The 6 States Where Everyone Is Having Their Destination Wedding

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Photo: Flickr/Ashley Deason

Photo: Flickr/Ashley Deason

If you’re newly engaged, chances are you've thought about whisking your family and friends away to an exciting, sunny locale for your wedding. You’re not alone: almost a quarter of weddings in 2015 were destination weddings, according to The Knot's annual "Real Weddings Study" (scheduled to be released later this month). 

The whopping majority of those (77 percent) were in the continental U.S. Below is a list of the six most popular states for destination weddings. It turns out that you don't have to go very far for beaches and romantic sunsets after all!  

6. Nevada: 4 percent of U.S. destination weddings

The Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada/Oyster

Nevada’s place on this list isn’t surprising, given Las Vegas‘ title as the “marriage capital of the world.” The glitz and glamour of the city attracts couples — and their guests — who want a fun-fueled wedding getaway. The party keeps going after the wedding, at clubs, pool parties, and live shows. Vegas is also a foodies’ paradise, thanks to the number of Michelin-starred restaurants that have opened in recent years. Properties on the Strip have better access to casinos and celebrity chef restaurants, while a hotel off the Strip, like the Aria, might suit a couple that prefers a more private event with fewer onlookers. 

Destination Wedding Hotel Pick:

5. New York: 4 percent of U.S. destination weddings

New York City is one of the most romantic places in the world. The skyline, Central Park, and historic landmarks are all breathtaking backdrops for a wedding. The grand ballrooms of the Plaza and the Pierre are iconic New York landmarks, and have hosted some of the most extravagant fêtes (Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas’ wedding at the Plaza and Mary Tyler Moore’s wedding at the Pierre, to name a few). At the Plaza, wedding cakes by celebrity pastry chefs Sylvia Weinstock and Ron Ben-Israel even come as part of the package. In upstate New York, the Hudson River Valley offers a different, but equally beautiful, setting for couples and their guests.  

Destination Wedding Hotel Pick:

4. Texas: 5 percent of U.S. destination weddings

Austin is one of the most popular places to get married in Texas. The city borders the picturesque Hill Country and gets 300 days of sunshine a year, making it the ideal choice for an outdoor wedding. It’s also home to an incredible live music scene and BBQ spots worthy of any traveler’s bucket list. Hotels in the heart of the city, like the historic Driskill and the Omni Austin Hotel Downtown, are closer to music venues and restaurants (convenient when the line for Franklin BBQ starts forming at 8 a.m.), while properties on the outskirts, like Lakeway Resort and Spa overlooking Lake Travis, are surrounded by the natural beauty of the countryside. 

Destination Wedding Hotel Pick:

3. North Carolina: 5 percent of U.S. destination weddings

North Carolina’s natural beauty is renowned: the state has 300 miles of beaches along its coastline, the majestic Smoky Mountains in the west, and charming Southern towns in between. The Outer Banks are especially popular for their expansive beaches, oceanfront resorts, like the Sanderling, and quaint boutique hotels, like the Inn on Pamlico Sound. Southern food is another major reason to get hitched in North Carolina. Locals are extremely serious about their barbecue (the debate about whether Lexington-style or Eastern-style BBQ is better can get heated pretty fast) and local seafood dishes. 

Destination Wedding Hotel Pick:

2. Florida: 12 percent of U.S. destination weddings

Florida has the clear waters, sunny weather, and powdery beaches of the Caribbean with the convenience of being in the continental U.S. Waterfront properties dot the coast along the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the Florida Keys, a beautiful archipelago that stretches to Key West. There are even some resorts — like The Breakers Palm Beach where Sofia Vergara got married last year — that have private beaches. Beaches aren’t the only wedding venues, either; Disney World in Orlando is a popular spot to tie the knot.

Destination Wedding Hotel Pick:

1. California: 14 percent of U.S. destination weddings

It’s hard to decide which part of California is more beautiful: the wineries of Napa Valley, the Big Sur coastline, the beaches of southern California, or the redwood forests in northern California. There’s a location for every couple’s preference, and plentiful sunshine over two-thirds of the year makes the state ideal for outdoor weddings. The Calistoga Ranch, a celebrity favorite in Napa Valley, hosts weddings outside, and opens up its incredible wine cave for dancing later in the night. 

Destination Wedding Hotel Pick:

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