Destination wedding venues near Alexandria
Thinking of a destination wedding for the big day? If you’re looking to combine a weekend getaway (or during the week could be the answer too!) with your wedding festivities, a destination wedding within driving distance of Alexandria is a great option.
Planning a wedding? Join us on Sunday, April 10 at the Alexandria Wedding Showcase! Representatives from The Sanderling will be on hand to answer your questions.
Due to the ups and downs of the pandemic and many couples’ preference for more intimate events, micro-weddings are still a big trend. Instead of having a big wedding in your hometown, a destination wedding offers the option of hosting a multi-day event for a small group. We’ve found a variety of choices where you can get married, not too far from home:
Beachy Wedding: The Sanderling
1461 Duck Road, Duck, NC/4.5 hrs drive
Dreaming of a wedding on the beach? You don’t have to fly to the Caribbean for this ocean view. In the Outer Banks, at The Sanderling in Duck, North Carolina, couples can get married beachside, on the property’s “event lawn” or on an observation deck overlooking the ocean.
Named after the little sandpiper bird that bobs back and forth between ocean waves, The Sanderling is a relaxing and luxurious option for a beach wedding. The stylish resort offers several restaurants and pools just steps from the beach, all in an upscale, family-friendly setting.
If rain is forecast, the resort’s “event house” is a good alternative for your wedding, offering ocean views on the top floor. Another option available at the Sanderling is a beach house wedding – the resort offers five different beach houses adjacent to the resort with access to all resort amenities. Situated on land between Currituck Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, the resort offers incredible sunrises and sunsets perfect for wedding ceremony photos. On the sound side, a gazebo over the water provides a romantic setting for sunset photos.
Also on the sound side, you’ll find another reception space, full-service spa, and hair salon where wedding parties can get manicures, pedicures, and hairstyles done to perfection for the big day.
Next door is Kimball’s Kitchen, the resort’s fine-dining restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the sound. The space can be rented for off-season weddings and when closed for regular business.
Don’t forget to ask for Bride ‘n Groom rubber duckies from The Sanderling as a keepsake of your wedding. If you want to go totally ducky, consider a wall of Duck Donuts – yes, a wall of donuts – at your reception. The company, which has a store in the Bradlee Mall in Alexandria, got its start in Duck, North Carolina in 2007.
Urban Romance: The Ivy Hotel
205 E. Biddle St. Baltimore, Maryland/1.5 hour drive
This elegant and historic 19th century Baltimore mansion is a lavish choice for a destination wedding for a party of up to 60 guests. Maryland’s only Relais & Châteaux property offers a variety of cozy interiors (the library, the music room) and charming outdoor spaces for a wedding ceremony, reception, rehearsal dinner and more.
You’ll have plenty of options under one roof, not to mention a gourmet restaurant, Magdalena, on-site that offers private spaces for your group.
If you’re also looking for a venue for pre-wedding events, consider The Ivy’s billiard room for a bachelor party or the beautiful salon for a bridesmaids tea party. The most spectacular location is a chic ivy-covered courtyard, adjacent to a private, brick-walled wine cellar. The mansion includes stained glass windows, suites with four-poster beds and count it… 23 fireplaces. Not ready to plan that wedding yet? This romantic place is a perfect choice for the beginning of your love story!
Virginia Countryside: The Tides Inn
480 King Carter Dr. Irvington, Virginia/2.5 hrs drive
Surrounded by water, The Tides Inn opened for the season on March 1, celebrating its 75th year as a relaxing getaway for families and couples in the Northern Neck. The inn opened in 1947, when a couple purchased 25 acres overlooking Carter’s Creek, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.
Today, The Tides Inn is owned and operated by Enchantment Group, offering many amenities for a wedding couple and their guests, including a full-service spa, fitness center, tennis, paddle boarding, golf at the Golden Eagle Golf Club, bike rentals, sailing, sunset rides on the hotel’s electric Duffy boats and dining at the Chesapeake Restaurant & Terrace with waterfront views. located next to the swimming pool.
For proposals, weddings, bridesmaid luncheons, rehearsal dinners, farewell brunches and more, the Tides Inn location offers expansive lawns on shaded grounds, all surrounded by water. It is a relaxing and scenic location for ceremonies and romantic celebrations. As one bride described her wedding weekend, the resort is “elegant but not overly fancy.”
Historic Hospitality: Williamsburg Inn
136 Francis St. E, Williamsburg, Virginia/2.5 hrs drive
The late great actress Betty White was a fan of the Williamsburg Inn. And no wonder. The 2021 Forbes Travel Guide Star List featured the Williamsburg Inn for the fourth year, winning the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide Five Star Award. The Inn was opened in 1937 by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. as Colonial Williamsburg was being restored to its 18th century era, with funding from him.
Colonial Williamsburg also offers guaranteed services and amenities to help couples through the wedding planning process. From setup and cleanup to using a bridal suite, they offer it all. Their dedicated special events team will help plan and execute every element, arranging the couples dream bridal shower, engagement party, ceremony or reception. Did we mention they offer horse and carriage rides for your big day?
Couples can also rent event items from the luxury hotel, including chairs, tables, centerpieces, decorations, furniture, and tents. Colonial Williamsburg can also rent drapes, audio equipment, lighting, aisle runners, chair covers and tent accessories. Couples can take advantage of the venue’s pastry chefs and floral designers who can add thoughtful, personalized touches to every occasion that will showcase the couples unique sense of style.
There are plenty of activities and amenities for guests, including a 20,000-square-foot spa, golf at Golden Horseshoe Golf Club, and historic tours within walking distance.
Destination wedding advice for the pros
- If you’re planning your wedding during your favorite destination’s “high season,” weekends, or typical holiday months, try booking your wedding a year later.
- If you can hold your wedding mid-week, you’ll get more for your money. (As the saying goes at many vacation spots, “Everyday is Saturday.”)
- If you choose a time when you will be sharing your destination with crowds of tourists, encourage guests to arrive a day early.
- Be prepared to be flexible if the weather forecast changes; you may need to move this waterfront wedding indoors.
- Food and liquor shortages due to the pandemic may mean you won’t get wine, liquor, or a specific dish for your guests. Let it go!
- It goes without saying: book all vendors in advance. Don’t fly away after you arrive.
- If the property doesn’t take care of your wedding from scratch, ask for a list of preferred vendors so there are no surprises.
- Use a local wedding planner if possible.
- Try to visit the property in advance, especially if it is accessible by car.
- If you’re getting married on the beach, rethink that puffy “Cinderella” dress and opt for something simple, flowy and elegant. And ditch your shoes, go barefoot!
- Beach hairstyles tend towards long “beach” waves or simple buns.
- Flowers for outdoor weddings, especially near the ocean, have a rustic, bohemian look with blades of pampas grass, seashells, light pinks and peaches.