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destination weddings on the rise

Last year, nearly one in four couples (24 percent) chose a wedding locale away from where they live, up from 20 percent in 2009, according to the “2012 Destination Weddings Study” from and

“The idea of having a destination wedding is growing among our brides, and it goes hand in hand with the fact that most people no longer live where they grew up,” says Carley Roney, cofounder of XO Group Inc., creator of these popular wedding websites. “When family is spread all over the country, a destination wedding is the perfect way to bring everyone together.”

Here are additional key trends and statistics from the study, which was administered to nearly 3,000 couples by Digital Research Inc. on behalf of The Knot Market Intelligence Group.

1. Approximately 350,000 destination weddings take place annually, representing 24 percent of all weddings.

2. The average destination bride is 30 years old.

3. Seventy percent of destination weddings took place in the continental United States in 2011, up from 60 percent in 2009. Florida (18 percent), California (13 percent) and Nevada (9 percent) are the top three domestic destinations.

4. Thirty percent of destination weddings took place outside the continental United States in 2011, down from 40 percent in 2009, with the Caribbean (39 percent), Mexico (24 percent) and Hawaii (20 percent) being the most popular destinations.

5. Two-thirds (66 percent) of international destination-wedding brides and 45 percent of domestic destination-wedding brides opted for a destination wedding because they wanted a special, fun or exotic locale. The second most popular reason international brides chose a destination wedding was to host a more intimate affair with fewer guests (65 percent) while domestic brides wanted a destination that was special to them as a couple (44 percent).

6. Destination weddings in 2011 had an average of 86 guests, up from an average of 77 guests in 2009.

7. Destination-wedding couples spend more per guest than their more traditional wedding counterparts. The median destination-wedding spend is $404 per guest internationally and $225 per guest domestically, compared with the national wedding average of $137 per guest. Travel, accommodations and group activity expenses account for part of the difference.

8. Fifty-one percent of destination-wedding couples use a wedding planner.

9. Nearly nine in 10 couples (86 percent) still plan to take honeymoons after their destination weddings.

10. Nearly three in 10 couples will have other parties when they get home.