When exotic destination ‘I-dos’ become ‘I-don’ts’ for the guests

April 11, 2018

Getting married on a remote beach may seem scrumptious to you and your spouse-to-be, but to your friends and family—not so much. The two major reasons: convenience and money.

For most destination weddings, couples do not cover travel and accommodation expenses, and plan multiple events spread over a weekend—which can cost big bucks for everyone involved.

Americans still have mostly positive thoughts about weddings overall, but fully 79% of respondents to an AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll released on April 10 said that they would prefer them close to home, as either inviter or invitee.

And couples are taking those wishes into consideration: Indeed, only 25% of weddings during 2017 were held 200 miles or more from home.

Last year, the average cost of a wedding was $33,391, excluding the honeymoon, according to The Knot’s annual Real Weddings Study of nearly 13,000 U.S. brides and grooms married in 2017, as  reported in the Minneapolis StarTribune.

And to keep a better handle on the budget for the “I-dos,” about 60% of all destination weddings in The Knot survey for 2017 were domestic, up from about 55% in 2013. About 40% were international, down from 45% in 2013.

Even within the USA, as couples look to nontraditional venues—barns, farms, historical homes, parks, wineriess—spending per guest has increased from $194 in 2009 to $268 last year, the survey found. That comes as the number of guests has decreased from 149 in 2009 to 136 last year.

“Couples really want to be close to home and they want all their guests to be able to come,” The Knot’s Editor-in-Chief Maxwell Cooper said. “As for guests, we all get to that point in life when we’re invited to like 10 weddings in one year and we can’t go to 10 weddings on the Amalfi Coast, or the equivalent.”

The top international destinations, according to The Knot’s 2017 survey, are the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe. Florida, Hawaii, California and Colorado were the top U.S. domestic destinations.

Research contact: info@apnorc.org

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