What’s really included in a “free” destination wedding package?

free destination wedding what’s included

What’s really included in a “free” destination wedding package?


free wedding what’s included

Offering a free wedding package is a very good way for resorts to bring in couples and their guests for several days and nights. These resorts are typically in destination wedding locations that include sandy beaches, tropical weather and a luxurious, exotic appeal.

The idea of a free wedding package is appealing to many couples. However, it is important to understand what a free wedding package is at any resort and what will and will not be included. Often couples that are planning their own destination wedding make assumptions about what the resort is providing. This can result in stress, anxiety and a lot of extra and unanticipated costs when the couple arrives.

To give you an overview of what is included in a typical free wedding at a destination resort, here are the basic components of the package:

On-site coordinator

This is a resort staff person, typically a specialist in coordinating these events, who will ensure that the rooms are arranged and all your requests are fulfilled. This will be the couple’s point of contact with the resort, but they are not wedding planners and are more like a manager for the wedding as opposed to a planner.

Ceremony location and décor

The package will include the on-site ceremony location for the wedding itself. Décor is typically limited to a few choices offered by the resort, and may include different designs, colors and other options.


Most resorts will provide a non-denominational Minister for the ceremony. There may be choices of wedding services he or she will provide.

Sound and Music

For the wedding itself, the resort will usually provide a microphone and speaker that can be used with iPod systems to provide wedding music.

What is not included in the free destination wedding packages is also important to understand. The couple will be required to pay for the wedding license, which is not a large expense, but one that can be easily overlooked.

The decorations for the wedding will not include floral arrangements, the bride’s bouquet, or the groom’s boutonniere. A wedding photographer will not be included in the free package, but the bride and groom may be able to hire one through the on-site coordinator for an additional fee.

Finally, the free wedding package at the resort will not include the reception. This means that the guests and the bride and groom will not have a private or semi-private room for a wedding supper, cocktails, or dancing included in the price. Some resorts may offer the option to seat all guests together at a restaurant. Free wedding packages can be wonderful depending on a couple’s desires and budget. Once you’re aware of what is and isn’t included, you can plan accordingly, add the extras you desire, and avoid unpleasant surprises.


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