How Much Does a Destination Wedding Cost?
A destination wedding is something that many couples daydream about - saying "I do" in a far-away destination, such as a tropical island abroad - and celebrating with their closest friends and family for days. Most often, however, the thought is immediately followed by questions like, "Can we afford it?" and "Is it realistic for our budget?"
Inherently, many assume that destination weddings come with a high price tag. After all, destination weddings often take place in beautiful, out-of-the-box locations (think, the Caribbean) and are held at luxurious, top-notch wedding resorts. They can require international travel, on top of several nights of accommodations for both the wedding and honeymoon stay. Yet despite all of this, the costs are considerably low. Today, the average cost of a destination wedding abroad is half the average cost of a traditional, at-home affair.
What Do Couples Pay for with a Destination Wedding?
Unlike your traditional wedding close to home, travel costs play a big part in the overall destination wedding cost. If you will be jetting off overseas, plan to set aside approximately $1,000 for your plane tickets to paradise, or more if you're hoping to splurge on a first-class experience!
In destinations such as Jamaica, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic, most wedding resorts are all-inclusive. This means that the price to host a wedding there will also include things like décor and music for the ceremony, as well as catering and bar service at the reception, which you'd pay for separately at home. All-inclusive wedding packages may also include otherwise high-ticket items such as on-site entertainment (hey, DJ!), the wedding cake, floral arrangements, your ceremony officiant, and sometimes even a photographer. All-inclusive wedding resorts also include the entire honeymoon stay - an item that, for couples getting married at home, can really break the bank otherwise. If you are working with a budget, keep in mind that an all-inclusive experience can add up to thousands of dollars in savings (on top of much less planning stress, trying to coordinate all the details).
If you are planning a destination wedding on a budget, you can browse some affordable, all-inclusive resorts around the world here.
Do Couples Pay for Guests Attending a Destination Wedding?
A common misconception regarding destination weddings is that the couple must pay for guests' travel. While you may choose to cover airfare and/or hotel accommodations for a close loved one or two, (perhaps those who could not afford to make the trip otherwise), this is not the expectation. After all, couples having a traditional wedding don't typically cover travel costs for out-of-town guests.
Destination Wedding Cost Savings Tips
A destination wedding is a fraction of the price compared to a traditional, close-to-home celebration. In addition to all-inclusive offerings and shorter guest lists, part of that also has to do with the lack of add-on expenses. When you have a wedding in a beautiful location abroad, the destination speaks for itself. Whether you get married on a beach, surrounded by white sands and palm trees, or say "I do" atop a mountain at sunset, not much else is needed - no fancy decorations, no extravagant aisle runner or canopy. Most often, the scenery serves as the perfect backdrop, while the local floras (think palm leaves, Elders, and Dahlias) make for naturally beautiful décor, both significantly cutting costs.