Now that you’ve set your destination wedding date, your plans for the big event are under way in earnest. You’ve probably imagined your dream wedding for some time and may have some idea of the potential cost. The reality of bringing it all to fruition, however, can sometimes be beyond your expectations.

A wedding is usually an expensive endeavour. When you’ve compared prices and done all the sums the question you’re likely to ask yourself is: How much does a destination wedding cost?


The Average Cost of a Wedding in UK

Although there are countless statistics floating around the average wedding in the United Kingdom today costs approximately £20,000. According to research and statistics the happy couple were shelling out £22,000 in 2009, so you’re actually saving £2,000. On top of this generous amount you’ll have to add the cost of a honeymoon, which is generally estimated at around £3,931.

The list below highlights the typical spend of a UK wedding, as published in Brides magazine.

Wedding venue: £2,223
Reception venue: £4,189
Catering: £3,063
Photography/video: £1,399
Flowers: £560
Cake: £296
Entertainment: £682
Dress: £1,340
Shoes: £107
Stationery: £240
Headdress/veil: £108
Attendants’ outfits: £465
Mother-of-the-bride outfit: £337
Groom’s outfit: £313
Beauty: £220
Engagement Ring: £2,451
Wedding rings: £647
Other wedding jewellery: £191
Honeymoon: £3,931
Gift List: £1,954
Total: £24,716


As ‘average’ is a relative and personal term it is worth bearing in mind that some couples spend more than £50-60K for a wedding, and invite only 70-80 guests!

The wedding venue can be very expensive and has to incorporate the cost of wedding decorations and extra details.

To give you some idea:

  • Natural History Museum, London – Room hire starts at £10,150
  • Augill Castle, Lake District – Basic wedding price starts from £12,600 for the hire of the castle, and include two night’s accommodation, dinner and bed & breakfast for 28 adults and ten children in 14 bedrooms.
  • Chilston Park Hotel, Kent – Room hire ranges from £200 to £1000 for a night
  • Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester – Room hire from 4pm-10pm from £2250
  • Royal Pavilion, Brighton, East Sussex – Ceremony room hire from £560 for up to 44 people. Reception hire from £1020, for dinner up to 60. Sorry, no dancing allowed in the Royal Pavilion!

With the average UK wedding package costing over £24K isn’t it worth considering how much a destination wedding costs?

The Average Cost of a Destination Wedding

A destination wedding is an attractive alternative to the popular UK wedding not only because it offers exotic scenery and glorious weather. You can have a beach wedding with your friends and family around you, a honeymoon in paradise and stunning photographs you’ll cherish for a lifetime. If you still need convincing that a destination wedding is a viable money-saving wedding option take a look at the planned destination wedding in the Dominican Republic, for 28 guests:

Caribbean Destination Wedding: 13 nights in Paradise


Destination Wedding Date: Friday 06 November 2015 – Sunday 08 November 2015 (PEAK TIME) – flights from London, UK.
Location: Bavaro, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Hotel: Iberostar Bavaro Suites (ranked #3 of 12 hotels in Bavaro – TripAdvisor)
Honeymoon: 13 nights commencing Thursday 05 November 2015 – Wednesday 18 November 2015
Guests: 29 guests, including a professional destination wedding photographer who will travel with the bride and groom. Tom Robak Photography will create unique and personalised wedding reportage and lifestyle pictures of your dream wedding.

Guests travel from London Heathrow with the wedding couple on Thursday 05 November from London Heathrow. They stay until Monday 09 November (4 nights, with an option to extend their stay at personal expense).

Flight to a Destination Wedding

Return tickets costs £1542 for a wedding couple on selected date. Return ticket per guest = £671.

The total cost of guest flights is £19,459. If you are able to pay for, or contribute towards, the cost of your guests’ flight it is a nice gesture that is always appreciated. However, the bride and groom are not expected to cover any of the guests’ expenses. Do however choose a location that offers accommodation options at all price points. In this scenario flights for parents and siblings (6 tickets) are included = £4,026. The destination wedding photographer’s flight must also be included = £671 plus £100 for additional baggage for equipment.

Airport transfer – Punta Cana to Bavaro and return = £200

Destination Wedding Accommodation

Wedding Couple – all-inclusive 13 nights – Platinum Suite £1977

This suite features an en-suite bar and 32-inch TV with DVD player. It includes private check-in, one dinner at Licey restaurant, premium drinks, beach club with hammocks and waiter service, towels, bathrobes, slippers, special price for the spa, a 20-minute massage and full access to the Platinum Club Lounge. Wi-Fi, DVDs, international newspapers and Continental breakfast also available.

Guests – all inclusive 4 nights – Bungalow Suite £504 each (29 guests -15 bungalow suites) – £7,605

Bungalows typically feature 1 king-size bed or 2 single beds, terrace, air conditioning, safety box, mini bar, ceiling fan, flat-screen cable TV, coffee maker and a bathroom with spa bath.

Cost for parents and siblings = £1512


Destination Wedding Photographer

Some resorts include photography with their wedding packages, but the language barrier can often pose a problem when trying to convey your ideas for the photographs. Travelling with a destination wedding photographer guarantees you’ll have the images you’ve dreamed about.

Tom Robak Photography creates an exquisite photographic record of your wedding day from start to finish. The average cost for exclusive (4 nights) destination wedding photography is £2000 and includes reportage images that covers everything from leaving the UK until the end of the 4 night stay on your destination wedding.

Bridal Costs

A stunning beach wedding dress = £400 – more money for drinks and bikinis!
Outfits for bridesmaid and mother = £400
Shoes = £107
Hairdress/Veil = £100
Beauty = £150

Groom Costs

Groom’s outfit = £300
Best man outfit = £200
Beauty, why not? A massage and skin treatment are ideal for relaxing = £150


Engagement Ring = £2,451
Wedding rings = £647
Other wedding jewellery = £191
Invitations = £350

Additional Costs may include a special pre-wedding dinner for the entire wedding party = £600. On location entertainment like a Catamaran cruise to Saona (£1500 for all guests) or half-day Dune Buggy Adventure (£1000).


Your Destination Wedding Day

For the most important day of your trip you need to think about the venue, reception and celebration party. Your perfect destination wedding will be on the beach. The easiest and most convenient way to book this is using the hotel wedding planner service. Total cost of beach wedding, reception in gazebo, wedding cake, champagne, music, registrar, hotel catering and decorations = £2000. Add magical sky lanterns for the evening = £120.

Wedding Coordinator

A local wedding planner will prepare everything for you. Services can be booked via the hotel or online. The average cost of wedding planning in the Dominican Republic is £600, based on personalised requirements.


Be aware of the legal requirements in order to get married in the Dominican Republic:

  • Two witnesses
  • Valid passport for bride, groom and witnesses
  • Original birth certificates for bride and groom
  • Celibacy certificate – This document is issued by an attorney and it states you are eligible to legally marry
  • Divorce certificate (where applicable) stamped by the Dominican Embassy in your country. If the bride was married before she must be divorced for a minimum 10-month period
  • If bride or groom is widowed the spouse’s death certificate is required as well as the previous wedding certificate

All presented documents must be originals. All documents must be translated to Spanish by an official translator and legalised by the Dominican Embassy in your country.

Civil Wedding: legal ceremony performed by a civil judge of the Dominican Republic.

Catholic Wedding: also legal performed by a Priest (some documents are required in order to have this ceremony).

Symbolic Wedding: a blessing performed by a member of the wedding staff. The legal marriage ceremony is performed beforehand, as the wedding certificate is required.

Religious Wedding: is performed by a Pastor. The cost of this service is not included in the symbolic wedding packages.

Estimated cost for Dominican Republic Destination Wedding

Adding up the individual bills brings the cost to £23,682. Adding £1000 as an emergency fund = £24,882.

The average cost of a UK wedding is £24,716.

You may have thought that a destination wedding would be out of your price range, but the reality is it costs no more than an average wedding package in the UK. What you gain is: sun, beach, sunny weather guaranteed, all-inclusive hotel, honeymoon, friends and family…Quite simply paradise. A Dominican Republic wedding also offers a multitude of possibilities for beautiful scenic Caribbean wedding photography.

You can save money by spending less on rings, shopping around for all-inclusive hotel packages and additional excursions and simply by changing the date of the wedding. Booking this package in June would save you £4000! Do bear in mind that all accommodation and flight prices are calculated for individual booking at peak time.


Caribbean Destination Wedding breakdown for less than £25,000:

  • Exclusive All-Inclusive Hotel in Bavaro, Punta Cana
  • Romantic beach wedding
  • 28 guests for 4 nights in premium suites
  • 13 nights for bride and groom in wedding apartment
  • Destination wedding photographer for 4 nights
  • Boat Trip for bride and groom and their guests
  • Travel costs included bride and groom plus their parents and siblings
  • Paid stay for parents and siblings
  • Special pre-wedding dinner for all guests

I would love to hear your opinion about destination weddings. Do you dream of a beach wedding? Or do you prefer a more traditional style local wedding in your neighbourhood? How much did your destination wedding cost?

Please leave a comment below and share this article with your friends.

(research date: 10/December/2014)