Why Your “Free” Destination Wedding Package Isn’t Always Free

Travel to paradise with your closest friends and family, and earn a free destination wedding package? Seems too good to be true! Wish we could tell you otherwise, but this is a case in which it is in fact too good to be true. Whether big or small, you’re going to end up paying something for your wedding. While a destination wedding can cost a fraction of a stateside wedding, couples are often dismayed to learn that the free wedding they were banking on isn’t actually a reality. While there are a couple of very rare exceptions when we look at “free” wedding packages, it takes a trained eye to point out the red flags. Here are some of the top questions you should be prepared to ask if you’ve fallen in love with a resort based on a free wedding package.

Are there qualifying factors or minimums?

If you’re looking at the fine print, and you see that in order to qualify for a free wedding, you or your guests are required to be booked in a specific room category or for a certain amount of room nights, or both… you had better have a good idea of what this means for your guest count and for your wallet. In some cases, a resort requires a minimum amount of room nights for the entire group. This is pretty straightforward, if you have 20 rooms booked for a 3 night minimum, it would be 60 room nights. Most room night minimums to qualify for free wedding packages are going to be between 20 to 60 room nights. Another version of this has to do with the room category, so that the bride and groom or their guests need to stay in a specific room category for a minimum number of nights in order to qualify for the free package.

Are there blackout dates?

Often free wedding promotions are not available during high peak travel periods or ceremony times, such as January-March, holidays, Fridays and Saturdays or in the afternoon/evening. Be careful that you’re not counting on a free wedding if you aren’t ready to be flexible on the date and time of your wedding.

What are the package inclusions?

With almost every full priced wedding package, you’re still looking at an additional cost per person above the number of people included in the package. Typically wedding packages at all-inclusive resorts across Mexico and the Caribbean include 20-30 guests, but with a free wedding package you can be looking at just 2-10 guests included. Additionally, if you have your heart set on any of the following, you will not find them included in a free wedding package: a private dinner or dance wedding reception, a cocktail hour, or a legal ceremony. There are very few packages, free or full priced that include photography, florals and décor outside of the minimum, and musical entertainment.

What are the additional fees?

Yep, we give you the free wedding package that is not free. Even with some of the bare minimum inclusions, there are some things the resort still has to charge for, which include the services of an on-site minister or officiant.

We get something back for bringing business to the resort, don’t we? Where are the group perks?!

Yes, there are definitely some perks you’ll get for choosing to spend your special day at a resort! These are also usually contingent on how many guests you bring to the resort. It might look like a room night requirement to get you a complimentary private cocktail hour or if you have so many room nights, you’ll receive a room upgrade. Often times, resorts have a “comp” policy, which means you get the monetary value back for a specific number of people in your group. This can look something like for every 10th person staying in your group, you will receive the monetary value of the 11th passenger back to you post travel. That’s money right back in your pocket! Think of it more like a wedding rebate as opposed to money you’re getting toward the final wedding payment.

What are the pros of a free wedding package?

Free wedding packages can be a great way to get some bang for your buck! If you’re confident in hitting those qualifying thresholds, you should definitely take advantage of the opportunity. Just be sure to keep expectations in line if you’re looking to roll out all of the stops. Do your homework, and ask your Weddings by Funjet concierge about the additional fees to make sure a free wedding package is the right fit for you!

This post was written by Weddings by Funjet

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