Besides the fact your mother may never forgive you, there's a certain romance and mystique about turning your back on a conventional wedding to elope somewhere exotic.

There was a time when the very idea conjured images of couples desperate to avoid the expense, planning and inevitable family drama that are part and parcel of traditional weddings. Not any more.

Although not for everyone, inviting parents, siblings and perhaps a best friend or two eliminates any eloping guilt, adds a new dimension to your day and still leaves the door open for a fabulous party when you get back. If you do decide to stick to just two, be sure to let your family know in advance (daunting but better than the alternative) and book an incredible photographer!

Unconventional is inspirational and a growing number of loved up betrothed are heading abroad for reasons not remotely relating to running away. And they're going beyond Vegas and Elvis impersonators.

Combining an intimate ceremony for close family and friends with a gorgeous getaway is infinitely more relaxing than your garden-variety big bash and the list of suitable locations is limited only by your imagination.

Closer to home there's the white sands and glorious sunshine of Fiji, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands or perennial favourite Bali. The savings made by eschewing a larger local wedding quickly add up, enabling bold brides to look further afield for that intriguing site which will forever hold special meaning just for the two of you.

From historic houses in Ireland to Scottish castles; hilltop churches in Provence to Santorini sunsets; South African game parks to the slopes of Colorado - why not throw out your wedding planning guidebook and re-write the script from scratch.

Places really worth eloping to:

  1. Blanket Bay - New Zealand
  2. The Dacha Wanaka - New Zealand
  3. The Banya Wanaka
  4. Paperbark Camp NSW South Coast
  5. Bannisters By The Sea NSW South Coast
  6. Saffire Freycinet Tasmania
  7. Bannisters South Coast NSW
  8. Peppers Manor House Sutton Forest
  9. Peppers Craigieburn Southern Highlands
  10. Reef House Boutique Resort & Spa QLD
  11. Mantra on Lorne, Great Ocean Rd, VIC
  12. Eco Beach - Western Australia
  13. Peppers Blue on Magnetic Island QLD
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