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Destination Wedding vs. Local Wedding Cost

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Download our 2024 Case Study: Stateside Weddings vs Destination Weddings

We are thrilled to announce the release of our latest case study comparing the cost differences between local stateside weddings and destination weddings. This study has been conducted to provide engaged couples with valuable insights into the expenses associated with both types of weddings while highlighting the true value of hosting an all-inclusive destination wedding.

One of the most common questions we receive at Destify is how much a destination wedding generally costs. Although most assume that the combination of travel and wedding costs in an exotic location can cost a fortune, that’s actually not the case!

Not all destination weddings are created equal.

We have analyzed over 100 of our destination weddings and compared their costs to what a traditional wedding would cost, and have found that the vast majority saved greatly. The biggest factors contributing to destination wedding costs are the choice of destinations and the number of guests attending. A good rule of thumb is to expect about 50% of your guests to attend your wedding, which is often much higher for a local wedding.

Destination Wedding vs. Traditional Wedding Cost Comparison

Our top selling destinations are MexicoJamaica, and the Dominican Republic. Below we have chosen Mexico as our sample destination, due to the high number of all-inclusive resorts on offer and that it has the pristine beaches our customers expect. It is also the most accessible destination we offer travel-wise with an average flight time of 5 hours from many major U.S. cities.

Local Wedding in the U.S.

  • Venue   $3,000 – $20,000
  • Catering (per person)   $45 – $150
  • DJ (3 hours)   $500 – $1,500
  • Photographer (per event)   $999 $5,000
  • Officiant   $100 – $400
  • Misc (transporatiton, etc)   $500 – $1,000
$11,000 – $49,000*

*Wedding costs based on a US-national average cost per guest at $256.

Destination Wedding in Mexico

  • Venue   $999 – $3,990
  • Catering (per person)   $0 – $85
  • DJ (3 hours)   $350 – $1,550
  • Photographer (per event)   $0 $1,699
  • Officiant   $0 – $500
  • Misc (transporatiton, etc)   $0 – $2,000
$1,350 – $11,500*

*  Costs based on an average destination wedding with a guest count of 20

FREE Weddings

Many hotels offer “free” wedding packages, but they often include only a limited amount of guests. This doesn’t include any travel expenses. Free packages often have stipulations.


Wedding packages include a built-in wedding coordinator, which acts as your planner in the months leading up to your wedding. Resorts also include a coordinator the day of to ensure your wedding goes smoothly.

Guest Bookings

The above tables only reflect a couple’s expenses. Your wedding guests still must pay for their own travel expenses. However, your wedding often qualifies them for discounts, not to mention it is a vacation!

Affordable Destinations

Even though we used Mexico as our example, there are many other tropical destinations that are comparable in pricing. Check out the table below to get a better idea of the cost difference in other popular locations.

Tropical Wedding Destinations – Destination Wedding Cost


Based on average entry-level wedding package costs.

Budget-friendly Paradise

A destination wedding can be as affordable as you want it to be, with no set amount that must be spent. The value of an all-inclusive resort and the wedding packages on offer are what make it an incredible way to get married. Everything can be parlayed into your two forms of contact, from Destify taking care of travel and booking needs to the wedding department taking care of your ceremony and reception, along with any vendor needs such as floral arrangements and photography.

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