Budgeting for a Wedding in Aruba

A destination wedding in Aruba doesn't require quite the large budget you might imagine

Setting up an Aruban wedding is a big undertaking, but couples can make their wedding dreams come true by being prepared and establishing a successful budget. Start getting fired up, and prepare to dig in!

What is the biggest secret to achieving a great wedding in Aruba? The key is to begin your planning process as quickly as possible.  A good system of time management should be developed because it allows you to save time when researching choices, making reservations, and coping with any complications that may arise. Beginning early also gives you time to take advantage of any possible deals that could become available.

Hired Help

Many couples who are planning a wedding in Aruba find that the most significant obstacle is making the arrangements from afar.  This is why so many couples hire a wedding or event planner to do what they do best - make the planning of your wedding as stress free and simple as possible. You can hire someone local to you, someone in Aruba, or choose to buy a resort wedding package.


If you choose to hire a wedding planner local to you, make sure he or she has previous experience planning a destination wedding and references available. Connections in the area and  knowledge of the local language and customs will help guarantee that your experience is exactly what you want and expect.  Remember, if you want your wedding planner to be on site the day of your wedding, be prepared to to pay for her airfare and hotel stay.

You may discover that choosing an event planner in Aruba is a great option if you're looking for someone on the island to be your eyes and ears. This person will be able to handle every detail of your wedding, and most importantly, analyze venues and vendors in person.

Wedding packages offered by local resorts are most common and often the most reliable. Accommodations, venue, officiant, catering, adornments, and more are usually included in one flat rate. Read our guide to Aruba Wedding Locations and Venues for more information on resort weddings.

How to Plan an Aruba Wedding Yourself

Preparing an Aruba wedding may seem stressful but many find it a fun challenge and have successfully achieved their dream event. Come prepared, make lists, and keep notes of every phone call and transaction you make.

Step One: Structure Your Budget

Developing a sensible budget is essential to any successful wedding. On average, couples in the United States spend between $20,000 and $30,000 on their big day, while a destination wedding in Aruba can cost you as little as $2,000.  Numerous major resorts and hotels have wedding planning services that can prepare your big event down to the very last detail, and charge a single set fee for the entire package. If you decide to arrange the entire wedding yourself, consider the expenses you may encounter.

Estimated Aruba Wedding Costs
Item Expected Cost
Marriage License $32(USD)
Officiant $50 to $250(USD)
Photography $500 to $3000(USD)
Flowers $300 to $1500(USD)
Decorations $300 to $1500(USD)
Venue $0 to $1000(USD)
Food $25 to $50(USD) per person
Lodging $100+(USD) per night

The chart above merely addresses wedding basics, and estimates are based upon average costs of the individual items. Consider other fundamentals such as the bride's gown, the groom's tuxedo, and the wedding rings. Overall, wedding costs will change drastically depending on which items you decide are the most important.  You need to stay within a reasonable budget that is based upon your financial situation. List items commonly associated with a wedding from maximum value to lowest value and allocate a price estimate to each item. Items ranked in order of importance will allow you to see exactly where you may be willing to trim back and where you aren't willing to compromise.

Step Two:  Select a Theme

By this point you will have determined what style of wedding you would like to host, and the type of venue you would like to have it in. These selections will quickly trim down your list of potential vendors. Options include outdoor ceremonies, traditional weddings in a church, dining hall, or historic landmark, and weddings at sea.  Consult our guide to Aruba Wedding Locations and Venues for for more information about the types of weddings available.

Step Three: Do Your Research

Every location, vendor, resort, decoration, and method of transportation should be evaluated. Contact companies for price estimates, inform them that you are arranging your nuptials from abroad, and that they should expect mainly long distance phone calls and e-mail communications.  When you contract with vendors sight unseen, ask for references from those who have previously used their services.

Also give consideration to the time of year in which you wish to get married, and the type of events that may occur during that time. If you want you and your guests to vacation in a party environment, getting married in Aruba during Carnival, for example, may be just the ticket. However, if you would rather host an intimate, discreet event, you should make other arrangements. Additionally, the weather can have a significant impact on your wedding experience, especially if you are looking to host an outdoor celebration.

This would be a good time to learn what Aruba requires for foreigners to get married on the island.  It is required that all civil ceremonies take place at the Civil Town House for your marriage to be official.  If hosting your wedding at government building doesn't fit your mold of the perfect wedding, consider getting married at the Civil Town House, then having an unofficial ceremony for your friends and family later.  Learn more about how to handle this situation in our guide to Aruba Wedding Requirements and Traditions.

While you're reading this guide, you will be introduced to the wedding traditions of the islanders.  If some of these customs stand out to you, you can consider incorporating them into your own wedding.  Speak with your caterer about serving traditional Aruban food such as freshly caught seafood and locally distilled rum.  Another way to honor the islands is by mixing the wanglo, Aruba's national flower, into your bouquet or boutonnière. 

Step Four: Book Your Vendors

The vendors you select will essentially make or break your wedding event.  When you make your final decisions and book your vendors, explain precisely what you are looking for, and the dates you have chosen. Get all of your price quotes in writing (have them send you a quote through the post office, by e-mail, or by fax). Keep duplicates of everything including invoices of all items that are included in the price. Some businesses require a deposit. Do not send any payments until you have received a paper statement.  Protect yourself from any possible misunderstandings.

Step Five: Take Care of At Home Projects

Many couples wish to bring a bit of personal flair to their Aruba wedding event. If you are creating or purchasing any of your wedding decorations at home, there is no better time than now to start working on these projects. This may also be the time to  purchase the wedding dress and/or make arrangements to rent a tuxedo.  Make a list of everything you plan on taking care of at home, and the estimated  time it will take you to accomplish it.

Step Six: Follow Up

Although you may think your arrangements are finalized, it is still important to talk to your vendors periodically to review their progress, or to discuss any changes that need to be made. Don't worry about calling too often.  They are working for you, and you are paying them to provide these services.

Listed below are a few additional tips that will assist you in planning your Aruba wedding.

  • Consider the weather. If you are planning a wedding at an outdoor venue, make alternative arrangements in case of stormy conditions.  Typical weather conditions for that time of year should be considered when choosing your wedding attire. If you plan to marry on the beach in the middle of a hot afternoon, plan accordingly.
  • Send wedding supplies ahead of time. If you are bringing any wedding items with you from home, consider shipping them ahead to your resort or venue so that you can avoid airport hassles and restrictions.  Be sure to arrange for insurance on these items in case they are lost or damaged during shipment.

Whether you choose to plan your Aruba wedding on your own, or enlist the help of professionals, examining the methods listed above will help you keep your planning done in an organized, reasonable, and stress-free fashion. After you have budgeted, coordinated, planned and arranged your wedding, you will be prepared to enjoy the most unforgettable event of your life.



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