3 Budget-Friendly Destination Weddings and Tips to Legally Marry Abroad - Wed Mayhem Blog
6 min

3 Budget-Friendly Destination Weddings and Tips to Legally Marry Abroad

Mexico

It’s easy to see the appeal of a destination wedding—it’s like a vacation with all your favorite people! But vacations, and weddings, are expensive, so many couples think destination weddings are cost prohibitive.

But not so fast. There are affordable destination wedding locations, even if you’re looking to get more stamps in your passport. “Mexico and the Dominican Republic are going to be the easiest and most budget-friendly,” says Andrea Wolter, co-founder of Intoxicating Travel Group.

La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Jamaica is another affordable destination, and, like Mexico and the Dominican Republic, it’s filled with properties that are very experienced in hosting weddings—and that even offer freebies and discounts to attract them. Many hotels, both all-inclusive and not, offer extras to their marrying couples, like discounted room rates, complimentary welcome cocktail receptions or bonfire parties, and even free weddings

When you factor in the discounts and incentives (the hotels make a killing on all the rooms your guests book, so they’re willing to cut costs on the party itself), it can actually be cheaper to host a destination wedding versus one at home. Plus, the cost of living can be lower abroad than in the U.S., bringing down the costs of things like flowers, food, and entertainment.

One thing to be mindful of if you choose a destination wedding is to plan ahead. Wolter advises couples to start planning a year in advance to secure their date and to give guests time to plan the trip. Depending on the property you pick for the big day, you may even need to book further out. 

To help with costs even further, many couples are opting for a honeymoon registry rather than traditional gifts. “Another item that budget brides are doing is the honeymoon registry, which is giving people additional money for their honeymoon,” Wolter says. Especially if you already have a blender and sheets, receiving an unforgettable honeymoon experience can be the best gift ever. 

Here, three international destination wedding locales where you can host your vows and reception without going broke. 

MEXICO

There’s a reason Mexico is so popular for destination weddings. It’s close to the U.S., it’s affordable, and the country knows how to throw a great party. Not to mention the incredible food, the lively culture, and, let’s just be real here, the margaritas. (And of course the white sand beaches aren’t bad, either.) 

The first step in planning a destination wedding in Mexico is to narrow it down to where. On the west coast, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta are big; on the Caribbean side, many couples get hitched in Cancun, Tulum, or Riviera Maya; and Mexico City is an increasingly popular choice for its stunning architecture, food, and culture. To make travel a breeze, you may want to pick a locale with a major airport (like Cancun and Mexico City). 

You’ll also want to think about where you and your guests will stay. The beach cities especially have a slew of all-inclusive resorts ready to meet you and your guests’ every need, and many of these properties will offer room discounts to your friends and family. 

While getting to and enjoying Mexico is pretty easy, legally marrying there isn’t as simple. The country requires a blood test, a tourist/visitor’s permit, birth certificates, and marriage application forms. You also need at least four witnesses and to arrive in the country three business days ahead of the ceremony. That’s why many couples choose to get married legally at home, and then have the symbolic ceremony and party in Mexico. 

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

One of the most affordable destination wedding locales is the Dominican Republic, where the average wedding rings in around $5,000. But the views are anything but cheap—with killer Caribbean beaches and lush jungle, the Dominican Republic is truly an island paradise. 

By far the most popular spot to wed is Punta Cana, where you’ll find the most beautiful stretches of white sand beaches and loads of resorts. All-inclusives are popular here, and most of them offer wedding packages and special rates. 

Resort wedding specialists are experienced at both planning your dream wedding and guiding you through the legal process of marrying in the Dominican Republic. You’ll need a passport, tourist card, translated birth certificate, and a notarized in the DR declaration of your single status. There are also extra fees you’ll need to pay, and your wedding certificate will be in Spanish, which will need to be translated into English in order for it to be recognized in the U.S. 

JAMAICA

Jamaica is perfect for couples looking for a banging beach party. And with so many great ways to incorporate local culture—a steel drum band playing your song as you walk down the aisle, a jerk chicken feast for the rehearsal dinner, Appleton Estate rum all around!—it’s easy to see why the Caribbean island is so popular. 

Most couples choose to wed in Negril, Montego Bay, or Ocho Rios, and for good reason. All three have amazing beaches and plenty of all-inclusives and boutique hotels to choose from. Like in other locales, many properties offer bonuses like discounted rooms and free weddings for booking a certain number of rooms/nights. 

To get legally married in Jamaica, you’ll need a birth certificate, passport, and to provide info on your occupation and to pay extra fees. Because it’s no fun to be stressed about all this stuff during the happiest week of your life, many couples either hire a planner to help them navigate all the legalities or opt for a legal marriage at home and a symbolic ceremony in Jamaica. 

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9 min

Eat, Pray, LOVE Your Wedding in India with 5 Budget-Friendly Destinations

Close your eyes and picture this one-of-a-kind, colorful dreamy affair: enchanting blue skies above you caressed with even bluer oceans next to you. Mesmerizing long stretches of golden sand beneath your toes lined with captivating green orchards watch you hold your betrothed’s hand as you unite in holy matrimony and say ‘I do’. Let us be the ones to say it: after all the planning you’re going to do, you deserve a vacation, and by that, we mean a destination wedding in India. And guess what? This tropical paradise doesn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket.

We’re suckers for a little offbeat wedding adventure and we know a good destination when we see one. From massive to intimate, India’s breathtaking destinations drip with romance and have something to leave anyone spellbound in a single moment. We’ve got some killer, budget-friendly spots that you’re sure to fall head over heels for. Not to mention the best time of the year to throw your big bash, and how much you’ll need to shell out. Sea what we did there? Drumroll, please! 

1. Awestruck European Vibes in Pondicherry

Keen to try something, dare we say, a little ravishing, a little on the side of an adventurous gremlin tale? Opt for a grand wedding in a place with tons of old-world charms reflected by the French expatriate touches. Trust us, ladies, this soothing coastal experience is the epitome of divine beauty. There is a plethora of small, pristine beaches and lovely resorts lined with verdant coconut trees whose leaves sway to the wind’s rhythm with quaint, boutique places for those who are on a budget. Plus, the locals are known to greet you with warm hospitality and treat you like royalty.

Courtesy: Anagh Sharma–Unsplash

Courtesy: Krishnaja–Unsplash

Did we mention that it’s a fantastic pick if you’re a foodie? You’re spoiled for options that will actually change your life. The exotic, one-of-a-kind mouthwatering French and & Indian fusion cuisine that’s famous even outside the country is E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. You’re going to want to put a ring on it. Scout’s honor. Look for the Crab Masala Fry, an authentic Chettinad dish with characteristic curry or coconut seasonings and Coromandel flavors. Or indulge in some Multani Paneer Tikka if you’re a veg lover. These dishes of Pondy are sure to ooze your tastebuds. Everything about Pondicherry has a wonderful romantic air to it and we’re totally here for it. Magnifique!

Best time of the year: November–March
How much you’ll need to shell out: 5–10 lakhs ($6000–$12,000 USD) for about 150 guests

2. The Dreamy Party Hub of Goa

POV for an epic, sexy day in Goa: Brunch. Beach. Boat. Booze. Another Beach. Beach Bar. Another Bar. Bedtime. Repeat. If you and your guests enjoy a solid, exotic nightlife, revel in Goa’s vibrant scene by organizing festivities by the pool, rain dances in the middle of the sea, or an endless night of cocktails in both hands on the beach, stargazing under the twinkling stars at night. Or, spend days at the spa and take outdoor yoga classes with your party on the beach before the big day at the altar. Now, that sounds like a winning schedule if we’ve ever seen one. What more could a gal want? That deadly combo is everything a bride could want for pure nuptial bliss.

Courtesy: Alex Rybin–Unsplash

Courtesy: Ishvani Hans–Unsplash

P.S. You will be in for a surprise with the low prices in the stunning and quaint South Goa. Just be sure to book your wedding during the summer – you’ll get the low-end cost because it’s off-season and honey, that will speak to your wallet a lot more. Opt for cozy homestays rather than large, luxury brands to crack yourself an even more attractive deal. Trust us on this one, you’re going to leave asking for more.

Best time of the year: October–February
How much you’ll need to shell out: 10–15 lakhs ($12,000–$18,000 USD) for a guest list of about 100 people

3. Rituals Amid Tranquility in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Looking for a lowkey and minimalistic, yet awe-inspiring wedding with white-sanded beaches, azure-colored skies, and rainforested interiors? These fab islands are running on island time all the time and combine dreamy flora, fauna, and aroma. We think we speak for everyone when we say it sounds like the nicest slice of heaven you’ll ever lay your eyes on. It has a serene ambiance with natural settings and ~ refreshing ~ vibes. Just take a moment to imagine the photographs of the alluring beaches during the sunset as the perfect romantic backdrop. *Jaw Drops* Ugh, so pretty.

Courtesy: Nabil Naidu–Unsplash

Courtesy: Nabil Naidu–Unsplash

These islands are also known for being ecologically friendly with their stunning marine life in their crystal-clear waters including rays and sharks that you can swim amongst (snorkeling sesh, anyone?). Get your entire wedding party on board – no pun intended. Here’s the good news ladies: as fancy as it may sound, it’s totally a low-budget location! Yes, you read that correctly. Given that it’s not such a hot spot yet, this gem is still extremely budget-friendly. And come on, we all have to agree that the idea of getting married on an island is just oh-so-romantic.

Best time of the year: October–May
How much you’ll need to shell out: 5–10 lakhs ($6000–$12,000 USD) for about 100 guests

4. Postcard Perfect Resorts With Easy Accessibility in Alibaug

What’s better than a wedding in India? A cliff-edge wedding in India. We just love the charm of this picturesque coastal village. Alibaug works wonders if you’re craving a secluded, tranquil location away from the hustle and bustle, and that’s just the beginning of finding nirvana there. If you can somehow happen to resist the white, sandy shoreline (hey, no judgment here) and blossoming gardens are more your thing, or say, being encompassed by mountains with a sweet breeze, or even being on a precipice sitting above the sea with a sprinkle of grand temples and age-old forts with history you’ll actually want to learn about (no, really), Alibaug has it all. 

Recently dubbed ‘Mini-Goa’, the absurd beauty of this place is truly commendable. Almost every corner is a potential photo opp. Trust us, your guests will be Instagramming this spot before they even sit down. Not to mention, you’d easily cut back on guest travel costs since it’s near Mumbai. Take all of your guests on a ferry to get there in a breeze, pun intended. Best part? The tropical climate is just so good (the air literally feels like a friendly hug), making it one of the ideal beach wedding destinations. We’re all for *chill* vibes. Count us in. No wonder it’s a celebrity favorite! 

Best time of the year: November–February
How much you’ll need to shell out: starts from 10–18 lakhs ($12,000–$22,000 USD) for about 200 guests

5. The Land of Gods and Coconuts in Kerala

Does anyone want to get lost in the exquisite backwaters, lush greenery, and sun-kissed beaches of Kerala? Anyone? Just us? This surprising-as-it-is-stunning destination offers a range of diverse venues including beach and backwater resorts as well as hill stations. Adding to the grandeur, its palm-lined beaches, backwaters, divine temples, and majestic wildlife sure make it one heck of an attractive place to get hitched.

Courtesy: Nature Photographer–Unsplash

Courtesy: Amal–Unsplash

We honestly gasp at the thought of Kerala. Every. Single. Time. The blessings and beauty of this place push just the right buttons to ignite your romance and bring you and your beloved closer, creating the most classic wedding setup for you to tie the knot in. Having a destination wedding in Kerala is a bragging right in and of itself. Rest assured, this destination strives to deliver a marvelous experience and is nothing short of a plush paradise on earth, leaving no stone unturned. 

Best time of the year: October–March
How much you’ll need to shell out: 8–10 lakhs ($10,000–$12,000 USD) for about 200 guests

Meet Your Wedding Wingman!

Vanessa Mir is the lead photographer and founder of Heirloomsnaps. She loves her job—like really, really loves her job—especially capturing timeless moments with people who are in love. Her enthusiasm for the wedding industry sparked her to found Wed Mayhem, and she looks forward to being an essential planning resource for couples.

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