How Much Does A Destination Wedding Cost in 2023?
Updated: Oct 26, 2022
Photo by Antillana de Fotographia Punta Cana
Congratulations! Getting married is one of the most exciting times in your life, and planning a destination wedding adds even more anticipation and excitement into the mix. There are so many amazing destinations & resort wedding venues to choose from. Having your destination wedding in an Instagram-worthy location with all of your closest family and friends is now more appealing than ever. It’s what I like to call a “wedcation” . But how much can you expect to pay to have a destination wedding? The answer depends on these 4 factors which I have broken down below. ENJOY!
YOUR DESTINATION WEDDING LOCATION
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 location, such as Hawaii, Fiji, Bora Bora, or even Europe. Usually, the farther away & more exotic a destination is, the more expensive it can be.
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 “peak 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.
Depart From Midwest or East coast to Hawaii: $600-$1600 per person, round trip, depending on flight itinerary & destination.
Depart From Midwest or East coast to the South Pacific: $2000-$2500 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.
Depart From West Coast to Hawaii: $600-$1600 per person, round trip, depending on flight itinerary & destination.
Depart From West Coast to the South Pacific: $2000-$2500 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 (Photo by Asad Photo Maldives )
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 ala 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.
YOUR ROOM OR SUITE:
Photo by Vincent Rivaud
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: $1,500-$3,500
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.
3. THE WEDDING PACKAGE & DECOR YOU CHOOSE:
(Photo by Asad Photo Maldives )
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. For the best deals and group rates, it is best to book all reservations through your destination wedding specialist and some may even have this clause in your contract, so please be sure to review the terms thoroughly.
4. 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 through your destination wedding specialist.
NOTE: There are MANY tour companies out there. Usually the lower the price the more sketchy the company. Only go with companies that are licensed and insured, and have great testimonies. Your destination wedding specialist can set up your tours to ensure you are getting a reputable company.
For a good quality tour, you can expect to pay around $120+ per person, depending on the type of tour, location and activities that are included.
ULTIMATELY IT IS UP TO YOU, BECAUSE IT IS YOUR WEDDING!
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!