Your wedding day is meant to be one of the happiest days of your life, beautiful, unforgettable and symbolizing the idea of undying love and your eternal commitment to each other.
Several locations in and around the United States offer destination wedding packages for those with a limited budget. It is possible to find a venue that offers excellent value for money through proper research and planning.
On average, an American wedding can easily cost more than $30,000. Besides the venue, which can set you back by around $10,000, there are a host of additional expenses which can put pressure on your budget. Many resorts and locations in and around the U.S. offer excellent and cost-effective wedding bundles.
It’s hard to beat a beach-style wedding. With its two magnificent oceans on either side of the continent presents a plethora of choices. Here are some great options that will inspire nuptial memories to last a lifetime without breaking the bank.
In the warm temperate, turquoise waters of the Caribbean, nestled north off the coast of Venezuela, you’ll find the magnificent island of Aruba. A popular destination wedding location boasting an awe-inspiring National Park, European-influenced architecture, a collection of beautiful beaches, and an array of affordable resorts, it is well-placed for hosting unforgettable weddings.
Budget-busting Aruba offers several charming boutique hotels, world-leading resorts, and beachfront locations that will add a sparkle to your dream wedding day. In addition to low-cost venues, Aruba also has multiple wedding vendors that provide first-class services at reasonable rates.
A pet-friendly, AAA Three Diamond rated boutique resort, Amsterdam Manor Beach Resort located at Eagle Beach takes its name from its Dutch colonial heritage. Consisting of 72 suites in Caribbean Dutch colonial architecture, with canary yellow walls and orange roof tiles, the ambiance is lively and relaxed. The resort complex is located 5 kilometers from the National Archaeological Museum.
The vows are usually exchanged on the immaculate beach populated by beautiful displays of plant life, such as the Fofofti trees twisted by the undulating ocean cross-winds.
Post ceremony festivities are catered for by either of the two restaurants located in the resort. A popular choice is the Passions on the Beach restaurant with its tiki torch-themed décor and a dance floor, or you can hire a Caribbean or mariachi band, sax, or steel pan player. A complete 3-course gourmet Caribbean style choice of menus is on offer.
The resort also offers a wide array of decorations and floral services and has wellness spa packages available. There is free wifi in all the rooms, and kids under 11 stay for free.
The bridal group can have a hairdresser and makeup artist at their disposal.
Typical Approximate Cost: Ceremony rates start at $500; reception venue rental is $550
Seating Capacity: up to 120 guests
2. St Thomas
St Thomas is an adventure seeker’s playground, a modern paradise with some of the world’s prettiest beaches and places to explore. With a perennial tropical warm climate and a host of outdoor marine activities, including diving and snorkeling.
There are many attractions, such as an underwater observatory and aquariums. Visitors from the U.S. do not need a passport, and the official currency is the U.S Dollar.
There are direct flights available from most major cities on at least seven domestic carriers. The harbor on St Thomas is buzzing with cruise ships.
Secret Beach Harbour Resort is located in the east of the island near the town of Red Hook.
Four wedding packages range from the Bare-Bones essential starter to the Ultimate Beach Wedding in Paradise, including a host of extras. All the packages include a free room upgrade subject to availability. Full beach and resort amenities are also included.
The packages also consist of a dedicated wedding coordinator, ceremony officiant, customizable bridal bouquets and groomsmen’s boutonnieres, hair and makeup services, the cake, and decorated arch petals for tossing.
Other perks include a photographer or videographer and musician(s) based on the package selected.
With a stunning seafront view, The Sunset Grille is an excellent choice for the reception. Dishes include fresh catch-of-the-day fish menus and locally farmed produce. There’s a tropical-style bar for refreshments.
There is plenty to do for you and your guests between festivities. The resort provides many water sport rentals, scuba diving, a freshwater swimming pool, tennis courts, a fitness center, and massage services.
Typical Approximate Cost: $2,000 – $6,850
Seating Capacity: 50 -90+
This tropical paradise which consists of sixteen separate islands, is unmatched in its beauty and diversity. With award-winning beaches, undisturbed wildlife, and a few deserted islands and secluded coves on offer, this is one of the world’s most idyllic wedding destinations.
Scattered across the Bahamas and offering competitive rates, exotic resorts offer destination wedding packages suited to any budget. They are often all-inclusive packages that provide a one-stop-shop range of services and accommodations.
The famous five-star Sandals Emerald Bay resort is an excellent option for a hassle-free wedding experience. A complimentary package consists of marriage document preparation, a committed wedding planning team, and extras such as a garment bag, storybook ceremony site, bridal bouquets, groom’s boutonniere, luxury seating, wedding music, and a 5 x 7 photo.
The reception table settings of white china, sparkling crystal, crisp white linens, clean silverware, a decorative piece for the head table center, a cocktail reception with complimentary sparkling wine, and hors d’oeuvres. It’s rounded off with a customized cocktail and a two-tiered white fondant wedding cake with fuchsia Dendrobium orchids.
For stays longer than seven days, there are additional value-adds in the form of discounts towards license and admin costs, room upgrades, credit on select photo packages, and videography and activities such as snuba, scuba, cabana, or romantic candlelit dinner.
The bride and groom receive a 15% discount on all spa services.
Typical Approximate Cost: Free if couples book a stay for three or more nights
Seating Capacity: 300
4. Tampa Bay, Florida
Situated on the Western Gulf Coast, with long secluded white sandy beaches, turquoise blue water, and an average of 361 days of sunshine a year, it’s no wonder that Tampa Bay is called “Sunshine City.”
The award-winning Gulf Beach Weddings offers five different packages to suit any budget based on the number of guests. The “Perfect Package” is a very well-priced inclusive mid-range option and offers a host of affordable optional extras.
You can select a beach from the following options; Sarasota Beach, Treasure Island, St Pete Beach, or Clearwater Beach.
The standard package includes a gazebo wedding arch and Tiki Torches: Starfish-themed 4 post-wedding arch in a choice of color scheme fabrics and floral decorations. Seating for 50 with a chair style choice for guests counts above 31. Additional seating can be arranged on request up to 90 maximum.
P.A. System with pre-recorded wedding music, and optionally Bluetooth enabled for custom music. A professional wedding officiant. Includes pre-selected choice of ceremony/vows or bring your own! Dedicated Wedding Planner with on-site coordination and includes unlimited email and phone consultation and filing of post-ceremony license.
A professional photographer offers the 1st hour and 50-100 edited high-res photos of formalities. Additional hours including pre-ceremony and reception options available.
For an additional fee, you can order live music with a choice of various instruments.
A videographer can be hired at an hourly rate. Tent reception with tables for cake cutting or champagne toast and a watering station is also extra.
There is a Champagne celebration toast, rose petal aisle, cool down the station, and extra chairs (maximum 90) for extra frills. You have to enquire when booking. Marriage License Mailing can be arranged for out of state or international postage.
Gulf Beach Weddings partners with a host of hotels, motels, and inns stretching all along this magnificent coastline. With all-year-round warm, balmy weather and unobstructed ocean views, you are bound to find a dream place to stay during your stay in Tampa.
Typical Approximate Cost: Starts at $2370.00 (with a deposit of $850.00)
Seating Capacity: From none (bridal couple only) to 90+
With its varied climate ranging from vast barren deserts to dense tropical jungles, Mexico makes it an easy choice for any traveler. It has a rich culture and history, backed by exceptional natural beauty and passionate people.
So whether choosing to exchange your vows silhouetted by Mayan ruins that stretch into the jungle or prefer a beach wedding flanked by the mighty Pacific, Mexico’s frugally friendly destinations have something for everyone.
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco state, is a resort town on Mexico’s Pacific coast. It is popular with Americans for its beaches, water sports, and vibrant nightlife.
This picturesque town is known for the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe church; boutique shops, restaurants, and bars line its cobblestone center. The El Malecón promenade is adorned with contemporary sculptures, vibey bars, cigar lounges, and nightclubs.
A well-known beach resort, Costa Sur Resort & Spa, built more than 30 years ago in the South Shore mountains overlooking the sea, provides an authentic and affordable Mexican ambiance.
The single wedding package on offer, which is complimentary if you book at least ten rooms for two nights minimum at the all-inclusive rate, will take the fuss out of having to choose from too many options. It features a wedding banquet buffet, full basic table settings and decorations, four hours of an open bar for your guests, and a wedding planner.
The ceremonies are most often held on the beach that overlooks Bahia de Banderas and the vast expanse of the pacific ocean.
In addition, the wedding couple benefits from an additional two nights free with meals and drinks. The newlyweds get a room with romantic decorations, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and a bottle of sparkling wine. They also receive an extended checkout until 3 pm and a 15% off voucher for the spa services.
Taking a break from the wedding circus, you can enjoy a meal at one of the resort’s two private restaurants, hang out by the private beach or pool, or check out the treatments on offer at the spa.
Additional ceremonial services, entertainment or music, décor, and flowers are excluded and need to be arranged with the wedding planner.
Typical Approximate Cost: Free when booking a minimum of 10 rooms for two or more nights at the resort’s all-inclusive rate.
Seating Capacity: 150
Jamaica, a Caribbean island nation that lies 145km south of Cuba and is well known for bringing reggae music to the world, has an exuberant landscape of rainforests, mountains, and coral reef trimmed beaches.
Many of its all-inclusive resorts are clustered in Montego Bay, with its British-colonial architecture, and Negril, known for its diving and snorkeling sites. Jamaica’s capital city, Kingston, is home to the Bob Marley Museum, dedicated to the famous undisputed king of reggae music.
Situated on the Negril limestone cliffs in Jamaica’s breathtaking West End, The Caves Luxury Resort is a short hop from the 7 miles long, white sand beachfront where the adventure begins.
The Caves is the ultimate sanctuary for unwinding, revitalization, and pure romantic bliss. The Caves comprise 12 idyllic cliffside cottages, a grand villa, two dining gazebos, private caves, and the signature Blackwell Rum Bar.
There’s also a Spa, jacuzzi, sauna, private hot tub, and saltwater swimming pool, all just within steps of the sparkling turquoise sea.
The resort has a range of services on offer with its basic wedding package. It includes a minister, wedding license and marriage certificate, bridal bouquet, groom’s boutonniere, a bottle of champagne, small wedding cake, and a 30-print photography package.
Away from the festivities, activities include a range of water sports, like scuba diving and snorkeling, kayaking, jet skis. Luxurious spa and wellness treatments are available for visitors, including deep tissue massages, reflexology, and a range of body scrubs and wraps.
Complimentary Yoga classes are also held on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.
The Grand Villa stay includes the services of a private butler.
Typical Approximate Cost: Start at around $1000
Seating Capacity: 30
7. Dominican Republic
On the large Caribbean island of Hispaniola, the Dominican Republic is a diverse nation that shares a border with Haiti to the west. It is the second largest in the Caribbean and is located 2 hours by plane from Miami, Florida.
Renowned for its world-class beaches, resorts, and golfing, its terrain comprises rainforest, savannah, and highlands. Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain, is located here.
The Capital city Santo Domingo has Spanish culture and architecture with landmarks like the Gothic Catedral Primada de America that is more than five centuries old.
The country’s 250 mile-long stretch of beaches are host to fantastic destination wedding resorts that offer fascinating ecotourism tours through national parks and the countryside.
The Dominican Republic has an incredible eight international airports, so getting there by air is pretty hassle-free.
Iberostar Punta Cana offers an ideal venue for anyone wanting a tropical beach wedding. Set among exuberant palm trees and endless golden beaches, the resort’s entry-level wedding package, Waves of Love in Blue, is best suited to those seeking a small, budget-friendly wedding, as it’s all-inclusive for a maximum of 10 guests.
The package includes the services of a wedding coordinator and a wedding officiator ( minister, priest, or judge), wedding venue setup and decorations, the bride’s bouquet and groom’s boutonniere, wedding cake, flowers, champagne, and semi-private dinner reception. You can invite additional guests for $15 per person.
The bridal couple receives cava and a fruit basket as welcome gifts.
Typical Approximate Cost: $999 – $2899
Seating Capacity: 180
The perennial warm climate makes beach weddings in the Caribbean, Central America, or the southern United States ideal for pleasant and relaxing weddings. They are also a paradise for travelers searching for beautiful landscapes, superb cuisine, and friendly, engaging people. The cultural melting pots that make up these regions provide an eclectic and memorable experience that will leave a lasting impression on any visitor. These locations tend to have a favorable currency exchange rate that will add excellent value to any dollar allocated to the task.