Why Destination Weddings Are Cheaper Than Traditional Weddings

Bride carrying her shoes and bouquet on the beach after her destination wedding.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that destination weddings are one of the hottest trends around. Brides all over the world are ditching tradition and opting for a more stress-free, luxurious, and cheaper wedding option.

Yes, you read that right—CHEAPER! Destination weddings aren’t just for those with big money. 1 in 4 brides have a destination wedding and pay for it themselves!

The average cost of a destination wedding is $20,000, which is far less than the national average for traditional weddings. In big cities like New York, people regularly spend almost $100,000 on their big day (might be time to skip town, New Yorkers 😱).

So how the heck can destination weddings cost so much less than traditional weddings? Let’s have a look:

Group Discounts

Plenty of destinations and resorts recognize the popularity of destination weddings and are eager to get a piece of the action. Because they need to keep up with the competition, most offer some sort of destination wedding package at an extremely reasonable rate.

Destination weddings bring in huge money for resorts with minimal effort on their part. There’s no harm in asking your resort or venue about freebies and perks when booking a large event like a wedding with them. You might be offered free accommodation for a certain number of nights, a percentage off your stay, a free upgrade to the honeymoon suite—the sky’s the limit!

Hey, it never hurts to ask, right?



Ever dreamed of getting married on the beach in Mexico? In the lush valleys of South Africa’s wine country? Or maybe even on the edge of a Costa Rican volcano? (Talk about steamy! 🌋)

That you’ll be getting married in paradise is reason enough to have a destination wedding, but the icing on the cake is the fact that these mind-blowingly beautiful destinations often end up being cheaper than booking everything stateside. Depending on the destination you choose, lower cost of living, a favorable exchange rate, and less expensive venues mean your dream wedding might be more doable than you think!


Natural Decoration

There’s no need to spend thousands of dollars on store-bought decorations when your location IS your decoration. With a traditional wedding, a ton of your budget will go towards flowers and adornments to give the venue a certain look. Destination weddings, on the other hand, emphasize the natural beauty of the location and use that as decoration instead. By using the gorgeous scenery at your destination as your backdrop, you will shave thousands of dollars off your wedding budget (not to mention that mountains and beaches trump basic flowers any day of the week)!


Honeymoon Included

Lots of people who choose to have a destination wedding extend their stay to include their honeymoon. Most resorts offer some sort of package that encourages you to have your wedding and honeymoon at the same resort by giving you all kinds of bonuses and discounts if you do. This will lead to major savings in the long run if that’s something you decide you want to do!

If you’re not sold on honeymooning in the same place you got married, choose a location nearby instead! If you get married on Hawaii, you can honeymoon on Maui; if your wedding is in Paris, you can honeymoon in Spain—you get the idea.


Fewer Guests

Having fewer guests at your wedding is the biggest money saver ever—and let’s be real, your second cousin twice removed or that aunt you’ve only met once isn’t gonna make the trek to your destination wedding.

Destination weddings are typically more intimate occasions with just a handful of close friends and family in attendance. Even if you do send invites to a lot of people, it’s likely that only your nearest and dearest will end up spending the time and money to celebrate at the destination of your choice. Not only can you provide a much more luxurious experience for your guests if there’s less of them (on a smaller budget, too!), but you’ll also be able to spend way more time with the people that really matter to you.



You may not be saving money with this one, but it’s such a huge deal that I’m including it anyway. Saving yourself time and stress is honestly priceless, in my opinion. This experience is all about you and your significant other, and the less stress you have to deal with, the more you’ll enjoy your special day.

A lot of big resorts have full-time wedding coordinators available at your disposal—hire them, sign the papers, and the rest is taken care of! If you’d rather hire your own wedding planner, that’s an option too. Either way, all the hard work is done for you!


Free Booze

This isn’t always the case, but many destination wedding packages include free alcohol. You can end up spending a good portion of your budget on providing alcohol for your guests during traditional weddings, so this is a huge bonus. It’s such an easy way to save thousands of dollars and keep the drinks flowing all night long!


Cheaper Wedding Attire

Traditional wedding gowns can be expensive, depending on your taste—all that beading and lace add up after a while!

Most destination weddings, by contrast, are a more casual occasion. Some are even as casual as a shirt and shorts! And even if you want to stick with the classic wedding attire, you’re free to tone down the formality and pick a less fussy (and expensive) outfit. Who wants to wear a full-length ball gown on the beach? Traveling with a large dress can be extremely difficult, and it’s really not necessary for most destination weddings.

Local Vendors

It’s tempting to fly in all the vendors you might have already connected with back home, but that can get pricey pretty fast. Like I mentioned earlier, most destination wedding packages are all-inclusive—that means local vendors, too! If you’re really set on hiring people you already know and like, try to only fly in highly personalized faves like a photographer or videographer, and look for local talent at your destination to fill all the other roles.

Ready to start planning your dream destination wedding? Leave it to us!