All the details without the price tag
After they've decided that they want an all-out vacation with their friends and family, the next step is doing so on a budget. Millennials care tremendously about the personalization and detail, but they're cost-conscious and on the hunt for a deal.
According to the Knot's 2016 Romance Travel Study, the average couple spends $27,227 for an international destination wedding. Apple Vacations sees budgets lower, hovering around $15,000. And Kelly Poling, senior vice president of marketing for Karisma Hotels & Resorts sees budgets around $28,000 for millennial destination weddings.
"Millennials spend less on destination weddings overall," Mullen said, "but they are a key demographic for any agency looking to increase its groups business."
Millennials also opt for smaller weddings to keep costs down, and they expect their guests to pay their own way. The motto of millennials when it comes to destination weddings is, "Those who really want to be there will be there."
"Millennials are saying, 'If you want to come, come, and we'll supply a welcome party and activities," Lockard-Furry said. "It's more approachable for them to invite people to come because people are paying for their rooms."
As with most things millennial, the bottom line is about acquiring experiences, not things. They view destination weddings as a way to bring those they love together to create lasting memories. This is also combined with customized experiences, great food and wow moments that cater specifically to their tastes.
Diana Diaz de Leon, the weddings manager at the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen, said millennials "are focused on details and the experience they can have. They are asking for entertainment for guests, like water drums or dancers at the beach. They want their wedding to be about experiences for the guests."
Scott Wiseman, president of Travel Impressions, observed, "While some millennials may have money to spend, the majority are looking for value-adds that can make the wedding unique. They are the generation of the online shopper and of the age of the influencer, so it becomes a balancing act for them to find the best price while keeping their standards Instagram-worthy. Things like a special venue at the resort or a rooftop ceremony can often do the trick."
Destinations that continue to be most popular for millennial weddings are Riviera Maya and Jamaica. But more niche destinations like Tulum and Sayulita in Mexico, and even farther afield locations like Costa Rica, Canada and Europe are in play.