Whether you’re heading abroad for an international destination wedding or opting for a domestic celebration, we wish you all the happiness in the world. But just remember, some destinations come with baggage; this time, we're talking about the unwanted reality of unhealthy divorce stats. For example, if you really want to start your life together fighting against the odds, then jet off for a romantic wedding in the beautiful gothic city of Bruges and try your luck battling Belgium’s 71-percent divorce rate -- the world’s highest. Alternatively, for a solid statistical foundation for your marriage, you should head for Mongolia, where the chances of staying together are among the highest in the world, with a measly 0.38-percent divorce rate to contend with.
However, you don’t find Belgium or Mongolia placing high on many dream destination wedding lists, so we’ve picked the most popular places in the U.S. and internationally to get hitched and prepared you with the stats. From Nevada to Mexico, Hawaii to the Caribbean, here are the world’s most popular wedding destinations and the divorce rates that follow them around like unwanted guests at the party.
And another piece of sage advice; big weddings with low costs reportedly lead to the longest marriages, while expensive ceremonies and celebrations have the opposite effect. So we guess what the stats are saying is that there’s a compromise to be made -- just like in a marriage itself!
According to a survey conducted by The Knot, Hawaii is the third most popular destination among American couples planning a wedding abroad. (N.B. In this study, Hawaii was considered an international destination, unlike the other 49 states.) Thirty-three percent of couples opt for Oahu as the spot for the ceremony, making it the most popular island for a dream wedding.
As for the negative aspect that goes with Hawaii...well, there really isn’t one because -- at just 9.1 percent -- Hawaiian weddings have the joint fifth lowest divorce rate of any state. What’s more, if things do go badly on the islands, a divorce filing fee is a relatively inexpensive $175, which Nicolas Cage would know as he divorced Lisa Marie Presley just 108 days after their Hawaii wedding.
2. Las Vegas
Elvis and Priscilla, Angelina and Billy Bob, Demi and Bruce; Las Vegas has had its fair share of celebrity marriages that have failed to go the distance, which is no surprise since Vegas is the divorce capital of the U.S. Think long and hard about whether you want the Little White Wedding Chapel to host your nuptials and remember, 13.9 percent of all adults in Vegas have been divorced. Just think about Britney -- her marriage to her childhood friend Jason Alexander is one of the shortest celebrity Vegas weddings on record; their "relationship" was annulled after just 55 hours!
Nearly half of all U.S. destination weddings take place in the top three locations of Florida, Nevada and California, but Florida is the host of the most nuptials, with 22 percent of couples surveyed heading to the land of theme parks, sunshine, and oranges for the wedding of their dreams. On a bum note, Florida has the fifth highest divorce rate out of all fifty states, at a high four of every thousand people. Not that you should let that stop you planning your dream wedding at Walt Disney World; according to Disney By The Numbers, 15,000 weddings have taken place at Walt Disney World since 1991, although the number of those that ended with "happy ever after" is unclear. What we can say is that Disney beats the McDonalds Wedding Party every time.
All you have to do is stay on the island for 24 hours and pay a $50 fee and you’re eligible to be married in Jamaica. But we wouldn’t recommend meeting a stranger on day one of your Jamaican vacation and committing for life on day two, because you might quickly find yourself part of the Caribbean island’s high divorce rate of 9.4 of every thousand people. However, don't be put off by the figures; there must be a reason why one in three American couple destination weddings take place in Jamaica. The hope of sun, sea, sand...and longevity?
Of all Mexico's many stunning potential wedding destinations, Cancun on the Caribbean coast is the most popular among U.S. couples. And so it should be with a divorce rate of only 15 percent. Whether you opt for a beachfront service or an elegant all-white ceremony in Cabo, you can enjoy the day with the knowledge that wedding in Mexico means you won't have scary divorce statistics hanging over your nuptials. Marriage Trends in Latin America suggests the reasons for the low rates of divorce in Mexico -- and other Latin American countries -- are a mixture of a lack of progressive laws, the value placed on the family unit, and the strong influence of Catholicism in the country. However, it's interesting to see that the U.S. influence (i.e. a likelihood of divorce) is most apparent closer to home, as northern Mexico states lining the American border have a higher rate of divorce than those to the south.
It's not just A-listers who head to Italy and the Amalfi Coast when they want a spectacular destination wedding; the country is the favorite European location for weddings among Americans. Twenty-six percent of European destination weddings from the U.S. take place in Italy. As well as Amalfi, Tuscany, Rome and the Lakes are popular spots for couples looking for a wedding with rustic charm. Italy is another country where the influence of the church is a factor in keeping divorce rates low. According to the United Nations Statistical Division, the figure is 0.8 iof every thousand people in Italy, a country where -- until 2015 it took three years to get a divorce. (It's now only three months.) One caveat: While the divorce rate may be low, a survey by American Consumer Opinion found that Italy has the lowest percentage of happily married couples of eleven countries recorded; on the flip side, the U.S. had the second highest percentage of couples satisfied with their lot.