, a 50-acre estate built and designed by author Edith Wharton. The writer’s doomed marriage unraveled at her Berkshires retreat, but the Mount lives on as a prized wedding venue. Celebrations for up to 150 guests begin with cocktails in the gardens, recently restored to their original 1902 glory, then continue with dinner in the classic Revival main house. The more fearless may want to keep an eye out for one of the estate’s many rumored ghosts, just don’t wander out too late (receptions typically wind down by 10 p.m.).
Cost: Rental starts at $5,500 ($2,000 of which is a mandatory contribution) for a four-hour event. Catering is separate and must be provided by an approved vendor.

If you’re addicted to the Nature Channel, try
Mexico is beautiful, close, and a real bargain. “I am 100 percent encouraging people to go to Mexico. It has always been a deal for weddings, and now it’s a double deal,” Light says. While nearby Tulum is a trendy spot for yogi types, and Cancun continues to provide all the yard-long bars a coed could ask for, Xcaret Park is a wedding destination with a little more history to recommend it—it’s built on a former Mayan ceremonial site. “Xcaret is a combination zoo, living-history museum, and amusement park,” Light explains. Xcaret is committed to ecotourism, offering family-friendly activities including swimming with dolphins and underwater tours. As for the wedding itself, Light recommends the dramatic cliff-top chapel for a ceremony and the casual beachfront Dos Playas restaurant for the reception
Cost: Packages range from $1,650 for a simple ceremony to $40,000 for a lavish reception.


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