Destination Wedding vs Traditional At Home Wedding: Which One is Cheaper?

Summer is just around the corner and so is Canada’s wedding season – if you’re into traditional (local) weddings that is.

It’s wedding mania for me now since I’m in my mid-to-late twenties and I’ve been to two weddings this year already (including my first good friend, as opposed to a relative – so exciting!) and they were both here in Vancouver. Another friend is planning to get hitched in Hawaii for a destination wedding next year. My boyfriend and I were discussing what we would like to do in the future, and we were going back and forth between the romantic and financial allure of a destination wedding vs a standard traditional wedding (aka “local wedding”) where we can invite and expect more of our friends and family to attend.

Destination vs traditional

Consequently I thought I would do what I like doing best here on Young & Thrifty, by creating a comparison list between the two to help me (and you) decide which one is better for the wallet and which fits your wedding goals overall. Yay for lists (can I get more A-type?)!

Destination Weddings

A destination wedding is where the bride and groom invite the wedding party and close family & friends to an exotic resort location or a tourist mecca such as Cancun, while turning it into a mini-vacation for all.  Destination Weddings have increased 400% in recent years, clearly becoming more popular.  Common destination wedding locales are usually warm sunny places such as Mexico, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Italy, and the Caribbean to name a few. 

Destination weddings are substantially cheaper in most cases.  The average cost for a destination wedding is $17,000 for 100 people (and in many cases there are far less than 100 people that wish to attend) whereas a traditional wedding costs $25,000 for the same amount of people and here’s why:

  • You can combine your wedding and honeymoon together – no new travel plans needed.
  • You usually pay for only yourselves as the bride and groom.
  • Your guests pay for their own package (flight and hotel) to get there, and if you choose an all-inclusive resort it makes things really simply and low maintenance as all the food and drinks are paid for as well.
  • There usually aren’t as many guests (average is around 40 guests) because of obvious financial hurdles.
  • You don’t need to be as elaborate (read: expensive venue and decorations) at your reception because the location (beaches!!) speaks for itself.

The costs you would need to consider for a destination wedding are:

Costs of a destination Wedding
  • Your wedding dress and suits.
  • Passports if you don’t have them already; and Visas, if the destination requires it.
  • Wedding Insurance (if you want) in the event of extreme weather issues or other unpredictable events (hurricanes! tropical storms! yuck!).
  • Bridesmaid and groomsmen outfits.
  • Your flight and hotel package.
  • The reception (should be much cheaper because there are fewer guests) – you can probably strike a deal with the resort to include this in a package.
  • Photographer and their transport costs – although resorts often include this option in their packages.
  • Destination wedding planner if you’re using one to make sure you pick a good location and help coordinate the shindig.
  • Flowers – a base package is already included in most destination wedding packages.  Of course you can always pay for more, but with the beautiful beach to compete with I’m not sure folks will notice them much!

Although this list seems a bit lengthy, the actual cost pales in comparison to what many Canadians are paying for local weddings these days.  Usually places have packages for the bride and groom, but make sure that the hotel will give your wedding party and guests a package deal as well.  This is where negotiating comes into play. 

Here are some good websites to help you with your destination wedding planning:

Without trying to sound crass, the financial downside is that you likely won’t get gifts or cash for your wedding (nor should you be expecting any!) because the cost of getting to that exotic place is already expensive enough for the guests.  A good tip to save money for both guests and yourselves is to book your wedding during the mid-week.  You will be able to save on flight costs, hotels, photography, site fees, music etc.

Traditional (Local) Weddings

The costs associated with a Traditional Local Wedding are as follows:

Costs of a traditional Wedding
  • Your wedding dress and suits.
  • Bridesmaid and groomsmen outfits.
  • The reception: A big range of prices here depending on the location, fanciness of desired food options, and whether or not to do an open bar.
  • The venue: Again, there are a huge range of prices here, especially if you live in a large city.  You also may have to book two years in advance to secure your desired location!
  • Decorations at the reception and venue.  (I’ve been a part of way too many centerpiece conversations.)
  • Photography
  • Flowers
  • Limo rental (if you’re not using a friend or family’s fancy car)
  • Wedding Favors

Other Financial Considerations for a Local Wedding

A traditional wedding in Canada averages out to $32,000, but the flipside (again, there is no way to talk about this reality without sounding crass) is that you do receive gifts.  If you ask for money to be given instead of gifts, that can really help offset the cost of your wedding.  The wedding that I just attended this summer initially cost $20,000 for a wedding with 180 guests but after they tallied the gifts from friends and families (they requested money instead of gifts because they have all the toasters and glassware they need as they were living common law) they came out even!  So the wedding actually cost nothing.  I know some people consider asking for money to be in really poor taste, but I tried my best to explain why changing societal norms are making this more acceptable when I wrote this article on how to ask for money instead of gifts tactfully.  Emphasis on the last word there!

The other good thing about traditional weddings is that more people can come to your wedding.  If you would like to have a chance to celebrate your union with your colleagues, your boss, your friends, your extended family, a traditional wedding at home can be a great chance for everyone to get together and have fun (especially if there is an open bar lol).  The flipside of this is that whoever makes it to a destination wedding will likely stay for several days – so you can spend a substantial amount of time with them – instead of just a quick five minute stop at their table.

Traditional Wedding vs Destination Wedding: You Do You!

So in conclusion, a destination wedding is usually cheaper because there are a fewer number of guests. On the other hand, there could be a possibility that the traditional at home wedding is cheaper in the long run if you manage to convey to your large guest list that a monetary gift would be the way to go if they want to bring a gift at all (as unconventional as that may sound). In the end, it is up to you and your husband or bride-to-be to decide where you want to spend your money and what you ultimately want out of your big day.

Related: 10 Financial Tips For Newlyweds

On a side note, I can’t believe it’s “wedding age” already! In my early twenties, I used to watch TLC’s  all the time and analyze and tear over the wedding details.. and now that it is possibly coming up for me in the near future, I’m not sure I want all the hoopla associated with a wedding… I certainly don’t want to spend $32,000 on a wedding (more money than I currently have in my online bank high interest savings account), that’s for sure!

Readers who are engaged or married or even the single folks who read “Bride to Be” magazine every month… which would you prefer to do? Destination Wedding or Traditional Wedding?  Married folks, how much did your wedding cost, and were you within budget?  Please share to help future happy couples make up their minds!

64 Comments

  1. Money Obedience on July 28, 2010 at 7:50 am

    We got married in Costa Rica on the beach where we also spent our honeymoon. Upon our return we had a catered reception (with a jazz band) at our house for 50 friends and family. Total cost: less than $7,000. We have such fond memories of our intimate and very special wedding day.



  2. young on July 28, 2010 at 7:56 am

    @Money Obedience- ooh Costa Rica? That sounds really nice, I’m sure it must have been cheaper than Mexico too! Happy to hear you had good memories AND saved money!



  3. Adrian Head on July 28, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Hi. I don’t think people choose a destination wedding just because it can be cheaper than a traditional one. For many it is a chance to hold their wedding in an exotic location totally different from normal settings and with those family and friends who are closest to them. Several of the brides at our private villa were also marrying for the second time so the guest list was already smaller and more intimate and the setting gave the respective families an ideal opportunity to get to know each other in a relaxed and informal way.



  4. Jenn @ Paying Myself on July 28, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    We talk about our wedding a lot for a couple who isn’t even engaged. We’ve thrown around a lot of ideas but almost always come back to a destination wedding because we simply have too many friends/family we would feel we need to invite (the bridge/groom equivalent of feeling like you have to attend if it’s local). Making it a destination wedding cuts the guest list for us and cuts out most of the stress of planning, which I like. I also like the idea of a non-traditional wedding because as much as I like the romantic idea of weddings and browsing wedding magazines, I kind of hate weddings!



  5. young on July 28, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    @Adrian- I agree that there are multiple reasons that a couple may choose a destination wedding rather than a traditional one. I think one of the reasons it can be alluring is because of the lower cost. Good point about couples getting married for the second time- that is another reason why one would want to have a smaller wedding in an exotic location.

    @Jenn- Me too! (Well we’ve been starting to do that). Yeah, I staring at wedding magazines kind of makes me want to throw up a little in my mouth. I would prefer the stress free aspect of a destination wedding too. Less eyes on you! =)



  6. Financial Cents on July 29, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Hey Y&T – are you tying the knot?

    My Megan Fox look alike wife and I got married earlier this year in Jamaica. It was great, right on the sea. Our day was perfect. On the money-side, definitely cheaper than inviting 200 people…and much, much more intimate. Also, no drama worrying about all the guests, we simply enjoyed our day with the people close to us. It was actually a 3-in-1 trip; 1) vacation, 2) wedding, and 3) honeymoon.

    My advice to others considering this would be to take at least two weeks off work and have fun. Yes, you need to plan (pick a good quality, experienced resort and people you trust), but enjoy it for what it is. You’re get married for you, not your family. 🙂



  7. young on July 29, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    @Financial Cents- Nope, not tying the knot, just THINKING about tying the knot (in a few years). Wow- you have a Megan Fox look-alike wife? Congrats on the recent wedding! Jamaica- that sounds nice. How many people were at your wedding? Sounds like there’s more pro-destination wedders than pro-traditional wedders. Good point re: you get married for you, not your family. That’s really hard to remember, I think, especially when you have a reception of 200 people and a lot of the guests are your parents friends etc. Thanks for sharing!



  8. Taylor on July 29, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    When I was planning my wedding I initially was looking into destination weddings. I found out the package deals at the all-inclusive resorts in the carribean weren’t for me. (I didn’t want to risk an uninvited audience) To get everything I wanted it would have cost the same if not more than it would at home!
    We ended up getting married in the same province but out of town. I did a lot of diy projects to cut down the costs.



  9. young on July 29, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    @Taylor- What do you mean by uninvited audience? =) Are you referring to other guests staying at the all inclusive resort not part of your wedding? Getting married in the same province but out of town is a good compromise- I just went to Kelowna last weekend and BOY is it gorgeous. I wouldn’t mind getting married there- it’s like a mini-destination wedding. Just 4 hours away from Vancouver.



  10. Financial Cents on July 30, 2010 at 5:50 am

    @Y&T – I got lucky with my wife 🙂 I’m no Brian Austin Texas whatever his name is….

    We had 18 people at our wedding including the happy couple, close friends and immediate family.

    I think the important thing to remember, you’re getting married for you; you always have the option with whom you want to share your experience with.



  11. meadow on August 1, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Hi Y&T:

    Just a heads-up for your eventual wedding day: I know certain cultures give money at weddings instead of dishes or towels, but be aware that ASKING for money is just tacky.

    Cheers!
    Meadow



  12. young on August 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    @meadow- Thanks for commenting. I should have mentioned that my friend who did have a wedding that got pretty much paid off was from a culture that gave money at weddings rather than dishes or towels. =) Thanks for pointing that out!



  13. Financial Samurai on August 1, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    Destination wedding ALL THE WAY! Much cheaper for sure, and more fun.

    Only the closest friends and family will come out, which is what you want!



  14. young on August 2, 2010 at 12:28 am

    @Financial Samurai- Did you do a destination wedding? =) Hmm sounds more and more enticing for PRO destination wedding!



  15. M on August 4, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    We married at home for less than 5000$. We enlisted family to help with everything and did a lot ourselves. We invited 300 and had about 100 show up (many were family from away). We received over 2000$ in cash, which covered our expenses since members of the family had chipped in for the majority of the wedding costs as their gifts.



  16. young on August 4, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    @Melanie Reformed Spender- (Like the name by the way!) Wow, that is great! You spent only $3000 on your wedding in total- not bad at all! I think that’s what a wedding should be- people shouldn’t go into serious debt because of one day. I think I would probably get married in my boyfriend’s back yard too to cut down on the costs. Thanks for sharing Melanie!



  17. Mrs. Accountability on August 6, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    My wedding budget was $2000 but ended up being $3000. However, after the cash gifts we actually spent under $100. We had around 100 people at our wedding. It was my second marriage, and his second marriage



  18. Financial Samurai on August 6, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Yep, destino wedding. But, the destination was a family property somewhere 🙂



  19. Financial Samurai on August 7, 2010 at 10:29 am

    BTW, Thinking about tying the knot is tying the knot! Why wait?! :p



  20. young on August 7, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    @Financial Samurai- I’m too young! Not ready! commitmentphobe! =) Just another year or two. Don’t want to steal the thunder of all my friends who are going to get married first. Still want to travel a bit more (bf doesn’t like my style of traveling). =P



  21. young on August 7, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    @Financial Samurai- Wow, you fail to disappoint me. Chose a destination wedding, but made it a family property so it was even cheaper than a traditional wedding (or free). Sounds like the best of both worlds, really!



  22. young on August 7, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    @Mrs. Accountability- Thanks for sharing! Your wedding budget was quite low too (esp. after the cash gifts). That’s like $1 a person!! You can’t even get a McDonalds Cheeseburger for that price lol.



  23. Dawn on August 16, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Really disliked this line: “Those who really love you will travel for you- you can weed out the people who would just come because they feel guilty if they don



  24. young on August 16, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    @Dawn- Thanks for letting me know about that statement I made. That did sound quite harsh. I agree with you, a lot of my friends were unable to attend another friend’s destination wedding due to financial reasons too, and it can cause undue stress when your good friends aren’t able to make it to your wedding.



  25. audreys on September 4, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Recently i got married and i was very happy with services provided by marketplaceweddings.com .



  26. Geoff on January 19, 2011 at 7:38 am

    I’ve always considered being invited to a destination wedding a kind of ‘oblication’ — not a vacation because I didn’t pick where to go or when, but an obligation to go and spend money on travel etc that maybe I can’t swing, especially if I have a wife and children.



  27. young on January 19, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    @Geoff- I 100% agree. It’s obligation to use up your vacation time, money…etc. I’m not a big fan either… but guess we gotta suck it up and do it for our loved ones!



  28. ann @ wedding favors on March 22, 2011 at 5:43 am

    Nowadays, we need to be practical especially that most of the good’s price are getting higher and higher. Well, I go for the cheaper one and for me I think it would be the destination wedding. There are a lot of places in the US that are convenient to stay and party ready, where you won’t spend thousands of dollars. Plan your wedding one year ahead so that you can calculate the approximate amount that you will be spending.



  29. Lilia Schroer on October 10, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    “My boyfriend and I were discussing what we would like to do in the future, and we were going back and forth between the romantic allure and cheaper destination wedding, or the idea of a traditional wedding where we can invite more of our friends and family to attend.”

    My suggestion is that you’d better choose the traditional wedding. A wedding is your way of announcing to the whole world that you are getting marriedto the one you love. You can invite all your friends, family members, and other people that are close to both of you. It means you want to share your most memorable day to these special people.

    Lilia Schroer



  30. young on October 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    @Lila Schroer- Thanks for sharing your opinion Lilia- I have been thinking about it and I do like the idea of a traditional wedding- I want my friends and family to be able to come and I don’t want to burden them with the cost of attending my wedding. I am currently going to BF’s sisters wedding and it’s going to cost me $900 probably AND I’ll have to give her a gift (I think it would be rude not to since she probably expects some sort of gift).



  31. All About Him on January 9, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I can not decide whether to have a destination wedding or a traditional wedding. My family is split…which makes it even harder. I want to have our honeymoon on a beach with beautiful water. But I think its odd to go somewhere else for a wedding and then go to a beach for the honeymoon. Should hit 2 birds with 1 stone! Part of me wants to go away! I think it would be alot of fun…just afraid some of the people I want to be there, won’t come. Part of me says, just do a traditional wedding…I just don’t want to spend alot of money. We are going to be married whether we spend 3,000 or 10,000. Part of my family is not making this easy with who shall walk me down the isle. That doesn’t help either. I also, have a feeling that he and I are going to have to pay for the majority of our wedding. He has been married before, I have not. I want to get this planned so I can tell people, this is when and where we are getting married. It shouldn’t be this stressful. Just to many choices/decisions. Someone please help. Im open for suggestions.



  32. young on January 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    @All About Him- Sorry to hear you’re having trouble- a wedding can be so stressful even though its supposed to be the “day of your life”. You just need to do what you think is right for both of you. One way you can decrease the cost of an at home wedding is to ask for $ as gifts instead of actual gifts you wont’ use. It’s not really considered tacky anymore and this can really cut the cost. The beach for the honeymoon is a great idea- a lot of people do that, you just want to make sure you get time to spend outside.

    As a person who has been to one destination wedding and is frantically trying to go to the second one in February, I must say I think I prefer at home weddings!! Destination weddings are stressful!!



  33. Amanda on November 26, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    I have no idea how old this is, but I’m going to reply anyway. I think it’s quite reasonable, actually, to ask your close friends and family to spend $1000+ on a destination wedding. First off, your wedding will be ONE day. The rest will be (or at least CAN be) their own personal vacation. And if there’s significant amount of notice, say 1 year, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to put aside $80-$100 a month to go towards the destination wedding. Plus, that’s a lot of time to inform your employer and see if you’ll be able to take those vacation days.

    I’m seriously considering a destination wedding, but I’m just afraid that I’m more traditional that I like to think I am and will regret not having my wedding at home. Fianc



  34. Kyle on November 26, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    I agree Amanda. Let us know how it goes and what the costs/resort are like?



  35. LishTinsday on December 17, 2013 at 10:32 am

    My boyfriend and I have been throwing around the idea of destination vs traditional and we’ve come up to a compromise. He feels like traditional is the way because his circle of guests quite exceeds mine (he would need to invite over 200 and I could keep mine under 100) but I like destination because my love of travel and wanting a more intimate wedding of under 50. So we have thought about doing a destination wedding and a traditional at home ceremony a few months later. We plan to send out a mixed invite. We are inviting everyone (300+ people) to the destination wedding with an advanced RSVP date but making sure that they know there will be a reception held a few months later (with a later RSVP date) that they can also attend if they choose. We know that some may come to both and that there would be a bit of an extra cost to us, and the stress of an extra reception to be thrown, however we feel that a) no gets offended or obligated to come to the ceremony b) we get to celebrate with everyone and c)we both get what we want. If I hire a planner to do one, and ask for friends and family to help with the at home reception, cost wont be to bad and I can wear two dresses!!!!



  36. LishTinsday on December 17, 2013 at 10:38 am

    I just recently attended a wedding where the gift registry was very nicely worded. They said “Seeing as we are a later in life married-to-be couple (they are in their late 20’s and early 30’s) we have many of the items we already need to have a nice start as a married couple. We would appreciate monetary gifts or gift cards to help offset the next few years as we begin to build our new home, and start a family…” It was not tacky and after talking to the couple they received enough to cover the cost of the wedding and then some.



  37. Kyle on December 17, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    That is very nicely worded LT. Thanks for the input!



  38. Kyle on December 17, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    This sounds good in theory LT but as a guy I’m sitting here going, “NOT TWICE THE WORK!” My fiancee would love the two-dress thing though!



  39. Audra Griffin on January 14, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    Wow!!! This article really inspired me and I finally made my decision on a destination wedding!! So excited. @moneyobedience I would love to discuss with you on how you planned your wedding under 7,000 my wedding budget is around there !



  40. Lisa b on February 6, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Enjoyed reading your blog as well as the posts. My daughter is struggling with this decision now. She had booked a venue and they were on their way to a local city wedding. However, seems the costs keep creeping up over their $15k budget. note this is for venue, food, flowers, dress, etc…however, destination weddings are a hassle to plan. To try to decide where you will go without seeing it in person is scary. Some of the planner websites look frankly, scammy. Having it at a resort, while probably less risky, forces you to share your day with other beach goers. This can be a distraction I bet (although if you choose a later sunset ceremony that would be at a minimum). My daughter is thinking of renting a large private villa with nearby hotel for a more private wedding experience. Guests would still be charged to stay there. But now we are talking about needing to hire a professional planner to handle all of the out of town details. Being a hands on girl, I do not know about it being less stressful! But privacy is a priority for them and I imagine it can be done for less than $8000. I hope.



  41. Where to Spend Most of the Wedding Budget? on February 26, 2014 at 9:27 am

    […] Destination Wedding vs Traditional At Home Wedding: Which One is Cheaper? […]



  42. Karen on July 18, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Destination weddings. The most selfish choice you can make. We were not able to go to my brother in laws wedding. We couldn’t afford the thousands of dollars it would have cost for my kids and I to go. He wasnt happy with us but what can you do? No one has to throw themselves a wedding with a full meal. I got married 15 years ago and my dress wasn’t thousands if dollars either. The wedding industrial complex has sold you a bill of goods and the sheeple are buyinh



  43. Kyle on July 18, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Is it still selfish if you don’t expect everyone to come Karen? For example if your brother in law had sat down with you and simply said, “Hey I understand your position, we’ll come over for supper after we get back.” Would you still have been offended? At the end of the day isn’t it the bride and groom’s day/decision?



  44. Mandy on November 11, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    My fianc



  45. Kyle on November 13, 2014 at 11:41 am

    YES!!! YES!!! Thank you so much for that vote of confidence Mandy. I feel exactly the same way and have had precisely the same experiences. We decided to buy our wedding party their relatively cheap attire as a thank you for coming, so the only costs they have (which admittedly is substantial) is the cost of the vacation itself. I figure we can do a toned down “bachelor’s party” on the resort’s dime since it’s all inclusive!



  46. Sue on February 3, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    Have you made a decision yet on whether a destination wedding is for you? My significant other is also in the military and I will graduate with a lot of student debt. A destination wedding does sound ideal to keep the wedding cost/size down but I too wonder if I’d regret it since I never considered it before our partificular circumstances.

    Thanks in advance 🙂



  47. Lauren on February 26, 2015 at 6:45 am

    This was very helpful, thank you!



  48. Jenny on April 20, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Hi everyone! I’m planning a destination wedding probably in Sept 2016, any tips/advice for a girl that’s her first time planning one??
    I have a HUGE family, so my bf & I are planning to have a small, intimate wedding with a guest of 50 or under and have a a party when we come back after the wedding destination! We are thinking of Mexico! I’ve only been to Los Cabos, just wondering if there’s any other part of Mexico that’s a good place for destination wedding?!
    Please help a girl out! Thanks! 🙂



  49. Kyle on April 20, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    Hey Jenny, just got back from Mexico and it was fabulous. We were at the Dreams resort in Puerto Aventuras and had an unbelievable time. We loved the whole Rivera tbh, and we thought it gave our guests great value for what it cost. We were in the exact same position as you (big family) and really enjoyed the small intimate group that made it out there. Overall, we’d recommend the destination wedding experience to anyone.



  50. KnitGirl on December 27, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    @Kyle
    I wish I could say our decision not to go to a sibling’s destination wedding was graciously accepted but it doesn’t seem to have been. 🙁 I know some couples are quite gracious but it’s hardly universal. In this case, it seems to be a competition to see if more people go to this ceremony than another ceremony with many similar invitees. 🙁 🙁

    I am particularly bothered by the suggestion that a destination wedding is a way of weeding out those coming because of guilt. We would have loved to have gone if it had been cheaper or in a family friendly location. It’s not a place we would go for a family vacation so going would have been solely out of a desire to well wish the couple.



  51. jessica on March 30, 2016 at 10:29 am

    I have been debated destination wedding, (maybe even destination elope -then small party when back home) VS Traditional. I lean more to the destination, for many reasons. -amazing background for pics -intimate wedding -simple -less expensive -RELAX -i WANT a small wedding 50/40 under so works -once in lifetime memories with close friends/family -nonstress -they plan everything/set up just come ready ( with there onsite hair/makeup -can do girls day spa before and couple spa after

    Been together 9 years with a child , a small tight group of friends and only been on two family vaca DISNEY & TN . It would be amazing to do something different then the normal wedding we go to once a year. To share it with are small family and close friends a once in a life time… priceless. Can do a welcome party ( all in white), one day doing swim dolphin, deep sea fishing, snorkle excursions a gift from the US. and rest of vacation would be theres.

    I have been looking into Dreams resort with air from there main site and even cheapcaribbean.com has deals and other vaca sites. Dreams do have free wedding package but i would get one of the upgrade 2,000-3,000 packages. His family would give a small amount for wedding money I would pay the upgrade. SO planning we would just need to pay for are stay with are daughter. I would love 8-9 days for 3 is around 4,300-5,000.

    I did look into if i was a guest for the wedding how much would it coast with teh all inclusive resorts 4 nights 2,000-2,500 for a couple. I know everyone wouldnt come but I am okay with that bc Im fine with just eloping us and are daughter. P.S the resort has a amazing Kid area also .. bc my coworks think its crazy i would take her .. eloping so.. we would still get free time to us and excursions. but she would love if her friends (are friends kids) was there!!



  52. Kyle on March 30, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    We loved our time at Dreams Jessica and it sounds like it would check off all of your boxes. Have a blast and let us know how it went!



  53. Slgcool on March 31, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    I’m leaning toward a destination wedding but not because of costs really. I have a somewhat small family and some very close friend but my friends and family live all over so the way I see it a destination wedding would make it easier for people to decline without feeling like they are going to miss a big event. I feel like a lot of my friends and family wouldn’t be able to afford to travel the few hours (up to a three days drive) to where I live and pay for a hotel. But if it’s a destination it would hopefully be more worth the money to go away and easier for those who can’t afford it to decline.
    Also my boyfriend doesn’t have any family and only a couple close friends so I feel like having a home wedding would be uncomfortable for his couple of friends and be extremely unbalance by my family and friends.



  54. Kyle on April 1, 2016 at 9:54 am

    It sounds like you would be a great candidate for someone that would really enjoy a destination wedding Sigcool!



  55. Kate on April 24, 2017 at 1:27 am

    Thanks for this breakdown. I’d be interested to see the other side of it – what are the costs for guests to attend a destination wedding vs. a local wedding.



  56. JZ on April 24, 2017 at 6:59 am

    Destination weddings aren’t cheaper, they just externalize the costs to your guests. When we planned our wedding, we considered total costs to us + our guests. If your guests are people you care about, you will consider their costs as your own. We wanted to optimize costs/experience ratio for everyone, not just ourselves.

    One option we considered was to rent a large chalet near our city. It would have served as both venue and hotel for some of our guests who come from far away to ease their financial burden.

    We ended up doing our wedding at a local restaurant with a large private dining room. We ordered my wife’s dress custom made to measurements from a Chinese company online for less than C$150 shipping included. A less fancy dress would have costed C$800 just to rent locally.

    We had about 50 guests, which was few enough to thank each of them by name at the end of the night for taking the time out of their busy lives to celebrate with us.



  57. Amanda on April 25, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    We got married in Mexico this past December. I am so happy we chose to do a destination wedding. The amount of planning it saved us was worth the cost alone. We had 30 guests for a week and the total cost of our wedding was around $12,000. The best part was many of our guests had never been to Mexico so we got to enjoy their excitement of visiting somewhere new.



  58. Shyla on April 29, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    We are planning at 200 person wedding in our hometown of Vancouver and finding it ridiculously expensive! I wanted a destination wedding, but with the Zika virus and a lot of our friends having babies and/or pregnant, it’s not an option.



  59. fbgcai on April 30, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Karen above pegged it.
    Maybe the destination wedding is cheaper for the couple but it most cases it imposes much higher costs on your guests –
    guess you really must like your guests to stiff them for your travel ideals – how considerate.

    Also the argument that the guests get a vacation only holds if the destination is the sort of vacation they would take and or purchase/can afford – personally an (expensive) all-inclusive resort is the LAST place I would pay money to travel too.
    The entire wedding thing has gotten entirely out of hand with the extravagant expenses – really what is the focus? If it to make a life commitment to the love of your life then ~$250 and city hall does the job and then have a party/celebration/honeymoon – everything beyond that is fluff and feeds the wedding industry monster.
    Best wedding I know of was 2 friends who proposed a trip (happened to be to Hong Kong) to their best friends over Xmas/New Year to “celebrate” – friends were on board with the trip (no pressure). On the plane journey the couple announced to their friends their intent to get married in HK and would the friends be witnesses? of course they would! Events unfolded as per plan and announcements were sent from HK. End of story. Guess it was a destination/elope wedding but didn’t involve a retinue of guests and all involved wanted to go and nobody could get their knickers in a twist because they didn’t get invited – nobody did 🙂 .



  60. Canadian_sadie on May 1, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    One of your ‘selling features’. For a destination wedding is that being expensive automatically cuts the guest list down for you. This is true, but keep in mind that the people who can afford to/choose to attend are not necessarily the invitees you would WANT most to attend. Sometimes it’s best to just chin up and cut the guest list yourself. That said, we had exactly the wedding we wanted, with exactly the people we wanted, and we did it for 150 people for less than 15k. …and that’s with a venue, buses, live music, and an open bar. You just have to figure out what’s most important to you and embrace that. We figured that we can go to the beach any time…but we’re not always going to have a chance to dance with his grandma. 🙂



  61. Kyle on May 3, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Is it not just as easy to say, “You have to figure out what’s most important to you and embrace that. We figured that we could spend a day with grandma and have a good conversation any time – as opposed to saying hi with 1/150th of our time over music at our wedding – but we’re not always going to have a week in paradise with nearly all of our best friends”? It’s a personal decision.



  62. Kyle on May 3, 2017 at 11:30 am

    That sounds like a cool story! I don’t know that I buy this whole “much higher costs” or “less value for guests” thing. I’ve stated in comments in the past that it is often 50-70% as expensive for me to attend a “traditional wedding” because I have to travel anyway, hotels and meals cost more in Canada, I’m uncomfortable in a boiling hot suit the whole time, I rarely get to spend more than 5 minutes with the bride and groom, and I’m expected to shell out a substantial amount to pay for the large cost of a traditional wedding. Give me a beach (especially during Canada’s winter), comfy clothes, days of adventures with my friends, and my presence is my gift any day!



  63. Kyle on May 3, 2017 at 11:32 am

    That’s too bad Shyla! I haven’t done a lot of research on this – has there been a lot of Zika contracted in Mexico? I thought it was mostly South America?



  64. Adriana @MoneyJourney on May 5, 2017 at 6:12 am

    This is a really difficult debate.

    On one hand, your own wedding should ‘happen’ your way. Every couple should get to celebrate their love the way they dream about it!

    On the other hand, making huge financial sacrifices for someone else’s wedding isn’t exactly “fun” for most guests.

    As people who live abroad, we actually have to choose. Either have our families travel abroad, or invite our friends to visit our home country, or have 2 separate wedding parties and then we’re the ones who’ll travel… either way, someone travels! 😀



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