Destination weddings in India are like a long holiday with your friends and family. Fun, celebration, and an exotic location to boot! However, planning the cost of a destination wedding can be a tricky task. Arranging the budgets for accommodation, wedding vendors, caterers, travel, bridal make-up artists, florists, and all other necessary aspects adds up when it comes to planning a destination wedding cost and indexing a budget.
The minute one hears the word "destination," they straight away assume that it will be a very costly affair! However, that is not always true! Even if you wish to take your vows on a scenic beach in India, amidst the mountaintop of a cozy hotel in a hill station in Mussoorie, or in a boutique resort near your city, there are ample ways to plan a destination wedding on a budget. A destination wedding is always planned beforehand, and it is not an overnight affair. If you make it an overnight affair, then you will end up paying a lot more than expected. The location can be as serene as the white sands of Malaysian beaches or as regal as the forts in Udaipur and Jaipur, and all of it can be done within an estimated budget if planned the right way and at the right time. Speaking of average destination wedding costs, Anam Zubair, Head of B2C Marketing, WeddingWire India, shares, "The trend toward destination weddings is rising, both internationally and in India. According to trusted sources, approximately 15–20% of weddings globally are estimated to be destination weddings. Within India, this trend is growing significantly, with around 20–25% of weddings being destination-based. As for average spending, it can vary widely based on location, guest count, venue choice, and services required. In India, a destination wedding can range from INR 20 lakhs to several crores, depending on the scale and luxury desired. Internationally, costs can go even higher due to travel, accommodation, and other expenses associated with hosting a wedding away from home."
From keeping tabs on the guest list to making bookings way in advance to save those extra bucks, we enlist for you some ways in which you can have the destination wedding of your dreams and also save on some extra bucks with these destination wedding cost factors that affect it the most!
Destination Wedding Budget Planning Tips
Wedding Venue: Fairmont Jaipur
In order to plan a fool-proof destination wedding, you will need to factor in a variety of aspects that go into planning a flawless wedding ceremony. The work that goes into planning is tedious, and every task comes at a cost that needs to be considered right from the first stage of planning the wedding. You must be wondering why considering every detail is necessary in order to plan a budget for a destination wedding. The answer is to avoid nasty surprises like an overflow in the expected wedding budget owing to miscellaneous expenditures, to be well-prepared with the plans, to be one step ahead, etc.
Now, there are a variety of factors that will influence your destination wedding costs, and we have identified a few of the major deciding factors in this list below.
Destination wedding cost factors:
Location and Venue
The location and the venue in that location are probably two of the most prominent factors that will affect the cost of your destination wedding.
- Make sure that the location you pick is easily accessible by various means of transportation, like by road, railway, or air. This will prevent any lavish transport arrangements from one city to another. You can also rely on some guests to make their own travel arrangements if the process and the route are convenient.
- Try to pick a location that is "naturally pretty and aesthetic" so that you do not shell out a lot of your wedding budget on enhancing the facade of the location and property you have picked for your destination wedding.
Season and Time
Indian weddings mostly take place during the saaya season, the time that is considered auspicious for hosting wedding ceremonies by the spiritual and religious calendars. Now the non-Saya season also has specific wedding dates when you can tie the knot, and in fact, do it mostly at prices that are lower than usual.
- Every place in the country, as well as abroad, has a season when they receive or anticipate maximum footfall. These peak seasons are times when almost everything is sold out and booked, so planning a wedding in the given location during those seasons can be a task unless you have started planning well in advance to be on top of everything.
- You have to consider the season and time of your wedding before you start planning your wedding budget. If it is during the peak Saya season, then you might have to keep a higher wedding budget in mind, while a non-saaya season or day wedding can often cost less and thus require a lower destination wedding cost.
Travel and Stay
Destination weddings always come with the requirement of travel and stay. While in the residential wedding planning process, the only expenses are the venue's rent, F&B, and stay for the handful of guests who are coming in from various different cities to your wedding. Travel and accommodation costs are mandatory when it is a destination wedding.
- Depending on the distance of the location from you and your guests' residence, you will have to consider the destination wedding costs. You will also have to decide whether or not you will be covering your guests' travel and stay costs fully or partially. In fact, destinations where you need to take a flight rather than a train, bus, or drive by car might cost you more.
- And when it comes to the stay part, you will have various options, like staying in different venues or the same as your main wedding venue, How much would it cost per person for either of the methods? This will impact the cost of your destination wedding.
Length of Guest List
The number of guests you plan on inviting almost always affects the total wedding cost, whether it is a destination wedding cost or a residential wedding cost.
- The number of people on your guest list will determine the per-head cost and, therefore, the overall cost that you will have to spend on food and beverages (F&B), accommodation expenses, travel costs, and so on.
- With a long list of people on your guest list, you can probably opt for a wholesale rate or prepare a small wedding guest list for an intimate wedding and invest the budget in an unforgettable experience.
The amount you pay to each of your wedding vendors also impacts the destination wedding cost.
- Whether you are looking to hire local vendors or hire vendors who are ready to travel to your destination, a lump-sum amount goes into this aspect of destination wedding planning.
- You can source vendors in and around your destination to avoid transportation costs if you are looking forward to hosting a destination wedding on a budget.
Once you have taken the above aspects into consideration, your destination wedding costs will be clearer, and you will be able to plan a more organised wedding budget that will not take you by surprise or burn an unexpected hole in your pocket.
Estimated Cost Break-up for a Destination Wedding*
Wedding Venue: Tivoli Heritage Palace
Zubair shares, "Estimating the cost breakdown for a destination wedding can vary widely based on several factors, like location, guest count, duration of the celebration, and the specific services desired. It's essential to note that these percentages can fluctuate based on preferences, priorities, and the specific demands of the couple. Some may prioritize photography or entertainment over decor, while others might focus more on the venue and accommodation. The overall cost breakdown varies significantly based on personal choices and the scale of the wedding."
All Events’ Venues + Catering Rental: We recommend allocating 45–50% of your wedding budget to venues and catering rental for all functions. This can increase if you are planning a destination wedding further away from your hometown and have multiple accommodations to arrange.
Wedding Jewelry: Purchasing wedding jewelry for the bride and groom is the next biggest investment in weddings. We suggest keeping this budget separate from the wedding planning budget or allocating a minimum of 15–18% of your budget to this cost.
Honeymoon: Approximately 4–6% is suggested for honeymoon planning. We encourage couples to explore deals or negotiate with airlines or hotels for discounts to help minimize costs for themselves.
Venue Decoration: This is a very subjective call and depends entirely on the preference and vision of the couple. The ideal split for budget destination weddings should be around 5-7%, but some couples might also choose to go all out and spend 10-15% on thematic decor.
Photography and Videography: We suggest allocating 10–13% for pre-wedding or engagement shoots, wedding photography, wedding videography, and albums, owing to the importance of investing in professional services to capture timeless memories.
Wedding Planning: Allocate not more than 5-8% for a wedding planner's fee. It’s an invaluable role considering destination weddings need logistic planning, negotiating deals with local vendors, and a seamless and stress-free guest management and wedding experience, but it can be a huge cost and needs to be planned well.
Bridal and Groom accessories: This is another subjective choice and depends on the brides and grooms preferred brands and designers for their wedding day. We suggest keeping this budget separate from the planning costs. On average, this should be around 5% for all events and can be increased if the wedding guest list is small.
Entertainment: WeddingWire India might suggest allocating around 5–10% for entertainment, advising couples to consider local talent or entertainment options to infuse a unique cultural touch while keeping costs reasonable.
Bridal Makeup and Mehndi: Brides should limit this budget to 3–5% to make room for other investments like invitations, wedding favors, transportation, ceremonial spends like priests, family and in-laws gifts, etc.
*We highly recommend using the wedding budget calculator to get personalized budget estimates for cost breakdowns as per your total wedding budget.
How to Find Destination Wedding Vendors in India
Wedding Venue: The Leela Palace Jaipur
The easiest way to find destination wedding venues in India in any budget is to download the WeddingWire India app and check out our comprehensive list of wedding venues in popular cities across the country.
Tailored Search: Our platform provides a tailored search option, allowing you to filter different types of venues as per your requirements. You can find banquet halls, top-rated hotels in your preferred city, wedding lawns farmhouses and marriage gardens for open-air weddings, kalyana mandapams, and wedding resorts for destination weddings. You can filter your search based on your budget constraints. You can specify your budget range, preferred location, and desired services to narrow down options that align with your financial plan.
Wedding Budget Calculator: Couples can utilize our wedding budget calculator to plan their entire wedding budget in one place. The calculator helps by breaking down total wedding costs into required wedding venue and vendor booking categories and other planning tasks. It further helps to find venues and vendors within the determined budget.
Expert Guidance: We have a team of dedicated experts who follow up on all new queries received on WWI and help brides and grooms in their planning journey.
Real Reviews and Ratings: Access real reviews and ratings from couples who have hosted weddings at different venues. This aids in decision-making and understanding the value for money that various locations can offer.
How to Plan a Destination Wedding on Budget
Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to plan a destination wedding on a budget:
- Pick an off-beat location. Famous wedding destinations tend to be priced at a higher rate owing to their popularity.
- Plan a wedding during the off-season. This allows a window for the vendors to charge less than their usual saaya season packages.
- Book your stay in the same venue as the events. This usually results in an incredible discount on the packages quoted by the venue and added fun.
- Keep the guest list crisp; if that means keeping it short, then so be it. A guest list of 50–100 people in India for a destination wedding is economical.
- Start making the bookings ASAP—at least a year before the wedding in the case of venues and vendors and 6 months before the travel dates for tickets.
- Book in bulk in order to bag those fancy discounted rates. Anything last-minute will cost you a bomb when you are considering destination wedding costs.
- Do not try to accommodate too many events or too many days at your destination wedding to fit it into a pocket-friendly budget.
- Plan everything down to the last detail! Be it the number of welcome drinks each guest gets or the kind of flowers that will be used for the decor.
- Minimal decor elements can cut down on your destination wedding costs. Pick local decor vendors who work in the vicinity of the venue and can source local decor elements to avoid extra transportation costs.
- You can even use bigger seating tables, which will reduce the number of centrepieces and other components involved in table decor.
- Pick your drinks instead of keeping it an open bar if your guest list is longer than 100 people.
- Include local food and drinks on the menu, and keep your menu short. It prevents food waste and allows guests to enjoy what is placed in front of them without any dilemmas or hassles.
- Include miscellaneous expenses like the cost of transporting your outfits or your decor elements to the venue, unexpected guests, and a backup plan!
Best Destination Wedding Locations in India with Costs
Wedding Venue: Taj Bekal Resort
There are numerous places that will be ideal for you to host a destination wedding in India, and we have handpicked some of the best locations with an average cost listed below.
Destination Wedding Costs in Goa
Goa is without a doubt one of the best places in India for you to host a destination wedding. If you are looking for wedding venues by the beach with the salty wind in your hair while you walk down the aisle looking ethereal, Goa is it. It offers a variety of locations, and the old-world charm of the Portuguese roots that Goa flaunts is an added USP. For an ideal destination wedding in Goa, the cost would be somewhere between INR 15,00,000 and INR 70,00,000.
Destination Wedding Costs in Jaipur
The budget, of course, depends on how simple or lavish you want your wedding celebrations to be. The guest list plays a very significant role here. However, we have also heard of couples who have planned an intimate wedding with less than 50 people in Jaipur and have had to spend INR 40 lakhs or more. On the other hand, couples have often planned a very pocket-friendly wedding in Jaipur for less than INR 10 lakhs. While all of these costs are highly variable based on multiple factors, an average of INR 30 lakhs can be considered a minimum wedding budget for a destination wedding in Jaipur 100–150 guests. The destination wedding costs in Jaipur can go up to INR 90,00,000.
Destination Wedding Costs in Udaipur
A popular destination for weddings in India, Udaipur is embedded with a royal ambience, and the forts and palaces will make for a great wedding venue. A fairytale wedding needs a regal backdrop for executing the perfect plan, and when you are working on the destination wedding costs in Udaipur, you will be looking at somewhere between INR 20,00,000 and INR 1 crore. The INR 20 lakh packages would accommodate a guest list of 100 people. For anything more, a royal fort or palace wedding lasting more than one day can cost up to INR 1 crore.
"Apart from the above-mentioned places, some destinations are growing in demand this year primarily because of their scenic beauty, unique ambiance, and ability to provide a distinctive backdrop for weddings," shares Zubair. "The trending destinations that 2024 couples can explore include: Dehradun, Rishikesh, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lavasa, and Mussoorie."