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.

Even if money is no object for your wedding, it is important to create a realistic spending plan – i.e., a budget – to guide you 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 going into debt for years to come?

Why is a Wedding Budget Necessary?

If you’re paying for your wedding, the expense will likely be your life’s third most costly investment! Topped only by raising children and buying a home…possibly 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 your wedding budget so that you can deal with your wedding venue and vendors.

You’ll have to get creative if you’re on a tight budget. But don’t let outside forces influence your decisions about what you can afford for your wedding.

Remember, marriage is the important part that’s the real challenge, not all the hoopla of a wedding day or wedding weekend.

If you cannot have an honest and open conversation about money with your partner now, perhaps marriage is a bit premature (just sayin’…)

How Much Does a Destination Wedding Cost?

First, your destination wedding can be as grand or 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 10 people for around $6,000.

For a destination wedding in the Caribbean, you have two options:

1) A wedding at an all-inclusive resort or hotel or

2) a private wedding at an alternative location – a private villa or home, a banquet facility, or perhaps you choose to buy a property.

The items that you’re (i.e., the couple hosting the wedding) financially responsible for include:

  • Your 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 the 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 a guaranteed number of nights

Keep in Mind…

A small budget doesn’t make your destination wedding any less special. When you know how much money you can spend and your priorities, 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?

Happy Planning! ♥

Debbie at HitchedAway

Debbie is a destination wedding travel advisor and the face (and voice) of HitchedAway. With a focus on breathtaking destinations and venues in the Caribbean, her goal is to demystify the process of planning your special occasion from hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Ready to Start Planning?

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