So often when working with clients planning a destination wedding I hear – “Wow! Are you kidding? We had no idea!”. When they find out how easy and affordable a destination wedding can be, they get excited. Not only do they get to throw the wedding of their dreams in a gorgeous locale – they save money, time, and headache potential while doing it. Yes, please.
This post was originally published in 2018 but has been updated in 2023.
PS: Not one for surprises? We created a 100+ page guide to cover “all the things” destination wedding planning just for you:
Here are the three things that shock every couple planning a destination wedding:
#1 The Cost
Destination weddings can be shockingly affordable. We’ve even rounded up a few of our favourite places to have a destination wedding for under $5000 – yes, less than a photographer costs at many “regular” weddings here in Canada! You can read our top 5 under $5000 here for a sneak peak at a few of our favourite wedding packages (some even INCLUDE photography). Throwing a destination wedding at an all-inclusive resort allows you to save a ton of money while still having an unforgettable event. You can spend those extra dollars on an even nicer dress, or an upgraded room, or just put it in your savings account for your future together. We have all heard those ongoing jokes about how weddings cost a down payment on a house so…
Keep in mind: Weddings under $5000 are often for guest lists of 25 people. Read this post about saving money with a larger guest list.
Travel for Your Guests
One of our favourite things about Destination Weddings is that you are encouraging travel. Guests who may have never traveled before or may not think travel is possible for them can find encouragement with an easy payment plan of using your travel agent and realizing how simple travel planning can be. If you have been to Mexico before, do you remember your first trip? Mine seemed almost unbelievable. Your guests will likely feel the same way and will be SO THANKFUL you introduced them to this new way of spending their yearly vacation time.
By the way – we are constantly in awe of our bad ass couples that have never left the country but are eager to do so for their wedding. You are all rockstars and thank you for trusting the process! How cool is that?!
#2 The Number of Guests who RSVP “Yes.”
Every hear of FOMO? Who wants to miss out on all the fun? Nobody. Even guests who don’t book by the deposit deadline (that drive you crazy) may end up joining later once they see how many people have said YES. A lot of couples think that because they’re traveling for their wedding, most guests will send back a “No” on their RSVP. It might surprise you, but usually a fair amount of guests end up saying yes!
With the aforementioned payment plans, destination weddings are an affordable option for many guests. Also, if your friend or family member is getting married at a gorgeous location and you can make it – why wouldn’t you want to spend a few days partying and celebrating in the sunshine? Destination weddings can also serve as an unofficial family reunion, so many guests will make the effort to be there if they can work it into their schedule and budget.
Listen, we would never want to mislead you into thinking 100% of people will say yes but here is what I will say: Some people you would have never expected to say yes, will. The family who never has extra money? They might decide it’s the perfect excuse for “mom and dad” to get away for their well-deserved vacation. The guests who have never left Canada (or mentioned any desire to)? They might not have even known something as perfect as an all-inclusive resort exists (or how easy it is to book).
That being said, some people that you would have never expected to RSVP no, will. Even if you ask them before you decide on a destination wedding (because you absolutely should ask anyone on your “must have” list before you commit). People have so many reasons why they might RSVP no, and to be honest, it usually isn’t about the money.
We did write a post on how to make it easier for guests to RSVP yes which lists more ways to make it easier to get more YES RSVP’s. You can also do the opposite if you want more NO’s. Giving your guests lots of notice, making sure it is easy for them to book (and get more information) and choosing an all inclusive resort (trust us, guests love knowing they will pay one price for everything) are one of our absolute “must have’s” for making it easy for your guests.
#3 How Easy the Planning Process Is
Speaking of making it easy for guests to RSVP, what about making it easier for the wedding couple? Many resorts that host destination weddings strive to make it as easy as possible for engaged couples to plan their big day. If you think that language/culture barriers might make it difficult to plan your wedding in another country – think again! And if you work with a destination wedding planner (like us), your stress level will be reduced even less. We work HARD to provide our couples with a fun, headache-free wedding planning experience.
Real Talk: Sometimes, when we talk about how easy it is, wedding couples assume that means it isn’t personalized. After all, some resorts pump out THREE WEDDINGS PER DAY! How can they possibly personalize your wedding? Honestly, I don’t even know how they do it but they do it every single day. We are constantly in awe of their work. Some resorts are better at customization than others, but that is why you use a travel agent to help find the right resort for you!
The Planning Process
Do you need to hire a destination wedding planner? Or can you rely on the all inclusive resort coordinator? Is “just a travel agent” enough for your destination wedding support team? We wrote a whole post on who you need to hire although given the recent worldly events (if you are reading this in the future: COVID-19), we really want to stress the importance of hiring a destination wedding planner now. Even though the planning is easy, you do want a solid support team and we truly believe a planner should no longer be an optional luxury. we aren’t forcing you to hire us for additional planning services or anything, but we do want to add a note that this is likely something you should take a second look at.
Let’s Get In Touch
If you’ve been thinking of planning a destination wedding but have been hesitating – don’t! We know right now things are kind of crazy (edited during the COVID-19 nightmare which hopefully is ancient history soon). Planning an amazing wedding overseas can be affordable, fun, and virtually stress-free! This is ESPECIALLY true if you have the right vendors on your team. We absolutely love helping couples with this so if this is something you are considering contact us here! ❤
Not quite ready to chat yet? We have a ton of blog posts for you to learn more about planning your destination wedding.