What is the Average Cost of Destination Weddings? A Helpful Guide

average cost of destination weddings

Weddings have always been expensive. But these days, it feels like they’re getting to be more and more costly every year.

On average, couples are paying almost $30,000 for their weddings. And if they happen to live in a place like New York, Florida, or Illinois? The cost of a wedding can be much higher than that—with the average wedding costing over $50,000 in those states.

All of this has some couples thinking about holding destination weddings as opposed to traditional ones. They assume the average cost of destination weddings has to be lower than the average cost of traditional weddings.

This isn’t always true, though, as some reports have suggested a destination wedding could end up costing you more than a traditional wedding if you’re not careful. On average, people are paying about $32,000 for destination weddings nowadays.

The cost will be based on a variety of factors. Here is a helpful guide that outlines the different factors that could impact the cost of a destination wedding.

The Destination

If you decide that you’re going to have a destination wedding rather than a traditional wedding, the first thing on your destination wedding checklist is going to be to choose—you guessed it!—the destination.

Are you going to get married in Jamaica? Italy? Thailand? Hawaii? Or somewhere else entirely?

You can break your budget right from the very start and do your part to increase the average cost of destination weddings by choosing a destination that’s too costly.

If you and your soon-to-be spouse have a destination in mind that’s special to you for one reason or another, there might not be any getting around picking it. But if you aren’t tied to one specific location, you can save money by shopping around for the right destination.

Pay close attention to how much it’ll cost you to get to your destination for your wedding. Your airfare alone could cause you to go way over budget.

The Venue

Once you know where your destination wedding is going to be held, the next order of business will be to pick out a venue. You’ll really need to hunker down and do your research to find a venue that will work with your budget while also providing you with the perfect place to celebrate your nuptials.

Poke around online and put together a master list of the different venues available in your destination. Make a list of the features of each venue along with the cost associated with renting it for your wedding.

Often times, your wedding venue is going to be the most expensive part of your destination wedding. It’s why you want to look at as many options as you can before choosing the one you like the most based on both the price and the look and feel of it.

The Guest List

When you hold a destination wedding, there’s a good chance that you’re not going to have nearly as many guests at it as you would have at a traditional wedding. Generally speaking, only about 50% of those people invited to destination weddings go to them.

It would be awesome for you to have all your family members and friends at your destination wedding. But the fact that 50% of them will stay home instead of attending your wedding shouldn’t hurt your feelings too much.

This is one of the areas in which you can save yourself a lot of money. The fewer people who come to your destination wedding, the lower your destination wedding costs will be.

You can keep the cost of your destination wedding well under the average cost of destination weddings by keeping your guest list short. You won’t spend anywhere close to $32,000 when there are only a handful of people at your destination wedding.

The Vendors

You can throw a great destination wedding without all the usual pomp and circumstance if you want. But when people go through the trouble of traveling to a distant country to get married, they usually want it to feel at least a little like a regular wedding.

To that end, they’ll often hire many of the same vendors that they would hire back home. This includes:

  • A catering company
  • A photographer and/or a videographer
  • A band or DJ
  • A florist
  • A makeup artist

You might even want to spring for a wedding planner to take care of everything that needs to be done during the planning stages of your destination wedding.

Just be careful about bringing too many vendors on board. You can easily eclipse the average cost of destination weddings when you try to do too much.

The Preparations

Are you going to have to fly to the place where your destination wedding is going to be held once or twice prior to your wedding day? That could very well up the cost of your wedding, especially if flights and hotels are on the expensive side.

Consider getting around this by using services like Skype to plan your wedding online without having to jet off to the country where it’s going to take place. It’ll prevent you from spending a large portion of your budget on making preparations.

How to Come in Below the Average Cost of Destination Weddings

As you can see, there are so many different things that factor into the cost of a destination wedding. They can all drive the price of your destination wedding up higher than you would like it to be.

Make it a point to keep your spending below the average cost of destination weddings when you choose to get married in someplace other than the place you live. Do it by planning ahead and shopping around for the best prices on everything you’ll need to get married.

By taking this approach to your destination wedding, you’ll steer clear of having it cost more than a traditional wedding. This will help you avoid racking up a massive amount of debt on a destination wedding that should, in theory, be saving you some money.

Find more tips on putting together the perfect wedding without going way over budget on our blog.


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