What are your guesses for the top 3 wedding destinations in the world? I would have guessed Las Vegas for the number one spot and then somewhere in Jamaica, Mexico or a Caribbean Island. Now that Chris and I had the traditional wedding here in Orlando I think it is easier for us to say “we should have been married in Vegas!”
Contrary to popular belief, the top 3 places to get married in the world are not in the Caribbean!
Coming in at Number 3 is Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Nestled in the Smoky Mountains, it is known as “the wedding capital of the South”. 42,000 weddings are held per year in Gatlinburg and many say it is due to the picturesque and fairytale-like setting and architecture. Other statistics analysts say it is due to the low fee for a marriage license in Servier County, $39 for out of state couples.
Chris and I first visited Gatlinburg a few years ago for a last minute January getaway. And I do mean last minute – I found a cabin on VRBO.com and emailed them in the morning and asked if they had any last minute specials for the next four days. They said yes and we finished up our work late that night. We didn’t even go to bed – just after midnight we were in the car driving to Gatlinburg! We did take a nice long nap – and we lucked out with rain the first night. The cabin had a tin roof and the sound of rain on that tin roof was heavenly! When we finally got out to check out the town we were so surprised by all of the wedding chapels! They were everywhere! The town was pretty quiet – we were there in the slow season. But apparently the town is very busy in the summer! And if you are there of course you have to spend some time in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We did a wonderful hike with the dogs along a stream and I have great photos and memories from that day!
And you probably guessed it like I did – but not as a runner up. Number 2 is Las Vegas, Nevada.
Oh Las Vegas, the city that never sleeps. Here the weddings are known to be quick, in, I do, and out. The city hosts 114,000 a year, the most for any American city. With the wide spectrum of different hotels, chapels, and receptions to choose from, no wonder so many couples choose to get married here.
Sin City has many luxurious hotels – my favorites are Bellagio, The Venetian/Palazzo, Wynn/Encore, THE Hotel at Mandalay Bay, Caesar’s Palace, Palms and now my new favorite cluster of Hotels at CityCenter – Vdara, Aria, Cosmopolitan and Mandarin Oriental. We’ve now stayed at the Mandarin Oriental twice and it is an awesome hotel! And there are other options nearby for wedding ceremonies and receptions – Red Rock Canyon, Lake Mead, the Colorado River (have you been on the new Hoover Dam bypass? Wow! Formally known as the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. It breaks all kinds of highest/tallest/longest records!) and the Grand Canyon.
Number 1 is the unexpected wedding capital of the world – Istanbul, Turkey.
166,000 couples get married in this ancient city every year because of its location and beauty. Its romantic backdrop and exotic location, sitting right on the edge of Europe and Asia, has recently been attracting couples from all around the world. Christian, Islamic, and Jewish weddings can be arranged. The price tag on Turkish weddings comes out to be affordable with the Turkish currency being in favor of the American Dollar and the Euro. Weddings can be held at numerous places in Istanbul such as one of its numerous historic cathedrals, its beaches, or even in a castle or hot air balloon.
I have never been to Istanbul but I will have a different look on it when I do visit now that I know about the wedding statistics!