How to Create a Budget for your Destination Wedding 

Don’t plan your destination (or hometown) wedding without creating a workable wedding budget. Here are some great tips to get you started.

By  Debbie Quain

Even if money is no object for your wedding, it's important to create a realistic spending plan - i.e. a budget - to use as a guide as you make your destination wedding decisions.


Sit down with your fiance and create a budget for your wedding, don't cheat; stick to it.

If you're not prepared, the budget in any destination can exceed your expectations.
Honestly answer the question: How much can you spend on your wedding without putting yourself in debt for years to come?

Why is a Wedding Budget Necessary?

If you're paying for your own wedding, the expense is likely to be the third most costly investment of your lives! Topped only by raising children and buying a home...possibly buying a car.

But, unlike buying a home or a car, you don't have to prove to a wedding venue or wedding vendors that you can afford the purchase. And this is where things can easily go sideways when planning a wedding.

IMPORTANT! Have a serious discussion about the budget for your wedding so that you're equipped to deal with your wedding venue and your wedding vendors. If you're on a tight budget, you'll have to get creative. But don't be swayed by outside forces when it comes to what you can afford for your wedding.

Remember, the marriage is the important part...in fact that's the real challenge; not all the hoopla of a wedding day or wedding weekend. If you're not able to have an honest and open conversation regarding money with your partner now, perhaps marriage may be a bit premature.

How Much does a Destination Wedding Cost?

First, your destination wedding can be as grand or as small as you want. When comparing a Caribbean destination wedding to a hometown wedding in the US, it’s possible to pay 40% less for your island celebration.

You could have a small destination wedding at all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean for 30 people for around $6,000; possibly less.

For a destination wedding in the Caribbean, you have two options: 1) A wedding at an all-inclusive resort or hotel or 2) a completely private wedding at an alternative location - a private villa or home; a banquet facility or perhaps you choose to buyout a property.

The items that you're financially responsible for include:

  • Your own travel
  • Your accommodation
  • All wedding-related expenses: wedding reception menu, ceremony site fees, photography, cake, wedding wardrobe, marriage license fees, etc.
  • Guest activities - excursions, welcome gifts, etc.
  • Subsidized travel and accommodation - paying for gusts who must be there


Determine your priorities. This advice goes for any couple planning a wedding – hometown or destination.

What's important?  Food, photos, guest experience…?  Put the most money there. Cut corners everywhere else.

Keep Track of Wedding Budget 

  • Create a separate wedding account - savings, special credit card (great if you're collecting points!)
  • If you're getting money from parents, stash it away in this account
  • Funnel a percentage of every paycheck in to the account

Money-Saving Tips for your Destination Wedding

  • Keep your guest list small - invite a small group of people
  • Choose a destination that is not a favorite for wealthy tourists (e.g. St. Barts, Barbados)
  • Go all-inclusive - you and guests pay a flat price for food, room, drinks and activities. Many resorts will cover the cost (or a substantial portion of the cost) of the wedding as long as your wedding group is at the resort or hotel for guaranteed number of nights

Keep in Mind...

A small budget doesn't make your destination wedding any less special.

When you know the amount of money you're able to spend and where your priorities lie, you're in a good place. 

Remember the answer to this question: How much can you spend on your wedding without putting yourself in debt for years to come?

Debbie Quain

Debbie is the owner of Hitched Away, her destination wedding consulting firm, where she plans and coordinates breathtaking destination weddings and vow renewal ceremonies for clients in the Caribbean.

Ready to Start Planning?

Let's talk. Schedule your free consultation to chat with Debbie.