How much does a destination wedding cost? Is it really cheaper than an at-home wedding? As a travel advisor, I get these questions all the time! And for the penny-pinchers and travel bugs out there, there’s good news: a destination wedding is the smartest choice for your wallet.
However, most couples I speak to don’t know how to create a destination wedding budget. That’s okay! I know it’s not always easy to find information that applies to your situation, let alone build a line-by-line budget. That’s why I’m here to walk you through all the costs of a destination wedding! We’ll cover what’s part of an “all-inclusive” package, what isn’t, and how to budget accordingly. So, grab some frosty margs and cozy up—before you know it, you’ll be hand-in-hand on the beaches of Cabo!
Average Destination Wedding Cost
Most destination weddings I book for couples clock in at $15-$20k. That figure includes the cost of your wedding package, travel, photographer, and any minimal decor upgrades you’d like to make. It’s a staggering savings, considering that the average cost of a domestic wedding in the United States last year was $30k.
Resorts usually offer a few wedding packages for you to choose between, depending on how extensive you’d like your coverage to be. More amenities will mean a more luxurious experience but a higher price tag. However, there’s another way to save! Many resorts offer a free wedding (yep, FREE) to couples who book a predetermined number of nights with a minimum amount of guests. It pays to stay! In some cases, you can even earn some of that money back—more on that to come.
If you’d like to upgrade the resort’s decor or floral arrangements, these will be additional lines on your budget sheet. Your wedding package won’t have any enhancements built into it. With that said, most of my couples don’t spend much on decor or flowers. Instead, they use the beautiful, natural backdrop of the destination as their main focal point!
Photo and Video
Most wedding packages also exclude photo and video services. That is a good thing! Why? Because you should be very picky about the photographer and videographer who capture your special day. There are so many styles and personalities out there, and it’s important to book the person who’s right for you. After all, you’re planning to travel a long way for the destination wedding of your dreams. Make sure you find a vendor you trust to capture it all!
I advise couples to budget at least $5k for their photo and video packages. You may need more or less, but this is a good, average starting point.
Comps (& How They Work!)
Here’s where I tell you the best-kept secret of the destination wedding industry: you can put money back in your pocket when you book your wedding at an all-inclusive resort! When you sign your room contract, you’ll automatically earn comps (a.k.a. free rooms). These will help offset your wedding expenses once you’ve booked your rooms. For example, say you booked 30 rooms and received every 6th room comped up to a maximum of three rooms, per your contract. That figure could easily add up to $5k!
I can’t tell you exactly how much you stand to save since there are many variables to consider (average length of stay, lowest room category booked, room cost, etc.). However, knowing you’ll receive money back is always helpful when budgeting! One recent couple of mine received a jaw-dropping $10k back from the resort. That was HUGE—enough to cover their entire wedding package!
To sum up, destination wedding cost is the product of a few factors. But you can always count on paying less than you would for an at-home wedding, and you might even make some of that money back in the process! Ready to start coordinating your special day with the help of a certified travel advisor? Get in touch today!