Planning a destination wedding? Check the local divorce rate first

By Kirrily Schwarz

Jetting off to marry in an exotic location may seem appealing, but some destination nuptials come with serious baggage. Photo / 123RF
Jetting off to marry in an exotic location may seem appealing, but some destination nuptials come with serious baggage. Photo / 123RF

Weddings are expensive, so it's no surprise many couples are casting their eyes overseas for cheaper alternatives.

In places like Fiji, Bali and Phuket, you can have an extravagant ceremony on a picturesque beach for much less. The Cook Islands and Vanuatu are also rising favourites, as well as European destinations like Paris, Italy, and the Greek island of Santorini.

Let's face it: you're better off shelling out a few grand for airfares and taking off with your close family and friends than listening to your great-grand-three-times-removed-aunty complaining about the fish.

The picturesque city of Bruges may be romantic, but Brussels has the highest divorce rate in the world. Photo / 123RF
The picturesque city of Bruges may be romantic, but Brussels has the highest divorce rate in the world. Photo / 123RF

However, while the ceremony may be spectacular, and the photos may allude to Hollywood-style wedded bliss, destination nuptials come with some serious baggage.

The divorce rates are shocking.

For example, jetting off for a romantic wedding in canal city of Bruges means trying your luck with Belgium's 71 per cent divorce rate, the highest in the world. At the other end of the spectrum, if you're looking for a "solid statistical foundation", you could head to Mongolia, where 99 per cent of marriages make the distance, reports Oyster.

However, if Ulaanbaatar isn't at the top of your list, there are plenty of other options.

Hawaii is an incredibly popular destination, and while a third of couples tie the knot on Oahu, plenty are sneaking off to other islands, popping up on social media with the catchcry "We got Maui'd!". In terms of divorce rates, it's a surprisingly good choice: just nine per cent, the equal fifth-lowest in the United States.

What's more, if things do turn sour, a divorce filing fee is relatively inexpensive — something Nicolas Cage would know after he divorced Lisa Marie Presley just 108 days after their Hawaii wedding, reports Oyster.

Mongolia has one of the lowest divorce rates in the world, with 99 per cent of marriages there lasting the distance. Photo / 123RF
Mongolia has one of the lowest divorce rates in the world, with 99 per cent of marriages there lasting the distance. Photo / 123RF

If your taste is a little more Up in the Air than Gone in Sixty Seconds, you could swap Nicolas Cage's beachside nuptials with George Clooney's civil ceremony in Venice. Italy is a favourite among A-listers and tourists alike, who favour the stunning Amalfi Coast, the rustic beauty of Tuscany, and the old-world charm of Rome.

In a country heavily influenced by the Catholic Church, the divorce rate is just 0.8 people per thousand, and until last year it took as long as three years to finalise a divorce.

Finally, what would a destination wedding list be without the fabulous Las Vegas, the world's epicentre of spontaneous matrimony. It's where the likes of Elvis and Priscilla, Jon Bon Jovi and Dorothea Hurley, Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton, and Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow said "I do".

However, almost 14 per cent of adults in Vegas have been divorced — take a second to think about Britney Spears and Jason Alexander, whose 55-hour marriage is one of the shortest on record.

If that's enough to put you off, maybe you could opt for a "Commitment Ceremony" like Australian radio presenters Ash London and Angus O'Loughlin, who "wed" in a hilariously awkward ceremony on the eve of Ash's 30th birthday in May.

Would you take a gamble on your marriage by tying the knot in Las Vegas? Photo / 123RF
Would you take a gamble on your marriage by tying the knot in Las Vegas? Photo / 123RF

If you'd rather a divorce rate that doesn't follow you around like unwanted guests (like your new husband's hairy uncle Bill, who's determined to kiss the bride), New Zealand suddenly looks like a pretty good option: in 2015 there were 9.3 divorces for every 1000 estimated existing marriages and civil unions — a rate of just 0.93 per cent.

If you're worried about your budget, sack the trendy food vans, ditch the champagne fountain, and save on a choreographer by asking your grandparents to teach you how to waltz. Head to the local church and have the reception in the bowling club rooms.

After all, a wedding only needs the couple, the witnesses and the celebrant.

- Additional reporting: nzherald.co.nz

- news.com.au

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