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The Complete Guide to Finding the Best Wedding Destination Resorts

A bride and groom exchanging vows at a destination wedding ceremony, surrounded by guests under a clear blue sky.


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When planning your wedding, choosing a destination that will provide you and your guests with a memorable experience is important. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a wedding destination, such as the time of year, the weather, the culture, and the cost. 

We’ll cover these completely in our comprehensive guide below, including how to choose your resort and other insider tips we’ve gathered over our many years as destination wedding experts.

To help you narrow your search, we’ve compiled a list of the 5 best wedding destination resorts. From the sunny beaches of the Caribbean to the stunning landscapes all across Mexico, there’s something for everyone on this list. 

So, whether you’re looking for a traditional fairytale wedding or something a little more unique, read on for the ultimate guide to the best wedding destination resorts!

How Do I Choose The Destination for My Wedding?

Destination wedding at the beach

Here are some guidelines to help you in choosing a destination for your wedding resort:

1. Determine your budget: The first thing you should consider when choosing a wedding destination is how much you can afford to spend. The cost of travel, accommodation, and venue rental can vary greatly depending on the location you choose. We’ll cover this in further detail later.

2. Consider the season: Decide on the time of year that you want to get married and choose a destination that takes advantage of the best weather and activities for that season.

3. Look for places with scenic views: A beautiful backdrop will add to the magic of your wedding. Look for a place with stunning scenery or a breathtaking view that will make your day more memorable.

4. Check the legal requirements: Ensure that the country or state you choose to get married in meets the legal requirements for weddings. Check the regulations for marriage licenses and if there are any length of stay requirements. On average, our couples mainly choose symbolic marriages, which simply means you get married at home and then host your ceremony at your chosen wedding destination resort, your guests won’t know the difference.

5. Think about your guests: Consider the accessibility and expense of the destination for your guests. Look for a place that is easy to travel to and has plenty of activities to keep them entertained during their stay.

6. Decide on your style: Whether you want to get married on a beach or in the countryside, choosing a destination that fits your style and wedding vision is important.

By considering these guidelines, you will be able to choose the best wedding destination resort that suits your style, budget, and preferences, making your wedding truly special and unforgettable.

What is A Realistic Budget for A Destination Wedding?

A realistic budget for a wedding destination resort will depend on several factors, including the location, number of guests, duration of the event, and type of amenities you desire.

Some general considerations to include in a realistic budget for a destination wedding include:

1. Travel expenses (flights, accommodations, transportation)

2. Venue and ceremony costs

3. Food and beverages (catering, bar service)

4. Decorations and floral arrangements

5. Photography and videography services

6. Planning and coordination fees

7. Wedding attire and accessories

8. Entertainment

Planning well in advance, accounting for unexpected costs, and sticking to a budget to avoid overspending is essential. On average, our couples spend around $5,000 – $13,000 on their wedding packages, which will include nearly all of the numbered points above, which can lead to a TON of savings.

What is the Cheapest Way to Have A Destination Wedding

Lucky for you, we love a thrifty couple! We specialize in affordable weddings, and have access to 100’s economical wedding packages, all while avoiding hosting cheap-looking destination weddings. Follow these rules for further savings:

1. Choose a Location with Affordable Costs: Choose a location that is affordable and has lower board costs, such as Mexico, Jamaica, or the Dominican Republic.

2. Plan the Wedding in the Off-Season: Choosing the off-season period for a destination wedding can save a lot of money. Off-season destinations offer competitive rates for travelers, including cheaper flights and accommodations.

3. Invite Fewer Guests: The fewer guests you have, the less expensive the wedding will be. Consider inviting only close family and friends to keep the wedding simple and affordable.

4. Keep Things Simple: Try to keep things simple and skip formalities like renting a large venue. Instead, opt for a free beach setting or a beautiful garden for the ceremony.

5. Book Travel and Accommodations Early: Booking early helps to avoid significant price hikes as you get closer to your wedding day. Plan early enough to anticipate the unexpected and have a cost-effective wedding.

Remember, You Have to Fly There…

When deciding on a destination, there are many factors to consider for you and your geusts, such as the cost of flights, whether or not a direct flight is preferred, and the maximum number of hours you’re willing to spend in transit. 

The costs can vary significantly depending on your starting point, the intended destination, and other travel-related criteria. For instance, if you’re looking for an untamed adventure in the Bahamas but have budgetary constraints, opting for a trip to Cancun may be more feasible. And remember, it’s not just you that has to buy plane tickets, it’s all of your guests as well!

What Type of Wedding Ceremony Have You Dreamed of?

A gorgeous wedding ceremony is one of the most enchanting events that can take place in life. It is a special day, filled with love, joy, and the promise of a life spent together forever. From the intricate floral arrangements to the stunning white gowns and sleek suits, weddings are memorable moments that will remain in your memories forever.

For many, the ceremony begins as the bride makes her grand entrance. All eyes are on her as she walks down the aisle, escorted by her father, stepfather, or other important people in her life. The wedding march plays gently, and the atmosphere is one of nervous anticipation and giddy excitement. The groom stands at the end of the aisle, looking every bit as handsome as the bride looks stunning.

Now of course we’re here for this vision^, but we’re also happy to support ANY vision you may have for your wedding ceremony. From LGBTQIA+ ceremonies to modern-day vow renewals and quick (but gorgeous) vow renewals…we have your back!

The couple exchange vows, making promises to love, and cherish each other for all eternity. As they exchange rings, the reality of their union finally sets in. After this beautiful exchange, the officiant pronounces them partners in marriage, to the sound of cheers and applause from their family and friends.

Next comes the reception, where the couple and their guests can dance the night away, and the champagne flows freely. The reception hall is filled with exquisite decor, magical lighting, and centerpieces that mesmerize everyone in attendance. The wedding cake sits proudly at the focal point of the venue.

As the night draws to a close, the newlywed couple is sent off into the night with love and best wishes. The guests toss rose petals or sparklers to create a magical send-off for the happy pair.

Our best wedding destination resorts make this a beautiful way to celebrate the start of a new life together. From the ceremony’s solemnity to the reception’s revelry, every moment is filled with love, laughter, and cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

Some common types of wedding ceremonies that people often choose:

1. Traditional wedding ceremony

2. Civil ceremony

3. Religious ceremony

4. Secular ceremony

5. Destination wedding ceremony

6. Beach ceremony

7. Garden ceremony

8. Cultural wedding ceremony.

You can choose the one that suits your beliefs and values, as well as your budget and personal style.

What Type of Ceremony Venue Do You Want?

destination wedding celebration

All-inclusive resorts are some of the most popular venues for wedding ceremonies, offering a wide range of spectacular settings that can make your big day unbelievable. These resorts cater to everything you need for your wedding, including stunning backdrops and scenery, professional planners and coordinators, catering services, music and entertainment, and much more. Here are some of the amazing wedding ceremony venues available at all-inclusive resorts.

Beachfront Weddings:

Beach weddings are the most popular choice for couples looking for a tropical setting. All-inclusive resorts offer some of the most stunning beaches in the world, with white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters perfect for your wedding ceremony. These venues provide breathtaking sunsets, cool ocean breezes, and the sound of waves for a romantic ambiance.

Garden Weddings:

For couples who prefer a more traditional or secluded wedding, garden weddings are a great option. With beautifully manicured gardens, fountains, and lush greenery, your wedding ceremony will be surrounded by nature’s beauty. These venues offer a peaceful, serene setting for couples looking to take their vows in a garden setting.

Poolside Weddings:

Poolside weddings offer a unique experience with a tropical twist. These venues are ideal for couples who prefer a more relaxed setting for their ceremony (and often our best wedding destination resorts have pools with the #1 views of the property). With sparkling water and lush surroundings, poolside weddings are a great option for parties that want to enjoy a modern laid-back vibe.

Rooftop Weddings:

Rooftop weddings are a popular choice for high-end weddings. These venues offer views of the city skyline or ocean views that create an unforgettable experience. With breathtaking scenery as your backdrop, your wedding ceremony will be remarkable.

Jungle Weddings:

For couples looking to tie the knot in a more adventurous setting, jungle weddings are perfect. These venues may offer stunning views of the mountains and valleys below, providing a lush setting for a couple seeking an unconventional wedding experience.

All-inclusive resorts offer a variety of options for wedding ceremonies, from beachfront to mountaintop venues. These stunning settings and a range of services are ideal for weddings of all sizes, accommodating any budget. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious venue or an adventurous one, these resorts have a wide range of choices available for your wedding ceremony.

What Type of All-inclusive Resort is Right for My Group?

Here are some of the resort categories available for selecting the best wedding destination resort for your group:

Family-Friendly Resorts: These resorts cater to families with children of all ages. They offer numerous activities and amenities such as water parks, children’s pools, kids’ clubs, and family-friendly entertainment.

Adults-Only Resorts: If you’re planning an adults-only vacation or a honeymoon, you may want to choose an adults-only resort. These resorts offer upscale amenities like swim-up bars, gourmet restaurants, exclusive lounges, and activities designed for grown-ups.

Luxury Resorts: These resorts are upscale and offer premium amenities and services such as private beach clubs, butler services, and gourmet dining. They are ideal for couples, families, and anyone looking for an indulgent vacation.

Adventure Resorts: These resorts offer outdoor activities such as zip-lining, kayaking, rock climbing, and hiking. They are ideally suited for adventurous groups of friends and families.

Budget Resorts: Budget-friendly all-inclusive resorts are suitable for anyone looking for a cost-effective vacation. These resorts often offer limited amenities, but they are still comfortable and can be enjoyable. A budget resort does NOT always mean cheap and often makes for the best wedding destination resorts.

Consider the needs of your group and choose a resort that fits your budget and preferences.

How much money do you want your guests to spend to attend your destination wedding?

It’s important to remember that destination weddings can come with a hefty price tag, and it’s essential to be mindful of how much it will cost for both the couple and their guests.

When planning a wedding away from home, traditionally, the couple covers the expenses of the ceremony and reception, while guests are responsible for their travel and accommodations. All food and drinks will be covered in the upfront costs with all-inclusive wedding destination resorts.

Airfare and hotel rates can vary significantly depending on the location and season. Couples should consider the location, time of year, and travel distances when deciding how much they want their guests to spend on airfare and hotels. It’s essential to remember that if their guests are required to travel a long distance, this may increase the cost of their travel and accommodation.

The wedding cost also factors into how much guests will have to spend. Couples must do their research and ensure they can find affordable wedding venues, catering, and transportation. They can offer discounted bookings or group rates for guests that may come in handy.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that not everyone may be able to cover the cost of attending a destination wedding. Couples should never assume that their guests will be able to attend their wedding, no matter how much they want them there. Offering different price brackets of accommodation or creating a wedding with an accessible price point may make the dream of a destination wedding come true and triple the chances of having a significant guest count on their special day.

The bottom line is that there is no set price that couples should expect their guests to spend on attending their destination wedding. Instead, couples should take the time to research and consider the cost of travel, accommodation, and the wedding itself to ensure they can create an affordable and enjoyable experience for all. Additionally, providing guests with ample notice, destination wedding planning resources, and recommendations for budget-friendly hotels and attractions can also be helpful in easing possible financial constraints.

5 of Our Favorite Wedding Destination Resorts Brands

Although we feature over 100 resorts we truly love, all across the world, we’ve selected five here of a unique variety so couples can gain a better understanding of what’s available to them. The sky’s the limit really, from secluded rooftop venues with sweeping panoramic views, to long expansive beaches that are exactly like the pictures you’ve seen since you were a child. Let’s see a few of them below:

Sandals Resorts: Caribbean For those dreaming of a sun-kissed wedding, Sandals Resorts offers a range of luxurious all-inclusive destinations across the Caribbean. With crystal clear waters, soft sandy beaches, and tropical gardens, you and your guests will feel like you’ve stepped straight into paradise. From Jamaica to the Bahamas, each resort offers a unique experience with a selection of ceremony and reception venues to choose from. 

Dreams Resorts and Spas: Say ‘I do’ surrounded by breathtaking beauty, no matter which Dreams’ you choose, at some of the best wedding destination resorts available. These resorts offers a variety of venues, from oceanfront lawns to grand ballrooms that can accommodate up to 1,200 guests. The experienced wedding planners will help you create your dream day, from the flowers to the music, with every detail taken care of. 

Dreams brand all-inclusive resorts are one of the world’s most luxurious and sought-after vacation options. Offering travelers a remarkable experience, these resorts boast unparalleled comfort, elegance, and style. The resorts are primarily located in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Jamaica, ensuring travelers can access some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic locales.

Dreams resorts also cater to families with children, offering special activities and programs for kids of different age groups. These programs may include dedicated kids’ clubs, water parks, and even children’s cooking classes, allowing parents to relax and unwind while the kids engage in fun, supervised activities.

Hyatt All-inclusive Resorts: Hyatt All-Inclusive Resorts is a luxury hotel chain that offers the ultimate all-inclusive vacation experience. These resorts are located in some of the most beautiful destinations in the world and offer guests a wide range of amenities and services that cater to their every need.

The Playa Hyatt All Inclusive Resorts offer guests an experience that includes all meals, drinks, and activities from some of the best wedding destination resorts available. Guests can enjoy a wide range of specialties and gourmet cuisine at each resort’s restaurants and bars, and unlimited beverages throughout the day.

The accommodations at Playa Hyatt All Inclusive Resorts are luxurious and comfortable. Guests can choose from a range of rooms and suites that offer stunning views, private balconies, and amenities like whirlpool tubs and flat-screen TVs.

The resorts offer a range of activities and entertainment options for guests of all ages. There are numerous pools, water parks, and beaches to enjoy, as well as a variety of sports and fitness activities. Guests can also enjoy live entertainment, dance shows, and music performances throughout their stay.

The Playa Hyatt All Inclusive Wedding Destination Resorts have a reputation for exceptional service, and their staff is dedicated to making their guests’ stays as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Whether traveling with family or taking a romantic getaway, staying at one of these resorts is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

Marival Resorts: Marival All-Inclusive Wedding Resorts is a group of luxurious properties located in some of Mexico’s most sought-after wedding destinations. The resorts offer comprehensive wedding services to couples looking to get married in stunning locations while enjoying world-class amenities and services.

Whether you are planning a beachfront wedding ceremony, a lavish reception party, or a romantic honeymoon getaway, Marival All-Inclusive Wedding Resorts provides the perfect setting to make your destination wedding resort dreams come true.

The locations of the Marival All-Inclusive Resorts are carefully selected, keeping in mind the scenic beauty, cultural significance, and accessibility to major airports and attractions. Some of the popular wedding destinations of Marival Resorts include the Riviera Nayarit, Nuevo Vallarta, and Puerto Vallarta.

The resorts offer lavish accommodations with spacious rooms, private balconies, and breathtaking views of the ocean or lush gardens. The all-inclusive packages provide a range of dining experiences, cocktails, activities, spa treatments, and entertainment options to keep you and your guests engaged throughout the stay.

The wedding services offered by Marival, along with some of the best wedding destination resorts in general, are all designed to cater to couples’ diverse needs and preferences. 

RIU All-inclusive Resorts: RIU Hotels and Resorts is a leading chain of all-inclusive resorts in prime locations worldwide. RIU weddings are well-known for their beautiful locations and high-quality services catering to the couple’s and their guests’ needs.

RIU all-inclusive resorts offer various wedding packages, including ceremony decorations, music, flowers, food, and photography, to wedding coordinators, spa treatments, and accommodation. Depending on the chosen package, couples can enjoy exclusive features such as a private wedding ceremony on the beach, a romantic dinner for the newlyweds, and a complimentary room upgrade.

The RIU wedding coordinators are highly experienced, detail-oriented professionals who work with couples to create their dream weddings. The couples can choose their favorite venue from the resort’s scenic locations such as lush gardens, white sand beaches, or beautiful gazebos.

In addition, RIU resorts offer a range of recreational activities and facilities such as swimming pools, lounges, bars, and restaurants. Couples and their guests can indulge in a variety of water sports, dining options, and entertainment programs that are part of the all-inclusive package.

RIU wedding resorts cater to every budget, from intimate gatherings to grand celebrations. The resorts offer excellent value for money, and couples can be assured of an unforgettable wedding experience that is stress-free, elegant, and personalized.

In conclusion

Black and white photo of couple kissing after their destination wedding

So, think we covered everything? Sure feels like we did.

Choosing the perfect wedding destination is key to creating a magical experience for you and your guests. Whether you opt for a tropical paradise or a historical gem, these five resorts are sure to make your wedding day one that you’ll cherish forever.

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