It doesn’t matter whether you want a sunset beach wedding, a soap opera-infused hacienda-style ceremony, or a desert backdropped occasion; there’s something magical about being surrounded by friends and family in a stunning destination wedding location as you say “I do.”
If you have always wanted to say your vows in a faraway dreamy place but don’t want to sell your kidney, we scoured through Instagram and found some of the dreamiest, most picturesque, and pocket-friendly destination wedding locations worldwide.
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PSA: These destination wedding locations have a little adventure packed in, some fairy tale/silver screen type of romance, and a touch of archaeological, historic allure. There’s a ceremony that takes place inside Kenya’s most scenic wildlife conservancies and an intimate hacienda wedding set near the Mayan ruins in Cancun.
But before we get there, here are some helpful destination wedding planning tips to help make your wedding cost-effective and memorable.
What’s The Cheapest Way To Have A Destination Wedding?
1. Travel Out Of Season – Summer is the most expensive time to get hitched since its peak season. It would be best to avoid the school holiday seasons (around Christmas, mid-February, late May, and early September).
Destinations that are cost-friendly and warm during the winter season include parts of Africa (Egypt, Kenya, Seychelles, among others), Mexico, and The Canary and Caribbean Islands). Along with cheap flights, you’ll also find pocket-friendly venue and accommodation costs.
2. Book Flights Early – our advice, book flights right when they’re released. Boxing Day and the January sales are another perfect time to bag a decent deal. Things are usually slow around this time, so airlines slash costs, and hotels offer you advance booking rates.
3. Be Flexible With Your Destination – you will always find a similar style venue for half the price.
4. Get Married Mid-Week – the best thing about destination weddings is that it doesn’t matter what day you get hitched. So, you can always bag a bargain by saying “I do” on a Tuesday or Wednesday versus a busy weekend. You’ll also find cheaper accommodation rates mid-week too.
5. Fewer Guests Equals Happier Pockets – getting married abroad is the perfect excuse to slash your guest list from 300 to 100 or 50. If you don’t want to disappoint people, you could stream the service online so they can enjoy the day with you.
6. DIY Your Decorations, work with a trusted wedding company, and hire a wedding planner. You’ll save so much doh.
The Best Destination Wedding Locations In 2023
If you’ve been on the gram lately, you might have noticed that there’s been an influx of destination wedding reels. Well, we perused through some and found the following locations to be the most beautiful and budget-friendly:
Riviera Maya, Cancun
Whether your heart yearns for the grandeur of a lavish ballroom, the serene shores of a beach resort, or the timeless charm of a hacienda, Cancun embraces your every desire, earning its well-deserved title as the ultimate destination wedding location.
The coastal stretch of the Yucatan Peninsula mixes perfectly with the ancient Maya ruins to give you the most memorable, tropical, and exotic wedding.
And you can either embrace the extraordinary or reserve an entire boutique hotel, granting your friends and family an oasis of seclusion and personalized luxury.
You could also go the soap opera way and exchange your vows in the mystical embrace of a Mayan village set against the breathtaking backdrop of ancient Mayan empire ruins.
For those who love the tropics, something slower-paced and refreshing, Playa del Carmen offers the most charming authentic rustic aesthetic and is home to some of the most breathtaking beaches.
Best Time To Wed: December through April is the most refreshing and cost-friendly.
Resorts offer budget-friendly all-inclusive packages starting at $599.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
There’s a reason why everyone loves a Caribbean wedding – they’re freakin fantastic. And Jamaica is an ideal destination wedding location since it offers more than reef-lined beaches and palm trees.
The island offers picturesque lush rainforest weddings, under-the-waterfall views, mouth-watering cuisines, and more. Plus, the laidback ambiance will keep the wedding jitters locked up to remind you that your destination wedding is also a vacation to remember.
Best Time To Wed: December through June
Resorts offer pocket-friendly all-inclusive packages starting from $899.
Cape Town, South Africa
If you’ve ever dreamt of having a fairy-tale African wedding, Cape Town has plenty to offer.
From a picturesque safari wedding in the parks to an intimate, luxurious Winelands occasion at Franschhoek and a beautiful mountain/deserted sandbank backdropped ceremony, the city is your best bet for an Instagrammable and memorable destination wedding.
Best Time To Wed: late October through early April
Boutique hotels and resorts offer cost-friendly, all-inclusive packages starting from $700
Indonesia is an extraordinary location for a destination wedding. With idyllic beaches, verdant jungles, and vibrant cultural tapestry, Indonesia offers brides and grooms an unrivaled setting that promises a truly unforgettable time.
For couples looking to infuse their special day with rich culture and heritage, Java provides you with the most charming views. For those looking for pristine beaches, luxurious resorts, and azure waters, Bintan Island is your best bet.
Anyone with an adventurous spirit will be more inclined to go to Bandung pine forest camp, where they can have the most fabulous woodland-themed wedding.
Best Time To Wed: May through August
Resorts offer cheap, all-inclusive packages starting from $200 (making Indonesia the cheapest destination wedding location on this list!)
Ol Jogi Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya
When it comes to safari destination wedding locations, nothing beats Kenya – and especially Ol Jogi Wildlife Conservancy.
With the rugged and indigenous terrains of Laikipia, the intimate candle-lit canyon reception area, and a wild wildlife experience (you might encounter an elephant or gazelles for some wedding luck), you will surely have the wedding of your dreams here.
Mount Kenya looms in the distance, meaning you’ll have the most beautiful landscape for your wedding pictures.
Best Time To Wed: April, August through to December
Affordable Destination Wedding Locations in Kenya: Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort And Spa
Resorts offer affordable, all-inclusive packages starting from $800.
From the ancient ruins, opulent royal palaces, ornate temples, and tropical beaches, Thailand is one of the universe’s most unique destination wedding locations.
In Bangkok (Thailand’s capital), you will find the most ultramodern and architectural-digest-worthy venues. In Phuket, stunning golden sand beaches and colorful shorelines are the order of the day, and in Kanchanaburi, gleaming monasteries and waterfall-filled parks rock the landscapes.
Top Tip: When planning a wedding in Thailand or wherever having a small team on the ground in addition to your primary event planner is essential. There’ll undoubtedly be a language barrier, so you need your trusted planner plus someone local to help with the details.
Best Time To Wed: November to March/April
Resorts offer cost-effective, all-inclusive wedding packages starting from $1000.
Famous for its rich history and culture, incredible scenery, and gorgeous architecture, Tukey can be so much more exciting for a culture-loving couple than a beach wedding destination. There’s a plethora of things that guests can do and so many talented artisans to work with when you want to create a one-of-a-kind wedding experience.
For destination wedding venue ideas in Turkey, you can book the Ottoman Palace, A Rooftop Terrace (for those who want a hot balloon backdrop), or a cistern (underground weddings are so underrated).
Best Time To Wed: May, August, and September
Resorts and wedding venues offer budget-friendly, all-inclusive packages starting from $1,200
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s The Advantage Of Having A Destination Wedding?
Contrary to popular belief, destination weddings, especially in cheap locations like Thailand and Turkey, cost less and have less drama – because you invite the least number of people and those who are truly dear to you. And you have your wedding in the dreamiest location and honeymoon there, too (travel costs averted).
Who Pays For The Guests’ Travel For A Destination Wedding?
The guests usually pay for their own flights to a destination wedding. But if you’re worried about how your guests will afford the flight and accommodation, you could get them to contribute to the flight and accommodation costs beforehand and then do all the bookings yourself.
How Many People Do You Need For A Destination Wedding?
It depends on you. But the average guest size for most destination weddings is between 40 to 80 guests.
How Long Does One Need To Save The Date For A Destination Wedding?
The basic rule of thumb is to send the invites 8 to 12 months before the wedding. Send them 4 to 6 months in advance if it’s a local affair.