Destination Wedding Cost: Anticipating Your Wedding Budget
Congratulations! You're engaged! This is one of the happiest moments in your life and you want nothing more than to have a magical wedding day with all of your closest family and friends in a location that will take your breath away! I call it a “wedcation” If you’re curious about what you should plan for your destination wedding budget, then I have the answer. Read on to see how much you can expect to spend to have a destination wedding.
1. YOUR DESTINATION WEDDING LOCALE:
An Instagram-worthy destination wedding starts with a great location! Maybe you choose locations that are closer to the continental U.S, such as Mexico & the Caribbean, or you may be looking for a more exotic destination wedding locale, such as Hawaii, Fiji, Bora Bora, or even Europe. Usually, the farther away & more exotic a destination is, the more expensive it can be. The best air schedules and pricing for you and your guests is more than likely going to be Mexico, Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
Obviously, airfare can take up a chunk of your guest's budget but only a small portion of your overall destination wedding budget. And if you’re flying during “high season” (Dec-April), Flights are going to be more expensive than low Season, (May- Nov).
With that being said, here are some current averages based on May 2023 travel:
● Depart From Midwest or East coast to Caribbean or Mexico: $450-$1000 per person, round trip, depending on flight itinerary & destination.
● Departing From West Coast to the Caribbean or Mexico: $500-$1000 per person, round trip, depending on flight itinerary & destination.
PRO TIP: There will always be fluctuations in price based on the time of year and even the day of the week. If you find an unbelievable air deal, double check the type of seat it is and the air schedule. Many really cheap tickets have incredibly harsh restrictions as well as horrible air itineraries that could get you to your resort so late that you miss all of your first day at your resort, therefore ultimately wasting money and delaying the start of your “wedcation” bliss!
2. DESTINATION WEDDING RESORT VENUE:
Every resort offers different wedding locations, amenities, room options, restaurants, activities, as well as food and beverage plans. AI (All-inclusive) resorts include all of your food and beverages with your package price. EP (European Plan) resorts offer an a la carte menu where you pay for each meal or beverage just as you would going out to dinner or bar stateside. In general, an All-Inclusive resort will usually offer you a better value for your wedding group, You definitely need to take your time looking through all the available options so that you can make sure to book the best resort wedding venue for you and your unique wedding vision.
3. YOUR ROOM OR SUITE:
The room or suite you choose will impact the overall cost for you & your guest's destination wedding stay. For example, you could love resort (A) with a base price of $1500 for 4 nights that includes a “standard room.” But if you choose a swim-up suite for your room option. The price for your resort stay at resort (A) will now be $2,000 for 4 nights because of the upgraded room option.
Below is an average cost you & your guests can expect to pay for different types of room stays
for 4 nights based on current rates:
NOTE: Most destination wedding guests will stay 3 to 7 nights for a destination wedding, with the average being 4 days. It will really depend on how much each guest wants to spend on their stay. Because I won’t send anyone to a resort that is average or below quality, you can assume that all of these prices are going to be 4 stars and higher in quality.
Luxury Resort: Adult Only AVERAGE RATES based on 4-night stay:
Deluxe Room: $2,500 - $4,000
Highest Room Category:
Think over the water bungalows or 4 Seasons type quality & experience: $16,000-$25,000
GOOD NEWS FOR YOU:
The good news is, that many resort wedding venues will offer you free nights and room upgrades depending on the size of your wedding group! In many cases, you can get either part or ALL of your stay and even possibly parts of your wedding comped because you’ve earned so many free nights and extras from your wedding group.
4. THE WEDDING PACKAGE & DECOR YOU CHOOSE:
Most high-quality destination wedding resorts will have stunning wedding packages that will include your ceremony location, music, lighting, cocktail party, decor, wedding cake, reception location, entertainment, food & cocktail menu, and an open bar.
NOTE: You have to make sure that your wedding group is going to be set up correctly in order to earn the wedding amenities and free nights. Booking directly with the resorts will not always get you this information, as most resorts don’t seem concerned with letting you know what you can earn. Booking with a destination wedding specialist will guarantee that your wedding group is set up properly to earn everything you qualify for.
5. ACTIVITIES & EXCURSIONS FOR YOUR GROUP:
A great way to connect with all of your wedding guests and to give them a memorable experience during your wedding week is to do a group activity. Depending on your location, you can do an ATV tour, visit a waterfall, bathe in hot mud baths, shopping in a local village, zip lining, golf, rum tasting, scuba diving, snorkeling, and swimming with the dolphins, etc. You get the idea! Due to the size of a wedding group, I recommend you book your group activity in advance
NOTE: There are MANY tour companies out there. Usually the lower the price the more sketch the company. Only go with companies that are licensed and insured, and have great testimonies. One of the best names in the industry is Project Expedition. They have licensed and insured tours that you can trust. They aren’t the cheapest, but they are one of the best!
For a good quality tour, you can expect to pay around $120+ per person, depending on the type of tour, and activities that are included.
ULTIMATELY IT IS UP TO YOU!
I hope this post has helped you understand some of the costs that come with planning a destination wedding. You’ll also want to check out these smart ways to splurge on your destination wedding while also staying on budget.
If you’ve been struggling or frustrated trying to get your destination wedding all figured out, and you’re ready for a little help, schedule a free destination wedding consultation with me today, so that you can get unstuck and moving forward on with your destination wedding planning!