What to expect in a developing country when I plan my wedding.

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Written by Wendy Wharton

The Real Price of a Destination Wedding


One of the most important aspects of planning a destination wedding is going to be when you find yourself learning the difference between local and tourism pricing.

There is an underlying feeling in the world that if you are to plan your destination wedding in one of the lesser expensive destinations to travel to, – for example:  Mexico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, etc.  that you can plan a wedding for much less than you can in your home city or town.  The reality is that it is very much possible to plan a beautiful wedding in your chosen destination, for a fraction of the cost but there is a fine line, and here’s why.

1. Although the cost of living is less in some countries and therefore the cost of goods is less, but there is still a cost.  On top of the cost of the goods, you need to realize that the merchant must pass along the cost of shipping, if it is something they don’t readily have, to bring it to your wedding.  This can be more expensive if your destination wedding is on an island, as everything has an increased cost to fly or ship it there.

2. Tourism is a business and the only business that many people or businesses in destination countries, have.  They know they are dealing with people that can afford to fly to another country to get married.  For them, this makes you ultra rich, as they may never even travel in their own country.  They are humble people and just trying to make ends meet, and at times they inflate the price to see if they can.  (This is where hiring a local wedding planner would be very beneficial to you, as they know what true costs are, in the destination and can negotiate a better price or refer you to a known vendor that doesn’t try to take advantage.)

3. Expectation.  A lot of pricing has to do with perceived and real expectation.  We all want to travel to paradise and have a fairy-tale wedding, but we must remember that your wedding vision, filled with all the fairy lights, the draping, the flowers spilling out of huge shiny vases, music from the best DJ, s and entertainment to wow your guests.  We want cakes that are 5 feet tall, and food catered by a Red Seal Chef.  Who doesn’t want all of that?  It would be like story book, with the ocean lapping at the shore, and you are surrounded with friends, family, sunshine, and romance galore. This is 100% achievable, but the price the vendor incurs to give couples the opulence that they want, or that the vendors feel the client will want, will add up in price, quickly.The Kardashians and many others have built empires by telling us that we deserve to wear the best, eat the best, and surround yourself with only the best.  For the vendor to achieve the same level of grandeur that these shows and more have put in your mind of what your wedding should look like, they fill they must get the best of everything for you and the best of everything is more expensive, as the vendor may have to buy items to serve or create your vision.  They need to order items at a better quality for your wedding, than they would for a local wedding, perhaps.

4. If you truly want to save money while hosting a destination wedding, then do it as the locals would.  Eat local and in season foods.  Drink local spirits and leave the imports on the shelf.  Hire a wedding planner to help you hire vendors that the planner knows and has used in the past. This will keep your prices more realistic and then the budget and the vision will match, and you will not be left disappointed.


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