June 18, 2012

TheKnot.com & WeddingChannel.com Announce Results of 2nd Destination Weddings Study

Destination Weddings Are on the Rise, With Nearly 1 in 4 Couples Choosing This Route

NEW YORK (June 18, 2012) – XO Group Inc. (NYSE: XOXO; www.theknotworldwide.com), a global media and technology leader and creator of the top two wedding websites, TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com, released the results of its 2nd  The Knot Market Intelligence Destination Weddings Study today. The most definitive report on the destination weddings industry from The Knot Market Intelligence, a research division of TheKnot.com, the 2012 Destination Weddings Study tracks the industry of more than 350,000 destination weddings annually by capturing detailed information on the destination wedding trends, locations and events of nearly 3,000 US couples who had a destination wedding in 2011 or 2012.

“Since 8 out of 10 brides use and trust TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com, we are the only source that’s able to provide this level of detail and insight into destination wedding trends,” said Howard Ladd, director of insights at XO Group Inc. “The 2012 Destination Weddings Study offers unparalleled information and understanding of the industry and the decision-making process of today’s couples when it comes to planning the perfect destination wedding.”


1. 350,000 destination weddings take place annually, representing 24% of all weddings
2. The average destination bride is 30 years old
3. Destination weddings have an average of 86 guests
4. 70% of destination weddings take place in the continental US
5. Florida, California and Nevada are the top three destination wedding locations in the continental US
6. 30% of destination weddings take place outside the continental US
7. The Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii are the most popular wedding locations outside the continental US
8. 51% of destination wedding couples use a wedding planner
9. 69% of destination weddings are held outdoors
10. 86% of couples still plan to take a honeymoon after their destination wedding

“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,” said Carley Roney, cofounder of XO Group Inc. “When family is spread all over the country, a destination wedding is the perfect way to bring everyone together.”


Destination weddings are growing in popularity.

  • In 2011, nearly 1 in 4 (24%) couples had a destination wedding; this has grown from 20% in 2009.
  • 66% of international destination wedding brides and 45% of domestic destination wedding brides opted for a destination wedding because they wanted a special, fun or exotic locale.
  • The second most popular reason why international brides chose a destination wedding was to host a more intimate affair with fewer guests (65%), while domestic brides wanted a destination that was special to them as a couple (44%).

Domestic destination weddings are more popular than international destination wedding locations.

  • In 2011, 70% of couples chose a continental US destination for their wedding, up from the 60% who opted for Stateside nuptials in 2009.
  • Conversely, 30% of couples married in an international destination, down from 40% who traveled internationally in 2009.
  • The top five domestic destination wedding locations include: Florida (18%), California (13%), Nevada (9%), North Carolina (5%) and South Carolina (4%).
  • The top five international destination wedding destinations include: Caribbean (39%), Mexico (24%), Hawaii (20%), Central/South America (7%) and Europe (6%).

The number of destination wedding guests is on the rise.

  • In 2011, destination wedding couples hosted more guests, with an average of 86 guests per wedding. In 2009, there was an average of just 77 guests per destination wedding.
  • Domestic destination weddings are larger, hosting an average of 96 guests (compared with an average of 62 guests for the international group).

Most destination weddings last three or more days.

  • Destination wedding events are longer than the average wedding, with most (60%) lasting three or more days.
  • International destination weddings are even more likely to span several days…and they’re getting longer. Nearly 7 in 10 international weddings last three or more days, and nearly half (47%) last four or more days, compared with just 38% in 2009.

Destination wedding couples keep guests in mind.

  • Destination wedding couples are spending more on a per guest basis 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 just $137 per guest.
  • The average total destination wedding spend is $20,890 (not including honeymoon, engagement ring or travel expenses).
  • Aside from the traditional rehearsal dinner, after-party and next-day breakfast, 1 in 3 (32%) destination wedding couples plan a group activity like a sightseeing tour for their guests.
  • Of the couples who plan a group activity, more than half (53%) cover the cost for at least some of their guests.
  • For those couples who contribute to the cost, they spend an average of $2,598 internationally and $2,280 domestically planning these group events.
  • Couples are also considering their guests’ expenses, with 2 in 5 (39%) paying for travel/accommodations for at least some of their guests.

The party continues even after the wedding.

  • More than 4 in 5 international destination wedding couples and guests stay at the wedding destination beyond the wedding date, while more than half of their domestic counterparts do the same.
  • Nearly 9 in 10 couples still plan to take a honeymoon after the wedding, with 7 in 10 of them honeymooning in their wedding locale – either for part of the honeymoon or the whole trip.
  • In addition, nearly 3 in 10 will have another party when they get home.

The survey was fielded in December 2011 to January 2012 and was administered by Digital Research Inc. on behalf of The Knot Market Intelligence Group.
About XO Group Inc.
XO Group Inc. (NYSE: XOXO; http://www.theknotworldwide.com), formerly The Knot Inc., is a global media and technology leader devoted to weddings, pregnancy and everything in between, providing young women with the trusted information, products and advice they need to guide them through the most transformative events of their lives. Our family of premium brands began with the #1 wedding brand, The Knot, and has grown to include WeddingChannel.com, The Nest, The Bump and Ijie.com. XO Group is recognized by the industry for being innovative in all media – from the web to social media and mobile, magazines and books, and video – and our groundbreaking social platforms have ignited passionate communities across the world. XO Group has leveraged its customer loyalty into successful businesses in online sponsorship and advertising, registry services, ecommerce and publishing. The company is publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange (XOXO) and is headquartered in New York City. Follow XO Group Inc. on twitter@xogroupinc.

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