Our $10,000 Destination Wedding

Find out the true cost of a destination wedding!

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Find out the true cost of a destination wedding!

On December 7, 2016, after nearly 7 years of dating, I married Mr. Not-So-Penniless Prairie Man. (He’s not-so-penniless because he is actually very responsible with his money!)


Side Note: I often refer to Mr. Not-So-Penniless Prairie Man as ‘J’. It’s a habit I picked up when we started dating and has stuck every since. Just know that Mr. NSPPM is J and we’ll be good to go!


Over the years we had always said we would have a destination wedding when we finally got married. Why you may ask? Well, because destination weddings are supposed to be so much cheaper! Unfortunately, we found out that they aren’t THAT cheap.

Our $10,000 Destination Wedding

Our Destination Wedding in Mexico

We set our budget at $10,000 CAD for our wedding. At the time, this seemed like more than enough money to plan our wedding. Spoiler alert! We most definitely went over budget.


Wedding Costs


Flights & Accommodations

Our wedding was at the stunning RIU Playacar. Located a few minutes from Playa del Carmen, we knew this would be the perfect resort for our wedding. When choosing our resort, we wanted a good balance of quality accommodations and a budget friendly price. Despite my inner bridezilla wanting to get married at the RIU Palace, we decided on the RIU Playacar. The reviews for the resort were great and we knew it had been recently renovated from top to bottom.

Total cost for 2 flights to Mexico and stay at the RIU (including trip insurance): $3,272 CAD.


The Wedding Package

We had three different packages to choose from for our wedding: the classic, the royal, or the caprice. The classic was the most basic package (and cheapest), while the Royal was the most expensive and fancier choice. We chose the Royal package, as it would allow for all of our guests to be in attendance (Each package has a limit for the number of guests who can attend. Any extra guests were $25 USD).

The Royal package included:

  • An on-site wedding coordinator (Maria was AMAZING!)
  • Decoration set-up
  • Bridal bouquet & matching boutonniere
  • Semi private dinner
  • Wedding cake
  • Minister service
  • Marriage certificate

To save ourselves $250 USD, we chose to have our wedding in the garden rather than on the beach. The Mexican Government charges a beach tax for events on the beach and we were not about to pay for that. Plus, I didn’t mind not having Mr. Speedo Man in the background of all our photos!

Total cost for our wedding package (converted to CAD dollars):  $3,093 CAD.


The Dress

Now we’re getting to the REALLY fun stuff. I didn’t know it was possible to fall in love with a dress. But I did.

Our $10,000 Destination Wedding

Isn’t she beautiful?!

I found my wedding dress at NWL in Regina, SK. This dress is from Mikaella, a Canadian designer from Toronto. J and I had set a budget of $1,500 for my dress (This seemed super high at the time. I’ve owned cars worth less than $1,500!). This dress was actually over budget, but since it fit right off the rack I received a discount.

After taxes, the dress came to $1,700 (over budget. Sorry, J!)

I needed to get some alterations because I am a shorty and I was swimming in the skirt of this dress. Total cost: $250.

Next, I needed shoes! I fell in love with the heels in the above photo and HAD to have them. They are by Badgley Mishka, are way too expensive, and extremely uncomfortable. I learned my lesson. Expensive shoes do not equal comfortable. But they looked like a CUPCAKE. So of course, I needed them. Total: $262 (OOPS!).

Total cost for my wedding day apparel: $2,212 (YIKES!).



Our flowers were GORGEOUS. I hugged my bouquet and said goodbye to it when it was time to head back home. I wish I could have kept it.

How much does it cost to have a destinarion wedding? Click here to find out!

My flowers, as well as J’s boutonniere, were included in the wedding package. Unfortunately, nothing was included for our bridesmaids, groomsmen, or for centrepieces.

The bridesmaid bouquets were identical to mine, except they were smaller. They were made up of ivory and pastel pink roses. The boutonnieres were roses with a white button mum. J had a white rose, while the groomsmen had pastel pink roses in theirs.

Total cost for flowers: $635


Appetizers & Open Bar

This was an unexpected cost that popped up during our wedding planning. Considering we were staying at an all-inclusive resort AND had paid an additional $3,000 for our wedding package, we did not expect to have to pay for food and alcohol. Unfortunately, both of these were an extra cost to us, coming in at $30 USD per person.

Total cost for alcohol and appies: $1183.



Lastly, we needed some photos! Our photos were done through Adventure Photos, who were the onsite photographers at the RIU. Their photos are breathtaking and they take the time to photoshop Mr. Speedo Man or Mrs. Butt Out Bikini Girl out of  your photos (can you even imagine how long that would take?!).

We decided to buy the PEARL package. This package included:

  • 4-hour photography session
  • 200 edited electronic photos
  • A custom photo book featuring 80 photos
  • A large canvas of any one photo

Oscar was our photographer and he was amazing! Our photos turned out fabulous and we had a lot of fun shooting with him.

Total cost for photography: $1573


The Grand Total

Now it’s time to determine how much our destination wedding cost. I have to be honest with you here. I haven’t actually added everything up since the wedding so this will be a surprise for me too!

The grand total for our wedding is: $11,968.


Honestly, every penny was 100% worth it. Despite the 90% humidity, we had the best time of our lives.

Even though a destination wedding may not end up being cheaper than a local one, I still recommend it! The planning process was super easy, likely because everything was pretty much planned for us. All we needed to do was choose a resort, buy a dress, pick out some appies, and show up!

Have you been to a destination wedding? What are your thoughts? I’m curious if you think the cost was worth it!


Find out how much it cost to plan our destination wedding!


*Disclaimer: Some of our costs are not reflected in this total. These costs include our wedding bands, additional decorations, tips for servers, the Grooms suit, and the cost of excursions. We did not accurately track these numbers so I chose not to include them.*

23 Replies to “Our $10,000 Destination Wedding”

  1. How fun that you had a destination wedding! I’ve always been curious what it would cost. Weddings can end up so expensive no matter where they happen so it’s great to have good memories to go with it. 🙂

    1. I am so happy we decided to go with a destination! Event hough we expected it to be cheaper, the convenience alone was well worth it!

  2. aww that looks like it was so much fun though!! The memories have to be worth it even if it did end up a little more costly in the end lol 🙂 Your dress is so beautiful too!

    1. It was a TON of fun. I definitely think it was worth the cost.

      Thanks for the compliment on the dress. I absolutely loved my dress. I didn’t want to ever take it off!

  3. Wedding are so expensive! It seems like yours was amazing though. We considered a destination wedding, but ended up staying closer to home.

    1. Weddings are VERY expensive. Overall, I think we did pretty good balancing the cost while ensuring we got exactly what we wanted!

  4. Beautiful!! Hubby and I always talked about it, but ended up doing something cheap and near home. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess!

    Congratulations on your beautiful wedding and well done keeping it so affordable!

    1. Thank you, Candi! It was an amazing wedding and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

  5. I think you did a great…it looks so beautiful!!

    1. Thank you, Anamika! It really was an amazing wedding. The scenery was so beautiful!

  6. Thanks for sharing how expensive destination weddings can be. I think a lot of people expect them to be less and are surprised by how fast things add up! Great insights.

    1. Thanks, Anne. We definitely thought a destination would be much cheaper. They likely used to be more budget friendly, but as they gain more popularity the price will only continue to increase.

  7. OMG you are a GOD sent. Can we talk offline? I am currently pre-planning my wedding and was thinking EXACTLY like this…I want to do a cost efficient, AMAZING destination wedding. You are amazing. THANK YOU THANK YOU!

    1. Hi Dionna. I would love to talk offline and try to help you with your planning process! Feel free to send me an email at pennilessprairiegirl at gmail.com and we can chat!

  8. Kimberly @ Berly's Kitchen says: Reply

    Your wedding pictures are so beautiful! I’ve always wondered about destination weddings and the “hidden costs” that most people don’t consider. This is good information. Hoping to renew my vows in the next few years and this will assist with planning.

    1. There are so many costs we didn’t even think of when planning the wedding. It’s surprising how fast they add up!

  9. I love this post and have it saved for reference. I so want a destination wedding.. but it seems way out of my price range!!!

    1. They can get expensive but it definitely depends on where you go and what wedding package you pick. I have a friend considering a wedding in the Dominican and it seems much cheaper than what we paid in Mexico.

  10. Congratulations! Your wedding turned out so beautifully and I really enjoyed the itemized cost breakdown. I am also trying to plan a wedding for 10K (crazy how it seems like such a small number, when in fact I have NEVER spent that much on any single purchase in my life), and the fiance and I quickly learned that it is a very tricky process! We had to up our budget to 12K, and I am just praying that it sticks! Choosing venues with package deals seems to be the way to go. 🙂
    Beth | Adventuring the Great Wide Somewhere recently posted…The Roman Forum: A Window to the Past

    1. Hi, Beth. Thanks for commenting!

      It is CRAZY how expensive weddings can get. Even in a smaller town just the venue alone can be up to $4,000 Good luck with your planning and sticking to your budget!

  11. Wow, kudos to you for sticking so close to your budget! We had our at my parents place on Lake Huron (I’m from Ontario), so that helped cut down on our costs. It definitely was not extravagant, but it was a great party. And that was our intention from the beginning. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful photos!

    1. Oh, wow! I bet Lake Huron provided an amazing background for a wedding! I wouldn’t call our wedding extravagant either. I don’t think it’s necessary. I was just so happy to have the people I love with me.

      Glad you enjoyed our photos!

  12. Love this post! Our destination wedding in Mexico is set for this June and while I didn’t expect to get away with under 10K (we’re paying for a few family members), it’s definitely adding up real fast. But like they say, you do only get married once and at least this way everyone gets a trip out of it.

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