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Instead of saying “I do” to the overwhelming stress of a huge wedding layered with gown ruffles, buttercream and judgy mother-in-laws, many couples are turning to a gala built just for two. Though the concept of eloping might have a Las Vegas undertone, there’s a much more diverse assortment of destinations to consider that go well beyond a kitschy Elvis-themed chapel or a staid courthouse. Here are a few unusual and unforgettable destination ideas for tying the knot, without any of the drama.

RELATED: These are the best places to get engaged in every state

Mahé Island, Seychelles

Found the love of your life you can tolerate, even when they talk during Game of Thrones? Check. Got engaged? Score! Ready to seal the deal while also adding another continent to your passport stamp collection? Yes, please! The Seychelles is a collection of 115 islands floating in the Indian Ocean, just off of East Africa. Here, you’ll find plenty of rare animals and coral reefs, as well as intimate, gorgeous luxury resorts that make the ideal Instagram background to your private nuptials. One to consider is Banyan Tree Seychelles on Mahe Island. This romantic oasis will not only ease your senses upon arrival, but take care of all the planning for you.

Gateway, Colorado

Part of the wonder of finding someone you adore is holing away together, carving a space in the world, just for two. That’s also the allure of the Western regions of the United States, where covering miles and miles of highway, spanning deserts and mountains alike, you can get lost in the peace of seclusion. For your elopement, why not drive cross-country to Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa, which provides a one-of-a-kind backdrop for your vows. Not only will you soak up the rustic, western vibes but with nearly year-round sunshine and colorful nightly sunsets, any season will be just fine to begin your marriage. Depending on what you prefer, they offer indoor or outdoor venues, including a landscaped terrace to seal your first married kiss.

Baltimore, Maryland

We know, Charm City isn’t exactly known as a romantic hotspot, but hear us out. For East Coasters craving an intimate ceremony in an unexpected place, Baltimore offers an easy-to-access escape. Plus, with Washington D.C. not too far away, you can easily book an international flight right after you pucker up. At The Ivy Hotel, your elopement coordinator will fetch the bridal bouquet and groom’s boutonniere, plan the “Just Married” tour of Baltimore in a house car or a vintage London cab, book your 3-course celebratory dinner at the onsite Magdalena restaurant (and your couples’ massage) and snap some photos of you two slicing into your own miniature cake. Just like that: You’re married!

ALSO: Say I do to major savings with Orbitz Rewards!

Mozambique, East Africa

Not only is the act of getting married a (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime decision, but many couples consider their honeymoon an excuse to spend more pretty pennies than they normally would. If you’re up for a splurge that brings you together as a couple even more cohesively, consider a trek through uncharted land in Mozambique. With easy access to plenty of safari excursions, unbelievable beaches and culinary palettes, you’ll be glad you planned your small—but meaningful—ceremony at White Pearl Resort. Here, their team of planners will take care of every detail of your coastline wedding, all while you enjoy the comfort and luxury of a 5-star getaway.

Budapest, Hungary

Not too far from Prague, Czech Republic or Vienna, Austria is another Eastern European gem: Budapest, Hungary. This capital city is easy on your wallet and fascinating on the senses, with breathtaking sites, a budding culinary scene and plenty of historical sites to explore. One great spot for your ceremony is Aria Hotel Budapest, with musically-themed rooms, nightly music and romantic suites. Though there are several spots on this property to tie the knot, we suggest the High Note Skybar Panorama Terrace, which has stunning views of the cathedral and will make for frame-worthy (and Instagrammable) wedding photos. From Budapest, you and your spouse-to-be could easily plan a tour around this region of Europe.

Algarve, Portugal

With the uptick of affordable TAP Portugal flights leaving from many major cities, tourism to this Iberian country is on the rise. In addition to spending quality time in the bustling city of Lisbon and the wine country of Porto, you’ll want to head south to the Algarve region, where cliffs, sunrises and sunsets will take your breath away. Here, you can enjoy year-round fresh seafood and plenty of beaches and caves. Stay at Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve, where the onsite wedding coordinator will help you plan the elopement ceremony that’s right for your dynamic duo. From having a 360-degree affair at their rooftop bar to a more secluded ceremony atop a jagged cliff (for real), you’ll easily fall in love with this small part of the globe. (And even more in love with your partner.)

Tagged: Budapest, Colorado, Europe, Portugal

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Lindsay Tigar

Lindsay Tigar

Lindsay is a lifestyle and travel writer, and content strategist. She is a passport stamp collector with an affinity for great wine, coffee and conversation. You can find a full collection of her work at
Lindsay Tigar


Freelance Travel and Lifestyle Journalist for @travelleisure, @voguemagazine, @usatoday, @bravotv @brides, @weddingwire and many more.
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