By Maria from Boracay
When I first got the assignment to write about weddings in Boracay, I thought it’d be a piece of (wedding) cake. I’ve lived here all my life and my mom makes wedding cakes for a living, it should be easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, right? Venues here, photographer there, done.
I was wrong. I underestimated the hundreds of variations of a destination wedding here in Boracay. Pretty soon I was asking my hypothetically engaged self: do you want a beach wedding? Ceremony in a garden? Indoors? And how many people…
This hotel bundles a spa day, and this one has free accommodations – it’s beginning to look more like difficult-difficult-lemon-squeezy.
And my god – the cost. I knew weddings aren’t cheap, but I didn’t think they’d be this expensive. I remember the first time I opened the brochure from The Lind, a gasp escaped from me. It was like an out-of-body experience.
But to all the engaged people reading this, don’t worry we’ll get through this together…
After sifting through all the wedding packages that I could get my hands on, I made sure to only include the things that are worth their price tags. Below are the best of the bunch, as well as some tips and recommendations from yours truly.
The 3 Best Beach Wedding Packages
Boracay is synonymous with powdery white sands. Hence, on the island there’s no better location to say your vows than on one of its white beaches.
The surrounding resorts have taken note of this and so wedding packages were born, inclusive of everything that the bride and groom need.
Below are the best of all the packages that I’ve researched.
Mövenpick Resort and Spa
The package from Mövenpick Resort and Spa covers all your bases: a beach ceremony, cocktails and a reception. But what I like about this package is all the luxurious little treats they’ve included, such as…
A spa treatment, a complimentary steaming and pressing service for the wedding attires and a bridal buggy, among other things. These are the little luxuries you don’t plan about and I love the fact that Mövenpick included them for you.
Their location is stunning at Punta Bunga Beach, and the resort itself is top notch. So all these are just the icing on your delicious wedding cake (also included in the package, by the way).
The price for the first fifty people it comes around ~$10,600 and then ~$150 per guest after that. If this sounds like a good fit for you, contact them for the full list of what’s included.
Tip: They consider June 1- October 31 to be their low season. Perfect for a June bride to get the best deals in accommodations.
Shangri-La Resort and Spa
The package from Shangri-La Resort and Spa is the best of the best. The ceremony takes place at Punta Bunga Beach, and the reception is outdoors too. I can say with confidence that if you get married here, your guests will talk about the place for the months to come.
They have Poi dancers, drum beaters, a DJ, a dance floor, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. I’m most excited about the couples massage for the newlyweds, because Shang-ri La’s Chi Spa is very good.
I love how broad this package is too, so you won’t be limited in your wedding feast. There are six unique menus to choose from, all curated by their own culinary team. I saw the menus and there are about 30 individual dishes for each one.
The most important information. The Price. For the best menu it’s ~$8,900 for the first 50 guest and ~$84/guest after that. Or you can also avail the bigger option of ~$13,300 for the first 100 guests and ~$80/guest after that. Choosing any of the other menus will decrease the price.
See my review of Shangri-La Boracay for more in-depth info about the resort.
The package from The Lind is the most customizable in this list. They’ve separated the ceremony from the reception.
This means you can have a smaller ceremony followed by a big party afterwards and only pay for what you use. You can even have either of the two events outside of the resort, so if you’re planning church wedding then this is perfect for you.
When you have your ceremony at the resort, you’re spoiled for choice, since they have 3 different venues: a huge infinity pool, White Beach in Station 1, and their ballroom deck.
Some of my favorite features from their reception package are the inclusion of a bottle champagne for the wedding toast. There being a menu tasting for 2, so you can have a preview of the dishes before your big day. And lastly, the fire dancers.
The price for the ceremony is ~$860 for 30 guests and $1,430 for 50 to 100 guests. For the reception, their most expensive menu is ~$8,600 for the first 100 guests and ~$70/guest after that. If you have fewer people or choose a different menu the price will go down.
This is just a small sample of what’s included. They also have a dozen addons to choose from, so if a curated beach wedding is what you have in mind, The Lind Boracay is a good choice.
Other Venues to Consider
If you love the island aesthetics but aren’t too concerned about having a beach wedding, here are the other options that you have:
- Holy Rosary Parish, catholic church, (036) 288 2623
- Discovery Shores
- Asya Premier Suites
- Fridays Boracay
- Crimson Resort And Spa
- Sea Wind Resort
- Fairways & Bluewater
- Ambassador In Paradise
- Paradise Garden Resort
- Two Seasons Resort
- White House Boracay
- Estacio Uno
- Mandarin Island Hotel
- The District Boracay
- Villa Caemilla
Previously, many of these venues offered beach weddings. But because of the new stricter regulations many of them don’t anymore now.
About The New Wedding Regulations
After Boracay’s rehabilitation, beach weddings have been severely limited. The government now requires resorts to have 25+5 of distance from the shoreline. Most hotels don’t meet this requirement, and those that do still find it difficult to get permits.
What this may mean for you is that your original resort may not be a viable choice anymore and if it is, it will probably be swamped with bookings.
So now, more than ever, you need to be decisive and book way in advance. Some resorts may have a "low season" rate but as a local, I can tell you that the only seasons in Boracay are high and peak. So don’t let the name lull you in a false sense of security.
I want you to have the perfect wedding that you deserve, and this is my best advice.
My Wedding Planner Recommendation
Amanda Tirol and her team
Hiring a wedding planner may sound like a luxury, but it’s just you outsourcing the time investment to a professional. The value of your time and stress saved is well worth it.
I made a point to choose the best planner on the island, and Amanda Tirol and her team stood out to me.
First of all, their scope of services and rates are impressive. Another thing is Amanda quickly answered all my questions whereas the other planners didn’t get back to me at all. Finally, she and her team have over 15 years of experience.
Some of the things that Amanda and her team can do for you are:
- Beach or church wedding and reception setup
- Wedding day, and suppliers coordination
- Sending the save the date cards, and tracking invitation responses
- Arranging the legal aspects, like applying for the marriage license, filing the marriage certificate, and getting a mayor’s permit (if needed)
- Arranging discounted accommodation and meal rates for you and your guests.
- Scheduling activities, like dinners with family and friends, playing golf, island hopping, etc.
- Arranging transportation for you and your guests
- And more, contact her for the full list
Their full wedding service costs ~$2,200. There are also more affordable options available for partial plannings.
My Photographer Recommendation
A photo taken by Donnie Magbanua, he also shot the photo at the top of this page
With such a once-in-a-lifetime event, it’s important to have a professional behind the lens to make sure all the shots are captured with skill.
I found one of the best photographers in the island to be Donnie Magbanua and his team. There are others, but I find him to be the best rated, and he answered my inquiries with knowledge and quickness.
His rates vary depending on how much of the festivities you’d like to be covered. In his most expensive package, there’s a pre-wedding shoot for 2 hours, either at sunrise or sunset. And then on the big day, three photographers and an assistant will be present from preparations, to ceremony, to reception.
During the reception, there’s a slideshow of all photographs taken on both days, and a USB stick with the soft copies will be given to the couple.
The price of this package is ~$900. That includes the accommodations of the photographers and their fares. Their lunches, however, must be provided by the couple. For a team of four people for two days with all HD pictures, that’s a steal in my opinion.
DIY Planning & Why I Don’t Recommend it
In my original draft, I had a DIY section reserved for tips on planning a wedding from scratch. But once I started my research, that route looked less and less attractive to me. Here are the 3 reasons why:
- It’s not cheaper. I wanted to provide a cheaper alternative and I thought finding an assortment of cheap venues, caterers and piecing them together is the way to go. I forgot that everything in Boracay is expensive. In fact, planning from scratch usually works out to be more expensive than packages. You’re losing all the streamlined pricing that hotels get with their big orders and connections.
- It’s a lot more work. With wedding packages, you get a dedicated personnel that coordinate things for you. They’ve done this before, worked out the kinks and they know what to expect. when planning from scratch, that personnel is you.
- It won’t be better. The best resorts to wed at usually have wedding packages that you can take advantage of. If you want a specific theme you can simply add it on the package.
The only time I can recommend DIY planning is if you want to get married in a church or at a specific spot on the island.
The Best Time to Get Married in Boracay
There’s a season for everything, especially when it comes to the perfect wedding. Not all months are created equal in Boracay, and if you’re savvy in your scheduling, you can save yourself money and stress.
Below is a guide around the island’s best weather, pricing and crowd-control.
The waters and skies of Boracay are at their most luscious during mid-December to early February. The days are crisp and clear, the nights are fresh. The waters are the clearest during this time too. The sunsets are in their pinks, golds and violets.
The temperature is just right since the cold winds of Amihan balances the bright sunny days.
If you want a true tropical scorch, March to May are the summer months here. During this time the island pulses with life, the greens are greener and the blues deeper.
Bright skies turn the ocean into a glittering horizon in the day, and the sunsets are often a warm red. The nights are mild and still.
June to October is when the weather becomes humid with pockets of rainy days. Most establishments lower their prices to entice tourists.
Always book as early as you can since hotels are risk averse beings. They prefer to accept less money now rather than wait till later. They’ll happily negotiate with you if it means securing a deal for next year.
Crowds get bigger during holidays like: New Year, Christmas, Halloween, Labor Day (May 1) Ati-atihan Festival (early January), and most March and April.
If you come around these times, I suggest arriving at least two days in advance, to account for any potential delays.
Weddings are magical celebrations of love and commitment. Yet, they can also be complicated and stressful if you let them get out control. Especially if you’re getting married on a small island tucked away in the Philippines.
I hope my research and local knowledge of Boracay has made your road to the perfect wedding a little smoother.
It gives me great joy to think that I could be part of someone’s big day, even in an indirect way. I hope to see you in Boracay soon.