So you’ve decided that you want to have a beautiful destination wedding in Punta Cana, but you haven’t selected a venue yet. It’s not that easy, right? You’re comparing all-inclusive resorts vs. private venues and you’re not sure which is going to be the better choice for your special day. How do you choose a wedding venue with so many options to consider?
Some couples love the comfort and extra perks that come from booking a resort wedding. Others love the flexibility and privacy that off-resort venues offer. There are a ton of factors to consider (don’t worry, we’ll take a look at them here) and honestly, you can’t go wrong with either one!
But I’m not gonna lie:
I’m all about the off-resort venues in Punta Cana. If it’s a competition, I’m voting for the private venues every time. I chose Jellyfish Restaurant for my own wedding, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. And don’t get me wrong, the resorts in Punta Cana are amazing. But you just can’t beat the communication, customization, and overall value that off-resort venues provide.
Let’s look at some pros and cons to compare all-inclusive resorts vs. private venues for your destination wedding, and then you can decide which option is best for you.
All-Inclusive Resort Weddings in Punta Cana
Welcome to paradise! The resorts in Punta Cana will take your breath away. And I’m not just talking about the crystalline beaches – although they tend to have that effect, too. The gardens and landscaping in these resorts are incredible. Flowing with tropical flowers and greenery. Palm trees galore. You’ll feel like you’re in heaven.
Plus, they make life easy. With everything in one place, you’ll have nothing to stress about during your entire vacation. So it only makes sense that you’d consider having your wedding on the resort, too. It’s a great option! But… not everything that glitters is gold.
Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of having a resort wedding in Punta Cana.
Pros of all-inclusive resorts vs. private venues
- There are tons of options to choose from for your ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception locations. You can get married on the beach, under a gazebo, in the gardens, or on a rooftop terrace. Maybe you want to choose a poolside location instead. Or glam it up with an elegant reception in the ballroom. Your options are virtually limitless.
- All of the events take place in the same general area. You don’t need to worry about transporting your guests to and from the resort or forgetting anything in your room, you are literally steps away from your hotel room at all times.
- Wedding packages may be cheaper than outside venues. Based on the number of rooms you book, you may even qualify for a complimentary wedding package.
- Many resorts offer perks for the bride and groom based on the wedding package you choose and the number of rooms you book. Think romantic dinners, room upgrades, couple’s massages, and/or a welcome party for your guests. Sounds pretty nice, right?
Cons of resort weddings
- Resorts can feel like wedding factories. They may have multiple weddings per day so you’re one of many brides getting married that day, instead of the only bride.
- There are only certain times of the day for wedding ceremonies to start. You may be stuck with a ceremony at 2 pm in the middle of August (when the sun is at its strongest and you know you’ll all be sweating buckets).
- You have to use the resort’s on-site vendors. Otherwise, they will charge you expensive vendor fees to bring in your own crew (like your fave photographer or hair and makeup artist).
- Communication is slowwwwwwwww. Expect your wedding planners to take weeks (or months) to respond to your inquiries. Hint: This is the single most difficult thing and the most common complaint we receive from our resort brides so please don’t take this lightly! It can make the wedding planning process seem very difficult.
The pros and cons are pretty even here. Resort weddings are beautiful, and when it comes to the cons I always say if you know what to expect, your experience is going to be much better.
Now let’s take a look at the alternative.
Private Wedding Venues in Punta Cana
Many brides choose all-inclusive resorts vs. private venues for their wedding because they don’t know about the other options. They think that’s the simplest choice. Or the cheapest. But there are other options to consider!
The private venues in Punta Cana are spectacular! Kukua Beach Club, Jellyfish Restaurant, and Huracan Cafe are my top picks, and you will be blown away by their wedding decor, food, and service. Not to mention their stellar wedding planners who make it easy to plan a destination wedding from hundreds of miles away.
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of a private wedding venue for your destination wedding.
Pros of a private wedding venue in Punta Cana
- You have complete customization for your wedding day. No cookie-cutter packages to choose from. You decide what you want and how you want it. Food, drinks, desserts, decor, flowers, you name it. They’ll take care of it all for you.
- Your wedding is the only one happening that day. You get to feel special and be the center of attention. Isn’t that what you deserve? This also means you get to choose the wedding timeline that works for you.
- Privacy. Need I say more? Off-resort wedding venues are located in private areas of the beach so there are fewer people around to photobomb your wedding photos. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any tourists walking down by the beach stopping to see what’s going on, but it’ll be far less than at a resort.
- The food is soooo good! It will hands-down be the best meal of your entire vacation. The drinks, cake, and desserts are delicious, too.
- No vendor fees! Bring in the team that you want to work with for your special day without having to pay an arm and a leg for them to be there.
- The wedding planners are amazing! Their communication far exceeds that of the resort, and you can tell they truly care about you and your wedding day. They’ll make you feel special, and they’ll do everything they can to ensure you have an amazing wedding in Punta Cana.
- You have to leave the resort. Okay, the venue will arrange transportation, but still… It’s not as simple as walking out of your hotel room like it is in the resort. You have to coordinate all of the pickup times and make sure your guests arrive at the lobby on time for transportation. Remember, you’ll be at the venue getting ready so you’ll really have to trust your guests with this one.
- The same applies to returning home at the end of the night. Maybe you have young kids in your group or you know your grandparents will want to leave early. They’ll have to wait for the transportation and can’t just walk back to their rooms whenever they want.
- The space is limited. You don’t have as many options to choose from for your ceremony, cocktail, and reception locations, and they are all open-air spaces (ie. no air conditioning). Plus there are fewer bathrooms on-site.
So what do you think? In my opinion, the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to private venues, but who am I to say? You may have your dealbreakers or you may have already fallen in love with a certain resort. Are you still on the fence?
Let’s get to the question I know is burning at the back of your mind.
All-Inclusive Resorts vs. Private Venues: Which is cheaper?
I know this is one of your biggest concerns. You have a budget to work with, and you want to stay within that budget, right? You want to get the best value for your money and also ensure you have an amazing destination wedding experience. I totally get it!
But here’s the hard part:
The cost of your destination wedding depends on so many different factors that it’s impossible to give a clear answer here. There’s not one set price for every wedding. Some brides have found that a resort wedding was cheaper than a private venue. Others have found the opposite to be true.
It all depends on what you envision for your day – and the big one – how many guests you have. Sadly, you’ll have to do the hard work for this. Reach out to your favorite wedding venues and all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana to find out about their pricing and compare your options. Don’t forget to include tax and vendor fees into the equation as these can make or break your wedding budget.
Also, take into consideration the other factors that contribute to your wedding day. Price is one important factor, but it’s not the only one.
I personally found the best value at an off-resort venue. Based on the customizable packages, breathtaking decor, amazing food and drinks, and incredible service. It was a no-brainer. But you may find a stronger connection with an all-inclusive resort. And that’s totally fine, too!
All-Inclusive Resorts vs. Private Venues for your Punta Cana Wedding
So what’s the verdict? By comparing the details above about all-inclusive resorts vs. private venues in Punta Cana, you should have an idea by now. At the end of the day, you get to decide which venue feels right for you. I truly mean it when I say you can’t go wrong! You’ve already made a great decision by choosing to have a destination wedding in Punta Cana.
So take your time when selecting a venue. Talk to the wedding planners to see who you vibe with most. Check out photos and videos of past weddings. Read online reviews. If you have the chance, you can even take a trip to Punta Cana to tour the venues in person. Or find tips on how to choose a venue without ever seeing it in person. Then decide which venue is the right fit for your wedding day.
Whether it’s an all-inclusive resort or a private venue, you’re going to have a spectacular time in Punta Cana, and I know you’ll have an amazing wedding day.