Spring Breaks: Where the Destination Wedding Buys Are

by  Donna Heiderstadt | Jan 15, 2010
Photo courtesy Hotel Santa Caterina, Amalfi Coast

Newly engaged? If springtime “I dos” in a romantic setting sound appealing, you can plan a fabulous fete—destination weddings average about 60 guests—that won’t break the bank for you or your family and friends. Spring is shoulder season in several top resort regions, meaning rates are one-third to one-half less than during peak season (for the best price, consider a weekday wedding). Here are a few ideas:

To counteract the euro’s strength against the dollar, spring is the best time to enjoy unforgettable luxury for less on notoriously pricy Lake Como and the Amalfi Coast, where five-star resorts offer wedding-perfect vistas and gardens. On Lake Como, rates at Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni and Grand Hotel Tremezzo Palace are $380–$540 in April; along Amalfi, rates at cliff-top Hotel Santa Caterina drop to $345 in March and most of April, while those at Sorrento’s Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria start at $424 in April and $446 in May.

The Caribbean & Mexico
From mid-April to mid-June, the weather is fine, the crowds are gone, and there are great deals on rooms (starting at about $159 a night) and airfare (JetBlue now flies to 10 destinations in the region). For easy access and no passports required, consider Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands. For all-inclusive ease—one rate for room, food and beverages—check out Jamaica or the Dominican Republic. And for fabulous beaches, look at Aruba and the Riviera Maya, along Mexico’s Caribbean coast. To comparison-shop airfare and room rates, plug in islands and dates using ShermansTravel's compare rates tool. Resort-wise, several leading Caribbean hotel companies offer wedding packages and group ratesee Marriott & Renaissance, Ritz-Carlton, Excellence, and Dreams & Secrets.

The Rockies
When ski season ends, rates tumble. April and early May can be muddy, but by late May wildflowers are blooming and resorts are wedding-ready. Two great locales: Deer Valley, Utah, and Vail-Beaver Creek, Colorado. For a serene setting, consider Deer Valley’s Stein Eriksen Lodge, a luxury property where rates are a bargain $185 in May and June, and Beaver Creek’s Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, which has $199 rates in June.

A wine-country wedding is within reach in the spring, when the vines are barely green but rates are ripe for picking. Three great properties with onsite wedding venues: The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, where rates start at $199 in March and $299 in April and early May; The Carneros Inn, where a third-night-free promo brings nightly rates to $375 in March and April; and Solage Calistoga, where rates are $375 in March and $425 in April.

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