Image: Chapel at InterContinental Resort and Thalasso Spa
Thalas  /  Intercontinental Resort
The Blue Lagoon Chapel is the South Pacific’s first and only overwater chapel. Panoramic windows along the walls and in the floor give guests incredible views of both Mount Otemanu and the marine life beneath them.
updated 5/17/2007 3:06:16 PM ET 2007-05-17T19:06:16

Throwing a destination wedding doesn’t mean you have to give up your dream of marrying in a church. These five resorts all have unique chapels to fit every style, from a serene over-water perch to an ornate Catholic sanctuary.

Intercontinental Resort and Thalasso Spa, Bora Bora
The Resort
: Bora Bora is one of the most gorgeous places on earth, and the InterContinental Resort and Thalasso Spa takes full advantage of its locale. Every bungalow sits over the lagoon, with a thatched roof, glass-bottom coffee table for undersea viewing, and direct water access from a private split-level deck. (Other posh room amenities include outdoor showers, flat-screen TVs and claw-foot tubs.) The Deep Ocean Spa is the first thalassotherapy center in the South Pacific, utilizing mineral-rich water drawn from the depths of the Pacific Ocean (2,500 feet to be exact) in its signature treatments. Due to long residency requirements, getting legally married in French Polynesia isn’t practical, so do as most couples do: Make it legal at home, then come here for a romantic ceremony and stay on for your honeymoon.

The Chapel: The Blue Lagoon Chapel, the South Pacific’s first and only overwater chapel, debuted in September 2006. In this tranquil wooden haven, panoramic windows along the walls and in the floor give guests incredible views of both Mount Otemanu and the marine life beneath them. Traditional priests and dancers can be arranged if you’d like to incorporate some Polynesian traditions. Bring up to 20 guests to paradise for an event they won’t forget.

That Extra Touch: Bring your wedding party out to meet the locals -- black-tipped reef sharks -- on a shark-feeding expedition. Then, to get your heart rate back down, indulge in a treatment at the Deep Ocean Spa; glass floors mean you can view sea life while enjoying your massage. Rooms from $808. Chapel package from $3,315.

Casa de Campo, La Romana, Dominican Republic
The Resort
: Located on the southeastern coast near the Chavon River, this chic getaway offers guests everything from the world-famous Teeth of the Dog golf course (one of three on the property) to an upscale marina and yacht club, as well as swanky stores like Burberry and Cartier. Book your guests into luxe digs in the main hotel or upgrade to one of the private villas, owned by celebs including actor George Hamilton and slugger Sammy Sosa (he recently held his birthday bash at the property). For fun, head to Altos de Chavon, just down the street. Modeled after a 16th-century Mediterranean village, this cultural center offers great dining and shopping, plus a selection of art galleries featuring local artisans set along its winding cobblestone streets. A Grecian-style amphitheater offers world-class performances by the likes of Sting and Gloria Estefan.

Image: Casa de Campo
Casa De Campo
The Church of St. Stanislaus at Altos de Chavon at Casa de Campo, La Romana, in the Dominican Republic feels like a romantic little chapel you would find on a forgotten street in Rome.
The Chapel: The Church of St. Stanislaus at Altos de Chavon feels like a romantic little chapel you would find on a forgotten street in Rome. Set in a beautiful courtyard with stone fountains and panoramic river views, the consecrated chapel is built of weathered stone with small ornate windows and big wooden doors, and houses some religious artifacts. (The ashes of St. Stanislaus, the patron saint of Poland, were sent by Pope John Paul II to commemorate the church’s inauguration.) Up to 65 guests can join you for a traditional Catholic wedding. Per Dominican Republic regulations, all ceremonies must be performed in Spanish, but English translators are available upon request.

That Extra Touch: Hold an outdoor candlelight reception in the village square overlooking the river, with catering done by one of the resort’s five restaurants (our fave is Italian-style La Piazzetta). Rooms from $353. Chapel package from $500, not including required donation to the church. 

Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
The Resort: Overlooking the Pacific at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, this 327-suite resort is pleasantly removed from Cabo’s hubbub, but close enough for convenient access to local landmarks like El Arco (the stone arch that marks where the Pacific meets the Sea of Cortez), San Jose del Cabo’s lovely 18th-century architecture, and the hip bars and restaurants of Cabo San Lucas. The decor reflects the region with stucco walls and tiled roofs, life-size Katrinas (the clothed skeletons you see during the Day of the Dead celebrations), warm cedar beams, and fountains and floors made of Mexico’s famous cantera stone. Your guests will also love the wide stretch of beach, onsite cigar bar and relaxing spa.

The Chapel: The Sunset Chapel’s exterior is subtle, blending in with the resort’s hacienda style. The surprise awaits inside, where you’ll find a colorful array of religious paintings and elegant chandeliers that reflect the elaborately decorated cathedrals of Latin America and Spain. Although officially a Catholic chapel, it can host ceremonies for all denominations for up to 80 guests seated.

That Extra Touch: Have a Mexican fiesta in the adjacent Salón Monasterio. Built into the side of the cliff, the open-air terrace has amazing ocean views and seats 140 people. The onsite catering staff can provide whatever cuisine you desire. Rooms from $295. Chapel rental fee $1,500.

Lake Las Vegas Resort, Henderson, Nevada
The Resort: An oasis in the desert, this resort village is only 17 miles from the Strip, but eons away in atmosphere. Centered around the 10-mile shoreline of Lake Las Vegas, the Italian-themed retreat boasts three top-notch hotels (Ritz-Carlton, Hyatt Regency and the condo-style Monte Lago Village Resort), plus restaurants, bars and shops set along lakefront walking paths. The village is home to two casinos, and the separate locale means fewer crowds and more dealer attention than you’ll find when gaming on the Strip. The desert setting gives you access to outdoor activities like golf, hiking and mountain biking in the surrounding foothills, and fly-fishing in the stocked lake. Check out the events schedule and time your trip to take advantage of the outdoor concerts, held on a floating stage; recent performers include Seal, Natalie Cole and Andrea Bocelli.

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The Chapel: Built into a bridge reminiscent of Florence’s famed Pontevecchio, Chapel Fiorenza couldn’t be more convenient. Done in simple Renaissance style, it can accommodate 225 guests and features Old World touches like a beamed ceiling, iron candelabras and dark wooden pews imported from Italy. Wide windows line the front wall, showcasing the lake and the twinkling lights of the resort village. An onsite floral designer and adjacent bridal dressing suite (the perfect place for you and your ’maids to prepare) up the ease factor.

That Extra Touch: Forget the standard limo and take your pre-ceremony ride in a wooden gondola. For your reception, cruise across the lake on La Contessa, the resort’s 80-foot party yacht; featuring two decks with fully stocked bars, it can host a lively reception for up to 149 guests. Rooms at the Ritz-Carlton from $264. Chapel package from $3,000.

Inn At Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, South Carolina
The Resort: The Inn at Palmetto Bluff sits on 20,000 acres of pristine Carolina low country just north of Savannah, Georgia. It exudes Southern charm in every direction, from the wooden rocking chairs on the wraparound veranda of the plantation-style main house to the Spanish moss dripping from live oaks throughout the property. Play golf on the Nicklaus-designed May River course, go kayaking with wild dolphins, hit the spa, or just sit on the porch and sip sweet tea — the pace is up to you. Fifty tidy white guest cottages set on a meandering path come with feel-good amenities like screened porches, steam showers and beach-cruiser bicycles.

Image: Lake Las Vegas Resort's Chapel Fiorenza
Lake Las Vegas Resort
Built into a bridge reminiscent of Florence’s famed Pontevecchio, Chapel Fiorenza couldn’t be more convenient. Done in simple Renaissance style, it can accommodate 225 guests and features Old World touches.
The Chapel: The Waterside Chapel sits at the edge of the lawn on the banks of the May River, adjacent to the charming Village Green and surrounded by majestic pine and oak trees. Recalling traditional 19th-century Southern architecture, it features arched windows, a narrow steeple and pocket screens than can open up to the breeze. Invite up to 90 guests to join you.

That Extra Touch: Throw an alfresco low-country barbecue for your guests at nearby Moreland Landing, which boasts a majestic stone fireplace and custom-designed oyster-roasting pit. It holds 60 under the roof, plus an additional 80 guests on the surrounding patio. Rooms from $600. Chapel rental from $1,000. 

Destination Weddings & Honeymoonsis your ultimate resource for planning a destination wedding or honeymoon. Discover amazing places throughout the world to tie the knot as well as the perfect spot for your honeymoon. In every issue, you get coverage of real-life lovebirds and their nuptials, expert advice for planning your big day, and the hottest styles in wedding attire to take you from wedding to honeymoon.


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