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WEDDING BLOG

Destination Wedding Budget Breakdown

November 28, 2020 | kailey

Image by Rylee & Co.

There’s no one size fits all wedding budget. Every element—like location, decor, and guest count—will influence budgets, which makes them differ from wedding to wedding. If you’re an unconventional couple looking to ditch tradition and exchange “I do’s” in an adventurous way, a destination wedding is for you. Not sure it’ll fit in your budget? We’re here to remind you there are endless wedding styles fit for every couple and any budget—destination weddings included. 

The price of destination weddings—much like local, close-to-home weddings—aren’t cut and dry. Most of the guidance you’ll see online will say, “it depends…” because it does! But we don’t like that answer. Helpful information is kind of our thing when it comes to planning your dream wedding. So instead of giving you another list of all of the reasons that it depends, we’ve compiled actual helpful information. 

We’ve broken down every factor that’ll influence your wedding cost and destination wedding budget. Seriously, this is going to be a piece of cake.  

What Influences The Cost Of A Destination Wedding? 

Location, time of year, wedding size, decor, fashion—almost everything influences your destination wedding cost. Destination weddings come with expenses that aren’t otherwise involved with the planning of a traditional wedding. Travel expenses—like flights and rental cars—along with lodging are the two biggest costs that couples and guests will have to fit into their budgets. So start with those and your wedding venue. These three pieces will likely make up the bulk of your budget.  

Image Henry Tieu. See more of this real wedding here.

Expenses Factored Into Your Destination Wedding Budget 

Wedding Vendors 

The most common wedding planning tip we hear from couples is to hire a talented team of wedding vendors. We couldn’t agree more. This is especially important when planning a far-away celebration. Without a doubt, your wedding planner will be the most important investment for a destination wedding. They’ll be your eyes and ears when it comes to the details you can’t handle from home. 

Hiring local vendors has many benefits. They’ll ease your wedding planning stress, handle any issues that require immediate attention and can recommend other vendors when building your dream wedding day crew. The average cost of wedding vendors is anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. The benefits they provide, however, are priceless. 

Travel Expenses 

We touched on this already, but we’re doing it again because it’s that important to remember. Whether you’re traveling domestic or international, expenses—like flights and rental cars—will be a large portion of your budget. The average price of travel expenses will range from $600 to $4,000, depending on your location and the time of year you’re going. 

You and your partner should set aside approximately $1,500 per person for travel expenses if you’re planning an international destination wedding and about $600 per person for a domestic destination wedding. This amount doesn’t include travel expenses for your guests.

Some couples planning a destination wedding choose to assist guests by paying for all or part of their travel expenses. While this is in no way a requirement, it’s a great way to show your appreciation for loved ones—if there’s room in the final budget. You should budget an extra $2,000 to $5,000 in your budget if you plan to pay a portion of your guests’ travel expenses and much more if you plan to pay for all of it.

Image by Henry Tieu Photography. See more of this real wedding here.

Lodging For You And Guests 

Your lodging expenses will depend on location and guest size. Keep in mind, the average price for lodging will be between $100 to $300 per room, per night. As with the travel expenses, you aren’t required to pay for your guests’ accommodations. 

To be helpful, you can set up hotel room blocks for your guests. Although it isn’t required, this is a great way to save money and ensure that you and your guests will have a place to stay close to your ceremony. 

Venue

A stunning national park, an Airbnb property, or a beachfront winter wonderland resort. No matter which venue you’ve selected, there will be costs associated with each. As with any wedding budget, you should allocate about 50% of your total budget to the wedding venue. This is typically the same for destination weddings—unless you’ve decided to elope, which might just require a permit to legally tie the knot. The price of a wedding venue averages from $3,000 to $10,000.  

Recommended reading: The Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Wedding Venue

Image by Tida Svy.

Wedding Decor 

Whether you’re dreaming of an intimate celebration—like an elopement or micro wedding—or a large, over-the-top nuptial, there are many elements that can be added to make your day even more you. Decor is a chance to personalize your big day, no matter the location or budget. 

On average, decor—including florals—costs anywhere from $500-$5000. This price is dependent on your desired decor, the size of your wedding, and your choice of floral arrangements

If you’re looking to save money you should consider renting larger scale elements, DIYing decor, or repurposing ceremony backdrops. For more budget-conscious ways to decorate your wedding, check out these tips for decorating on a budget.  

Recommended reading: How To Decorate Your Elopement 

Images by The Geldenhuyses.

Catering And Dessert 

If you’ve chosen to elope there’ll be very small or even no food expenses. For couples sticking to the traditional wedding route, catering will be a large ticket item. Horderves, catered meals, and alcohol—there’s a lot that goes into the food and drinks portion of your budget. 

Catering prices are based on the catering style chosen, dessert choice, and reception bar style. After getting a finalized wedding guest count, selecting your catering style, and choosing dessert you’ll be able to more accurately estimate your catering price. On average catering can cost between $600-$7000. 

Recommended reading: Wedding Catering Options Explained

There’s no cookie-cutter wedding. Whether you’re eloping at your local courthouse, on top of a mountain, or in your dream destination location, it’s important to plan a day that authentically celebrates your unique love story. 

We believe there’s something magical about tying the knot in a far away place. If you’re feeling inspired to ditch tradition by opting for a destination wedding, we’ve got you covered well beyond your budget. Kickstart your wedding planning process by checking out the ultimate guide to planning a destination wedding. Then, find a Junebug Weddings approved wedding planner anywhere in the world. 

Image by Anais Possamai.

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2 Comments

  1. Unfortunately these wedding planning fees are quite far from reality, such as the total budget estimate, which may bring a huge confusion to couples who are actually starting to consider to do a destination wedding and its real costs.
    We can easily say Venue + Catering can sometimes represent 50% of the total Budget, but never the venue only, as all the remaining services and fees (Wedding Planning, Stationery, Beauty, Cake, Catering, Florals; Rentals, Lighting, Entertainment, Legal Process and/or Celebrant, Photography, Video, Gifts, Transfers, Noise License if needed etc, will go way over that.
    The very minimum for a experienced Wedding Planner would most likely be 2500$ instead of maximum estimate.

  2. Indian weddings are so beautiful. I love the culture so much. the use of color is amazing.

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