Essentially after everything is said and done...a DW is expensive either way. Your asking your guests to pay anywhere from $1200-$1500 pp, then your paying anywhere from $20-$40 pp just for them to attend the event even though every person is all-inclusive...Your still charged as a bride & groom for your guests to have a chair at the ceremony, for your guests to drink champagne at the cocktail hour, and for your guests to eat food that would normally be free since they are all-inclusive.
You pay for the photographer which is anywhere from $300 for only about 50 pictures (rip off) to $3000 for the photographer for as many pictures you want (which doesnt include the TTD session) or you have the choice of flying in your own, which is expensive since you not only have to pay the airfare & hotel for him/her but you also have to pay a penalty fee for not using the resorts photographer
then your charged for a mariachi band almost $400 for 45 minutes ! (another rip off) Thats a crazy amount of $$ if you ask me considering Mexico is still on PESOS & not like on EUROS! So $400 American dollars is a LOT of PESOS, but what can you do ? That's just the rate everywhere...and they know they have you by the b@lls, because what else can you do about it? If you want music, that's what you pay, no negotiations.
and all in all after dress, invites, wedding, airfare, hotel, wedding party gifts, etc. its AT LEAST 20K - and then they still make rules like: any amount over 40 people have to have a set menu between 3 options, and you cannnot have a private reception, and you can only have a certain color theme, you cannot take away something from the package you might not want (cake for example) & exchange it for something you do (more flowers for example), etc. etc. etc. and the rules are never-ending, unless of course you want to give them MORE $$ but who can afford THAT!
When I came to the decision to having a DW with my fiance, I was under the impression that all my job was is to work out to get fit for my dress & that we can just fly out to Mexico & it would be an easier, cheaper, less stress route, considering I have no interest in weddings...going to them or planning them...But there's just no way out. You have to plan it & plan it so everyone's happy (family/mom/dad & guests) and anyone that says it's YOUR day, and it should be planned YOUR way, to make YOU happy....not so much. It has to be done the traditional way, and you think about everyone else's feelings & thoughts & expenses, AND that's not less stressful or cheaper by any means.