When Avnit Kumar and Sarah Kumar were planning their upcoming wedding, instead of having a traditional local one, they wanted to have it somewhere far away.
“We got engaged in Mexico and want to go back there. It will be a nice place for the family to go and have a vacation while having the wedding,” Sarah, from Vancouver, told the Richmond News at the 2019 Vancouver Destination Wedding & Honeymoon Expo held in Richmond last month.
In fact, destination weddings are gaining more popularity among Canadians, according to the expo organizer, Romantic Planet Vacations, which hosts the event at Richmond’s Pacific Gateway Hotel twice a year.
“When we first started 15 years ago, seven per cent of couples chose to have a destination wedding. Now the number is around 20 per cent,” said Laurie Keith, president of the company.
“People meet from all over Canada. Instead of having half the family go to one side, they can have the wedding somewhere else. It’s a meeting ground.”
Keith said lower costs are one of the biggest factors driving couples to choose a destination wedding over a local wedding.
Canadians spend an average of $30,717 on a wedding. A destination wedding, according to Keith, can cost as low as $7,000 for a couple, with all the guests paying for their own costs.
She said for the four most popular all-inclusive wedding destinations – Mexico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Cuba – guests pay an average of $1,850 for seven days all inclusive.
“This includes air, hotel, transfer and food. It will be half a holiday for them and they can also celebrate the special day,” added Keith.
She explained that the resorts are willing bring down the cost of the wedding to get more wedding guests to fill the rooms.
“And because it’s an all-inclusive resort, you don’t have to pay for guests’ food and drink, that’s a big saving...And couples can also save on their honeymoon.”
Avnit and Sarah, who are saving up to buy a place of their own, said they’d rather spend the money on a down payment than a grand wedding.
“If we did the wedding here, honestly, it will be much bigger and way too expensive and we won’t be able to save up anything for a down payment,” said Sarah.
They said more than 100 guests could easily turn up at their local wedding, while they expect 50 to 60 for a destination one.
“We know people spend over $100,000 on a wedding and some parents have to remortgage their house to help pay off the excesses,” said Sarah.
“And we had big family weddings, they’ve been very stressful, very busy, and a lot of planning was involved.
“We feel that a destination wedding can keep our costs low and is much more relaxing.”