Monthly Archives: January 2017

For over 12 years I have been photographing destination weddings and events all over the US as well as internationally.  I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some pretty amazing destinations to capture my clients’ special day.  Traveling for destination weddings sounds glamorous, and I enjoy it and am pretty lucky to be able to do this job but it also takes experience, professionalism and an expert traveler to to navigate a new location, city, country and/or venue.  Contrary to most of my friends beliefs, being a destination wedding photographer is hard work and takes a lot of time, planning, and patience.  There’s extra steps to making the entire process a smooth one including packing the right gear, purchasing extra insurance, confirming travel itineraries, mapping out locations, special scouting sessions, guarding your bags & equipment on trains & busses and lots of searching on Google Maps!

Ultimate Destination Wedding Guide | Destination Wedding Photographer | www.msp-photography.com | Melissa Schollaert Photography

I personally enjoy destination events more than local one’s because it provides me with a challenge.  There’s nothing like seeing a city or place for the first time and my eyes are continuously inspired by new things, different textures, colors and light.  I also thoroughly enjoy traveling to new places, experiencing new cultures and exploring hidden vistas.  Most of my clients choose to have destination weddings because of these same reasons, which is why all but one of my weddings last year were destination.  These clients are my people and we both are drawn to travel and adventure.

I wanted to put together a list of some of the amazing locations that I’ve had the opportunity to work in.  I have photographed at many of these venues and have included a selection of my photos from these areas.  I hope these will inspire you to select a location that’s special to you and fits the vision for your day.

AMALFI COAST

Ultimate Destination Wedding Guide | Amalfi Coast Wedding | www.msp-photography.com | Melissa Schollaert Photography

If you’re looking for THE destination wedding location of locations…The Amalfi Coast in Italy is it!  Nestled south of Naples on the Sorrentine Peninsula, this coastline is one of the most breathtaking places in the entire world!  It’s where towering cliffs meet the sea, blue skies and sunshine dominate and the scent of lemons drifts through the air.  The sight of the hillsides in towns like Positano are a feast for the eyes, while the local fish & seafood are a feast for the stomach.  Whether you’re cruising along the sea to the island of Capri or you’re perched high above the entire coastline in Ravello, you’ll see beauty everywhere.  As you might have guessed, it is a very popular location for weddings because of the unique landscape.  I’ve photographed in Positano, Amalfi and Ravello, the latter of which is the most popular spot for weddings.  It also has the most available venues and once you arrive in the town, it is very small and walkable with everything within a few minutes walk of the town square and restaurants.  You can’t go wrong here!

RAVELLO
Belmond Hotel Caruso
Villa Cimbrone
Villa Eva
Villa Rufolo

AMALFI
Hotel Santa Caterina
Il Saraceno Grand Hotel Amalfi
Convento di Amalfi

POSITANO
Hotel Palazzo Murat
Le Sirenuse

SORRENTO
Villa Angelina Luxury Resort

 

GASPARILLA ISLAND

Ultimate Destination Wedding Guide | Gasparilla Island Wedding | www.msp-photography.com | Melissa Schollaert Photography

The first time I traveled to Gasparilla Island for a wedding I was shocked that it isn’t more well-known throughout the country.  It is a true gem on the gulf coast of Florida that everyone should experience once.  The 7 mile long island is very small and sits between Naples and Sarasota.  It’s not an easy place to get to from the south and is quite a ways from the bigger towns along the coast.  There’s a toll causeway to get on the island, but once you arrive the island mostly has private homes and a few small beach clubs.  Among them are The Gasparilla Inn and the Boca Bay Pass Club which I have both photographed at.  I love coming here because it’s like you have the island all to yourself, the beaches are very natural and pristine and going to town is like going back in time a bit.  It is truly a unique gem along the gulf coast.  Since there are only two main venues here, I’ve also included a few options in the surrounding Naples & Sarasota area that are some of my favorites too.

The Gasparilla Inn
Boca Bay Pass Club
Ca d’Zan
Ringling Museum
La Playa Resort
Vizcaya

 

CHARLESTON

Ultimate Destination Wedding Guide | Charleston Wedding | www.msp-photography.com | Melissa Schollaert Photography

Charleston is one of the top wedding locations in the country, and when you see some of these venues you’ll know why.  This town is drenched in history, nature, mystery and lots of spanish moss.  It has some of the most beautiful venues in the country with a charm that you can only find in this area.  The hospitality can’t be beat and the lowcountry seafood is amazing!

Boone Hall Plantation
Lowndes Grove Plantation
William Aiken House
The River House
Kiawah Island Resort
River Oaks Charleston
Old Sheldon Church Ruins
Cannon Green
Legare Waring House
Magnolia Plantation & Gardens
Middleton Place

 

CALIFORNIA COAST

Ultimate Destination Wedding Guide | Napa Wedding Venues | www.msp-photography.com | Melissa Schollaert Photography

Always beaming with some of the best light (aside from Tuscany) is the beautiful Napa Valley region of Northern California.  The famous wine region boasts so many gorgeous wineries, gardens and estates and is also home to some of the most Michelin starred restaurants in the country.

Meadowood
Carneros Resort & Spa
Beringer Estate
Viansa Sonoma
Chandon Winery
Beaulieu Gardens
Durham Ranch

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NORTH CAROLINA MOUNTAINS

Ultimate Destination Wedding Guide | North Carolina Wedding Venues | www.msp-photography.com | Melissa Schollaert Photography

I have probably photographed the most weddings in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina.  This area is one of my favorite locations for weddings and some venues are as little as 2 hours from Atlanta, my home base.  These venues radiate mountain elegance out of every nook and cranny.  Tops on my list is Old Edwards Inn & Spa which is host to an amazing list of venues large and small, and also has some of the best service I have ever witnessed at a venue.  Many of my clients have a family tie of some sort to this area or grew up going to the mountains for vacation.  It’s truly a special place!  I have also had the pleasure to work in many of the smaller towns in this area including Highlands, Cashiers and Asheville and have listed my favorites.

Old Edwards Inn & Spa

  • The Farm at Old Edwards
  • Rockwood Lodge
  • Piermont Cottage
  • Spring House
  • Hutchinson House
  • Inn at Half Mile Farm
  • Old Edwards Club

Chattooga Club
Claxton Farm
Biltmore Estate
Lake Toxaway
Lonesome Valley
High Hampton Inn
Vineyard at High Holly
The Orchard
The Ridge Asheville

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GOLDEN ISLES OF GEORGIA & FLORIDA

Ultimate Destination Wedding Guide | Georgia Coast Wedding Venues | www.msp-photography.com | Melissa Schollaert Photography

Another one of my favorite destinations in the southeast is the Golden Isles of Georgia and northern Florida/Amelia Island.  I have worked in this area extensively and it’s home to some of the most gorgeous properties that are covered in palm fronds & spanish moss.  The low country is a pretty unique place and like some of the other destinations on my list, many of my clients have a connection to this area and want to incorporate that into their wedding plans.  I’m super excited to go back to shoot at Crane Cottage at The Jekyll Island Club later this year!

The Jekyll Island Club
Cloister at Sea Island
Frederica Boathouse
Oyster Bay Yacht Club
The Ritz Carlton Amelia Island
Ribault Club
The Ford Plantation
Inn at Palmetto Bluff
Walker’s Landing

 

ROCKY MOUNTAINS & THE WEST

Ultimate Destination Wedding Guide | Rocky Mountain Wedding Venues | www.msp-photography.com | Melissa Schollaert Photography

The vast and open west is full of so many naturally beautiful locations, so if you are a nature lover this is definitely your place.  From the depths of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona to the peaks of the Rockies in Aspen, here are a few of my favorite venues of the west!

ASPEN
The Little Nell
Hotel Jerome
Lazy T Ranch

ARIZONA
L’auberge de Sedona
Four Seasons Troon North

SANTA FE
La Fonda Santa Fe
Loretto Chapel

WYOMING
Brush Creek Ranch
Snake River Ranch
Amangani

 

TUSCANY ITALY

Ultimate Destination Wedding Guide | Tuscany Wedding Venues | www.msp-photography.com | Melissa Schollaert Photography

“You may have the universe if I may have Italy.” ~Giuseppe Verdi

La mia bella Italia…  When I think about where I want to retire, Tuscany is the place.  I remember my first time traveling through this area and I just fell in love – I mean, how can you not?  Rolling hills, olive groves, vineyards, historic villa’s – you absolutely can’t go wrong with a wedding in Tuscany.  You almost don’t even need that many details when the scenery is this gorgeous!

TUSCANY
Fontebussi Tuscan Resort
La Selva Giardino del Belvedere
Locanda Tuscany
Villa Cetinale
Castello di Vicarello
Villa Podere due Scale
Borgo di Tragliata
La Badia di Orvieto
Villa Grazioli

FLORENCE
St Regis Florence
Four Seasons Florence
Castello di Vincigliata
Castello Vicchiomaggio
Il Salvatino
Palazzo Corsini
Palazzo Borghese
Villa la Vedetta
Villa Cora
Villa Gamberaia
Vignamaggio

 

ITALIAN RIVIERA

Ultimate Destination Wedding Guide | Italian Riviera Wedding Venues | www.msp-photography.com | Melissa Schollaert Photography

Ok, so here’s my little secret…  If I had to pick my favorite location besides Tuscany, it would be the Italian Riviera in Italy’s Liguria Region!  It definitely has a similar landscape as the Amalfi Coast, but the vibe is totally different.  Towering cliffs dive into the sea below that is filled with fish and sailboats and private beaches.  I first came to this area back in 2007 to photograph a wedding in Santa Margherita and it is still one of my favorite places in the entire world.  It is home to several top hotels and venues, my favorites which are listed below.

La Cervara
Belmond Hotel Splendido
Castello Brown
Villa Durazzo
Imperiale Palace Hotel
Grand Hotel Miramare

 

NICE CÔTE D’AZUR FRANCE

Ultimate Destination Wedding Guide | Nice France Wedding Venues | www.msp-photography.com | Melissa Schollaert Photography

Just up the coast and over the Italian border is the beautiful seaside town of Nice, France in the French Riviera.  This town really reminds me of Liguria in Italy, and more than once I could have sworn I was in Portofino or somewhere in Cinque Terre with all the pastel-colored buildings and winding streets.  Nice has a small-town feel, with local markets and shops as well as all the high-end designer stores as well.  The main attraction here is the beach and promenade that runs along the shore.  You can also climb up to the ruins of an old castle and see the town from above.  The shoreline is stunning with it’s sailboats and superyachts and fancy hotels, but go inland and up into the hills for a more quaint experience.  There are so many great venues here, it’s hard to pick!

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc
Chateau Saint-Martin & Spa
Villa Ephrussi
Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat
Le Saint Paul Hotel
Cap Estel Hotel
Château Diter
Château d’Estoublon
Château de La Napoule

Are you planning a destination wedding?  Are any of these locations on your list?  I’d love to hear about your plans and tell you about my experience photographing destination weddings and events.  Contact me today to learn about my services and packages HERE.  I offer many services to compliment your wedding weekend including everything from welcome party coverage to sailing excursions, bridal lunches, rehearsal dinner’s and more.  I also offer special on-location destination portraits for your honeymoon, anniversary or special vacation.  Visit my website to learn more and I can’t wait to hear about your destination event!

If you’re also a travel fanatic like me, please visit my travel blog A Wandering Heart to get ideas for your honeymoon and vacation adventures!  My blog details my travels around the world as well as showcases my travel photography portfolio and print shop L’Arte del Viaggio.  Visit to get inspired for your own journey.

Cheers & Buon Viaggio!

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | Destination Wedding Photographer | Melissa Schollaert Photography | www.msp-photography.com