Exotic Wedding Destinations – Part Two

San Francisco, California

If you’re looking for an urban setting that offers more in terms of scenery than just a concrete jungle, head to northern California’s big city. San Fran is urban without being overwhelming, combining big-time sophistication with the laid-back, dressed-down attitude of the rest of the West Coast, making it one of the top US cities to tie the knot in. San Francisco wins the hearts of brides- and grooms-to-be for many reasons: Hills rise and drop everywhere you look; huge parks share space with skyscrapers and ornate, bay-windowed Victorian homes; cable cars rattle over the streets; and stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge are everywhere from within the city as well as the water, which surrounds San Francisco on three sides. Plus, foodies will love the assortment of fresh, local ingredients and world-class fare that make designing a memorable menu for your reception a breeze. San Francisco averages about 65 degrees year-round, meaning anytime is the right time, though expect the city’s famous fog in the summer. Whenever you go, make sure to tell guests to dress in layers—when the sun sets, they’ll need that pashmina or cardigan.

Lake Placid, New York

Can you say “winter wedding”? Despite its location in the heart of the Adirondacks in upstate New York, this alpine village (and two-time Winter Olympics host) is anything but remote, with loads of activities and attractions—and snowcapped settings backed with mountain vistas. Leave the glitz at home and choose a venue from among the cozy rustic-chic resorts and luxe lakeside lodges. You can even incorporate a gondola ride up Whiteface Mountain into your wedding. And if you’re not feeling a wintry occasion, go for an outdoor fall ceremony surrounded by some of the country’s most stunning foliage—and get an even better view of the changing leaves by saying “I do” in a hot-air balloon! The region is dotted with 3,000 lakes (popular choices are Saranac Lake, Mirror Lake and, of course, Lake Placid), plus mountain streams and waterfalls that come to life in the spring, providing a picturesque background for April or May nuptials. Naturally, a winter resort area will be busy and more expensive during the winter months, but if you want a “white” wedding, try April when it’s less crowded but there’s still lots of lingering snow. In fall, the changing foliage usually peaks in early October, so book your wedding date near then, and spring is beautiful, but have a backup plan for rain.

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