Wedding Wednesdays Q&A: Are Destination Weddings Cheaper?

Wedding Wednesdays Q&A by Jamie Chang Destination Wedding Planner of Mango Muse Events

Q:  My fiancé and I have been trying to figure out where we want to get married.  We were thinking about having a destination wedding because all the ones I’ve been to are awesome.  And I’ve heard that destination weddings are cheaper.  But, as I started doing some research, I’m not sure it is.   So, is having a destination wedding cheaper in actuality?

This is such a great question.  And a question I get asked all the time.  It is a common belief that having a destination wedding will save you money.  And it certainly can.  But, it’s not a completely true statement.

So, here’s the truth, having a destination wedding isn’t always cheaper.

It can be, but it can also be much more expensive than a hometown wedding.  What makes destination weddings cheaper or more expensive typically comes down to 3 factors.

3 Factors that will affect whether a hometown or destination wedding is cheaper

#1 – The destination itself

The destination location you choose for your wedding plays a huge factor in your budget.

If you’re looking at a location where the exchange rate works in your favor like Mexico, your money can go further.  And having a destination wedding can be cheaper.

But, if it doesn’t, then you’ll be paying more.  For example having a destination wedding in London can be more expensive.

Another piece related to your destination that you don’t want to forget are the travel costs. 

The farther or more expensive the destination location, the more you’ll spend.  And the more expensive your destination wedding will be.  For example, Iceland is an expensive location to travel to.  While there are flight deals, once you’re there everything is expensive.

Having a cheaper destination wedding is also a function of your destination location in relation to your hometown. 

If you live in an expensive location, having a destination wedding could be cheaper.  For example, if you live in Manhattan, doing a destination wedding almost anywhere else could be cheaper.

But if you live in Ohio or example, doing a destination wedding in California will not be cheaper.

Bride and groom walking in the forest at their Vancouver destination wedding by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

(Photo credit: Tomasz Wagner Photo & Films)

#2 – The guest count

As with any wedding budget, the biggest factor is always the guest count.  And it’s no different with destination weddings.

If your destination wedding has a smaller guest count than your hometown wedding would, then you can most likely save some money.  50 people vs. 150 is a big difference.

But, if the guest counts for the two weddings are similar, usually a hometown wedding is cheaper.

But another factor to consider is how much you spend per guest.  

Although you may have less guests at a destination wedding, many times you’ll spend more per guest in order to create the experience you’re looking for.  Things like other events and activities, welcome gifts and special surprises can increase your cost per guest.

While you still might save money overall, you might also end up spending more than you thought you would.

Newlyweds after their wedding ceremony in Hawaii planned by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

(Photo credit: Rachel Robertson Photography)

#3 – The decisions you make

Lastly, like your guest count, the decisions you make and what you want will play a big factor in your wedding budget.

The special band you want or the super lush floral centerpiece will make your wedding more expensive.  And those things can require travel or be potentially more expensive in a destination location especially if you’re somewhere more remote.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t create the wedding you want. 

It’s just another factor to consider when you’re trying to figure out if a hometown or destination wedding is cheaper.  And also, which is better for you.

Depending on what you’re looking for, one or the other could be a better fit regardless of cost.

Bride and groom at their destination wedding ceremony in Calistoga planned by Destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events

(Photo credit: Kate Webber)

The location, your guest count and the decisions you make will play a major role in whether a destination wedding will be cheaper or more expensive than a hometown wedding.

Make sure you weigh each as you’re planning your wedding so you can make the right choice for the two of you.

Need some help to figure out where you should have your wedding?  Contact us today!  Not only can we help you plan your wedding, but we can also help you choose a location as well.

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