How much does Decor cost in a Destination Wedding?

Its been couple of years I wrote about “Cost of hosting a Destination Wedding in Udaipur” and “cost of hosting a Destination Wedding in Goa”. With over a MILLION reads/views so far, while the Articles gave a very actionable insights about the overall budget, it still leaves you with a big question “how much does decor cost in a Destination Wedding?”

Before jumping on the numbers, let me give you some insight about what is decor, what does it cover, who does it and how

When and why you need to have an idea of decor cost?
First of all, cost of Decor is essentially the biggest cost besides the stay and food. While cost of stay and meals could be known outrightly and precisely towards beginning of planning phase, cost of decor is something which remains redundant, confusing and at times nerve breaking.

This is one reason why you would like to understand a ballpark number for the cost of decor as per the location and venue you are planning to finalise. Its very important to factor in this cost in the overall budget you have in mind to later avoid “budget-expectations mismatch”.

What actually consists a decor and decor cost?
Decor consists of all the visual elements those are added to the aesthetics of venue to make the venues look better, festive and in sync with the event to be held.

When we use the term decor, we refer to some of the most important aspects :
1. Basic setup (traditionally called “Tent work”) which consist of all the body/structure of the decor like Platforms, Trussing, draping, Carpeting, Banquet and decorative Furniture, Linens, Props, Upholstery, Chandeliers, Vessels and Vases etc.

2. Floral decor & floral arrangements

3. Illumination of venues, ambience lighting, mood lighting, candle lights, light effects for Stage/Dance Floor, dramatic lighting, intelligent lighting etc. This is also coupled with the Power Supply which is generally by Silent Genset.

4. Sound and AV equipment, DJ Console and related gadgets, LED Walls, Sound equipment related structures and furniture.

5. Detailing elements which have no limit actually, right from selection of specific material of linen, dying it to the color palette, custom printing it, personalised Seating plan and Name Cards, personalised Chimes for Champagne glasses, matching Napkins, Accent Cutlery, Crystal Glasses, Favour boxes, Stationary with personalised Logo, preferred scented candles, Photo ops, its actually limitless.

6. Labour and Transport of the above suppliers, setting up for destination wedding is way more challenging than setting up an independent venue. We run on very strict timelines and high standard of safety.

7. Consultation fee of Creative team/Designer

Who play creative and visualise the Decor?
This is another important question specially when you wish to actively get involved into design and conceptualising process.

A decor agency may or may not be able to put creative ideas on the table but they are the ones who execute all the ideas.

Depending upon your wedding planner, visuals you have in mind, how original or inspired you want it to be, budget and time available .. the Wedding Planner Team may be able to design and plan the whole decor or may need to hire external designer/s to do it. Its always advisable to look at the previous work, get convinced with approach and ask “who designed it”.

As a Wedding Planner, I also give an option to my clients/couples to either make use of internal creative team or source in a Designer.

A designer would of course cost extra and in general approach the detailing to suit much higher than average decor cost.

What if you already have your Homework done?
The possible scenarios

1. You have a very clear idea of colours, themes/experiences and the elements you wish to see as a part of decor. You may not know what would fit in the budget you are aiming, availability and suitability of those elements and most importantly how they fit into the “layout” as usable decor.

2. You may have some preferences of selective elements that you have liked over internet but they do not connect the dots to have an executable plan in place.

3. You would rather like to leave it to creative freedom of the Wedding Planner or Designer to come up with ideas and in the process you participate in selection of elements that need your choice to be reflected.

All the above scenarios impact the cost of decor in good and bad way.

We contacted a couple of Wedding Planners and Decorators with same decor ideas and received different expected cost, why?
First of all approaching anyone with handful pictures of decor and asking for a budget estimate itself is a wrong approach because the decor is always in context to events and experience you are planning, the venue, the weather, the time of event, budget and so on. Its a long process to reach the cost of certain decor as against it being a ready-to-deliver product.

Let me quote ONLY some examples you may like to observe with any Decor reference picture you may have handy
1. At this stage you would not know if you need all fresh flowers or the silk flowers are usable too? If the flowers you have in reference picture are available in particular month or not, are they local or imported an so on.
2. Venue illumination could tastefully be done using latest LED lights or could also be bright lit (like a football stadium) using high powered Halogen lights. Cost of LED lights could be 10 times than of Halogen.
3. What are the specifications of sound equipment?

While quoting you based on a few decor reference pictures, there could be tens of above factors that need to be considered and therefore without a proper approach, asking only for a number to tag to your reference picture would never work. It will only leave you more confused and doubtful.

Who executes the Decor?
Its always the Decor suppliers (individual teams of the Tent work, Floral, Sound, Lights etc who executes the decor which has been planned. Your Wedding Planner in most of the cases could add up to the very detailing elements and personalisations on their own but they outsource most of the part to external agencies.

Please do not get confused between a Decor agencies and a Wedding Planner, they are two different professionals with two entirely different roles to play. If a Decor company offers you a “complimentary wedding planner”, always question the capability and areas of expertise.

So how to find out approximate/minimum cost of decor?
Reading this article until here should give you a sense that there could not be a straight forward number to quote or imagine. Specially if you have just started planning a Destination Wedding, there is no way you can jump to an accurate number even by a mile. Doesn’t matter if you have reference pictures from internet of what you have in mind.

The best way to approach this cost is looking for answers for following questions
1. Does the Venue/Hotel has any fixed decor suppliers on board and you have limited option to work with them? If yes, what is the minimum budget that you should keep aside to engage one of them?

This minimum budget would be your starting point and you could always move upwards subject to capability of in-house decor team of a Hotel/Venue.

2. If you are allowed to bring in your own Decorator/Creative Team of Wedding Planner or a professional designer, what is the minimum order size they work with. What is the fee/charges for design aspect.

This minimum order size from various suppliers (base setup, floral, lights, sound, design and detailing etc. would become your starting point. In this case sky is the upper limit for how much you can spend but relying on a reputed wedding planner or a designer whose style you have liked would be an idea situation.

3. If you already have an overall budget in mind you have set aside for setup and decor, you should immediately share it with the Wedding Planner or a Decorator or Hotel’s in-house decor agency and ask them for their reference to what they could create for you for the budget in reference to the venues and events you are planning. Most probably, they should be able to quote some examples from previous work to give you a better idea of what you should be aiming.

How much is an average budget for the decor we have executed in past?
We often work with premium Palatial venues and luxurious Beach Resorts, the weddings we plan range from 100 to 300 guests and the style we adopt is “element based” minimalistic and classy design which compliment the aesthetics of beautiful venue you have chosen. We add a great deal to the specifics and detailing elements.

We equally focus on aspects like a practical layout, a functional decor (as against creating large structures which are never used but only serve as filler or a photo op) and most importantly everything that reflects your own taste and personality.

A two to three days wedding events with afternoon and evening setups, we work with decor budgets between Rs. 20 lakh to 75 lakh. This budget is allocated to the various decor agencies to not only execute the planned designs but also meet their minimum order size which is very important to engage reputed agencies.

Does this budget increases or decreases with the number of guests we plan to have? For example I only have 75 guests attending and venue is a Palatial location.
Yes, the budget for the decor and design you have in mind is impacted not only by the number of guests but also with the size of venue and areas to be decorated. There are certain costs which doesn’t change with the number of guests like basic venue embellishment, lights, sound etc and this is why there is always a basic minimum number.

Are there less costlier options available?
Yes, as explained above, the cost of decor is combination of various factors but its subject to a minimum order size which various decor suppliers expect and consider viable. The decor that looks exactly same in pictures could also have different cost points.
Hint : Its not only about “what” but also about “how” and “how timely”.

We have no practical constraint to upper budget limit, what could you create for us?
We are very resourceful, we can line up the best of setup designers, florists, light and sound consultants, stylists to produce something wonderful and unique. We would still stick to our core ideology of creating something which adds to the overall experience of a Destination Wedding.

Your Wedding should be memorable for the happy moment you create during those magical days, how you decorated the venues should only reinforce the experience.

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