Many newly engaged couples even take an advance trip to the wedding location, select a resort, and finalize all the wedding details in one weekend.
All that’s left is to send out invites and show up.
The convenience of booking and the all inclusive nature make wedding packages the most popular option for couples that don’t want to spend months planning a destination wedding on their own.
If you are thinking of whether to go with a destination wedding package, here are some details you should know.
What A Basic Wedding Package Includes
The following features are the ones you will find in a standard low cost package for destination wedding. Keep in mind this does not include accommodations, travel, or reception.
- Consultation with on site wedding coordinator
- Assistance with document preparation
- Use of chapel or other scenic venue for ceremony
- Small bouquet and boutonniere for groom
- One tier cake
- Service of photographer (Photos will be extra)
- Pre-recorded music selection being played
- Wedding certificate
Two choices: Pre-Designed Wedding Package Or Customized Wedding Packages
Most resorts have pre-designed wedding packages that include most of what you will need for a wedding. These packages are often cheaper and easier to handle for the resorts since they do so many of them.
In addition, most pre-designed destination wedding packages come with a wedding coordinator. They can help you select the colors and the themes for your wedding and help you decide on what wedding and photography packages are right for you.
For most brides, a pre-designed wedding package is the best way to go. They can choose the one that they feel most comfortable with and customize it with extras where they feel it is necessary.
Customized packages will give you the most flexibility, at a cost. Here is an example of customized add-ons
- Post wedding candlelight dinner
- In room spa massages for two
- Breakfast in bed
- Add higher end touches to the ceremony like tiki torches etc.
- Upgrade to a bridal suite
- Arrange for limousine service to the reception site and the marriage bureau
- Get a bigger bouquet and boutonniere
- Add more flowers to the reception or ceremony
- Buy more time with photographer and more photos
- Add a hair and makeup artist
- Add a cocktail hour
- Include more gourmet items to the reception menu
- Add a longer honeymoon
The sky is the limit when it comes to extras. Want orchids at your wedding, no problem ($425 for a bouquet). Want a bamboo frame at the ceremony? Pay $1500 and it’s yours for 4 hours. Upgrades can get pricey real fast so it you are looking to add some, make sure you work with a budget and ask the wedding coordinator for free alternatives.
Wedding Package Prices
Most resorts will tell you that they offer a free wedding package. These are usually bare bones offerings meant for a wedding that includes 2-4 guests only. In most cases, the basic wedding package will not have a reception dinner included either (read “When a free wedding is not really free”).
Basic wedding packages can start from as little as $500.
For example, the beautiful beginnings wedding package at Sandals resorts includes
- Orchid boutonniere
- White linen and fuchsia dendrobium centerpiece
- White fondant cake
- Personal pre wedding planner
- A resort wedding planner and dedicated resort wedding team
- Preparation of marriage documents
- Pre-recorded music
- Sparkling wine & chilled hors d’oeuvres cocktail reception for bride, groom and up to six guests
- A wedding gift from Sandals Resorts
- A personal wedding website
- Honeymoon dinner for bride and groom
- A complimentary bottle of wine
- A 5×7 honeymoon photograph
- Decorated honeymoon room
- Mimosa breakfast-in-bed any morning of your choice
The cost for this package is $500, but if stay 6 or more nights, it is completely free.
And if you book 10 or more rooms at the all inclusive resort, then you can have the following as well:
- Complimentary room upgrade for the Bride and Rehearsal Dinner
- 30 Minute Reception
- A complimentary room for every twelve rooms paid
- Manicure & Pedicure for the Bride
- 35 Minute Massage for the Groom
The Blue Waters resort in Antigua has a basic wedding package that costs $1356.00. This includes:
- Personal Wedding Coordinator
- All legal fees: The Marriage Officer, Court House and Legal Affairs
- Wedding ceremony at the Point Gazebo overlooking our beautiful blue waters
- A complimentary bottle of French Champagne
- Wedding cake and cake top decoration of fresh flowers to compliment your floral choice
- Bride Bouquet and Groom Boutonniere
- A romantic breakfast on your balcony after wedding
- If you stay 10 nights, your wedding package is free.
Things You Should Know About All Inclusive Wedding Packages
A wedding coordinator is a great perk to have when planning a destination wedding. They can not only guide you through your wedding day choices, they can even provide some great local knowledge of the area. So if you are in need of a manicure before your wedding, you will know who to ask.
The wedding coordinator can also help you select an officiant, photographer, videographer, cake, makeup artist, and hairdresser. Plus, they will be there at the wedding to ensure that it all comes together the way you imagined it to.
Tip: Don’t assume that a wedding coordinator is standard with a wedding package. In some resorts, their services are available only with some higher end packages.
Ceremony and reception locations
The basic package will include a location where you can get married. Depending on the resort, this could be at the beach, a gazebo overlooking the water, or in a cottage atop a mountain. What you want to know when looking at possible locations is what is included.
For example if you are booking a beach wedding package, you are going probably going to need staging, an archway, linens, napkins, center pieces, folding chairs, tiki torches, and possibly an aisle runner. Look into the details of what is included. Oftentimes, you see a package that looks great on the cover, but each of the items turns out to be an extra cost.
Wedding reception menus
In most basic wedding packages, a reception dinner is not included. For larger weddings, you will have to upgrade the package to one that can accommodate the number of guests you are expecting to attend. A decent wedding reception dinner will start around $35 per person and does not include open bar.
Basic wedding packages usually offer a small 5 x 7 wedding photograph as part of their standard package. More robust wedding packages range in price and are dependent on number the of photo books, number of photos, CD, number of 8 x 10’s, black and white or color, number of hours spent etc.
As an example, Sandals has wedding packages that range from $1400.00 to $3000.00.
As you have learned from above, a wedding package is simply the easiest and fastest way to book a destination wedding. With little or no planning, you can have all the work done for you so you can rest, relax and actually enjoy your wedding.
What should you do next?
Start researching the various wedding packages at all inclusive resorts