Readers Choice

10Best Readers' ChoiceChosen by readers of USA TODAY and 10Best

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    #10 - Riviera Maya

    Mexico's Caribbean coastline is stunning, with its Mayan culture backdrop setting the scene for a destination wedding. Since Mexico is so easy to reach from much of the USA, it's a great value for couples and guests, and many of Mexico's all-inclusive resorts offer free weddings with a minimum night stay. Tripology travel expert Teri recommends Secrets Maroma Beach in beautiful Quintana Roo, saying "Choose from full or custom wedding plans, and let their on-site wedding coordinator do your legwork."

    Photo courtesy of LUNAMARINA/iStock

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    #9 - U.S. Virgin Islands

    The U.S. Virgin Islands – affectionately known as “America’s Caribbean” - is a tropical destination without lengthy flights, an international monetary system or strict entry requirements. Each of the three major islands - St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas - offer distinctly different adventures, and all are sure to please. "Coral reefs, wildlife and nature preserves, parasailing, windsurfing, golf and bike tours - whatever your wedding plans, the U.S. Virgin Islands have it," says Tripology expert Karen.

    Photo courtesy of U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism

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    #8 - Key West

    For a casual, laid-back and relaxed destination wedding, think Key West. "Here the themes run from romantic sunset beach weddings to Jimmy Buffet music all night, and barefoot wedding parties frolicking on the beach.  Your guests will surely enjoy the available water sports, good weather, and great food in the keys," says Richard, a Tripology travel expert. Romantic sunsets and a slew of bars with excellent live music along Duval Street put the finishing touches on this fun-filled wedding destination.

    Photo courtesy of Seth Goldberg/iStock

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    #7 - St. Lucia

    "St. Lucia's turquoise waters, and green plants all around, combined with the white sand make for an incredibly memorable wedding experience," says Tripology travel expert Connie.  Resorts here are as "all-inclusive" as they come, and the island's reputation as one of the world's most romantic makes it a clear favorite for both weddings and honeymoons.

    Photo courtesy of raularosa/iStock

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    #6 - Hawaii

    The Hawaiian wedding is all about flexibility; each island has its own personality, and potential ceremony locations are plentiful. "Romantic beach weddings, luxurious waterfall weddings, cove weddings or even a boat ride to the fern grotto where Elvis Presley got married," says Tripology travel Expert Richard. Add to that the convenience of a domestic wedding, the abundance of fresh, exotic flowers and incredible resorts, and the option to wed on one island and honeymoon on another make this a favorite with couples.

    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

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    #5 - Bahamas

    "There’s a lot to discover about this spectacular chain of over 700 islands, and romance tops the list," says Tripology expert Karen. "Right off the tip of Florida, a short flight can transform your wedding stress into classic Bahamian bliss."  Exotic island charm pairs with a sense of tranquility, and marriage license requirements are relatively minimal. Sun, sand and convenience add to the reasons why this Caribbean destination is a favorite getaway for so many couples.

    Photo courtesy of fallbrook/iStock

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    #4 - Cancun

    "Beautiful beach, gorgeous water, fabulous food" ... these are just a few of the myriad reasons why Tripology travel expert Connie nominated Cancun as a perfect wedding destination. Couples enjoy plenty of options for venues - everything from adults-only Le Blanc Spa Resort with its luxurious butler service in every room to Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort, perfect for multi-generational weddings thanks to its kids club, teen center and amazing pool complex.

    Photo courtesy of Chad McDermott/iStock

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    #3 - Curaçao

    "Curacao is one of the hurricane-free region’s best-kept secrets," says Tripology expert Karen, "and a destination wedding here is sure to be a memorable affair!" With a rich Dutch heritage, the "C" of the Caribbean's ABC Islands combines European charm with a tropical setting and offers world-class diving, sandy beaches with upscale historic Willemstad’s modern village feel.

    Photo courtesy of Fuse

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    #2 - Aruba

    Couples (and their guests) who are looking for more than beautiful beaches will find plenty of variety in Aruba. Want lively nightlife? Glittering casinos? Vegas-style cabarets? Friendly islanders? It's all here, and according to our Tripology travel experts, Aruba has the highest repeat-visitor rate in the Caribbean. English is spoken everywhere, the dollar is accepted and nowhere else will you find more fellow Americans. At least a dozen U.S. cities all fly to Aruba nonstop, upping the convenience factor.

    Photo courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority

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    #1 - Puerto Rico

    Palm trees without a passport! Puerto Rico offers couples breathtaking sights, top-class resorts, golf, shopping and beaches all with only a state-issued photo ID for entry. "It’s paradise with an exotic feel, but not a far flight," says Tripology expert Karen. There are plenty of places to wed on this Caribbean island too: Old San Juan with its incredible historic richness and enchanting urban center; beach-side locations; or even the Riu Camuy Cave System Park, for saying "I do" in a million-year-old cave!

    Photo courtesy of Raul Rosa/iStock

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Puerto Rico scores as Best Wedding Destination

Aruba, Curacao, Cancun, Bahamas round out Top 5

Puerto Rico has done it again!  After winning the title of Best U.S. Island a few weeks ago, the tropical paradise which requires no passport has done it again, snaring the #1 spot in our 10Best Readers Choice contest for Best Wedding Destination.   

Our readers and visitors to this balmy, beautiful island near the U.S. mainland are obviously enthralled, which should provide more than enough motivation to get you to consider a wedding there.  Not marrying soon or already married?  Romantic and easy-to-reach Puerto Rico is obviously a special destination for an anniversary trip, too!  

Ranking #2 for Best Wedding Destination is ever-popular Aruba, in the southern Caribbean, with its neighbor Curacao taking 3rd place. Mexico's Cancun - on the Yucatan peninsula not too far from Florida and the Gulf coast - has taken 4th place, and the Bahamas - also very near the U.S. - have landed in 5th.   The top 10 winners are rounded out with Hawaii, St. Lucia, Key West, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Mexico's Riviera Maya.  

While the travel experts at Tripology nominated a few northern destinations for this contest, our readers chose only warm, tropical places as the 10 winners.   

The winners in the 'Best Wedding Destination' contest category for 10Best Readers' Choice are as follows:

  1. Puerto Rico
  2. Aruba
  3. Curaçao
  4. Cancun
  5. Bahamas
  6. Hawaii
  7. St. Lucia
  8. Key West
  9. U.S. Virgin Islands
  10. Riviera Maya

 Congratulations to all these winning destinations.   Lovers now have the perfect list for planning a romantic wedding, celebration trip or getaway.     

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The Experts

Richard Haas

Richard Haas has been in the travel industry for over 20 years and is owner-manager of Cruise One in Punta Gorda, Fla. which also handles land packages and custom tours. He has personally planned more than 600 honeymoons and 356 destination weddings, and matches his clients to the perfect resort, tour or cruise for their dream vacation. He also has a strong expertise in handling groups and multi-generational family reunions, and has traveled throughout the world himself. 

Teri Hurley

Teri is the owner of Endless Love Travel, a boutique agency which focuses on destination weddings, honeymoons and romance getaways. The majority of her business finds her clients flying off to exotic destinations such as Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe and high end cruise vacations - both mainstream and river; generally anywhere you find romance in bloom. Teri holds affiliation with the American Society of Travel Agents, CLIA, the official trade organization of the cruise industry, OSSN and NACTA.

Karen Nowalsky

Karen is the owner of Take Wing Travel, which delights in planning romantic getaways, honeymoons and destination weddings for clients throughout the USA.  Karen's destination expertise extends from the Poconos to Paris. She is a frequent traveler herself and is happy to share her firsthand experiences with her clients.

Connie Riker

Connie Riker is the owner of Create The Moment Travel, an affiliate of My Vacation Lady and Dugans Travels. Connie is a charter and Advisory Board member with the Destination Weddings & Honeymoons Specialist Association with the large majority of her agency's business in romance travel. Unique experiences are her specialty and every client's weddingmoon or vacation is individualized to "Create the Moment" they envisioned. Connie@CreateTheMomentTravel.com www.createthemomenttravel.com

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