Couples always want to know, “How much will my Jamaica wedding cost?”
Perhaps the most common question that we get asked about weddings is, “How much does a wedding in Jamaica cost?”
The only possible answer to that question is, “It depends”.
It depends on what you want, what your priorities are, and what you are willing to spend to make that happen.
We get it that you probably have never planned a wedding before so you have no idea what a wedding costs. On top of that, you have absolutely no idea of what anything for a wedding in Jamaica costs.
Binge-ing on all those wedding shows, magazines, and Pinterest pages, doesn’t help either because they create the impression that everyone just has to have one of those over-the-top weddings.
Afterall, how expensive could a wedding be?
So . . . how much exactly does a wedding in Jamaica cost?
The good news is that a wedding in Jamaica does not have to cost an arm and a leg.
You still have to have a reasonable budget; but, with good prioritization, planning, and flexibility, you will be able to have a beautiful destination wedding in Jamaica on almost any budget.
We wrote this article to try to give you a frame of reference for what sort of price ranges we are seeing in our market so you can use this information to try to prioritize your budget and estimate for yourself what you can expect for the cost of your Jamaica wedding.
A Jamaica villa wedding price estimate involves two components:
Your budget for your Jamaica villa wedding experience, therefore, needs to cover both.
Villa weddings almost always require rental of the villa to host a wedding on-site. Very few villas allow one-day events. Be prepared to include the cost of your villa stay in your budget.
Most villas have a minimum night stay and require full occupancy rates for the booking. (Mais Oui requires a minimum of 4 nights. Christmas and New Year’s require a 7-night minimum stay.)
Destination wedding guests typically pay for their own airfare, hotel, as well as any activities and meals outside of wedding events. That said, traditionally, the bride or her family pays for accommodations for the bridal party and the groom or the groom’s family does the same for the groomsmen.
According to a survey by The Knot, in 2016, 40% of couples planning destination weddings contributed money toward their guests’ travel and accommodations expenses.
This is where booking a villa vacation rental is a God-send. You book a whole house. The rental price will be the cost for your group to stay at the villa. Close friends and family, including the bridal party, therefore can be under one roof. The cost of renting a villa is generally less than the total cost of getting separate hotel rooms for everyone.
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We recommend you budget about US$45-$55 per person per day per registered guest for groceries. This will vary up or down based on market prices as well as how much and what your group intends to eat.
Some villas offer a pay-as-you-go approach for groceries. Others offer an all-inclusive approach. The approach you take will depend on your group.
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Some villas charge a location fee in addition to the villa rental fee. Location fees could be anywhere from $500 to $3000 depending on the property. Others charge a per person fee, usually about $15-20 per person to attend the event. Some properties do both.
The location fee is typically just the permission to hold the event on the property. Weddings and events generate more wear and tear on vacation homes and require more staff and staff hours.
Some properties charge an additional security fee or damage deposit for weddings and events.
To host a wedding at a villa, make sure you get permission to do so prior to booking as not all villas allow weddings.
Most villas require that couples use a wedding planner if the number of guests exceeds the occupancy of the villa.
Some wedding planners charge a flat fee for their services, which may vary from $500 to $2500 or thereabouts depending on the scope of responsibility. Others charge a percentage of the actual wedding spend. Twenty percent is typical. A few charge an hourly fee, which could be upwards of $100 per hour.
In most cases, a local wedding planner is a good investment as opposed to an additional cost. They know the good vendors and keep that information close to the vest! You benefit from their insider knowledge.
It costs JA$4000, or about US$40, to get a marriage license if you go to the Ministry of Justice in Kingston to apply yourself.
The challenge, however, is that it is almost an all-day affair and it is expensive to go into Kingston via private transfer. Why waste a day of your vacation and go to the expense and hassle of going into Kingston?
To obtain the marriage license including the processing of the documents, have an officiant perform the ceremony and then get a copy of the marriage certificate mailed to you afterward, generally, costs around $400-500.
Prices vary according to the specific flowers chosen, size of the arrangements, and season. Tropical, local, in season flowers such as ginger lilies, anthuriums, and dendrobium orchids cost less than imported blooms such as roses, hydrangeas, calla lilies and Cymbidium orchids.
Tropical bouquets using anthurium and ginger lilies, for example, start at about US$80-100 while roses and dendrobium orchids would start at about US$120. Calla lilies and cymbidium orchids would be at a higher starting point of about US$200. Bridal bouquets are larger and a little more elaborate and so cost more than bridesmaids’ bouquets.
Boutonnieres may cost between US$10 and US$40 depending on the type of flowers. Corsages, depending on the type of flowers could range from US$25-50.
Decor pricing is very hard to predict without a clear understanding of what is required. Some couples simply want a table with a floor-length cloth and a tropical centerpiece. Others may want two pedestals topped with large bountiful floral arrangements on either side of the table. Others may choose a canopy of some sort draped with fabric and topped off with a mass of flowers. All of those options and more are possible.
A decorated arch costs around US$300-450 depending, for example, on whether you are using a pre-existing arch or a custom structure and also on how heavily adorned the area will be with flowers. White pedestals with tropical standing arrangements might cost about US$150-200 each.
Centerpieces can also vary widely in price. Simple low tropical centerpieces may start at about US$30-50 while centerpieces with roses, orchids, and hydrangeas might start at almost US$200 each.
The cost of welcome bags and favors vary widely depending on the inclusions and on how much you wish to D.I.Y. Some people skip these. Others go all out. Do try to think of items that would either enhance your guests’ stay in Jamaica or cement the memory of their time with you, or both. Wedding bags and favors are such a personal gesture that generally couples will decide how much they want to spend per person and then find ideas to fit that budget. You shouldn’t expect to spend under $5 per bag.
The investment for the wedding meal will perhaps be one of the largest, if not the largest, portion of your wedding budget.
The cost depends on how many guests you will be hosting as well as your specific entree choices, number of choices for your main course, number of courses, serving style, and any necessary rentals/catering staff.
Average price for the wedding meal, exclusive of alcohol, will be about US$30-45 for a menu of chicken or fish. Shrimp and steak will be much more expensive, perhaps 75 – 100% more. Lobster and lamb will command some of the highest prices of all options. Plated service costs more than buffet due to higher labor costs since more wait staff are necessary.
Additional costs that go along with catering that need to be considered are the associated rental costs for dinnerware, cutlery, glassware, and serving ware. Additional wait staff, as well as staff for set up and breakdown, also need to be considered. Add to that the cost of rentals for tables, chairs, and linens. If you need a tent, a 20 x 20 ft tent could cost about $100-140 while a 30 x 50 ft one, could cost upwards of $700. A 16 x 16 ft dance floor might cost about $300. Rentals could, therefore, run between US$15 to US$50 per person, or more, depending on what is being rented and the quality of the items.
For the wedding meal, required rentals, and additional staff expect the total spend to be upwards of US$80-$120 per person.
Don’t be put off by thoughts of rentals and other such concerns. (It’s actually easier than you might think. Your caterer or wedding planner will figure out what you need to rent and what quantity.)
Villa weddings, even when there is the need for rentals, usually still cost less than what many hotel venues charge for similar private service options.
Whether or not you have a bar and the type of alcohol served will greatly influence your budget. Offering a local bar or a signature drink or serving wine will do wonders for the budget.
Open local bar for 4 hours might cost US$15-20 per person while open top shelf bar might cost US$25-30 per person.
Champagne is very expensive in Jamaica. Sparkling wines are more common and more reasonably priced. Some rums and liqueurs and beers are made on the island but most alcohol is imported. Mark-ups are very high on alcohol and may be as high as 200%. An opportunity for savings in this area would be to stick to local varieties.
Villas rarely charge corkage fees for alcohol. Most villas allow their guests to purchase their own alcohol and control what is offered.
Don’t forget to factor in the cost of appropriate barware rental and a bartender.
The cost of the cake will depend on the type (American or Jamaican), size, number of tiers, style or design, flavor, filling, and icing type.
A 2-tiered American cake, vanilla or chocolate flavor, would start at about US$250
The traditional Jamaican wedding cake, made with dried raisins and currants that have been soaked in rum and wine for months, is a very rich and heavy cake that is beloved by Jamaicans, not so much by foreigners. It is also much more expensive than American cakes and starts at around US$450.
What would you like for the music for the ceremony?
Pre-recorded music is always an option and is good for the budget. Be sure to think about who will cue the music for you.
Would you like live music for your ceremony? Saxophonists and pianists charge about US$500 per hour
What about the reception? Will you create your favorite playlist and let it go all night? Or, do you want a DJ or a reggae or steel band? DJs typically cost under US$1000, usually in the US$500-800 range. Steel-bands start at US$350 per hour. Reggae bands are about US$2000-3000 for a 4-hour reception.
If your musical needs require a lot of power, you can expect that you will need to rent a generator as the electrical system of many villas may simply not be able to accommodate such power needs. Wedding planners are accustomed to making these arrangements.
Prices vary significantly based on the number of photographers used, number of hours of shooting time, photography style, quantity of photos, quality of equipment, inclusion of copyright release, level of experience of the photographer and presentation of the deliverables whether an album, CD or USB flash drive.
A local photographer who caters to more local couples may start at around US$500 for 36 photos. A more mid to high-end photographer may charge US$1200 for 3-hours of photography delivering 250 edited images, A high-end photographer with a more journalistic style and a following on Instagram might charge upwards of US$3000-$4000 per event.
The same is true for videography. A videographer who primarily does local weddings might deliver a 30-minute video to cover the ceremony and reception highlights for US$500.
If videography is very important to you, you could choose a package offering two videographers, full coverage of the wedding from getting dressed through the ceremony and reception inclusive of drone coverage and professional audio for upwards of US$2400.
How important are photos and video to you? How much of your budget do you wish to attribute to cinematography?
Destination weddings often involve multiple events. Will you want a photographer or videographer at each one or only for the main event?
We hope that this information gives you enough preliminary detail to help you start trying to answer the question all couples want to know – How much does a wedding in Jamaica cost?
Remember, these are just average prices to give you an idea of costs in our local Jamaican wedding market. Your actual wedding costs will depend on a host of factors, such as the size of your guest list, your vision, budget, and priorities.
Share this article with anyone in your inner circle who will be helping you with the final decisions and or contributing financially to the wedding investment.
If you think you might be interested in a villa wedding at Mais Oui Villa, contact us so we can see how to help you make it happen! We’d love to host your wedding.
What do you need to create the perfect Jamaica wedding package for you? Let us know!
Create your own custom package. Each couple is different and we would love to help.
Use the free downloads to help you figure out your budget for your custom Jamaica villa wedding.
‘Til next time.
Think and dream Jamaica!
Sherry, Darrell, and Darrian
Considering a visit to Jamaica with a group? Contact us today for more information about, Mais Oui Tennis & Spa Villa, our boutique 8-BR ocean view Jamaica villa rental experience in beautiful Discovery Bay, Jamaica. Perfect for multi-generational families and groups, retreats, bachelorette getaways, and intimate destination weddings and vow renewals.
Visit our website: http://www.MakeItJamaica.com
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Sherry & Darrell, owners of Mais Oui Tenis & Spa Villa in Discovery Bay, Jamaica, consider themselves unofficial ambassadors for Jamaica. They look forward to using their insider knowledge to help guests create priceless vacation memories. Feel free to say hi!