Congratulations on the engagement!
Like @shelikespink mentioned above, the costs of destination weddings are about as high as they are back home - the big difference is that you will have fewer people. Things like makeup, photographer, flowers and videographer, I think we\re actually paying MORE than we would be at home. What we're "saving" on is that we will have 40 people vs. 200 at home.
You said you are hoping to spend 5k on the wedding. Is that including all vendor costs including photography, flowers, dress, etc.? You might be able to do it if you get a "complimentary" wedding and have very few upgrades or vendors, but as mentioned above you have to usually pay more per person over 10 or whatever number is included, and if you want a private reception. I had no idea of the costs associated with a DW until actually planning one. Going into this, I thought spending 10k would be a ton and definitely include everything - we're realistically looking at closer to 15-20k now and that's with us budgeting heavily in certain areas. But again, it depends on your preferences and pickiness about things. Also, it's very easy to get sucked into things you never even thought about before like ttd shoots and oot bags
The other thing to make sure about for a DW is that you are okay and prepared with a lot of people not going. I didn't really think about this before we made the decision - I assumed that of course our loved ones would come. But like every other bride here, we've been faced with a lot of disappointments as we've realized that a lot of the people we thought would come (and said they would originally) are not. As long as you are prepared for that, you can definitely still have a beautiful wedding, but yes, just something to think about.
Also, I think a lot of us will attest that planning a DW is definitely not stress-free - your stresses just come in different places! Haha I lost sleep when it came to choosing a resort and trying to find something affordable for people.
I don't mean to sound pessimistic or deter you. I just wanted to be upfront so you have a good idea of what it all entails. I went into it very blindly, and I'm not honestly sure if we would have still gone this route if we knew all of the factors. That being said, I am now VERY excited for our beautiful wedding, and I can't wait to get married in Mexico! My advice is to poke around the site and read different reviews and threads and you will get a really good idea
Cost wise, if you're not picky about the resort, there are resorts for under $1500, but they will often be in low season. You can't really compare the expedia price for a single trip to booking a block for 40 guests... your rates will probably not be as low (and you will have to deal with guests telling you this!). When we were looking, we wanted to keep it under 1500 too but found it almost impossible because of our time of year. We could have, but it would have meant settling for a hotel we weren't as happy with and actually paying more for the wedding. But off the top of my head, I remember Now Jade being really affordable, and Iberostar Cancun (for guests - the actual wedding costs were fairly high). We decided to choose the hotel we wanted (Beach Palace), but we are going to spread out some of our discounts to make the costs more affordable for guests.
Edited by tygrrlily, 24 July 2014 - 10:13 AM.