Destination weddings have many benefits like travelling with close friends and family to have an amazing experience all together
. For the couple, either way you slice, it will be literally a life altering experience. Some Indian couples may worry that their larger guest list may make a destination wedding cost prohibitive. Quite the contrary. But before we look at how much a South Asian destination wedding might cost let's look at the alternative.
The costs for a local Indian wedding in the USA or Canada have skyrocketed over the last decade. Although it's difficult to establish an average, you can be assured that if you are looking to keep up with the Joneses (or perhaps more aptly, the Jains, Johals or Jabbars) to throw what is considered an impressive wedding, expect to spend around $100,000. And don’t be surprised if you that amount even doubles, as you look to book luxury venues and decor companies, and buy from top vendors and including outfits. When you compare that to a non-Indian wedding average budget (estimated to be around $30,000), it is not surprising then that plenty of South Asian couple’s are looking for alternatives that will provide better bang for their buck.
Destination weddings are undoubtedly better value. Firstly, you can combine your wedding with your honeymoon saving you perhaps $5,000 to 10,000. Additionally, you will have fewer guests at your wedding, meaning more manageable numbers for your reception costs. So what will you be spending on a destination wedding?
The destination wedding mecca of North America is certainly the Cancun / Riviera Maya area of Mexico. This region has also established an ecosystem of vendors who understand Indian weddings and South Asian customs. To determine a cost for this region, it still obviously depends on which resort you decide to pick for your wedding. Typically though you’ll be looking at an all-inclusive 5-star resort right on the beach. Yes, there are even different tiers within the five star category, but we are basing our estimates on a typical five star resort like the Palace Resorts properties and the Hard Rock all-inclusive collection
So let’s get down to brass tacks. If your guest list is less than 100 people, you can expect your total Indian destination wedding bill to be between $30,000 and $50,000 (for room, transfers and airfare).
That total includes the couples room cost but not that of your guests. Your guests typically pay for their own rooms save a handful of VIP guest that typically the parents of the Indian couple tend to foot the bill for.
As for the wedding party specifically the groomsmen and bridesmaids, it is not essential for the couple to pay for their travel and room. The typical quid pro quo though is that these special guests, who make up the couple’s wedding team
, are not expected to purchase a wedding gift for the couple.
Obviously, as your wedding adds more guests, the cost will rise. If your wedding gets to 200 people, then feel free to add perhaps another 33% to the total. And as you add more events, such as off-site tours or excursions
for your guests and yourself, the another 10% increase to the budget should be expected depending on how many guests are paid for.
Also consider, your reception decor and entertainment -- these can be as elaborate as you want them to be meaning more budget requirements. And are planning to bring any local vendors with you to your Indian destination wedding then factor in their airfare and room (although sometimes you will receive a free room when your booking reaches a certain size which can go towards a vendor). It’s not uncommon for couples to flyout a specific makeup artist, photographer or cinematographers.
It’s like buying a car, the more options you add, the higher the cost is going to be. However, if the options you add are fairly practical, you need not worry about the starting cost for your Indian destination wedding to double. Unlike a local Indian weddings, things don’t tend to get out of hand while abroad.
If you have questions about your specific destination, feel free to drop me a line using any of our online contact forms
. Make sure to include your name, number and email address so I can respond appropriately. More to come on costs in Part 2 of “How much does an Indian Destination Wedding Cost?”.