The cost of the average wedding in 2014 was $31,213, excluding any potential honeymoon that might send the newly minted couple to a faraway beach post nuptials. While typical guest-list numbers have seen a decline—settling around 136—modern couples are intent on offering their friends and family truly experiential memories. Couples who marry in Manhattan (the most expensive U.S. destination to wed, on average) spend about $76,328; meanwhile, some 24 percent of people in 2014 chose destination weddings—and that’s where the dollar signs really start to pile up.
While lists compiling the most costly wedding venues worldwide abound across the Web and (frankly) all start to look the same, here are a few staple destinations for the most extravagant spots to tie the knot—and a couple surprises.
1. The Ultimate Resort: The Oberoi Udaivilas (India)
Situated on 200-year-old hunting grounds and spread over 50 acres—which include 20 acres of wildlife sanctuary—this unbelievable resort in Udaipur, India, is ranked as the #1 hotel in all of India and Asia. Everything from the service to the accommodations to the spa are impeccable to a tee; not to mention the architecture, which boasts 450 stone columns, domes of gold leaf and interconnecting marble corridors that reflect the layout of the surrounding city itself, all while overlooking the grand Lake Pichola. While the resort is indeed a spectacular place for a wedding reception, it doesn’t offer services to host a ceremony. Meanwhile, the cost to your guests is about $8,000 per night.
2. The Royal Palace Wedding: Belmond Hotel Caruso (Italy)
This luxury hotel, once an 11th-century palace, sits on the cusp of the Amalfi Coast in Ravello, Italy. The natural view itself is downright exquisite, but should you say your vows here, you can do so inside the property’s spacious gardens, under any number of frescoed ceilings or inside it 900-year-old cathedral, Duamo of Ravello. For the reception, there’s even more to choose from: a grand ballroom with a four-course dinner or poolside with a view. (Oh, that view!) Accommodations cost around $1,850 per night and wedding packages can reach $430,000 for the “ultimate takeover” package, which allows guests exclusive use of the hotel’s 50 rooms/suites.
3. The Scholarly Nuptials: New York Public Library (New York)
Carrie Bradshaw almost got herself down the aisle in something resembling this Manhattan landmark. You can, too, if you’re a book lover with $50,000 to spare (the starting price to rent the venue). Should you pay to play for an evening inside this cavernous space with marble décor and arched ceilings, the two rooms available to you, Astor Hall and Celeste Bartos Forum, can accommodate anywhere from 125 to 450 guests. The library requires that couples hire a professional wedding planner and only allows for civil wedding ceremonies on its premises.
4. The Private Island Getaway: Little Palm Island Resort & Spa (Florida)
Come back stateside for wedding bliss on this private island paradise in Key West, Florida. Rent the entire island for up to 60 guests (no children under 16 allowed) and wed on the sand, the end of Sunset Dock or anywhere you choose across the five acres. Bare-bones wedding packages start at $175,000 and require a three-night stay—of course with a hefty 22 percent service fee attached.
5. The Exotic Affair: One & Only Reethi Rah Resort (Maldives)
An oasis; an invitation to forget that the rest of the world even exists. That’s what this famous island resort in the heart of the Indian Ocean offers. Part of the tropical Maldives nation, this 109-acre spot is known for its beaches, blue lagoons and extensive reefs. With 130 private villas, most with private pools overlooking the ocean shore, house your guests for somewhere around $7,000 a night.
6. The Jewel in Dubai’s Crown: Taj Arabia
The Taj Mahal, built in the 1500s by Moghul King Sharjahan in memory of his wife, is the universal symbol of love. Constructed in the monument’s image, the Taj Arabia is Dubai’s latest mega landmark—poised to be the world’s most expensive place to host a wedding. With space for 3,000 guests, when it opens for events this Taj Mahal replica will likely become a staple on “must-see” destination lists.
Wedding Insurance for your Wedding, Extravagant or Simple
Are you getting married? Have you chosen your perfect venue? Even if it’s not one of the world’s most extravagant, it’s worth considering wedding insurance for your dream day. Wedding insurance protects you against liability for personal injuries or venue damage and cancellations.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.