Top beach wedding destinations

FOR BETTER OR WORSE: Beach weddings have always been popular and are a great way to ensure your day is never forgotten.
FOR BETTER OR WORSE: Beach weddings have always been popular and are a great way to ensure your day is never forgotten.

Penelop Cruz did it in the Bahamas. So did Mariah Carey. Azure waters, sparkling white sands and romantic sunsets... it's a suprise everyone doesn't want to get married on a beach. For those who want to celebrate in style, a beach destination wedding provides the perfect opportunity to say 'I do' against an unforgettable backdrop.

We've picked a few popular beach wedding destinations across the globe. Make sure to check them out if you're planning your wedding:

Indonesia: Islands of the Gods

Bali is famous for its panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and Java Sea. While its almost impossible beauty makes it seem like the ideal destination for a wedding, it may take a little extra planning.

Under Indonesian law, beaches in Bali are in the public domain and can not be privately owned, which basically means that privacy can not be guaranteed, especially on the overcrowded beaches of Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Nusa Dua. That being said, Bali does have a few secluded beaches that provide the perfect setting - check out Ungasan, Bias Tugal and Amed.

Many resorts will advertise beach weddings but often this takes place within the resort and many times a beach view is not included. It pays to check this out with a resort beforehand or go with an independant wedding planner who can give you a choice of various venues.

Seychelles: Luxury and beyond

In the news recently for being the chosen honeymoon spot for Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, these 115 tropical islands dotted across the Indian Ocean are about as exotic as it gets. The three main islands of Praslin, La Digue and Mahé are all exquisite wedding venues.

Denis Island, just north of the capital of Victoria, is a private island which can be rented out. With just 25 individual cottages, this island resort is a private paradise that offers seclusion, comfort and gourmet cuisine.

Sainte Anne is just a 10 minute boat ride from Mahe and is another luxury private island. The resort on the island is in one of Seychelle's largest marine parks and is surrounded by three beaches and sparkling turquoise waters.

Thailand: Paradise discovered

Koh Samui is a preferred wedding destination thanks to its wide selection of beaches. Although places like Chaweng and Lamai are popular, we'd suggest avoiding them as they have are usually overcrowded with backpackers and other travellers looking for a party.

Instead, try Bo Phut or Mae Nam, both offer tranquil beaches with unparalleled views. Mae Nam is known for its 7km stretch of coconut tree-lined beach. The sea here is calm and child-friendly and the sunset is exceptionally pretty so arrange for a photo shoot at dusk.

Hawaii: The Big Island

Saying your vows against a backdrop of the clear blue Pacific Ocean is dream come true on the north shore of Oahu. You can't go wrong with swaying palm trees, pristine white beaches and ocean blue vistas.

Turtle Bay consistently ranks high in lists of top honeymoon hotels. They claim that over 350 weddings take place in their verdant natural settings, every year. On offer are also some great romantic experiences that include couple massages, horse riding under the sunset, private beach picnics and private helicopter rides.

Greece: A big fat wedding

 The great thing about choosing Greece as a wedding destination is the plethora of options this opens up to you. In Crete, for example, there's 1,000 kilometres of coastline to choose from. There's secluded coves, luxury resorts and the two historic coastal towns of Rethymno and Chania.

You could also get married on the historic island of Spinalonga - made famous from the novel "The Island" by Victoria Hislop.

Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionian islands is a romantic island that was made famous by the novel "Captain Corelli's Mandolin". Its movie was entirely shot on the island as well and if you've seen it then you know why this is definitely where you want to get married.

New Zealand: A little closer to home

 Coromandel's picturesque beaches are always a great option that's a little closer to home. Front Beach has a spectacular views of the Coromandel coastline, while the white sandy Cooks Beach and its freshwater stream is also a brilliant option.

Lonely Bay, just off Cooks coast in an unspoilt bay framed by giant Pohutukawa Trees. It's isolated , yet easy to access and definitely worth checking out for your big day.

Australia: Just across the ditch

With 74 palm-fringed islands to choose from, the Whitsundays in the heart of Queensland Great Barrier Reef is a great option that's exotic while still being close to home. Although only seven islands are inhabitated, there's still plenty of beaches to choose from. We're particularly fond of these islands:

Hamilton Island, the largest of of the Whitsunday island resorts has a Gold Club on Dent Island that provides stunning 360 degree views across secluded coves and picturesque beaches.

Whitehaven Beach; a 7 km stretch of pure, unadulterated bliss is just an 8 minutes flight from Hamilton Island. This utopia is famed the world over as the cleanest and most beautiful beach. The sand is 99% pure silica so it never gets too hot and has the composition of baby powder. It's probably the only time a bare-foot wedding ceremony is not frowned upon.