Budgeting for a Wedding on Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic wedding planning is not synonymous with stressful

Setting up a wedding in the Dominican Republic is not something you can pull off overnight.  Still, with a bit of hard work and a lot of careful organization, you can successfully bring your destination wedding fantasies to life.

What is the biggest secret to achieving a great Dominican Republic wedding? The key is to begin the 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 the Dominican Republic find that the most significant obstacle is making the arrangements from afar.  Many couples hire a wedding or event planner to do what they do best - make the planning of their wedding as stress free and simple as possible. You can hire someone local to you, someone in the Dominican Republic, or choose to buy a resort wedding package.

If you choose to hire a wedding planner, make sure he or she has previous experience planning a Caribbean wedding and has 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 his or her airfare and hotel stay.

Many couples find that choosing an event planner in the Dominican Republic is a great way to ensure that they have someone on the island to be their 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 the Dominican Republic Wedding Locations and Venues noted at the bottom of this page for more information.

How to Plan a Dominican Republic Wedding Yourself

Preparing a Dominican Republic wedding may seem stressful but many find it a fun challenge and have successfully achieved their dream event. Stay prepared, write 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 Dominican Republic wedding. On average, couples in the United States spend between $20,000 and $30,000 on their big day, while a wedding in the Dominican Republic 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 Dominican Republic Wedding Costs
Item Expected Cost
Marriage License $20(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 love 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. Consult our guide to Dominican Republic Wedding Locations and Venues for for more information about the types of weddings available in the Dominican Republic.

Step Three: Do Your Research

Every location, vendor, resort, decoration, and method of transportation should be evaluated. Contact companies for price estimates and inform them that you are arranging your nuptials from abroad, and that they should expect many long distance phone calls and e-mail communications.  When you contract 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 festivals and events that may occur during that time. If you want you and your guests to experience a party environment, getting married in the Dominican Republic during Carnival, for example, may be just the ticket. However, if you would rather have an intimate, discreet event, you should make other arrangements.

Because of the island's Spanish heritage, weddings thrown by locals on the island tend to be very traditional.  If you are planning to host a traditional ceremony yourself, you may be interested in incorporating some customary island practices into your big day.  Even if you are straying from the traditional, you can easily honor the Dominican Republic by serving Spanish cuisine at your reception, or by incorporating the national flower into your bouquet or boutonnière.  The Dominican Republic's national flower is the flower of the mahogany; its bloom is quite petite, so while it may not be the star of your floral arrangement, it can serve as a lovely replacement for baby's breath. 

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 anyone 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 the Dominican Republic wedding.  If you are creating or purchasing any of your wedding decorations at home, there is no better time than now to start working on this project. This may also be the time to  purchase the wedding dress and/or make arrangements to rent a tuxedo. List everything you plan on taking care of at home, and the estimated  time it will take you to accomplish it.

Now is a good time to gather the paperwork you will need to get your marriage license in the Dominican Republic.  Obtaining the license is a rather simple process, but you will have to contact the American Consulate in Santo Domingo at least two weeks before the wedding in order to be granted permission.  Learn more about this process when you read our guide to Dominican Republic Wedding Requirements and Traditions.

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 Dominican Republic 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.

Rather than feeling tense and anxious in the days leading up to your wedding celebration, make organization your ally. Whether you choose to plan your Dominican Republic wedding on your own, or opt for the assistance of specialists, examining the guidelines listed above will ensure that you keep your planning done in an tidy, reasonable, and stress-free fashion.


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