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CostHelper > Weddings  > Destination Wedding

Destination Wedding Cost


How Much Does a Destination Wedding Cost?

 
average costSimple Beach Wedding: $200-$5,000+high costTropical Resort Wedding: $8,000-$40,000+
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A destination wedding typically means the bride, groom and invited guests travel to a special location for the wedding ceremony and reception and, often, the honeymoon. Instead of spending four or five hours together on the wedding day, the couple and their guests have 3-7 days together.

Typical costs:

  • A simple beach wedding in the United States with few or no guests can cost $200-$800, or $1,000-$5,000 or more depending on size and what's included. For example, the Platinum Florida Wedding Company offers a ceremony only[1] package starting at $200 with an officiant/minister and a rose or sand unity ceremony, or a $2, 995 sand angel package[2] with 40 covered chairs, bamboo arbor, two potted palms, two tiki torches, a rose-petal aisle, an audio system and more. Travel will be an additional expense for the couple and their guests.
  • A destination wedding at a tropical resort can cost $8,000-$40,000 or more, depending on the length of the couple's stay, what's included in the wedding, the number of guests and if the resort is all-inclusive. For example, at Destination.Weddings.com[3] a bride planning a December wedding at an inclusive resort in Mexico reports airfare and lodging costs of $3,600 for the bride and groom plus wedding expenses (dress, license, hair, etc.) of $6,000-$7,000, and $500-$1,000 for other vacation costs or about $10,100-$11,600 total; with guests paying expenses of $1,200-$3,500 depending on length of stay (3-7 days) and airfare. And at ThemeWeddingPlanning.com a bride reports costs of $20,000 for a wedding with 50-60 guests on a private estate in the Florida Keys, including lodging for 25 people.
  • For many destination weddings, the bride and groom (or their families) may pay for the wedding ceremony and reception, a welcome party, a rehearsal dinner and a morning-after brunch. Wedding guests may be expected to pay their own travel and lodging expenses as well as any meals, beverages or activities that are not part of the planned wedding festivities. TheKnot.com provides an overview of who typically pays for what[4] .
Related articles: Beach Wedding, Outdoor Wedding, Las Vegas Wedding, Wedding Chapel or Site, Wedding Reception Venue, Wedding Planner

What should be included:
  • Destination wedding packages vary, but items that can be included are the marriage license, the officiant or minister, flowers, photos, wedding cake, champagne, hors d'oeuvres and the services of an on-site wedding coordinator.
  • For a wedding in a foreign country, plan to arrive a few days in advance to make sure all the details are in place and to satisfy any local regulations (a couple may be required to be in the country a minimum number of days before they can be legally married there). Rather than go through the paperwork required in a foreign country, some couples choose to be married quietly in the United States before flying to the desired destination for a purely ceremonial wedding.
Additional costs:
  • If guests need to make travel plans in advance, it's important to send save the date cards ($0.20-$4+ per card) as early as possible, preferably at least eight months before the wedding.
  • Many destination wedding packages include the services of an on-site planner who knows local vendors and regulations (including residency requirements for a marriage license), although there can be additional charges of $500-$1,500 or more for these services. Some brides choose to work with a wedding planner in their area who specialized in destination weddings and who will coordinate with the on-site planner; the typical cost for this is 10%-20% of the total cost of the wedding.
Discounts:
  • If many wedding guests are staying at a hotel/resort for the wedding, ask about group rates or discounts for the bride and groom. If everyone is traveling at the same time, check for group rates on airfare.
  • Some hotels and resorts offer a free wedding package with a minimum number of nights and/or a certain type of room. For example, SunMex Weddings lists free wedding packages offered by Mexican hotels and resorts[5] and Sandals offers its Beautiful Beginnings Wedding Package for free[6] at its all-inclusive Caribbean resorts if the bride and groom stay at least six nights in a premium room or suite. Always read the fine print, as there may be additional charges for desired items that aren't included in a free package.
Shopping for a destination wedding:
  • TheKnot.com provides a destination wedding planner[7] with details about weddings in a wide variety of locations like Tahiti, the United States including Hawaii, the Caribbean, Europe and less well-known sites.
  • If hiring a local wedding planner to coordinate with the on-site planner, search the Association of Bridal Consultants[8] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.floridaweddingcompany.com/packages.html
  2.  www.floridaweddingcompany.com/Largepackages.html
  3.  destination.weddings.com/main.aspx/wedding-theme-boards_destination-weddings_average-co...
  4.  destination.weddings.com/articles/who-pays-what-for-destination-wedding.aspx
  5.  www.weddingmexico.com/free_weddings.asp
  6.  www.sandals.com/weddingmoons/weddings/collections/wedding-themes.cfm
  7.  wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/destination-weddings.aspx
  8.  www.bridalassn.com/mMemberListing.aspx
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