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€20K is a Small Budget For A Destination Wedding in Portugal and Here Is Why

Quite frankly, this statement feels a little itchy to me and it might feel the same to you as well.

When in life do you spend a significant amount in kind-of-one-purchase only? When buying a car? Or when purchasing furniture for your new house? For most people, €20K is not an amount you spend on a daily base and for many it is considered a little fortune.

Bride and groom posing in front of large dark green entrance doors, flanked by greens and old walls

Photocredits: Nuno Ferreira Photography

Before we start unpacking the meaning of this bold statement that "€ 20K is considered a small budget for a destination wedding in Portugal", we will start with a little disclaimer. Gently note that we are not saying that it isn't possible to organise a destination wedding in Portugal for less than € 20K. Our statement is based on benchmark values (for further information read this article), based on fifty wedding guests and what we call "the essentials" for duly organising a wedding in Portugal. We only consider local expenses in the budget.

Also, make sure that you grab our Free Budget Simulation (link below) that will provide you with further insights in three benchmark budgets, so that you can get a better idea of your budget´s worth in Portugal.

Portugal an Affordable Destination

Many couples envision Portugal as an affordable wedding haven, with its quaint villages, golden beaches, endless vineyards and delicious cuisine and vinho. The truth is, while Portugal offers incredible value for money in many aspects of life, weddings can be a different story altogether. €20,000 might sound like a hefty sum (and in fact it is). But when it comes to hosting a destination wedding, it is essential to manage expectations and budget wisely.

A wedding budget of € 20K is perfectly feasible, if:

👉 You organise a wedding with 50 guests or less:

👉 You contract the essential vendors only:

👉 You work with what the venue has to offer (this may mean that you won't have an al-fresco dinner if the venue doesn't provide enough facilities, meaning that you would need to contract this separately):

👉 You contract low to medium priced (often less experienced, but not necessarily less qualified) vendors:

👉 You don´t organise a pre and/or post wedding event that has to be considered included in this budget.

When the Budget gets strained

Everything you wish to include beyond what is listed above, will impact your budget or the way your allocate your funds. If you are planning to organise your Destination Wedding in Portugal with a budget of €20K, but one of the following applies to your wishes and ideas, your budget will certainly get more strained or worse, won't be feasible for what you envision:

  • You will have more than 50 guests: the number of wedding guests will impact your budget the most. Besides the costs of catering, you will also need to add guest number related costs such as transportation, floral arrangements, furniture rentals, stationery, wedding cake and possibly babysitting service and/or kids entertainment.

  • You want to organise a pre and/or post events: pre and post wedding events are often underestimated in terms of costs. Couples envision a ´simple welcome drink´ or a low key brunch the day after, but in fact a pre or post wedding event is a small (potentially simplified) event on its own. Meaning that the venue often charges an additional fee for pre or post events - even if you have a full buy out (exclusivity). In this article you will find everything you need to know about planning a pre or post wedding event and you will learn more about the costs involved.

  • You want to pay for accommodation for (a part of) your guests: this also can be a significant chunk out of your budget, meaning that you may need to let go of some vendors if your budget doesn't allow any margin.

  • Your ceremony will take place in another venue than the reception: besides an additional fee, you may also need extra transportation to transport guests from one to the other venue, you may require more floral arrangements as it may be unfeasible to repurpose floral arrangements.

  • You have booked a venue that doesn´t provide all the facilities you require for plan A or plan B. (e.g. outdoor lighting for an al-fresco dinner or a salon where you can fit all of your guests in case of less fortunate weather conditions). This means that you have to rent this separately, which can easily add up.

Bride and groom walking up a stairs, while groom holds the bride´s dress.

Photocredit: Nuno Ferreira Photography

So if you expect to have 70 wedding guests, you have a budget of € 20.000,- and you wish to organise a welcome cocktail the day before your wedding or you want to pay for accommodation for your closest relatives? In that case a budget of €20K – despite the fact that this is a hell-lot of money – is considered a (very) SMALL BUDGET for your destination wedding in Portugal.

Unfeasible Budget

We hate to bring it this way, but most couples expect way more than they actually can afford. This alone is a good recipe for increased stress levels, as couples are struggling to meet their expectations while they see their expenses adding up and often exceeding their budget even before finalising the entire wedding organisation.

Although Portugal is known as an affordable wedding destination, couples don't like to make concessions to the quality of the experience for themselves and their guests. The thought of getting more value for their money in Portugal, makes couples often (a little) too optimistic about their budget´s worth.

Prioritise & Allocate Your Funds Wisely

We always recommend to list your priorities even before you start planning your wedding, so that you are both clear on what is most important to you. Your funds should be allocated according to your priorities, as wedding planning comes with lots of choices and you want to make sure that your decisions are in line with what is most important to you.

Did you just find out that your budget should actually be defined as a small budget for the wedding that you envision? (e.g. you have a budget of €20K, you expect 80 guests and besides the wedding day, you want to invite your guests for pre and post gatherings). Then you will have to make smart choices. This can either mean that you decide against certain vendors, or you may look for friendlier priced services.

Can I Actually Afford a Wedding Planner?

When your budget gets seriously strained, it is a rightful to question whether you can (or want) to afford a wedding planner. Whereas a Wedding Planner can be of great help to align your expectations to your budget and help you get the most out of your budget, a full wedding planning service often comes with a price tag - especially when you want to work with an experienced wedding planner with a good portfolio.

Alternatively, many wedding planners offer a partial wedding planning service for smaller budgets or you may want to consider to hire a wedding planner as coordinator on the day only, so that you can enjoy your big day with peace of mind as he or she will be in charge of the vendors, the logistics, the planning and be a helping hand for you and your guests.

In case you feel confident to plan your destination wedding yourselves, but you just want a little guidance along the way, we provide a Wedding Planning Support Service. With this service we will meet you at whatever stage you are in the wedding planning journey. This service includes a 2-hour Consultation and we will answer all your questions so that you can move forward with confidence. If you want to learn more about this service, submit our contact form and we will be in touch with you within 24 hours.

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