If you’ve ever daydreamed of whisking your beloved away to a Tuscan vineyard or a Hawaiian beach to say, “I do,” you’re not alone. After all, love knows no boundaries, so why should weddings?
Destination weddings are increasingly popular with couples. But we wanted to dive deeper and reveal the top destination wedding spots across the USA and the world, according to Americans from coast to coast.
But do destination weddings really live up to the hype? We’ve got the dirt on how invitees really feel about jet-setting for nuptials. Let’s dive in!
Where Would the Perfect Destination Wedding Be Set?
Close your eyes and picture your dream destination wedding — if money were no object, where would it be? (Let us know in the comments.) We popped this question to Americans from 44 states to reveal the most sought-after domestic and international cities for tying the knot.
South Carolinians are ready to trade their sweet tea for French champagne! 88% of respondents would choose a destination wedding, with Paris, France, at the top of their list internationally and Charleston, South Carolina, being the top pick here in the U.S.
Speaking of France, the City of Love has a special place in the hearts of respondents and is the top international destination wedding pick nationwide. From the sun-kissed beaches of the French Riviera to the rolling hills of Provence, France is overflowing with photo-worthy backdrops for a dream wedding.
86% of Michiganders would love to jet off somewhere for their special day, with Honolulu, Hawaii, being the top pick domestically. Like their South Carolina counterparts, they’d also head to Paris for an international wedding. Palace of Versailles, anyone?
When it comes to destination weddings, almost 85% of Hawaiians love the idea, opting for either a Tokyo destination wedding or a Honolulu wedding in the U.S. Meanwhile, mainland Americans share the Honolulu dream and chose the vibrant Hawaii capital as a potential domestic wedding destination above any other city.
Still, 65% of Americans would rather keep the love stateside than attend a destination wedding abroad.
Things to Consider When Planning a Destination Wedding
The results of our survey illustrate how couples must balance cost, location, and climate when deciding where to hold their destination wedding. In a gesture of generosity, 55% of Americans would cover a portion of travel expenses for their destination wedding guests, and 82% would provide an open bar. It seems that love knows no bounds — or at least, it’s willing to help out with the check.
With the above in mind, it makes sense that 71% of Americans would prefer a small destination wedding to a large, local one.
Love may be blind, but it’s not oblivious to the costs associated with destination weddings. With Americans willing to spend an average of $1,490.83 to attend them, it’s clear there’s a strong desire to support friends and family on their big day. Unfortunately, this sum might fall short for some of the more extravagant destinations.
The good news for invitees to far-flung locales? Only 11% of Americans expect everyone they invite to attend their destination wedding.
How Do Invited Guests Feel About Destination Weddings?
So, what does it take to entice guests to embark on a destination wedding journey? Our survey uncovers some fascinating insights.
For 80% of Americans, the bonds of friendship are strong enough to propel them to their best friend’s destination wedding. But that number drops to 59% if they have to foot the bill for travel and lodging. After all, friendship may be priceless, but vacation days and travel costs have their limits.
Destination wedding attendance varies greatly depending on the relationship with the couple; best friends, siblings, and children of the couple are by far the most likely attendees.
Common barriers include travel expenses (the top concern by over 45%), securing time off work, and arranging pet care. Interestingly, pet-care concerns outrank child-care issues on our list of potential obstacles.
When invited to a destination wedding, 71% of Americans are open to attending (depending on the cost). In comparison, 18% would only accept the invitation if the location appealed to them, and 11% would stand firm in their decision not to attend for any reason.
Apparently, wanderlust outweighs the allure of free-flowing libations because 89% of respondents would prefer to attend a destination wedding with covered travel costs over a traditional wedding featuring an open bar.
Finally, an essential ingredient for getting your loved ones to attend a destination wedding is foresight. 73% of guests need at least five months of notice to save the date for a destination wedding.
From Honolulu to Paris, our survey demonstrates the complexities of destination wedding planning and highlights the delicate balance between love, friendship, and the practical aspects of attending one. That said, our findings show that when it comes to destination weddings, a majority of Americans are willing to go.
If you see a destination wedding in your future, plan carefully and shop Shane Co.’s collection of engagement rings as the first stop on your wedding checklist.
To understand how Americans view destination weddings, we surveyed over 3,000 people from 44 states over a two-week period in April 2023. We asked them about the domestic and international destinations where they’d be most interested in getting married, what the most important considerations were when planning a destination wedding, and the barriers they expect to face when invited.