It costs an average of $26,748 to get married in West Palm Beach. We’re looking at $27,359 for a typical wedding in Los Angeles. It’s roughly $30,012 in New York, trumped by its eastern neighbor, the Hamptons on Long Island, which leads the list with a whopping $45,987 price tag.
And these numbers are from the Wedding Price Index analysis conducted by Holidu in June of 2022. With venue prices out their proverbial roofs, food and beverage costs reflective of inflation, and logistics and fuel driving up the costs of transporting things like decorations, flowers, even chairs, couples are wondering: why bother getting married in the States at all? Because the point is, when nuptials in Positano, Seville, Florence, Saint Tropez, and even Dubai are in the same ballpark (or even less), if you’re going to blow a budget, there are more exciting places to do it.
Pro-tip? Don’t get hitched at home – do it in Mexico and the Caribbean.
Most hot spots in those regions are a quick flight away for most U.S. gateways, and special offerings like Exclusive Nonstop Vacation Flights, the ALG Vacations® charter flight program, puts more control in the consumers’ hands, with contract benefits like being able to lock down your flight nearly a year ahead of time with price matching benefits, earlier arrivals and later departures … and group ones such as free seats and/or air credit.
Plus, there are a lot of other benefits to tying the knot at those beachfront resorts, beyond the obvious backdrops and solicitous service.
A Curated Guest List vs. a Localpalooza
Weddings held close to home are great for those whose friends and family live in close proximity. However, that means guest lists that can balloon into hundreds easily and event expenses that skyrocket in tandem. It becomes harder to draw the line – do you invite your coworkers? Casual acquaintances like your book club? Your neighbor? Your doorman?! How many kids do you really want at your wedding? When you add in travel, it really puts your social circles in clearer perspective as you can more easily see who’s close enough to want to fly for your wedding.
Making Travel Worthwhile vs. Going Nowhere of Note
Alternatively, if you live outside of a day trip from your friends and family and you’re making them travel anyway, you may as well make it somewhere interesting so that they can get a fun independent experience that’s worth the monetary expense and that of their paid time off. Why make someone fly to Podunk, USA to stay in a two-star hotel with meals on their own if for just a little more, they can be jetting off to a five-star all-inclusive resort on a tropical beach?
Quality Time vs. Killing Time
Consider this: Domestic weddings often split the groups across accommodations based on individual budgets and perception of value. Guests will break off on their own for not only hotels, but also meals and in-town entertainment. However, a destination one in Mexico or the Caribbean puts everyone together for the time of their lives with everyone attending, and offers plenty of bonding activities arranged and supervised by the staff, and opportunities for bump-intos for meals so that no one feels excluded.
Expertise vs. DIY
When you wed close to home, you’re either spending a lot of time interviewing and pricing wedding planners or you’re doing it yourself and spending even MORE time sorting through vendors, from flowers to caterers to even the venues themselves. One unique attribute to a destination wedding is that you can Plan with a Pro. Or, multiple ones, if you really think about it. Your first touchpoint is with your trusted travel advisor, who will point you in the right direction and work with you to collaborate with the on-site wedding coordinator, whose services are often included in most all-inclusive resort wedding packages. Done and done.
Direct to Honeymoon vs. Post-Nuptial Transit Stress
With the vows read and rings exchanged, there’s literally nothing left to worry about for the rest of the wedding. No last-minute packing, no rushing to the airport, no dropping off of pets or kids. Most all-inclusive resorts throw in a special post-wedding breakfast in bed, offering uninterrupted romance and no unwelcome intrusion of “real world” stress factors to break up the warm and fuzzies of your personal cloud nine. Alternatively, even if you choose to honeymoon at a different resort for privacy from guests extending their stay after the big event, many of the hotel brands have sister properties nearby, making getting whisked away to a new venue easy-peasy.
Private Dinner vs. Rehearsal Dinner
Dinner for a crowd can get very expensive, especially when you factor in drinks, tips, and possibly cake-cutting fees and your own bartender. Meanwhile, the beauty of an all-inclusive resort is that it’s … well, all included. All the food and drink. And signing up for wedding package more often than not gives you your choice of a semi-private dinner with your guests at one of the property’s à la carte venues, taking another hefty bill off your overall wedding tab.
Free vs. Fee
Perhaps the most attractive argument in favor of destination weddings is the prospect of a FREE event, which many all-inclusive resorts offer. These are usually for smaller, intimate weddings or elopements … but consider the fact that you’ll already have a smaller party than you would at “home.” Plus, you can always add on guests for a per person surcharge, and some resorts can accommodate weddings from 20 – 300 guests. While some on-site churches may require a donation, same as stateside churches, or charge fees for a special location set-up, you’ll still most likely save thousands on comparable venue rental fees in the U.S.
Many of the packages include a lot of extras, too, that you’d normally be paying à la carte. Food and beverage, for one. A bouquet and boutonniere are always included with resort wedding packages, and basic decorations. And, of course, you can always choose to upgrade your package to better décor, videographer/photographer services, live music, cocktail hour, and more.
Looking for some brands to check out for a destination wedding? We list some ALG Vacations® faves in this list of The Best Resorts for a Blissed-Out Big Day and gay-friendly destinations. Plus, discover Everything You Need to Know About Wedding at RIU or this Guide to the New Wedding Collections by RIU; and how you can Wed Majestically … for FREE!