What is the average destination wedding cost? What expenses need to be considered? What are the best ways to have a budget-friendly destination wedding? I’ll answer all of these questions below!
As a destination wedding photographer, I’ve worked with couples with small and large budgets. And guess what? You can have the ultimate wedding experience, no matter your budget.
Keep reading to learn the average cost of a destination wedding, expensive and affordable locations, and so much more!
According to various studies over the last few years, the average destination wedding cost is around $30,000. That said, this average comes from different wedding locations, guest counts, ceremony styles, and more. Depending on the kind of wedding experience you’re planning, this number could be much lower or higher.
You might also be interested in reading: Is It Rude to Have a Destination Wedding? Everything You Need to Know
While a destination wedding typically costs more than a local wedding due to travel and accommodation expenses, several factors play a role in the costs.
Here are some expenses to consider for your destination wedding cost:
Some other things to consider that affect your destination wedding cost are the number of guests, your destination, and the time of year you get married.
Tip: Book a wedding photographer who also helps with planning (like Wild Aisle Photography, aka me!) for help executing a destination wedding that aligns with your budget.
If you’re dreaming of a destination wedding in a luxurious destination, you might consider some of the more expensive locations. As a destination wedding photographer, I’ve been to some of the most breathtaking places with a price tag well worth it!
Here are some of the more expensive wedding destinations:
If you want to travel domestically for your upscale wedding, check out California, New Jersey, and New York.
If you want to stick to a lower wedding budget and still have an unforgettable experience, there are countless incredible places to choose from. I’ve been to many of these destinations and can totally vouch for them!
Here are the best affordable destination wedding locations:
Other states in the US that offer a more affordable destination wedding experience are Utah, Montana, and Wyoming.
As you can see, your destination wedding cost can vary depending on many factors. So what are some ways to stick to a budget while still having an incredible experience?
Here’s a quick list of ways to plan a budget-friendly wedding.
(Keep reading for more details and helpful tips!)
It always helps to set your budget asap! This ensures you have a number in mind to stick to and can help guide you as you’re planning.
Once your budget is in place, have a date with your partner to decide what’s important for the two of you on your big day. This way, you’re not spending money on unimportant expenses.
One of the most beautiful parts of a destination wedding is that you don’t have to stick to the traditional wedding day stuff. Make this experience what you want it to be and not what your friends, family, and society may expect of you.
Hiring a photographer is essential for capturing those special moments on your big day. But a wedding planner can be an expensive destination wedding cost. Save by working with a photographer who can also help you plan.
Wild Aisle Photography (that’s me!) is a destination wedding photographer who helps with location scouting, travel tips, and other important aspects of executing your dream day. Oh, and I can also officiate your wedding!
Intimate weddings are ideal for keeping your guest list small. This allows you to save on your venue, reception, activities, and more.
Consider having 100 guests or less if you want to stick to a reasonable budget. Best of all, having only your closest friends and family attend allows you to spend more time with those special people!
Wedding Idea: A fun way to celebrate with all your loved ones is by having a big party before or after your wedding!
There are SO MANY amazing locations that allow you to keep your destination wedding cost down, like the ones shared above. You can also plan for the off-season to save on travel expenses and accommodation and venue costs.
For example, Portugal’s winters are ideal for saying “I do” in a jaw-dropping place with wonderful weather, even during the off-season.
Skip pricey decorations and floral arrangements by having your ceremony outdoors. Let nature be the decor! There are also many outdoor locations that you can rent for lower rates than indoor venues.
Of course, the dress of your dreams is one of the best parts of a wedding! So this isn’t to say buy a dress just because of a low price tag. That said, start shopping early, so you have ample time to find a gorgeous dress that fits your budget.
Tip: Bridal shops often have sales, and local boutiques or department stores often have stunning dresses that work beautifully as wedding dresses!
Wedding websites are incredibly convenient for destination weddings because they help inform your guests about all the essential details. They can also be the perfect save-the-date, so you don’t have to spend extra money sending them out.
In modern times, evites aren’t unheard of, and they’re an excellent budget-friendly alternative to sending invitations in the mail. Sites like evite.com and paperlesspost.com have beautiful invitations and the option to conveniently RSVP online.
I’ve worked with many couples who have had fabulous and memorable ceremonies without spending a fortune. Sometimes these weddings are the best!
A few ways to get creative and save for the day of are using in-season flowers, opting for simple but unique decor, and going for a delicious buffet instead of a sit-down dinner.
I hope this article has helped you better understand what your destination wedding cost might look like. Remember, many factors play a role, including guest count, location, time of year, activities, and events.
The best part? A destination wedding can be an incredibly wonderful experience, no matter how small or large your budget is.
If you’re interested in working with a photographer who can capture your special day AND help you plan according to your budget, contact Wild Aisle Photography. I’d love to work together!
January 18, 2023