Study: How Do Destination Weddings Actually Save Money?

Beautiful wedding couple

A perhaps counterintuitive new study reveals that the main reason couples choose destination weddings is to save money. In fact, a destination wedding can lead to savings of between $9,000 and $11,000 on average for couples exchanging “I Do’s” in exotic locales.

On average, couples spend $28,385 on a wedding ceremony and reception, but booking a destination wedding allows couples to save money by booking cheaper venues, limiting their guest lists, and for foreign events, stretching each dollar much further. Plus, destination weddings allow many couples to save money by bundling wedding planning and other services together. Combined with romantic vistas of popular vacation destinations like Hawaii and the Caribbean, wedding experts say the choice is a no-brainer for many couples.

“Not only is the money saving aspect the most crucial to them, but at the same time they will tick other requirements which they will receive for booking abroad,” said Matthew Lawson, Ecommerce Director for LoveHolidays.com. “Who wouldn’t want beautiful scenic views, and a personal wedding planner, which you get as standard by booking overseas.”

According to the most popular wedding site of the moment, The Knot, the average wedding has 138 guests, compared to just 86 guests for a destination wedding (96 for domestic destination weddings). So although couples who travel for weddings will spend more per guest, up to $404 per RSVP, they will usually spend less overall.

Of course, destination weddings can still be far more expensive for the guests, even if the bride and groom (or groom and groom, or bride and bride) end up saving money overall. Only 40% of destination weddings included air travel and accommodations for some of their guests last year.

The Knot also reports that one in four U.S. weddings will be destination weddings this year, and that the majority of them will take place in the states. In fact, half of all destination weddings occur in Florida, California, and Nevada.

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