There are just about a million decisions you have to make while planning a wedding. Do you want it to be big or small? Inside or outside? Close by, or far away? Wedding planning is a time to explore your options and learn what you really want, but if you and your partner decide a destination wedding is for you, there are even more details to consider, starting with the cost. It turns out, the cost of a destination wedding can definitely depend on a lot of things, all of which are worth factoring in when planning your big day.
A destination wedding can feel like the ultimate fantasy for some. Getting married at a gorgeous beach in the Caribbean, or at a castle in Ireland is seriously idyllic, but unfortunately, not always feasible depending on the couple's budget. Most couples find "destination weddings to be a great way to escape the day-to-day and really spend quality time with guests versus a quick hello in a receiving line," founder of Jacin Fitzgerald Events, Jacin Fitzgerald, tells Elite Daily. "It's nice to spend a few days with everyone and include them in welcome parties versus smaller rehearsal dinners for the wedding party only."
Destination weddings can be a great time for all, but what makes them so expensive? According to wedding planners, it's all in the details.
Perhaps the first thing to consider when planning a destination wedding is the location. After all, the cost "totally depends on the location," Fitzgerald says, so if you need to stick to a budget, the location is the first thing to nail down. Fortunately, many resorts specialize in destination weddings and actually make it pretty easy for the couple. "I'd say if you're looking at an all-inclusive venue, many of the bells and whistles are included, and sometimes come with the guest's room rate, but many venues we work with end up being a bit more expensive because of tariffs, taxes, [and] shipping decor," Fitzgerald adds.
Additionally, your location might require additional transportation, or other little unexplained costs that you'll probably have to cover. "For example," Fitzgerald says, "we planned a wedding on a small island in the Bahamas last December which required a small boat transfer following the flight. This not only impacted guests, but made the transport of decor, instruments, etc. more challenging for the vendors. These challenges can sometimes have a price tag, depending on labor fees!"
Location is (almost) everything for a destination wedding.
2. Guest count
Another important factor to consider while planning your destination wedding is how many people you'd like to invite. The guest list might have to be a lot smaller than if you were getting married in your home town, because many times, not everyone on the guest list is able to make it out to the destination. There's airfare to consider, as well as child care if the invitees have children, hotel stay, to also factor in. Nevertheless, most wedding venues charge the couple per person, so the less people you invite, the less your total cost will be. "Guest count will always be the biggest factor when it comes to cost, no matter the location, and the same stands true here," Fitzgerald says.
If you want a destination wedding, you might have to cut your guest list in order to save on costs. The upside? An intimate wedding is totally sweet, so it could definitely be worth it.
If you have a super specific vision for your wedding, including the decor, that can also impact the overall cost no matter the destination. "The decor is a huge variable as well, depending on the location, because many clients decide to bring in specialty linens, place settings, etc. outside of the standard options that may come with the venue," Fitzgerald explains.
Sure, that Pinterest wedding of your dreams may seem like the only option for you, but if you're getting married on the beach in Spain, for example, you might have to pay extra to have your vendors accommodate shipping and travel. A good solution? Use local vendors. That said, currency conversion and rates still apply.
4. Time of year
Finally, as with any kind of travel, so much of it depends on the time of the year. "The time of year plays a factor, as if it is tourist season, the rates will be higher as there is a larger demand," Apryl D. Roberts, owner of Memorable Events by Apryl, tells Elite Daily. "This also affects airfare rates as well."
Most couples in the United States spend upwards of $30,000 on their wedding ceremony and reception, according to Wedding Wire. If you're going to spend that much money on a wedding anyway, and you want to do something unique, a destination wedding might be something you'd like to consider. Just go into it knowing that the cost of hopping on a plane, staying at a hotel, all your meals, plus luggage and services to be booked at the location are all costs that can add up depending on where you go and when, how many people you invite, and what you want your wedding to look like.