What is a Destination Wedding?

Couple in front of the ocean at their destination wedding inside the exclusive Punta de Mita resort in Mexico.
What exactly is a destination wedding and is it the right choice for you and your partner?


I. What is a destination wedding?
II. What are the pros and cons of a destination wedding?
III. What is the average cost of a destination wedding?
IV. Who should you invite to a destination wedding?
V. What are the top destinations for weddings in Mexico?

As you embark on your journey towards marital bliss, you may be considering the unique experience of a destination wedding in a Mexican coastal town such as Puerto Vallarta. But what exactly is a destination wedding, and is it the right choice for you and your partner? In this blog post, we’ll delve into the pros and cons of choosing this once-in-a-lifetime event, discuss who you should invite, etiquette surrounding guest expenses, and the average cost of a destination wedding. So, sit back and let us guide you through the enchanting world of destination weddings.


What is a destination wedding?

A destination wedding is a type of wedding where the couple chooses to get married in a location away from their hometown or city. It typically involves a smaller, more intimate group of family and friends who travel to the destination to attend the wedding. Destination weddings can take place anywhere in the world, from tropical beaches to mountain resorts to historic cities. The location is often chosen for its scenic beauty, cultural attractions, or personal significance to the couple.

Destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular because they allow couples to combine their wedding with a vacation or travel experience. They also offer a unique and memorable experience for guests, who can enjoy a mini-vacation while celebrating the couple’s special day. Planning a destination wedding can be more complicated and expensive than a traditional wedding, as it involves coordinating travel arrangements, accommodations, and other logistics for the couple and their guests. However, many couples find that the extra effort is worth it for the unforgettable experience and memories.


What are the pros and cons of a destination wedding?

The decision to have a destination wedding depends on your personal preferences and circumstances. Consider the pros and cons carefully before making a decision, and consult with a wedding planner or travel agent to help you navigate the logistics.


  1. Unique and Memorable Experience: A destination wedding allows you and your guests to celebrate in an exotic location, creating a one-of-a-kind experience that stands out from traditional weddings.
  2. Intimate Atmosphere: Destination weddings often result in a smaller guest list, allowing for more meaningful interactions and quality time spent with your loved ones.
  3. Vacation for Guests: By hosting your wedding in a stunning location, you offer your guests an opportunity to enjoy a mini-vacation, providing them with a chance to relax, explore, and create memories beyond the wedding itself.
  4. Combination of Wedding and Honeymoon: Having a destination wedding can simplify your plans, as you can combine your wedding and honeymoon into one seamless event. This approach not only saves time but also allows you and your partner to unwind and enjoy your new life together immediately after the wedding.
  5. Customizable Experience: Destination weddings offer options to personalize your big day, from choosing a breathtaking backdrop to incorporating local customs and traditions, ensuring a truly unique and tailored experience.



  1. Limited Guest Attendance: Due to travel costs, time constraints, or personal commitments, some of your friends and family may be unable to attend your destination wedding. This may result in a smaller guest list and potential disappointment for those who cannot make it.
  2. Logistical Challenges: Organizing a wedding in a remote location can be more complicated than planning a local event. From coordinating travel and accommodations to securing local vendors and services, you may face additional logistical challenges and uncertainties.
  3. Legal Requirements: Some countries have specific legal requirements or residency restrictions for foreigners to get married. You may need to navigate complex paperwork and translations. However, you can plan a separate legal ceremony in your home country to ensure your marriage is legally recognized and then have a symbolic wedding abroad.
  4. Language and Cultural Barriers: Hosting a wedding in a foreign country may involve language and cultural differences that can lead to misunderstandings or challenges when communicating with local vendors, staff, or guests. It’s essential to be aware of these potential barriers and remain flexible and respectful throughout the planning process.


What is the average cost of a destination wedding?

The average cost of a destination wedding can vary significantly depending on the location, guest count, and desired extravagance. For example, you can expect to pay between $10,000 and $20,000 USD for a destination wedding in Mexico. In contrast, the average cost of a wedding in the United States is $35,000 USD, while weddings in major cities like San Francisco, New York, and Chicago range from $47,000 to $60,000. It’s important to consider additional expenses unique to destination weddings, such as travel and accommodations for the couple and potentially for select guests. Moreover, destination weddings might require extra research to navigate local customs, taxes, and fees associated with using foreign vendors and venues. While destination weddings can sometimes be more cost-effective, it’s crucial to carefully evaluate and account for these additional factors when determining the final budget. We highly recommend working with a local wedding planner to help you navigate through the complexities of planning a destination wedding.

Further reading: How Much Does a Destination Wedding in Mexico Cost?


Who should you invite to a destination wedding?

When it comes to deciding on your guest list for a destination wedding, several factors come into play. The primary goal is to create an intimate and meaningful experience that celebrates your special day with the people who matter most.

  1. Prioritize Close Relationships: A destination wedding is an opportunity to spend quality time with your closest family and friends. Focus on inviting those who have played a significant role in your life and your relationship, such as immediate family members, best friends, and close relatives.
  2. Consider Guests’ Financial and Time Commitments: Keep in mind that attending a destination wedding can be costly and time-consuming for your guests. Be mindful of their ability and willingness to travel, take time off work, and incur additional expenses. You may want to discuss the possibility of attending your wedding with key guests before sending out formal invitations.
  3. Account for Venue Capacity and Budget: The capacity of your chosen wedding venue and your overall budget will impact the number of guests you can invite. Destination weddings typically have smaller guest lists, so ensure that you adhere to any limitations while maintaining the intimate atmosphere you desire.
  4. Include the Essential Plus Ones: While you might be tempted to limit plus ones to save on costs, it’s essential to consider the feelings and relationships of your guests. For guests with long-term partners, spouses, or engaged couples, extending an invitation to their significant others is a must.
  5. Provide a Clear RSVP Deadline: As destination weddings involve more planning and logistics than local weddings, it’s crucial to give your guests ample time to confirm their attendance. Set a clear RSVP deadline and follow up with guests who haven’t responded to ensure a smooth planning process.


By focusing on these factors, you can create a guest list that strikes the perfect balance between intimacy and inclusivity, ensuring that your destination wedding is a cherished and unforgettable experience for you and your loved ones. Did you know that we wrote an entire 10-chapter comprehensive guide on planning a destination wedding? In Chapter 5, we wrote about curating the perfect destination wedding guest list


What are the top wedding destinations in Mexico?

Mexico is a popular destination for weddings, thanks to its beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and warm climate. Here are some top wedding destinations in Mexico:

  1. Cancun: This Caribbean paradise offers crystal-clear waters, white sand beaches, and luxurious resorts, making it a perfect destination for a tropical wedding.
  2. Cabo San Lucas: Located at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, Cabo San Lucas offers stunning natural beauty, world-class amenities, and a lively nightlife scene.
  3. Puerto Vallarta: This charming town on Mexico’s Pacific coast offers a blend of traditional Mexican culture, stunning beaches, and luxurious resorts, making it a popular destination for weddings (and our top pick!)
  4. Tulum: This bohemian-chic beach town on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula offers a laid-back vibe, beautiful beaches, and ancient Mayan ruins, making it a popular destination for couples seeking a unique and authentic wedding experience.
  5. Playa del Carmen: This trendy beach town on the Riviera Maya offers a mix of modern amenities and traditional Mexican charm, with a lively nightlife scene and stunning beaches.
  6. San Miguel de Allende: This historic colonial town in central Mexico offers a romantic and charming setting for a wedding, with its cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and beautiful churches.
  7. Sayulita: This bohemian beach town north of Puerto Vallarta offers a laid-back and eclectic vibe, with colorful buildings, great surf, and a relaxed atmosphere.
  8. Cozumel: This island paradise offers stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a wide range of activities, making it a perfect destination for a fun and adventurous wedding.


These are just a few of the many beautiful wedding destinations in Mexico. Couples can choose from a wide range of locations to find the perfect destination to match their style, personality, and budget.



In conclusion, understanding what a destination wedding entails is crucial in determining if it’s the perfect choice for your big day. From weighing the pros and cons to carefully crafting your guest list and navigating the etiquette surrounding guest expenses, every detail plays a crucial role in creating a memorable experience for you and your loved ones. As you embark on this exciting journey, remember that open communication, thoughtful planning, and consideration for your guests’ needs are the cornerstones of a successful destination wedding. By focusing on these elements, you can ensure that your special day is not only a reflection of your love story but also a cherished, unforgettable event for all who attend.


Are you looking for a wedding photographer for your destination wedding in Mexico?

Chas Studios has an instantly recognizable aesthetic, defined by the soft, organic, and classic qualities that film provides. As a bespoke photography service, we apply a highly personalized and hand-crafted approach to each and every wedding. Our team goes above and beyond for our clients to stay true to our mission: to provide a one-of-a-kind wedding experience! Submit an application to receive a custom quote.

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