The best cities to hold a destination wedding

Jacob Stiles

Jul 11, 2024

For many people globally, their wedding is one of the best days of their lives. Planning and organising a wedding is a deeply personal (and often very stressful) experience, and each couple chooses to go about it in different ways.

One option is to hold a ‘destination wedding’ – which takes place somewhere other than the location where the couple lives. Often, this can be an overseas destination.

To help determine the best cities to plan a destination wedding for, the travel insurance experts at Compare the Market have created an index, cataloguing some of the most beautiful cities around the world and comparing them based on six key factors including the total cost, online interest and available options for accommodation and activities.

It’s important to remember that a the ‘perfect location’ for a wedding will vary depending on your personal preferences and budget (your backyard may be all you need), but this story serves as a guide if you want to travel abroad.

Let’s dive in and reveal how we ranked these wedding hotspots globally.

The top three cities for a destination wedding

1. Dubai, UAE – 7.52/10

Dubai ocean and cityscape

Dubai stands out as the number one choice for a destination wedding, largely thanks to its sunny weather and tremendous interest on Instagram, according to this index. Couples that choose to wed here can look forward to year-round sunshine, luxurious venues, iconic landmarks, and stunning backdrops of skyscrapers, sand dunes and gorgeous beaches.

The weakest link for this city is the relatively high cost of a wedding, being the sixth highest overall. Additionally same-sex couples might need to give Dubai a miss, as the UAE has not yet legalised same-sex marriage.

2. Istanbul, Türkiye – 7.47/10

Istanbul temple

Number two on this list is Istanbul. Here, wedding attendees can experience beautiful and historic architecture, stunning views of the Bosphorus Strait, and a rich culture. The city – which straddles two continents – scores highly on our index thanks to a relatively low cost of a wedding, many options for accommodation and decent all-round scores in the other categories. But with a comparatively low search volume and middle-of-the-road Instagram interest, this city is perhaps an underrated gem for destination weddings.

Unfortunately, like the UAE, Türkiye is yet to legalise same-sex marriage, so LGBTQIA+ couples may want to look elsewhere.

3. Berlin, Germany – 7.25/10

Berlin cityscape

Berlin comes in third in this index. The cost of a wedding in Berlin is relatively cheap compared to other cities, and the city has incredibly high online search interest.

Germany’s capital is beautiful and historic, and its location in Europe makes it an easy place to get to from all around the continent by train domestically, and the by air for those internationally.

Also, Berlin is the highest city on this index where same-sex marriage is legal, making it a top contender for non-straight couples looking to tie the knot.

The bottom three cities for a destination wedding

As we jump into the other end of the spectrum, it is important to reiterate that these cities are still capable of hosting a fantastic wedding – they just have some caveats to take into account before committing to your big day.

1. Zürich, Switzerland – 1.04/10

Zurich cityscape and river

As with most places in Switzerland, Zürich is nothing short of stunning. Framed around the northernmost tip of the gorgeous Lake Zurich, this historic Swiss city is bisected by the Limmat river, which flows Northwest towards Bern. To the South of the city lies the Swiss Alps, making for no shortage of magnificent views.

So why did it rank so low on our index? Unfortunately, Zürich receives very low interest online and on social media, and has relatively few things to do and places to stay once you get there (in comparison to other cities on the list). Zürich isn’t one of the cheapest places to hold a wedding either.

2. Bruges, Belgium – 1.89/10

Bruges townscape

Languishing in second-last place is Bruges. This scenic, canal-studded city performs poorly on several metrics in our index. It comes in last place when it comes to both search volume and Instagram interest, has the second-least things to do, and the fifth-lowest places to stay.

Fortunately, the cost of a wedding in Bruges is relatively low; however, prospective brides and grooms should carefully consider their options if they are thinking about getting married in this city.

3. Munich, Germany – 2.25/10

Munich cityscape

Mirroring the third best spot on our index is another German city: Munich, which takes the third lowest spot on our index. Overshadowed by its bigger sibling, Berlin, Munich has a considerably lower search volume (74 average searches per month versus 27,217 for Berlin) and Instagram interest. Unfortunately, the average wedding cost in Munich is also far higher than in the German capital, there are fewer things to do and places to stay, and it’s more likely to rain.

However, a destination wedding in Munich may suit some couples more, depending on your preferences.

Weddings destinations around the world

RankCityCountryTotal wedding cost (AUD)Average rainy days per yearNumber of attractionsNumber of places to stayInstagram popularityMonthly average search volumeMarriage equalityWedding score
1DubaiUAE $38,337.6084,9572,075646,0002,608No7.52
2IstanbulTürkiye $18,344.47785,1196,81487,100641No7.47
3BerlinGermany $18,525.15973,4411,525104,00027,217Yes7.25
4RomeItaly $27,602.53756,4748,32636,1001,340No7.12
5LondonUK $41,391.00949,1544,594729,0001,500Yes7.11
6JaipurIndia $22,633.98502,0373,165132,000990No6.89
7Las VegasUSA $23,430.46212,874368248,00011,225Yes6.71
8BarcelonaSpain $31,523.16685,0762,15295,000849Yes6.57
9Santorini (Thira)Greece $30,148.53421,2581,802204,0004,133Yes6.48
10New YorkUSA $45,186.66876,633940386,0002,567Yes6.21
11ParisFrance $46,894.04998,8812,668194,0002,500Yes6.12
12PragueCzechia $20,226.50974,3612,54042,600382No5.90
13AthensGreece $21,882.68432,9471,10843,600494Yes5.81
14Los AngelesUSA $41,192.25252,898998287,000773Yes5.76
15BudapestHungary $23,079.65822,7392,10133,300400No5.54
16SydneyAustralia $26,396.53892,497537680,000728Yes5.45
17MadridSpain $23,701.47483,8681,96215,100203Yes5.40
18TokyoJapan $34,790.369714,1622,89421,900523No5.36
19TorontoCanada $30,868.22882,123648842,000573Yes5.23
20Hong KongHong Kong $37,128.591212,6561,488260,0001,100No5.04
20SingaporeSingapore $36,360.722063,440886679,0001,750No5.04
21San FranciscoUSA $32,840.58422,590423161,000570Yes4.95
22VeniceItaly $45,326.69842,0941,43248,9001,225No4.77
23DubrovnikCroatia $20,221.98919601,34126,700508No4.41
23San Miguel de AllendeMexico $11,927.52614455495,000887Yes4.41
24Gold CoastAustralia $19,699.53981,044696217,000335Yes4.23
25AmsterdamThe Netherlands $26,336.301133,2591,31914,400440Yes4.14
26MiamiUSA $35,704.271232,257371416,000985Yes4.01
27ViennaAustria $31,556.29902,4001,28322,200351Yes3.96
28CartagenaColombia $16,001.731641,2201,2555,000917Yes3.87
28AucklandNew Zealand $24,439.221091,6971,14062,800344Yes3.87
29EdinburghUK $33,141.711201,83092060,700714Yes3.60
30DublinIreland $20,604.411211,94466534,500323Yes3.33
31VancouverCanada $37,723.311281,416280378,000546Yes2.79
32CopenhagenDenmark $24,869.831011,34829816,000336Yes2.48
33MunichGermany $30,627.321161,35069113,80074Yes2.25
34BrugesBelgium $24,290.1710850245210050Yes1.89
35ZürichSwitzerland $33,307.321271,0393955,00057Yes1.04

Wedding dining table set and flowers

Category standouts and strugglers

If you prioritise certain destination wedding factors over others – whether you’re more budget-minded or want to follow Instagram trends – these are the highest and lowest ranked from each category.

Total wedding cost (AUD):

  • Standout – San Miguel de Allende, $11,927.52
  • Struggler – Paris, $46,894.04

Average rainy days per year:

  • Standout – Dubai, 8 days of rain
  • Struggler – Singapore, 206 days of rain

Number of attractions:

  • Standout – Tokyo, 14,162 listed attractions
  • Struggler – San Miguel de Allende, 445 listed attractions

Number of places to stay:

  • Standout – Rome, 8,326 listed places to stay
  • Struggler – Vancouver, 280 listed places to stay

Instagram popularity:

  • Standout – Toronto, 842,000 posts
  • Struggler – Bruges, 100 posts

Monthly average search volume:

  • Standout – Berlin, 27,217 average monthly search volume
  • Struggler – Bruges, 50 average monthly search volume

Is Australia good for destination weddings?

While our analysis was primarily focused on international destination weddings, we did look at two Aussie cities to see how they compare.

Sydney came in 16th place overall, with an overall score of 5.45 out of 10. The ‘Harbour City’ scored the third highest on our list in terms of Instagram interest, logging 680,000 hashtags for #sydneywedding.

The city also boasts cheaper than average weddings and a moderate 89 days of rain in a year. Unfortunately, for the remainder of the metrics, Sydney scores below average, leading to its middling place in the index.

Meanwhile, the Gold Coast came in 24th place overall. It was the fourth best for wedding affordability, with an average wedding cost of only $19,699.53 and was also above average for Instagram interest.

However, it didn’t perform as well in all other areas. Even the famously sunny Gold Coast succumbs to rain 98 days a year on average.

Compare the Market’s Executive General Manager of General Insurance, Adrian Taylor, said travel insurance should be a key consideration when planning a destination wedding.

“Planning a wedding can be incredibly stressful – even more so when you are flying halfway around the world to do it,” Taylor said.

“With all the planning and stress that comes with arranging such an event, it is no wonder that travel insurance can sometimes be an afterthought – which could be a saviour in the event something goes wrong.

“For an event as important, expensive and meaningful as weddings, it really pays to have peace of mind by having a level of cover for your transport and important baggage – including the dress and wedding rings.”

If you are considering travel insurance for an overseas wedding, why not try our free, online tool to compare some of your options and help you hunt for a policy that is right for you.

Remember to always read the product disclosure statement to help you understand the limits, exclusions or restrictions of any given policy.


For each city, data was collected across five categories (see below). This data was then indexed and the resulting scores were averaged into the final ‘wedding score’. The categories and sources included:

  • Total wedding cost – The “total wedding cost” was taken in USD and converted to AUD using XE Currency Converter on 15/05/24. Lower is better.
  • Total number of rainy days in a year – The sum of rainy days per month was calculated to find annual rainy days. Lower is better.
  • Number of attractions – The number of attractions listed on the website was taken for each city (under the ‘Things to Do’ category). Higher is better.
  • Number of places to stay – The number of properties listed on the website was taken for each city (under the ‘Hotels and Places to Stay’ category). Higher is better.
  • Instagram popularity – The number of posts on Instagram tagged with #[city]wedding (eg: #pariswedding). Higher is better.
  • Monthly average search volume – Google Keywords Planner was used to find the monthly search volume for the term “[city] wedding” for each month over the past year, which was then averaged and rounded to the nearest whole number. Higher is better.

The majority of the cities on this index were listed in this article. Some additional cities were added for the purpose of comparison.