How to budget for your wedding abroad

Confused about wedding costs abroad, here is your ultimate guide Part 1.

Are you just starting out on your wedding journey and have absolutely no idea where to start financially, or ever wondered how much money you need for a wedding in abroad, well we have you covered.

While this blog will cover a broad range of possible needs and wants, we also want to ensure we highlight what is essential and non-essential as each destination / venue will come with their own set of rules / conditions of booking.  This information can be used generically for you to consider, however we will focus more on Santorini, and will cover Spain and Crete in additional blogs. – Spoiler alert, we only plan weddings in these 3 destinations.


Your Budget – why is it important for your wedding planner to know your budget from the outset of your enquiry?  Simple answer is, so we can manage expectations and provide you with the best information we have based on the information you provide us.  It is important to remember that making an enquiry today, does not mean your wedding will cost the same in 2024 as it may do in 2025 or 2026, so you need to be prepared for the continuing increases that we are seeing.

We often receive wedding enquiries that list a budget of £10,000.00 to £15,000.00  or this could Euro or Dollars , and the number of guests that you may be considering to invite is 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90.  While this number is not finalised until around 60 days before your wedding day, you need to understand the potential financial implications/costs of inviting so many people and some really easy maths will help you decide from the outset your affordability.

Important – when considering your budget, your wedding planner really needs an idea of the money you have just for the wedding, not your entire budget that covers flights, hotels or wedding attire and rings.  We really need to know what you are comfortable spending and here are some items you may or may not have considered within the budget you may have.


The list below is a generic guide, and you do not have to have everything we have listed, and some of what we have listed we will delve into more detail for you on venue hire, food, drinks, photography, Videography and planning fees.

  • Planning and Coordination Fees.
  • Venue hire fees.
  • Food and possibly drinks per person, if you use a catering company there could be additional costs, set up, service charges corkage fee.
  • Transportation fees for not only the couple, but your guests.
  • Symbolic service fee or Civil /Legal fees (which includes paperwork and translations etc).
  • Photography + possible travel fees, accommodation fees and VAT (Value Added Tax).
  • Videography + possible travel fees, accommodation fees and VAT.
  • Entertainment – DJ, Musician, performer, possible travel fees, accommodation fees and VAT.
  • Lighting – such as fairy lights, Edison lights, uprights, screen projection, chandeliers.
  • Floral – types of flower, time of year, how many tables require decor, gazebo/arch decor / how many bouquets, button holes etc + delivery and set up fees are usually not included in the price.
  •  Beauty – hair and makeup + possible trials.
  • Fireworks from small fountains to aerial fireworks.
  • Cake – how many tiers, how many guests, the filling and flavour type.
  • Champagne tower.
  • Additional extras – chairs, tables, creative / bespoke design work, tableware, stage,
    • (event decor rentals significantly make a difference to your budget).
  • Tips which is usually customary.
  • Vendors meals – this is a meal you pay for in addition to your guests, it is for the suppliers supporting your day, photo/video, DJ, entertainer, planning team.



Venues all of their own polices, and some of these are mandatory polices, which means in order to have your wedding event at their venue, you agree to these polices and these may and usually do have an impact on your budget.

Venue Hire Fees

Almost all of the venues we work with have a venue hire fee and in most cases, couples opt for a ceremony and reception (C&R) at the same venue, but on occasion they split the venues and have a wedding ceremony on a terrace and their reception at a restaurant, this usually happens in Santorini, and for the purpose of this blog, we will focus on the C&R at the same venue.

Depending on the venue, an average rental cost usually based on 8 to 9 hours is from €3,400.00 to €5,200.00 – there are some venues with much higher rental costs and this rental fee is for a set period of time which is usually between 8 and 9 hours.


While may all love a Gyros, this is not the standard food at a wedding reception, and the venues all have menus for your to choose from.  If we were to base an average food price per person from 4 venues, the cost for the cheapest menu is approximately €85.00 per person.  You now need to multiply the minimum food cost for what is usually a basic meal by the number of anticipated guests.

  • €85 x 40 guests = €3,400.00
  • €85 x 50 guests = €4,250.00
  • €85 x 60 guests = €5,100.00
  • €85 x 70 guests = €5,950.00
  • €85 x 80 guests = €6,800.00

Side note – some wedding venues and catering companies expect a service charge that may range from 3% to 15% on the total food costs, so you need to factor in additional money here.



Not all, but a majority of the venues in Santorini have a mandatory drinks policy.  This means you must purchase a drinks package for everyone attending the event and this package can be either based on a price per person per hour, or a price for a drinks package based on a number of hours.  There are very few of the mainstream venues in Santorini that offer a cash bar, which means your guests can actually purchase drinks themselves over the bar, this is because the venue or catering company does not have a cash bar licence or they do not want to apply for one, so the below information is aimed at venues that do not allow a cash bar.

Note: there are a very limited number of venues that do have a cash bar option, or a mandatory drinks package option for a number of hours and a cash bar option. 

Remember, some drinks packages DO NOT include spirits or even beer, so a basic drinks package may initially look cheap, but who wants to drink wine for 7 hours?  This then forces you increase the package to include different types of alcohol and with this increase comes the price hike.

The average price you need to consider for a lot of venues based on 8 hours NOT including spirits but including wine, beers and soft drinks:

  • Ceremony period – 2 hours total €31.00 per person
  • Reception period – 6 hours €78.00 to €125.00 per person average price = €101.50 per person
  • Ceremony €31.00 + Reception €101.50 = €132.50


Therefore you need to calculate between €100.00 and around €132.50 for each guest. (some venues charge more, some charge less)

  • €100x 40  = €4,000.00
  • €100 x 50 = €5,000.00
  • €100 x 60 = €6,000.00
  • €100 x 70 = €7,000.00
  • €100 x 80 = €8,000.00


  • €132.50 x 40 = €5,300.00
  • €132.50 x 50 = €6,625.00
  • €132.50 x 60 = €7,950.00
  • €132.50 x 70 = €9,275.00
  • €132.50 x 80 =  €10,600.00


Quick recap on your potential costs at this early stage.

So far you have considered potential venue costs, potential food costs per person, potential drinks costs per person and you need to add all of these costs up.  If we have already exceeded your budget at this very early stage, then you may need to reconsider a few things.

Can you reduce your guest numbers?

Can you increase your budget?

Are there cheaper alternatives?

Maybe consider a new destination that is cheaper?


Photography and Videography

This is another area where you really need to consider your costs.

We are seeing pricing from €1,700.00 up to €6,000.00 for wedding photography, and an average price is around the €3,000.00 mark for photography only.

We are seeing pricing from €1,700.00 up to €5,000.00 for wedding Videography, and an average price is around the €3,000.00 mark for Videography only.

Some professionals do not include VAT in their pricing, and may also charge you for travel and accommodation.


Planning and Coordination

These prices vary from planner to planner, and you need to make sure that you know exactly what service you are getting for your money.

Some couples require coordination only, this is not a service we offer.  Our time is dedicated to planning and coordinating your event.  Planning and coordination fees can start from as little as 1000.00 Euro or Pounds Sterling up to 5000.00 Euro or Sterling.  So you need to ask your planner what their fees are, and if these fees could increase or decrease.


We will continue in a second post soon that covers everything else we have listed.  We hope this initial information gives you a really good insight into the possible costs you could be potentially exposed to, and the biggest tips we have for you is to budget in advance, do not not overstretch yourselves financially, prioritise your needs and wants, be realistic about your budget, and  never be pressured by anyone into booking something you are not 100% committed to.

See you soon in the second part 🙂