Destination Wedding Planning 101: All the Answers You Can't Find On Google

TravelBash Destination Weddings

As a former Destination Wedding Bride myself, I have been where you are: happily engaged and ready to make it Facebook official — but wait where do I start, what is a destination wedding exactly and what all do I need to know to kick this thing off without a hitch? I answer all of those questions below!

What is a Destination Wedding?

I have done plenty of research and found that it is a wedding that is simply planned away from home however I came up with my own definition and you can read more about it here.

Why Consider a Destination Wedding?

The #1 reason to consider a destination wedding is the average wedding, according to The Knot’s 2018 research study, has surpassed $33,000. WOWZA, now that’s a lot of money. Check out this article where I break down why destination weddings are cheaper than traditional weddings


Does a Destination Wedding Save Us Money?

You just saw the chart. Destination Weddings are the best all-in-one bang for your buck. With Traditional Weddings, you have several events…rehearsal dinner, brunch, shower, gift reception, bridal party, parent’s dinner, and so on. When you choose a destination wedding all-inclusive property, you definitely save money because you have everything right there and guest pay for themselves.

 Want answers to more Frequently Asked Questions? Get them here! 

So How Much Does a Destination Wedding Cost, Seriously?

This varies on what all you want your wedding to entail. However, there are two costs for you to consider:

1.     The cost for your travel & guests

2.     The cost of the wedding ceremony, reception and other wedding related events on the resort

When you choose to have an all-inclusive wedding, guests pay their own travel. The good news is all your guests know the cost upfront and can budget for one amount. They are also able to make payment plans. Even better, you score perks for the more guests you bring that could actually earn you FREE travel for yourself. Meaning, your budget just got bigger.

When you work with your Travel Advisor, they will share with you options that include styling, makeup, bouquets cakes, music and more. Most couples average 45-65 guests and spend anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 on their wedding and events.

Usually the cost for guest staying a min. 3 nights at a resort with transportation + flights start at $1250 per person.

 BREAKDOWN: Read about the real cost of a destination wedding.

When is the Best Time to Have a Destination Wedding?

Depending on where you get married, it could vary.

 INFO YOU NEED: The best times of the year to travel to top destinations.

To score the best deals, you want to go in the offseason. The Caribbean and Mexico have hurricane seasons from June-November so you can find the best pricing then. However, the highest cost or PEAK season will run from December to April including all the holiday weekends.

What are the Most Popular Destination Wedding Locations?

Mexico by far is the most popular because it’s easy to get to from anywhere in the US and it tends to have the cheapest prices. A few other cost-efficient locations are Dominican Republic and Jamaica. For more expensive or high-end locales, brides choose the Bahamas, Saint Lucia, Barbados and Antigua.

Destinations that are growing would include many European destinations ex: Croatia, Portugal, and the UK. Costa Rica is also on the rise.

Is a Destination Wedding Legal?

There are two types of ceremonies you can have for destination weddings. You can choose a Legal Ceremony or Symbolic. A legal ceremony is legal and binding similar to how you get married in the states, however a symbolic ceremony is a great option for those couples who want to ditch the paperwork, translation fees and other requirements while getting married abroad. Your travel advisor can assist you with the paperwork to make sure everything is legal — and if that seems like too much, just get married at the home before you leave and elope. More than 80% of couples do it this way. Your guests will never know, and you can celebrate two anniversaries! A lot of time couples choose a friend or family member to marry them at the resort and it makes it that much more special.

When Should You Start Planning Your Destination Wedding?

I always say at least a year out. You can never plan too early. This gives you adequate time to select a resort, finalize group contract and give your friends and family time to save.  

GET THE TIMELINE: We’ll help you understand the perfect destination wedding planning timeline.

What if I Don’t Know How Many Guests Will Attend?

I hear this one a lot. The Rule of Thumb for destination weddings is about 40% of guests will attend. So, if you invite 100 people expect 40 to attend.

How Can a Travel Agent Help with Our Destination Wedding?

A travel agent is there to work for you and not the resort. They help negotiate perks and pricing for you and your group. Most agents have built relationships with the best resorts and destinations for your wedding. They are also there to answer all the questions your guests ask you 100 times and take some of the planning off your plate. They communicate on your behalf, share with your guests, organize payments and travel insurance, coordinate transportation, excursions and additional events.

In fact, we wrote all about why it’s important to hire a travel agent for a destination wedding.

What if I Am Not Sure a Destination Wedding is Right for Me?

Let’s chat! As a destination wedding bride myself; my husband and I wouldn’t have done it any other way. We had 45 close friends and loved ones attend and it was the literally the best week ever. To answer more of those questions check out this post.