5 Destination Wedding Budget Items Worth the Splurge

I’ve never been a Disney princess, fairytale with a prince charming type of girl, so I never really envisioned what my wedding would be like. It took a few months for me to even think about planning a wedding, but Keenan and I started by identifying what we truly wanted for that day and which items were essential to making those wants become reality. That led us to a destination wedding with some of our closest friends and family. As we all know, weddings are ridiculously expensive, so we determined what would be worth a splurge versus what could be tapered down or cut from the budget altogether.

Photography & Videography

Photography and videography were at the top of the budget, so I was willing to splurge and cut anything to make sure our wedding was documented in the most beautiful way. The wedding day truly does go by so fast, and you won’t remember or even see everything that’s happing, the details, and the little moments. The wedding photos and video footage are all we could take with us after that day. These are portraits that we’ll look back on for many years to come, so the utmost quality was an absolute must.  

The guest count for our destination wedding in Cabo San Lucas was in intimate 80. We both come from large families, so many of our friends and family would not be able to attend. To embody the feeling of the day for everyone, we wanted vendors who could capture footage in a clean, editorial, and classy way, but also capture the candid moments of the day. 

After a few Google searches, I found our Cabo-based photographers and videographer. When I saw the video Bea of Hart Cinema created for another couple at Nobu Los Cabos, I almost fell out. I was in love and just had to have her. Same goes for Jose and Karla of Los Ébano and their photography. It’s not the typical wedding photos we typically see. Their work tells a story. It’s art and we’re incredibly happy with their creations. I literally screamed when we got our portraits and video back! Check out the full wedding recap video here.

Wedding Planner

We wouldn’t have survived without our wedding planner. I truly believe if you can budget a wedding planner for the entire process or at least month and day-of coordination, the amount of stress you’ll experience is astronomically less than if you took on all that work yourselves. We worked with Erica Gordon of Elite Eventz and she was so incredibly patient with me. From the beautiful design to the 1am texts because I had a nightmare about the wedding, she paid attention to every little detail for us, and we really couldn’t have done it without her!

Hair, Makeup & Barber

This could easily be #1 on the list of things to splurge on. As a Black woman it is incredibly hard to find hair and makeup artists familiar with our hair textures, skin, etc. in a foreign country. I wasn’t willing to risk my girls or me looking anything less than perfect on our wedding day, so I flew out my hair stylist (Leslie Williams) and makeup artist (Tonia Odunsi). They did a phenomenal job on everything while having to transform my bridal suite into a beauty salon. I literally laid down on the counter for her to wash my hair.  A little nostalgia from back in the day 🙂

My cousin, Juan Davis is celebrity barber, so he was able to take care of our son, brother and my father before the wedding. Keenan’s barber Kevin Carmouche wasn’t able to be with us but gave him a haircut that was still laser-sharp 3 days later. Every single artist was worth the investment, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome!

Venue

Many would argue that making your wedding venue a splurge is unnecessary because decor can transform a space. While that can be true in some cases, you can’t take such risks when planning a destination wedding in a foreign country 2,000 miles away. And you can easily spend just as much decorating a clean slate than it would cost to host your wedding at a venue that barely requires any decor. 

Who needs all that decor when your wedding backdrop is Pacific Ocean? Us… clearly us because we kinda did the most on decor haha! We got married at Nobu Hotel Los Cabos and it certainly was a splurge. From the arcihtecture of the resort itself, calming feel, amazing food and the 5-star quality of service… it was so worth it. 

Open Bar

This one is known to start arguments in the comments on TikTok, but open bar just made sense for us to splurge on. I’m known for creating cocktails, so we had 3 signature drinks served during cocktail hour, then a 2-hour open bar during the reception. We’re all 20 and 30-somethings that love a good cocktail, shots of tequila and everything that brings. Aside from that, our guests traveled far and made sacrifices to be there for us, so the least we could do as good hosts was supply unlimited drinks. 

Honorable Mention: Splurge on wedding favors that make sense

Let’s be honest… you’ve probably been to a lot of weddings in your lifetime, but do you have wedding favors from any of them? Do you remember what they were? Likely not.

Even knowing this… I had to splurge on wedding favors that were unique to us as a couple that loves Jordan 1s, would be memorable, and that people hopefully wouldn’t throw away at the end of the night. I thought of cookies, cupcakes, candles (because I love them) and a bunch of other stuff  impractical for a destination wedding that required guests to go thru customs on their way home.

We landed on these mini Jordan 1 keychains in mini Nike boxes and I’m still obsessed with them. We’ve seen guests with them on their keychains or sitting in their homes as decor and that makes my heart smile. Success!

Until Next Time ...xoxo

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  1. 8.1.22
    Brittany said:

    You guys look so stunning! My fiance and I are planning our wedding for August 2023. I originally had a low budget for photography but I haven’t been able to find any within that budget. So, I found other things to cut down or out so that we can have beautiful footage of our day. Our top splurge is the venue and food! There was no budging on those two. lol

    • 8.1.22
      beestiing said:

      Hey, thank you! I was initially surprised at how much photography can be too but you’re paying for them to be with you 6-8 hours, a second shooter, editing, and more. And quality does move the meter on price.

      • 10.9.22
        Bonnie said:

        Super informative and love the venue you decided to have your wedding at. My partner and I are planning to get married in 2024 and would love to know the reception and ceremony sites you picked. We are planning a wedding for 60-75 people and very curious how much the cost was all together for Nobu if you’re willing to share. Thanks!