What to Include in a Destination Wedding Budget


Weddings are complicated affairs that can require a lot of planning for a wonderful execution. Many people have an overarching number in mind for the cost of their wedding, but they aren’t sure what to consider when budgeting. There are a lot of items to keep in mind to stick to your budget. Having a destination wedding adds to that list. Here is a breakdown of what should be accounted for in your destination wedding budget from our friends at WalletJoy!

Common budget items for any wedding:

Marriage License: This is typically a nominal fee, but everything adds up!

Wedding Planner: To ensure your big day is exactly as you imagined, save space in the budget for a wedding planner, even if only on the day-of. A wedding planner is even more valuable service to book if you’re getting married out of the country!

Wedding Rings: Brides and grooms don’t forget your jewelry!

Attire and Fashion: This includes the wedding dress, a groom’s suit, any reception dress (if there’s a dress change), shoes, clutch, jewelry, and more!

Beauty: Once you’ve found your fashion, don’t forget to book hair, nails, and makeup for the bride and possibly other members of the wedding party (including moms too).

Food, Beverages + Wedding Cake: This includes the rehearsal dinner and wedding day (if you’re paying for both). The cost largely depends on the number of guests and what is served.

Flowers + Decor: Decor can vary dramatically in cost, depending on the size of your guest list and the scope of your design. Don’t forget your bouquets, boutonnieres, cake table decor, cocktail hour, and of course, the ceremony and reception details.

Invitations + Stationery: Your paper goods include escort cards, menus, itineraries, and thank you cards in addition to your invitation suite. You may also have a need for favor tags, place cards, bar and ceremony signage, table numbers, and more.

Music: You’ll want music for not just your dance moves, but your ceremony, cocktail, and dinner portion of the reception too.

Venue(s): This can be one of your biggest expenses – booking a venue for your ceremony and reception. Some locations will have bundled fees for the venue as well as food and drink. Be sure to ask how your venue handles pricing.

Photographer + Videographer: Don’t go down the aisle without ways to remember your day by.

Wedding Favors + Gifts: Show your appreciation and thank your guests!

Additional items to include a destination wedding budget:

Hotel Rooms: Don’t forget to book your stay! For a larger wedding, you may consider buying out a hotel and even picking up or subsidizing the cost of guest rooms, when budget allows for it.

Flights: Get yourself and your fiancé to the big day!

Baggage Fees: Consider all the gear you’re traveling with and the fact that you might have shipping and/or customs fees too.

Ground Transportation: If you’re moving your group from hotel to wedding venue or to different venues throughout the stay, consider hosting ground transportation for your group.

Rehearsal Dinner: It’s traditional to invite all guests to the rehearsal dinner at a destination wedding. That could be a bigger celebration than you expected!

Welcome Bags: Gift your guests a special welcome in their hotel rooms and get everyone excited when they arrive. This would usually include schedules and a welcome note, which would be additional paper products too.

Welcome Party: This is an optional way to start the celebration early when guests arrive to the destination.

Group Activities + Experiences: Another optional way to keep the celebration going and spend time with your guests is to host fun local activities (like a boat tour or sunset sail).

More information

Planning a wedding in another location may seem overwhelming. If you know what to consider for a destination wedding budget, it can be easier. Our friends at WalletJoy have many other great resources for planning wedding costs and to help you down the aisle.

For information on how to pay for a wedding, click here.

For information on hidden wedding costs, click here.