Money-Saving Ideas For A Destination Wedding

By  Tommy Peske
Updated on 03/27/24
Money-Saving Ideas For A Destination Wedding

Money-Saving Ideas For A Destination Wedding

By  Tommy Peske
Updated on 03/27/24

Part of the Wedding

Money-Saving Ideas For A Destination Wedding

By  Tommy Peske
Updated on 03/27/24


Your budget can be a huge downside when planning a destination wedding because, we’ll admit it; travel is expensive! Or at least it can be. Lucky for you, we’ve concocted a list of our favorite budget-friendly locations and ideas for a destination wedding that your wallet will thank you for.

Small Destination Weddings

The cost of a destination wedding depends on the destination wedding location, the number of days, the U.S. dollar to local currency exchange rate, the time of year, the number of guests, and so on. If you want an average estimated baseline, the cost of a destination wedding stands at about $35,000 to $45,000. However, remember that destination weddings can fluctuate greatly depending on numerous factors. 

Smaller destination weddings are all the rage since these tiny but mighty events can give you what you want and do not break the bank! Here’s a list of the top five cheapest places to get married:

  • Jamaica 
  • Costa Rica
  • Puerto Rico
  • Cancun
  • Tulum

If you’re okay with such tropical locations and simply want a pretty and affordable place to get married. The Kempinski Hotel in Cancun, Mexico, is a fabulous option. Pricing starts at $3,000 for 50 wedding guests. It increases depending on extra additions like a full bar or custom menus. Or you can give the W Costa Rica by Marriot a look with over 8,000 feet of event space, in-house decor options to fit your style, and all for a starting price of $2,000 for 30 guests. Another great resort for small weddings is the Zoetry Montego Bay Jamaica Hotel, where you can get an on-site coordinator and amenities like a ceremony arch and a gorgeous bride and groom dressing area. 

Larger Destination Weddings


If you want the destination but aren’t okay with cutting your guest list in half, check out the natural beauty Casa de Campo Resort & Villas. You can have up to 500 guests and more than a handful of stunning wedding venues to choose from, all with extraordinary views, most of which involve the water. RIU Palace Antillas of Aruba is an all-inclusive resort that is another fantastic place to hold your wedding for seating up to 100 guests and all-inclusive wedding packages. If these luxury hotels don’t meet your requirements, travel to Cabo San Lucas’s Villa La Estancia across the Pacific coast. Not only does this pricing start at $2,000, but wedding packages on this side of Mexico are worth every penny, from discounts on spa services, two free nights at the villa, romantic turn-down services, and more.

Unique Destination Weddings

The Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat outside of Nicaragua isn’t entirely budget-friendly. Still, if your pricing is more flexible, you’re guaranteed to have a unique experience. The resort resembles Jurassic Park, with 1800 acres of stunning views and ATVs (minus the dinosaurs). Contrary to the more expensive option we just mentioned, you can travel to St. Lucia to their Sandles Grande hotel, where you can get a free wedding ceremony package included with a three-night stay. So not only do you get memorable views, but you’re able to save on the ceremony and spend your money where you want. If you’re searching for a unique experience in the U.S., look at hot air balloon rides in Letchworth State Park. $1950 for a private ride across the East Coast state park could be an excellent idea for a more intimate vow exchange or even a grand entrance to where your awaiting guests will be in Finger Lakes, NY. Did we mention there are over 120 wineries in the area, too? If you and your future spouse are more adventurous, this might be what you want.

Budget-Friendly Tips

Budget-Friendly Tips

Now that you have some ideas for a destination wedding, here are some of our go-to budget-savvy tips that will ensure you stay within budget:

  • All-Inclusive Resorts

It might be a no-brainer, but the more you can bundle into an excellent little package, the cheaper it’ll be. Many resorts have wedding packages that are half the price of what you’d pay if you bought everything separately. Many even have a free on-site coordinator to help with the planning process. 

  • Plan the trip around airfare.

The most expensive part of travel is the fee to get to your desired location. If you have a general place in mind, planning your wedding around where the flights are the cheapest can help save a pretty penny.

  • Go during off-seasons.

Off-seasons change depending on where you’re going, so it’s essential to check out when the touristy times are. You can expect to save if you can travel when it’s not as busy. Going at off times even helps with you or your friends and family getting time off at work versus going during a holiday.

  • Pick a budget-friendly location.

If you’re not 100% sold on where you want to get married, re-read the locations we mentioned at the beginning of the article. Going to places like Jamaica and Cancun will be significantly cheaper than going to Europe. It’s almost essential not to be too picky. You don’t have to pick the most romantic city. It just has to be in-budget and meet your minimum requirements for spacing and looks.

  • Limit extra add-ons.

Like any other soon-to-be-married couple, you can get lost in all the extra things resorts and destination locations offer. Since you’re saving on the larger guest list, it can get far too easy to keep adding things like a special menu or an ice sculpture, which can rack up the final price. Avoid this by listing what’s really important to you on your wedding day. Don’t add anything extra unless you’ve thought it through and can afford it.

Wedding Destination FAQ:

Wedding Destination FAQ

Are you legally married at a destination wedding?

Your guests won’t be able to tell the difference if you got legally married at your destination wedding or back in your home state at the local courthouse. So, it really comes down to personal preference. Though you can legally marry in whatever country you decide to tie the knot–just know it might be more expensive and require more paperwork.

How many days do you need for a destination wedding?

Instead of a one-day event like most traditional weddings, a destination wedding typically lasts about 3 to 5 days (not including travel time). Usually, the first day is for getting settled. The wedding events commence before the last day, usually the official ceremony day. Many couples decide to have their bachelor and bachelorette parties in the new city and their honeymoon, so this timeframe could change depending on the couple’s wants.

What are the disadvantages of a destination wedding?

The biggest disadvantage is it’s not always cheaper, and many of your guests might not be able to make it since traveling can be so expensive. And if you opt for an all-inclusive package, it can start to feel impersonal and very cookie-cutter. It can also be extra stressful if you’re not used to traveling. 

What is the average amount spent on a destination wedding?

Unfortunately, with a wedding that’s not in your country, there are usually some extra elements involved in planning, such as legal certificates and accommodation for friends and family, so costs will vary depending on where you’ll be having your wedding. However, the average destination wedding cost is about $45,000 for a list of up to 60 guests.

Why are destination weddings so expensive?

Travel and lodging are what really rack up the bill regarding destination weddings. If you have family or friends you can stay with, this can help cut costs. Otherwise, searching for online booking deals and traveling during off-seasons can also help tremendously. 

With that said, choosing to have a destination can be a great way to keep the guest list personal and give you and your significant other a memorable experience together. However, if you start to see the wedding go beyond your price range, it may take some more research or could be a sign to make the destination someplace in your country. Destination wedding or not, make your online destination The Groom Club for more advice and tips on everything you need to know to keep your dream wedding budget as relaxing as possible. If you’re searching a lot for “destination weddings,” we recommend Planning The Ultimate Destination Wedding Elopement and How To Plan A Destination Wedding a read!

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