Destination Wedding Spending Splurge

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Dreams Resort, Huatulco, Mexico


This week I have the luxury of witnessing good friends get married in Mexico. A group of 40 friends and family are going to support the couple in their celebration of commitment. That same group will also try really hard to enjoy the beach and a margarita (or fifteen) while at the beautiful resort.

As I prepared for the trip, I found myself running to various stores to pick up a few things. This was to supplement my existing arsenal of hot destination travel gear and clothing. In case you didn't know, I like to shop and support the Calgary economy. I'm proud to do my part. It didn’t seem like much at the time but, when I laid it all out to pack, the length of the tab started to sink in.  

Cheap, mirrored sunglasses for the beach: check.

Sunscreen to protect my pasty skin: check.

Creme sundress that I just couldn’t leave in the store: check.

Pedicure in preparation for the fun in the sun: check.

Trip to the bank for foreign currency: check.

Travel sized aerosol toiletries that seem to vanish after one use: check.

Book a cab for the early departure: check.

It REALLY started to add up. 

I'll admit that I am happy to purchase new things and I often do not need a strong reason to do this. I also love a sunny vacation near the water. Shopping plus sun is my type of marriage. 

I considered the possibility that I may be an outlier with my freewheeling purchasing habits but I didn’t know for sure. I went looking for some numbers*.

The typical American destination wedding costs $28,000 with 60% of wedding couples paying for the wedding themselves. I was curious to see if that included travel costs or just the wedding. I could not easily find this distinction. The same source notes that destination weddings account for $16 billion in annual spending. Hello spending.

In 2012, it was reported that destination weddings account for over 10% of total weddings. This was noted as a massive upward shift over the last decade. Thankfully for me and other wedding guests (on average 48 guests attend) a warm location is a huge influencer on a couple selecting their destination. Mexico, as a destination, is included mid point in the top ten destinations overall. The resorts, of course, have responded accordingly: catering to and attracting the destination wedding market.

Destination weddings, like regular weddings and travel, are pricey. With many pricey things in life, that’s partly why they are so much fun. Treat yourself. We can all get carried away from time to time so it's understandable why weddings and travel are such a perfect storm.

In all I spent over $2,500 for this trip. That’s a hefty sum. But I know it will be quickly worth it once I dip my freshly pedicured toes into the Pacific.

Have you been on a destination wedding? Was your spending similar?

*I am making the assumption that the Canadian statistics would be similar to the American sources cited.