How Much a Destination Wedding Costs on Average

You could be dreaming about exchanging vows in a castle or celebrating alongside your loved ones at a far-flung locale. A destination wedding is certainly a special way to celebrate your love, but budgetary questions could restrict you from achieving your dream day.  We surveyed over 27,000 couples who got married last year to find the average destination wedding cost.

Wedding Costs

While many elements might go into determining whether you should have a destination wedding, the most important one is probably the price tag. According to an internal study, the average destination wedding cost is $32,000 (excluding the cost of the engagement ring). Including the price of the engagement ring, the average destination wedding cost is $38,500. As these numbers are averages, use them for baseline knowledge as you begin planning your own destination wedding.

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How Popular are Destination Weddings?

Our findings indicate that more and more couples are opting out of hometown weddings. According to our study in 2019, 21 percent of couples got married under what they consider a destination wedding. This category includes couples who wed in both international locations as well as domestic destinations (a place in the continental U.S. that’s not local to their hometowns). The same study also found there were 5,618 destination weddings last year; of those, 37 percent took place in the continental US (in destinations like California, Florida and Colorado) and 11 percent at international destinations, like the Caribbean and Mexico.

What are The Most Expensive Wedding Destinations?

If you’re wondering what the most expensive wedding destinations are, the answer is it varies.  International markets oscillate when it comes to destination wedding prices. However, our study found the average cost of weddings in 2019 (including the cost of the engagement ring) across different U.S. states. See the top 10 most expensive wedding destinations in the United States, below:

  1. New Jersey: $53,400
  2. Rhode Island: $49,800
  3. New York: $48,600
  4. Massachusetts: $43,600
  5. Connecticut: $41,000
  6. District of Columbia: $40,600
  7. Illinois: $39,700
  8. California: $39,000
  9. Vermont: $38,300
  10. Pennsylvania: $35,900

The takeaway is simply that the average cost of a destination wedding is case-by-case, so it’s best to do your own research. Call local planners, venues, caterers and other vendors in your preferred location to see what their prices look like—and then compare that to the budget you’ve set. Don’t have a budget yet? Take a look at The Knot Budget Tool. It will help you stay on track while planning the wedding of your dreams.

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How Do Couples Choose Their Destinations?

When it comes to planning a destination wedding, the world is your oyster—literally. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the options out there, consider stealing strategies from the couples we surveyed. Nearly six in ten couples said that they chose their location because it was interesting, meaning it was unique or it offered great sight-seeing. If you’re looking for a way to personalize your wedding, choosing a meaningful location is a great way to do so. Just over half of couples who wed in 2019 said they decided on their spot because it was special to them and their partner. Consider going back to the place where you first said “I love you” or the spot where you got engaged.

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