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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
*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.*