The Cost of a Cabo Wedding

“What is the cost of a Cabo wedding?”

This is one of the top questions we get, right out of the gates. Other questions I hear from potential clients are:

“What’s it really like to have a destination wedding in Cabo?”

“What are the best luxury hotels for guests to stay in?”

“What are the best/most beautiful venues for the wedding event to take place?”

Calling all brides who are researching the cost of a Cabo wedding on Instagram, TikTok, or Google. If you’re considering Cabo as a potential wedding destination, please read this blog in its entirety. I’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions from my clients and comprehensively answered them. Things have changed dramatically since I first published this information, so beneath consider this a cost update.

** Please note that the weddings and events that we specialize in are typically 5-star luxury in nature. The details beneath pertain to top-tier events and therefore won’t be relevant if your budget is more constrained. **

WHAT’S THE MOST EXPENSIVE ITEM COST OF A CABO WEDDING?

Without a doubt, the most expensive cost of a Cabo wedding is food & beverage. The average food and beverage cost of a Cabo wedding is $377 USD per person (not including 16% tax and 15% service fee).

For 5-Star hotel wedding venues, expect an average of $450 USD per person plus tax and service. This is always a tough pill to swallow when brides and grooms reach out to venues. The pricing can be difficult to understand, so I understand that number can be a bit of a shock. Transparency is important. My team and I are always honest, even if it sometimes means losing business in the short-term. We always want to give our clients the best value and clear pricing when it comes to cost.

Another cost point that I find really confuses our clients are food and beverage minimums. Most hotels have them and sometimes they are much lower than what an actual wedding cost. Brides and grooms often breeze through that information. It’s common to assume that a food and beverage minimum of $10,000 USD is their all-in quote, when in fact in some cases it is triple that. I always say “Read the Fine Print.” We prefer to lay everything out and the rate I’ve stated here is a good mid-average.

WHAT DOES THAT PRICE GENERALLY COVER?

That price can get you a lot!!

That gets you appetizers, a 3-course meal, and (depending on the venue) a 4 to 5-hour bar. Also included in that rate is all staff and service. On occasion, you can get your wedding cake or site fees included however it varies from venue to venue.
The food service and the ambiance of all of Cabos magical venues are sheer perfection!! We do not do the typical wedding food fare and our bar service is just that – Service. The service team is always on-hand taking orders and serving drinks.

I have heard horror stories from our US-based clients with respect to huge bar lines, cold food, and an overall indifference with respect to service. Not here in Cabo! We appreciate your business, and we want you to have the best time ever. Combine that mentality with fresh seafood, organic produce, amazing chefs, and the world’s greatest margaritas. Now you have yourself a recipe for a wonderful destination wedding weekend.

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST SURPRISE FOR BRIDES WHEN THEY START MAKING COST INQUIRIES?

Cost comparisons can be a real shocker!

Prices in Cabo are comparable to venues in hometowns like Colorado, Dallas, New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles. The fixed costs are very, very similar to costs in the United States. It is important to realize that Cabo is a luxury venue. The prices are reflected in all elements of the planning, from food and beverage, venue fees, rentals, florals, production, etc. Cabo offers high service standards and quality of experience, which are as sophisticated as you would have in the States. Thus you are getting the best of both worlds. A magical destination with the standards and quality of some of the world’s best restaurants and venues.

Curfews are also a big surprise. Most hotels have a curfew of 10 or 11pm. The guests have to move into late night spaces, which often incurs additional costs for venue, entertainment and open bar. These are important considerations when booking a venue and or a hotel.

People don’t realize that the biggest benefit of working with a wedding planning service like Amy Abbott Events is the enormous amount of creativity we have. We are planning and budgeting masters. My team can work magic with the cost of production, floral, and rentals here. We have an arsenal of contacts that accentuate and elevate our events.

WHAT’S A SURPRISING FACT ABOUT THE COST OF A CABO WEDDING?

Thankfully there is some good news! Our site fees are significantly less expensive than in the United States. Some of our most requested venue site fees are in the $5k – $10K USD range whereas their Stateside equivalent would run $15k-20k. Our top venues, like Flora Farms, Acre, Suelo Sur, and Baja Luna book up in advance. It is best to book those spots ahead of time if you can. One year in advance is generally feasible for finding space in most of these venues.

a Cabo wedding tablescape

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT HAVING A DESTINATION WEDDING IN CABO?

There are so many reasons to have your destination wedding in Cabo, but to me, one of the best things about it is that you will truly be able to enjoy your wedding. I say that for one reason: fewer people will attend. I know that sounds like a negative, but it is, in fact, a positive.

The standout perk is the opportunity to fully relish your special day. The intimate nature of these weddings is a major positive, with a smaller guest list ensuring a more personal celebration. While traditional weddings often involve large numbers of attendees, many couples opt for Cabo to keep things more manageable. An average luxury destination wedding typically hosts around 150 guests.
With a more intimate group of attendees, you can focus on spending quality time with those who matter the most. Rather than just one evening together, you can enjoy multiple events, making your wedding all the more memorable and special. Less guests means that you’re optimizing your wedding costs while enjoying the most luxurious venues and services.

WHAT ABOUT HAVING A WEDDING IN A CABO RESTAURANT? IS IT POSSIBLE TO DO THAT?

Absolutely, you can have your wedding at a local restaurant with an epic ambiance or an incredible oceanfront view. Sunset Mona Lisa or Hacienda Cocina y Cantina are beautiful, highly sought-after venues. To have either of these spaces 100% to yourselves would require plenty of advanced notice.

Be warned: Minimum consumption for most local high-end quality restaurants in Cabo can be more than $40,000 USD plus tax and service. You would spend this amount anyway with 80 to 100 people, so while it is a viable option, it may not alter the cost of a Cabo wedding that much.

WHAT’S THE MOST CHALLENGING PART FOR A DESTINATION MANAGEMENT/ EVENT PLANNER IN CABO?

Sometimes clients will ask what the native flowers of Baja are and our honest answer is there aren’t any. Flowers are difficult to get in Cabo. We typically get them from Mexico City. We do not have a trade agreement with the United States. Because of that, flowers do tend to be more expensive and can alter the cost of a Cabo wedding. If we can’t find it for you in Mexico City, we must order it from Holland.
We would love to walk into a florist shop or market with our clients to hand-pick flowers. That would be a dream come true for us!

We clarify this floral challenge with our clients “straight out of the gate.” It’s a source of frustration for brides who hear from fellow brides in the States about how they went to the florist and picked out each flower. Sadly, that is just not an option here. Understanding that in advance is going to make your planning much less stressful.

Don’t fret, however! We’ve got you!

On your wedding day, your flowers are going to be beautiful. The centerpieces, bouquets, and place card accents, are going to be mind-blowingly gorgeous!! We have worked with countless stateside florists, and we find that our prices are still competitive with exceptional florists in the States. Cabo florists (in most cases) do not charge as much for their artistry. I’m happy to say that we have excellent floral design here. If you want luxury, you’re not going to spend any more on flowers in Cabo than you would in the United States. That is a good thing to know!!

Another great perk is that wedding planners here do full mockups with the table-spaces and the florals. This allows you to see the BIG picture of what your wedding will be like. This is such a GREAT opportunity for us to gear up for the big day and to really enjoy the planning with our clients. Additionally, we can nail down all the important details so that the actual wedding weekend is more relaxing.

LET’S SAY I’M A BRIDE WITH A WEDDING BUDGET $30,000 USD. WHAT WOULD THAT GET ME?

This is where we always feel SO horrible. The truth is event planners are people pleasers and, in our hearts, we want to help EVERYONE. It is always hard to get on a lengthy phone-call only to discover that the client’s budget is not plausible for a luxury Cabo destination wedding.

It is possible to have 30 people for $30,000 USD if you stayed in an all-inclusive hotel. The cost is usually less than half of the average food and beverages if your guests are staying there. That’s a great way to discount the cost of a Cabo wedding.

If the idea of an all-inclusive doesn’t work, consider an intimate beach ceremony, followed by a nice dinner. Instead of a DJ, we would plug your iPod into a speaker. The problem here is with that budget, there is no space for a planner, and so an all-inclusive may be the best way to go.

WHAT’S THE AVERAGE COST OF A WEDDING IN CABO?

That is the burning question LOL. Truthfully, a good estimate for a luxury wedding is between $1400 to $2000 USD and beyond per wedding guest. The overall cost varies based on your level of production, venue, design, and specifications. I find that our clients have exquisite and well-defined tastes and are what I would call “Experience Seekers.” They are okay with spending if they can see the authenticity and the value that a luxury experience will provide. They are willing to invest in the weekend and they delight in the ability to host their guests.

It is also important to note that estimating the cost of an experience before it’s designed is impossible. We’ll craft your event to match your vision, with costs aligning with the necessary resources to bring that vision to life and you will always get final approval on all items. This seems so very high but our clients always say after the wedding that when they saw the final product, they understood that they actually got high quality for good value.

SUPPLY & DEMAND

The other thing about the cost of a Cabo wedding that you must understand is supply and demand. If you’re from LA, you get your DJ for $1500 USD, so your first instinct is to have that same expectation. Put it into perspective that there are probably hundreds of DJ’s in Los Angeles. Cabo, on the other hand, has two or three good companies. It is important to understand that dynamic.

In a perfect world you could solve this dilemma by bringing your DJ. However then you would incur airfare, transportation, hotel, and the equipment rental. At this point you have probably quadrupled the initial price of the less-priced DJ. It makes more sense to use a local DJ. We have a rich variety of talent, with a reasonable price. The same cost analogy applies to bands and that can actually be much more expensive.

When a band travels, they often-times cannot bring their equipment and instruments. They travel with a few more people than the band members, so their band rider gets very expensive. Furthermore, sometimes bands either are not aware, or underestimate the real costs to bring them down and that can lead to distress for all. The best thing when booking a band from the States is to book an airfare travel and band rider buyout so that you know you will not be covered. Be prepared however that sometimes bands needs may change a little towards the end, so you need to be flexible.

The topics lead me to observation that I’ve noticed. In my experience, the mistake brides and grooms sometimes make is to constantly compare your wedding planning experience with the planning process in the States. Believe me when I say, you are comparing apples with oranges. When you are planning a destination wedding the process is different, but the experience here is so much better!!

People say to us all the time, that their wedding was the very best experience of their life and worth each penny. Our clients also comment on the high quality of inventory, the excellent service from our vendors and our team, and the overall commitment to their experience. WE LOVE taking care of our clients. We are not having fun if they are not having fun, so let’s all have fun together!

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY PEOPLE CAN SAVE MONEY ON A DESTINATION WEDDING IN CABO?

I would say that the best way to save money is flowers and furniture rentals because we can always be more creative with them. It helps if a bride is willing to go with a less expensive floral design and rely on our creativity and ingenuity. They also must know that the actual colors and quality of flowers will vary based on which florist they choose. Not every florist has access to the same lovely flowers and that can be confusing.

We work with a florist who makes the effort to travel to Europe to build relationships with her vendors and who thinks nothing of jumping on the plane to Mexico City only to turn around the next day if it means she will have the best of flowers. Her flowers are exquisite, but of course, they are going to cost more. Her floral quality is higher and she have to order so many more flowers to make sure they arrive in the best quality (Yes, in most cases, your flowers have traveled farther than you have for your wedding XOXO).

TELL US ABOUT EQUIPMENT AND FURNITURE RENTALS FOR CABO DESTINATION WEDDINGS.

Regarding rentals, everything has a cost and that is something that needs to be considered in the cost of a Cabo wedding.
The napkin has a cost.
The charger has a cost.
The table has a cost.

The cost of delivery, pickup, and labor averages around 29%. People sometimes ask us, “Why are we paying so much?” What most people don’t realize is that if you have a wedding for 100 people, chances are on the day of your wedding there are upwards of 70 people working at your wedding. It is always so touching and exciting to see the wheels turning on the day of an event. Our vendors pay living wages and hire exceptional talent.

Sometimes when I am working an event, I will stop and look around me and I feel like pinching myself to see if it is all real. It is truly magical to see the amount of labor and love that goes into the planning of your amazing destination wedding!

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST FRUSTRATION ABOUT PLANNING A DESTINATION WEDDING IN CABO FROM A WEDDING PLANNER’S PERSPECTIVE?

I feel like sometimes we lose business because of our proposal transparency. A hotel will quote $125 USD per head for dinner, then $40 USD per head for the bar an hour, and then they will add “+ tax & service fees”. What we do is add up all those numbers and show the absolute final number, and show them the reality of how many hours the bar should be, etc. For example, many hotel proposals will have three-hour bars quoted. In my experience, the minimum is 4 hours, and the average is 5 to 6 hours.

We try and think ahead to the hard costs. I can’t tell you how many times after showing a proposal to a potential client, they will then tell us that a hotel has quoted them so much less than what ours shows. But that is often because the client does not have a comprehensive understanding of the price structure. We don’t want our clients to have any big financial surprises, so we will always fully disclose as as many elements of the budget as we can. We want you to know the true cost of a Cabo wedding from the outset.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT WORKING WITH A WEDDING PLANNER?

The great thing about working with a wedding planner is we really will work with your budget. We’re event planners, we’re not a rental company or a floral company. It’s our job to advocate for our clients and find them the best rates possible. A wedding planner will not lock you into only using specific vendors or have you sign a contract that says you must use all their equipment etc.

I had the great opportunity of listening to Mindy Weiss, whom I have always admired, as she spoke at an Engage conference a couple of years ago in Cancun. She said it best when announcing as she arrived at the podium:
“You are either a florist, or a rental company, or a wedding planner, but you are not all 3.”
That statement really resonated with me and validated how we run our business. I follow her work and admire the fact that while she has strong vendors she works with all the time, she does switch vendors from event to event based on her needs and I think that is an admirable trait in a planner.

Our team knows all the vendors in town, which can really help with the cost of a Cabo wedding. When a bride and groom ask me for a specific thing, I know exactly where to get it. Alternatively, I will also be able to tell our clients what isn’t possible, to save them from going on a wild goose chase. We are constantly developing relationships with vendors and collaborating with them on design, giving them input on what the clients are looking for. We are always working to get the best possible design at the best possible price.

WHAT’S SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE TEND TO OVERLOOK BUT SHOULDN’T?

Transportation for guests is important. It’s common for brides and grooms to think that guests can just take a cab. What they don’t realize is that cab or Uber drivers may not be familiar with the venue. Uber is still relatively new in Cabo. Drivers may be forced to rely on GPS to get to the venue, which is nowhere near as developed as you would think. Most Uber cars here are smaller, European style and not meant to bring a lot of guests. Private transportation for your guests to and from the host hotel is a necessity.

IN YOUR EXPERIENCE, WHAT ARE PEOPLE REALLY LOOKING FOR IN A DESTINATION WEDDING IN CABO?

I think that the common thread is people want to be together. That’s where the blessing of staying in one place can come in! On the flip-side of that, if the wedding is in an offsite venue, brides can then give two accommodation options to their guest. They’ll give a budget option, along with the main hotel that the happy couple are going to be staying in. It’s typical for the bride to share our contact details with the guests, and we’ll help with options. They may even use Airbnb or VRBO.

SOMETIMES PEOPLE DON’T WANT TO CONTACT A PLANNER, AS THEY FEAR THAT THE MINUTE THEY DO THEY WILL FEEL OBLIGATED TO WORK WITH THEM. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SAY ABOUT THAT?

People shouldn’t be scared of contacting us to have an informal chat, whether they decide to move forward or not. Email us for a consultation. We always love a phone call, so we can get to know them. We are always devoted to the best negotiations, the best venues, the best price, and the best service. We’re committed to getting top value for your dollar. Be patient with us and our timing as with the demand for Cabo weddings continues to rise, we sometimes have a hard time keeping up!

Working with a hotel can be more limiting due to the set packages and the in-house furniture they provide. Hotels will tell you themselves that they’re not event planners. They’ll say that they do not plan your event.They’ll send you to deal directly with external vendors, should you want some extra services that they can’t provide.

When you work with someone like us, we work with you and advocate for you. We liaison with the vendors on your behalf unless you really want to contact them yourself. We know to do meetings on weekdays because vendors aren’t available on weekends.

When people collaborate with us, they know our staff and event planners by their first names. It’s an extremely special and intimate day and we always pull it off seamlessly. I consider us to be problem-solving ninjas! 🙂

WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE FOR A GIRL WHOSE ULTIMATE DREAM IS TO GET MARRIED IN CABO?

I would tell her she will have a phenomenal experience, but she needs to be realistic in her spending expectations. The reality is that the price will end up being similar to what they will spend at home, but the experience will be a much more rewarding. A Cabo destination wedding experience is so memorable for the guests too. After all the years of doing Cabo destination weddings, it’s just so much darn fun and that is coming from someone who is working them! There’s a welcome party, then a rehearsal dinner, and you’re going to meet everyone by the pool. It’s three days of gluttony and joy!

Sometimes brides will cut things out at the last minute to save themselves a few hundred dollars because they feel like they are overspending. Typically, they will choose to cut something out of the décor. But I have to tell you; those final last-minute cuts definitely make an impact. My advice is that if you have the money, then don’t take it out. These little details, from the itineraries to the welcome bags, cocktail table centerpieces, lush ceremony installs, and statement pieces have a large effect on the whole vibe of the event. You don’t need to go over the top, but do add details where you can.

If it’s really something that you cannot afford, then obviously remove it. But if you’re cutting a $500 USD expense for your $600 USD Jimmy Choo’s – then I say buy them both. Buy them both because it really does make a difference. It is all in the details.

The most frequent thing that I hear people say is that we were the best value for their investment. The next is “I’m so glad I took your advice on the flowers.”

Every single wedding is different, and we approach them all differently based on our client’s needs.

If I know you’re on a budget, I’m not going tell you to get the different glassware; I’m not going tell you to rent the flatware. If I know you’re on a budget, I’ll do my best to make sure we are working within your parameters.

WHAT ARE THE TOP LUXURY HOTEL VENUES IN CABO RIGHT NOW?

Now there are so many GREAT options that are wedding-friendly.
I’ve noticed that my clients like to follow international brands. It’s been fun for us to follow them too, especially throughout Mexico. We have started doing weddings in Mayakoba, Punta Mita, San Miguel Allende, and Cancun.

Some of the best hotel brands in Cabo that I fond to be especially suited to weddings are Auberge resort, Chileno Bay Resorts and Residences, and Esperanza. These venues are accommodating, have beautiful venue spaces, and competitive pricing. The Montage is a wonderful hotel nestled in the beautiful Santa Maria Bay, which has quickly become a favorite for our clients.

The Waldorf Astoria, The Cape, and Hacienda Residences are three fabulous venues for those who like to be close to all the Cabo action, but want that 5-Star vibe as well as proximity to Cabo restaurants and beaches. Coming soon is the Four Seasons Resort Cabo San Lucas. The options keep getting better and better. With more hotel and venue options comes more ways to approach the cost of a Cabo wedding.

On the San Jose del Cabo end, you have the iconic Las Ventanas hotel which is known for its ultra-luxury service. The newest luxury hotel is Zadun, a Ritz Carlton Reserve in San Jose Del Cabo, which is an exceptional resort with a desert tropical feel and a luxurious and calming environment for weddings, corporate events, and weekend getaways.

Here’s to planning your dream Cabo destination wedding and here’s to us being here to help!!

Cheers,