A couple had a $100,000 budget for their destination wedding. Here's how they spent it.

A groom looks at his bride in their wedding attire. They pose in front of a tree.
Misaki and Amir Hajimirsadeghi had a destination wedding.Francisco Salas
  • Misaki and Amir Hajimirsadeghi got married on April 2.

  • The couple planned a destination wedding at Nobu Hotel Los Cabos with a budget of $100,000.

  • They managed to come in under budget and splurged on showstoppers like fireworks.

Misaki and Amir Hajimirsadeghi got married on April 2, five years after they started dating and nearly 10 years after they met.

As they started planning their wedding, Misaki and Amir wanted to prioritize not overspending.

Business Insider spoke to Misaki about how they planned their destination wedding — and came in under their $100,000 budget.

Misaki and Amir Hajimirsadeghi were friends for nearly a decade before they started dating.

A bride and groom hold hands and walk down a stone path.
The Hajimirsadeghis have been friends for years.Francisco Salas

Amir and Misaki met as freshmen in college at the University of California San Diego through a mutual friend.

"After college, he went to San Francisco," Misaki, 29, said of Amir, 28. "I was in LA, and when he moved back down to LA, where he grew up, then we reconnected and we started dating."

They've been an item since 2019, and Amir proposed in December 2022.

Today, the Hajimirsadeghis are still based in LA. Misaki is an analyst, while Amir is a software engineer and the cofounder of Faliam, a healthcare and financial platform.

After they got engaged, they examined their finances to set an overall budget.

A bride and groom look at each other in their wedding attire and walk down a stone path.
They paid for their wedding themselves.Francisco Salas

Misaki and Amir knew they would be paying for their wedding themselves, so after they got engaged, they started building a budget based on their savings and other big purchases they wanted to make soon, including a home.

Misaki told BI she and Amir "worked backward," setting aside money for a down payment on a home and several months of mortgage payments, money for car payments, and emergency funds in case they lost their jobs.

From there, they discussed how much they wanted to spend on a wedding, landing on $80,000. But everyone they knew advised them they would likely go over budget, so they set aside $100,000 for the day.

Misaki and Amir decided to have a destination wedding.

A bride and groom smile at each other in a close up shot.
Most of their guests were traveling.Francisco Salas

"Most of our family and friends are out of California, so even if we had it in LA, it would have been a destination wedding for everyone else," Misaki said of why she and Amir chose a destination wedding.

They also had guests traveling internationally from Iran and Japan, so choosing a venue outside the US didn't seem like a big leap.

"Also, we were looking at the prices of LA venues, and it was crazy," she added. "The venue fee itself was half of our wedding budget. So we quickly found out we couldn't afford to do it in LA anyways."

They picked the Nobu Hotel Los Cabos in Mexico for their nuptials.

A couple poses in their wedding attire in front of stone arches.
They got married in Mexico. Francisco Salas

Misaki knew she wanted a minimalist, black-and-white vibe for their April 2 wedding.

"The vision was very clear to me from the beginning," she said.

That aesthetic guided their venue search, and when she and Amir saw Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, they knew it would be perfect. The Nobu brand is known for its iconic Japanese restaurants frequented by celebrities and the wealthy, but it also has luxury hotels that draw in a similar crowd. The Los Cabos location is particularly popular on social media.

Nobu Hotel's buildings, which offer ocean views, are sand-toned and modern, serving as an ideal backdrop for Misaki and Amir's nuptials. They also liked that all of their guests could be in one hotel for the duration of the celebrations.

Nobu also appealed to the Hajimirsadeghis because they didn't have to pay a venue fee.

A bride and groom lock arms and look at each other.
Nobu didn't charge for the venue separately. Francisco Salas

Unlike many venues, Nobu Los Cabos didn't charge a fee to reserve the space. Instead, Misaki and Amir had to use Nobu for catering and bar services.

The catering cost $14,254, while the drinks for the open bar — a nonnegotiable for Misaki and Amir — came in at $14,606.

"Directly, that's for the food and the drinks, but indirectly, it's just the cost you pay for doing your wedding at Nobu and the cost you pay for having everyone at one hotel," Misaki said of the fee.

As is the case at many destination weddings, the Hajimirsadeghis' guests paid for their lodging. Rooms at Nobu Hotel Los Cabos vary depending on the time of year, ranging from $400 to $999 a night, according to its website.

Catering and drinks: $28,860

Misaki also found a wedding planner who could help them pull off the wedding.

A bride and groom laugh as people hold a veil over their heads.
A wedding planner made the logistics of a destination wedding easier. Francisco Salas

Misaki used Instagram to track down a wedding planner, looking at planners who had already done weddings at Nobu Los Cabos.

"I made a list of all the wedding planners who have done weddings at Nobu that I liked so I could go to them and be like, 'I want a wedding like this,'" she said.

Look At Me Brides, based in Cabo, was a perfect fit.

"If you're doing a destination wedding, I can't recommend a destination wedding planner enough," Misaki said. "I could not have done any of this. She coordinated all the communication with the vendors."

Misaki also said she and Amir told the Look At Me Brides team that their budget was $80,000, not $100,000, in the hopes it would help them stick to it.

Wedding planner: $4,640

The ceremony took place overlooking the beach, and flowers helped to create the vibe they wanted.

A bride walks down the aisle at her wedding in front of a beach. A floral arch frames the altar.
The ceremony overlooked the beach.Francisco Salas

The Hajimirsadeghis had a Persian wedding ceremony overlooking the beach. Their setup was simple, but they used white flowers to make a big impact.

Floral Dreams by Vero Romo created a detached floral arch to frame the ceremony. They stuck to white flowers throughout the day.

Flowers: $4,595

The couple didn't have to pay an officiant for their ceremony.

A floral arch and table sit in front of a beach and ocean.
The ceremony was an affordable aspect of the wedding.Francisco Salas

Amir's brother officiated their ceremony, so they didn't have to pay an officiant like many couples.

Misaki and Amir's wedding featured a Sofreh Aghd, a tradition in Persian wedding ceremonies where the bride and groom sit with a spread of items that hold symbolic meaning, including a mirror and candles, Brides reported.

The Hajimirsadeghis rented the table, mirror, and candelabras they used for their Sofreh Aghd from Yaya Rentals, while Misaki provided bowls and plates from their home collection for the other aspects of the ceremony.

Ceremony rentals: $275

Misaki wore a simple gown with a dramatic back.

A bride looks over her shoulder at her backless wedding dress.
The dress matched the minimalist aesthetic. Francisco Salas

Just as she did for the venue, Misaki first saw her wedding dress on Instagram. She knew the Made With Love gown was perfect as soon as she saw it.

"I just wanted something really simple that mimicked the minimalist, simple style that we went with for the wedding," Misaki said, adding that she liked that the dress hugged her figure because she's petite.

"I thought it was simple enough, but then it had some element of drama in the back," she said, pointing to the draping under the open back, buttons lining the gown, and the full train.

She paired the gown with platform heels from Badgley Mischka.

Dress: $3,027.78

Shoes: $130

A floor-length veil completed Misaki's bridal ensemble.

A groom looks at his bride in their wedding attire. They pose in front of a tree.
She paired the dress with a veil.Francisco Salas

Misaki chose an affordable veil from Etsy for the nuptials. It trailed behind her as she walked down the aisle.

An updo held up the veil, which was styled by Los Cabos Makeup. The company also did Misaki's natural makeup.

Veil: $152

Hair and makeup: $300

Amir splurged on his shoes.

A bride and groom pose in their wedding attire with their arms locked in front of a tree.
The shoes were from Gucci. Francisco Salas

Amir rented a tuxedo from Michael Kors for the wedding rather than buying an ensemble. But he paired the affordable tux with high-end Gucci loafers.

"I feel like everyone focuses on the bride, and it was nice to have something special for him, too," Misaki said of the shoes. "He can re-wear those to a nice dinner. It was a good investment."

Tuxedo: $200

Shoes: $1,000

Misaki mixed and matched luxury and affordable details throughout the wedding.

A suite of wedding invitations, shoes, and a wedding ring box sit atop a newspaper spread.
Misaki Hajimirsadeghi ordered her invitations online.Francisco salas

The Hajimirsadeghis' wedding had a luxury feel, but Misaki ensured they didn't unnecessarily splurge on aspects of the wedding.

For instance, they both got high-end wedding rings from Cartier, but Misaki chose invitations from Minted, which are typically more affordable than fully custom stationery. However, she told BI she thinks she could have saved more money by DIYing the invitations.

"I think a lot of people will spend a lot on their wedding dress or invitations, some of the earlier costs, because you don't know how much everything else is going to cost," she said.

Rings: $5,820

Invitations: $549

Misaki and Amir had to build out their reception space, including a dance floor.

Long tables surround a black-and-white checkerboard floor with lights hanging atop it at an outdoor wedding ceremony.
The reception was black and white. Francisco Salas

The reception occurred outside in a courtyard without lights, so the Hajimirsadeghis' planning team transformed it into a true reception space.

Misaki selected a black-and-white checkerboard dance floor from VVR PRO Cabo and strings of fairy lights from Pro-AV Los Cabos to frame it.

"We wanted to put our money toward big items that were noticeable and would be in every picture," Misaki said.

Dance floor: $3,300

Fairy lights: $2,800

Misaki and Amir stuck to their black-and-white theme with the rest of their decor.

A black table with a white runner, black vases, and white flowers. A floral arch sits behind it.
They repurposed the ceremony flowers. Francisco Salas

The couple tapped Yaya Rentals again for their black tables and chairs, as well as their bar, and they chose coordinating plates, chargers, and runners from Del Cabo Events to complete their table settings. They also used both Yaya and Del Cabo for their linens and flatware.

Misaki and Amir were also able to repurpose the floral arch from the ceremony for their reception, ensuring they got more bang for their buck.

Misaki made the day-of signage for the wedding to save money, handmaking everything from their welcome sign to their menus.

Misaki told BI she could do most of the work on a laser printer, which saved her hundreds of dollars.

"You really can't tell the difference between the professional invitations and the DIY stuff that I made," she said.

DIY materials: $100

Tables, chairs, linens, flatware, and bar: $5,740

The Hajimirsadeghis wanted to invest in wedding details that felt true to them.

A bride and groom look at a sign that says "take a shot, take a seat."
The shot wall was a fun feature of the day.Francisco Salas

For instance, Misaki didn't want to provide guests with a traditional party favor. Instead, she used that money to turn their seating chart into a shot wall made by Bunker Project Studio.

"I knew we wanted to keep the energy going after the ceremony because it's so easy to just get tired and not be in the mood to get onto the dance floor," Misaki said.

Likewise, they chose an audio guestbook from After The Tone rather than a traditional book, both because she thought it was sentimental and because she thought it would suit their event better.

"The vibe was party, and I knew a lot of my friends and family weren't gonna write a meaningful letter while drinking a cocktail," she said. "I was bawling when I got the voicemails back."

Seating chart: $1,440

Guestbook: $400

Their welcome bags had fun touches, too.

A black and white sign for "dancing shoes" sits in front of a shelf with bags of shoes on it.
They included shoe bags for their guests. Francisco Salas

Misaki and Amir provided welcome boxes for guests upon their arrival at the wedding weekend, which included white bags with black bows.

They were designed to hold guests' shoes during the beachside ceremony, allowing them to leave them behind if they didn't want to get sandy.

Welcome bags: $700

They of course had a wedding photographer, as well as a videographer.

A bride gets her groom's attention on their wedding day by tapping his arm.
The bride and groom during their first look.Francisco Salas

They hired Francisco Salas to photograph the day, from the first look to candid shots at the reception, and Allan Carrazco was their videographer.

Photographer: $4,400

Videographer: $3,364

The Hajimirsadeghis also hired a content creator for the wedding.

A bride and groom embrace wearing sunglasses.
They hired a content creator for the wedding.Francisco Salas

Misaki connected with Kaitlin McDermott of Social Hour on TikTok and hired her to create content for the wedding.

"She, in hindsight, was probably my best hire," Misaki said.

"The amount of pictures and videos that I got back from what she took of us, it's just priceless," Misaki said, adding that she loved seeing candid content, including when she changed into her gown or when her guests started limboing on the dance floor.

"You can't put a price tag on it," she added.

Content creator: $1,500

They opted for a DJ over a band.

A bride laughs as she shares a first dance with her groom on a black and white dance floor.
The couple during their first dance. Francisco Salas

"We like DJs more than a live band," Misaki said of how they selected music for the event. "We like EDM, hip-hop, that kind of music."

They hired DJ Emmanuel for the reception and the ceremony.

"Having a live musician for the ceremony would have cost a lot more money," Misaki said.

DJ: $3,646

Misaki also changed into a shorter dress for the end of the festivities.

A bride and groom walk into their wedding reception. The bride waves in a shorter dress.
The bride had a second outfit. Francisco Salas

Later in the evening, Misaki changed into a strapless minidress from Meshki that was easier for dancing, which she paired with sheer gloves.

Her second ensemble was more affordable and perfect for the dance party vibes.

Second dress: $165

Gloves: $7

The Hajimirsadeghis chose a champagne tower over a cake.

A couple pours champagne into a tower of glasses in front of twinkly lights at their wedding.
They didn't have a wedding cake.Francisco Salas

Nobu's catering menu featured three courses, and Misaki told BI their menu included a bread assortment, a salad, a choice of entreé between beef, salmon, lamb, or ravioli, and a cheesecake dessert. Since dessert was already built into the meal, Misaki and Amir decided not to buy a separate wedding cake, which also would have had to come from Nobu.

Instead, the Hajimirsadeghis invested in a champagne tower they could pour bubbly into at the end of the night instead of cutting into a cake.

Champagne tower: $320

And to make the end of the night extra special, they splurged on fireworks.

A couple kisses in front of fireworks and raise glasses of champagne.
Fireworks exploded as they poured champagne.Francisco Salas

The Hajimirsadeghis had their planning team arrange for fireworks to erupt while they popped the bubbly.

"We were pouring champagne while the fireworks were coming down," Misaki said.

The fireworks cost over $2,000 and only erupted for one minute, but it was worth it for Misaki and Amir.

Fireworks: $2,800

Misaki and Amir ended up coming in under budget, spending just over $80,000.

A bride and groom embrace and look into each other's eyes.
They were under their budget. Francisco Salas

Misaki and Amir managed to stick to their preferred spend of $80,000 almost perfectly.

Misaki told BI that telling their planning team a lower budget than they actually felt comfortable spending helped keep their costs low and prevented her and Amir from getting stressed out when surprise costs came up.

"We actually felt good about it because we were kind of under budget," she said. "Obviously, you can always have a cheaper wedding; you can always have a backyard wedding. But for what we wanted, which was at a five-star hotel with all of our guests together having Nobu food, I think we saved a bunch of money."

Misaki advises other couples who are just starting to wedding plan to have an intentional conversation with their partner about what they want to prioritize financially before they start making wedding decisions.

"Everyone has different priorities," she said. "If you don't care to have a wedding, then obviously spending $80,000 on a wedding doesn't make any sense."

"Talk with your partner on where your priorities lie, whether you even want to have a wedding," she said. "And then if it is something you want to do, then think about all the other priorities in your life. For us, it was owning a home and having kids in the next few years."

Total: $80,230.78

  • Catering and drinks: $28,860

  • Wedding planner: $4,640

  • Flowers: $4,595

  • Ceremony rentals: $275

  • Bride's first dress: $3,027.78

  • Bride's shoes: $130

  • Bride's second dress: $165

  • Gloves: $7

  • Veil: $152

  • Hair and makeup: $300

  • Tuxedo: $200

  • Groom's shoes: $1,000

  • Rings: $5,820

  • Invitations: $549

  • Dance floor: $3,300

  • Fairy lights: $2,800

  • DIY materials: $100

  • Tables, chairs, linens, flatware, and bar: $5,740

  • Seating chart: $1,440

  • Guestbook: $400

  • Welcome bags: $700

  • Photographer: $4,400

  • Videographer: $3,364

  • Content creator: $1,500

  • DJ: $3,646

  • Champagne tower: $320

  • Fireworks: $2,800

Misaki said her relationship with Amir "feels like home."

A bride and groom exit their wedding ceremony on a beach. The bride raises her hand holding her bouquet in excitement.
The bride and groom.Francisco Salas

"We've been friends for over a decade now, so I'm just comfortable with him," Misaki said of her husband.

"We have the same sense of humor, the same goals and values in life," she added. "It's just easy with him."

If you want to share the real cost of your wedding with Business Insider for a story, get in touch at sgrindell@businessinsider.com.

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