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Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Wedding destinations


From vineyards and valleys to beaches and palm trees to mountain ranges with epic scenery, there are many beautiful national and international destinations to tie the knot. In 2023, according to Brides.com, the top destinations for weddings were nationally: a beachfront wedding in Nantucket, mountain views in Montana, rustic charm in Big Sur and internationally; a dreamy cityscape in Paris, France, and a romantic getaway to Todos Santos, Mexico. These highly desired locations provide vastly different environments, so finding one that aligns is merely based on preference. As we look into projections for 2024 wedding destinations, there are factors to consider, such as popularity in previous years, budget, climate, marriage legality, and making the process a breeze for extended friends and family.

Investing in a destination wedding is one of the most important factors to consider when deciding what location best suits you, your partner, and your families. According to research by The Knot, in 2022, the average destination wedding was $35,600, a 9% increase from the prior year. With inflation, this average is likely higher now, with an estimated $40,000, so saving money and setting aside for this function is imperative. Their research also found that 44% of international destination weddings took place in Mexico. In comparison, 20% were held in Europe and 18% in the Caribbean. The average cost of a domestic destination wedding in 2022 was $36,400, while it was $32,100 for a destination wedding that took place internationally.

Santorini, Greece; Kyoto, Japan; Bora Bora, French Polynesia; Tuscany, Italy; and Queen-stown, New Zealand, were among the top listed international wedding destinations by Lux Rally Travel. To put accumulations into perspective, an average flight to Europe, Japan, and New Zealand today can range from $1,000 to $2,000 roundtrip. Next, factoring in lodging, the location of the wedding venue, hiring a wedding planner and vendors, the time of year it is, and the difference between currency will all contribute to the overall cost. Considering these expenses, planning in advance so your guests have time to plan financially is considerate and responsible.

Do the desired wedding destination locations vary yearly, or do some things never change? WeddingWire believes that there are timeless locations, eternally crowned as the top destinations for national and international weddings. Those locations are the Florida Keys, Vegas, Hawaii, Napa Valley, and Colorado. Internationally, the top-tier destinations are the Caribbean, Jamaica, Aruba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, US Virgin Islands, Barbados, Antigua, Cancun, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Riviera Maya, Cabo San Lucas, Bermuda, Belize. A key theme across most of these locations is warm and tropical climates, which doesn’t seem far-fetched, considering most couples want to make a vacation out of their celebration. For this reason, many couples consider investing in an all-inclusive resort package to make the process of planning a wedding internationally a bit easier.

As of fall 2023, Trips to Discover coined these resorts as the top 10 best all-inclusive locations for destination weddings. Hermitage Bay, Antigua; Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Bahia Principe Grand Grand Samana Las Galeras, Dominican Republic; Iberostar Grand Bavaro Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, The Brando, French Polynesia; Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, Soufriere, St Lucia; Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico; Hyatt Ziva Cancun, Mexico; Royal Davui Island Resort, Fiji; The Caves, Negril, Jamaica; Spice Island Beach Resort, Granada; Dreams Las Mareas, Guanacaste, Costa Rica and Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica. It’s fair to say there are many incredible all-inclusive resort options for weddings, and here are some of the amenities that set these venues apart from the rest. Direct access to private sandy beaches, full-service spas, gourmet dining, professional wedding planners and vendors, infinity pools and lagoons, swimup bars, and nearby water and land activities are some attractions that draw couples to these locations. Depending upon the packages offered at the resort, these options can be a one-stop shop for couples. The upside to selecting an all-inclusive resort for a wedding is that most packages include decor and design, wedding planning and vendors, food, lodging, and transportation into one conglomerate.

When booking a destination wedding internationally or nationally, some overlooked aspects to consider are packing accordingly and checking the climate frequently. If your wedding is in a natural disaster season or during extremely hot or cold temperatures, keep a pulse on weather patterns. Another way to make it easier on the guests is to provide an itinerary and a “what to bring” checklist. Additionally, learning the currency, geographic layout, and some of the language could be helpful and beneficial if the destination is international.

Overall, the projection for top wedding destinations for 2024 will be in warm climates that provide scenic views and include multiple perks. Islands, coastal regions and mountain cities will receive the most attention and interest. We could see an uptick in domestic destination weddings over international weddings, but this is subject to change.


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