Q: How much is a
destination wedding
really going to
cost me?

A: The answer is...it depends. However, in most cases it will be (much) less than a wedding of the same caliber in the United States!

The cost of a destination wedding can vary greatly depending on the inclusions selected for your destination wedding.

Now, this answer doesn't help much, does it?!  Well, let us give you a better idea...

Weddings and events in the US cost a heck of a lot of money!  We've seen it all, from $70,000 florist bills to $30,000 flamingos.

According to The Knot, the average wedding cost in the U.S. is approximately $35,000. Depending on where you reside in the US, your local average may be significantly higher.  With numerous weddings canceled in 2020 and 2021, the demand (and pricing) for wedding venues in the US is at an all time high.

All of this money is spent on one single day - a 20 minute ceremony and a 4 hour reception, which includes 90 minutes spent enjoying a meal.  That leaves you with about 2.5 hours (or exactly 1 minute per person for 150 guest event) to talk to everyone, thank them for coming, and celebrate with them.  And don't forget all the traditional wedding formalities you will need to fit in as well like first dance, cake cutting, etc.  In reality, you have about 15-30 seconds with each guest.

In comparison, most of our destination weddings are a bit smaller, usually around 40-60 guests.  However since the vast majority of all inclusive resorts have a requirement of a 3 night minimum stay, the wedding event is not tethered to just one day, or one evening.

Many destination weddings have multiple events spread out over handful of days.  First, a welcome cocktail hour or dinner for ALL guests (not just the immediate family and wedding party like a normal "rehearsal dinner").  Then, wedding day events including the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception.  Finally, the day after the wedding may include a brunch or a group excursion such as a private catamaran.

Here's how we see the comparisons from a destination wedding to the local wedding:


Our Clients' Destination Weddings:


Days of events




Thousand average cost


Hours to have fun with your guests

Weddings in the United States:


Day of events




Thousand average cost


Hours to have fun with your guests

But what about travel expenses?

Q: Sure the wedding itself may cost less, but what about the added costs of traveling?  Resort accommodations and airfare can surely add up.

A: Most travel expenses for the couple getting married are minimal as compared to the wedding costs.  Plus, couples often get their room for free anyways!  

For destination wedding groups, most resorts will issue an incentive based on the number of rooms booked in your group as part of a contracted room block.  This means the bride and groom get a big check to apply towards wedding expenses.  Some of our clients have seen upwards of $14,000 - more than enough to pay for their room and their entire wedding!

In essence, the resort pays you to bring them a group!  This directly off-sets the cost of your room (and sometimes other rooms as well) and/or your wedding.

Incentives vary from resort to resort. Since the incentive amount is based on how many guests travel, the amount won't be finalized until everyone travels.  Therefore, you will need to front the cost of the wedding first and then be reimbursed the incentive amount.

It's important to work with a travel agency who knows the resorts' incentive programs, as some are very generous, and some give almost nothing! This is an important factor your travel advisor should go over with you before you decide on a resort.

Photo: James Berglie
Photo: James Berglie

Case Studies

You can spend as much or as little as you want when it comes to a destination wedding.  We have clients that spend anywhere from $950 to $30,000.  There are many factors that come into play that will determine how much you spend on your destination wedding.

Take a look at some examples so you can get a better idea of what your destination wedding might cost.

Jessica & Ryan


Resort - El Dorado Royale
Wedding Ceremony & Reception - 108 Guests - $20,324.00
Travel - Room & Air for 2 guests, 7 days - $3,970.24
Total Credits Received (Promotions) - $17,135.00
Actual Final Cost - $7,159.24

ashley & jamie

Resort - Dreams Playa Mujeres
Wedding Ceremony & Reception - 34 guests - $11,733.60
Travel - Room & Air for 2 adults, 1 child, 5 days - $3,332.38
Total Credits Received  (Promotions) - $7,056.30
Actual Final Cost - $8,009.68

Samantha & Daniel

Resort - Hard Rock Punta Cana
Wedding Ceremony & Reception - 54 guests - $12,290.00
Travel - Room & Air for 2 adults, 7 days - $4,459.78
Total Credits Received (Promotions) - $5,023.86
Actual Final Cost - $7,094.74


The real beauty of a destination wedding is that it takes all of the standard "wedding rules" that the wedding industry tells us we have to follow and it throws them out the window.  You can spend very little and still have an absolutely amazing wedding.  Or, you can go over the top and throw the event of the decade.  But one thing is for sure; to throw an event of equal caliber in the United States, it will cost you a lot more!

Although it can be overwhelming, we have been living and breathing weddings since 2005.  We are here to be your guide every step of the way throughout the entire process.