When you think of your dream destination wedding, you might imagine a sandy beach or an extravagant European getaway. Most often, couples correlate this scenario with high costs and usually deem that it's unattainable to have their dream wedding as a result.
However, there are some amazing tips and tricks to keep in your arsenal that can save you money (and stress!) during your wedding planning process. Our advice? Don’t write off your dream destination wedding just yet. Here's how to have the wedding of your dreams without blowing your wedding budget.
1. Plan your dream wedding during non-peak times
Believe it or not, the majority of destination wedding costs depend on when you decide to host your big day. Specifically, the day of the week or month in the year. Opting for the middle of the week rather than a highly-coveted weekend day could mean some substantial savings. Weekdays are considered non-peak days and since your guests will likely already be taking time off to celebrate, this option could make sense for you. Also opting to get married in winter or spring versus summer or fall could save you a considerable amount of money as well.
That being said, you’ll want to pay close attention to your destination’s event calendar. Just as the U.S .celebrates major holidays, the country or region you choose may also have a holiday that overlaps with your wedding. This could potentially create conflicts with travel arrangements which could potentially increase costs and impact your wedding budget.
2. Stay on top of your wedding budget by booking things in bulk
A common misconception among travelers is that paying for a wedding is more manageable and often cheaper when done in increments rather than all at once.
This can be true for smaller costs such as your wardrobe, transportation once you get to your destination, or food – however, you will actually save more money by bundling your major wedding expenses together at once. For instance, your venue, airfare, hotel accommodations, and any additional resort costs could be in one bundle. By booking these together right off the bat, you’ll usually be in luck to get a much lower rate.
Some other specific costs to consider booking together in bulk include:
- Your wedding catering costs, wedding decor costs, DJ costs, and ceremony costs. These can be bundled together into a destination wedding package.
- Wedding hair and makeup for you and your bridesmaids. Sometimes your wedding photography can be part of this package too.
- Your wedding and honeymoon package including tours and activities (many wedding destination resorts offer this too!).
3. Be smart about the cost of communication while you're away
Saving money on communications during the wedding is often overlooked by couples until the last minute. This results in astronomical cell phone bills and unnecessary add-ons to your data plan. Free texting apps like WhatsApp and Viber run on WiFi (which most all-inclusive resorts will have throughout the property!), so there’s no need to buy an international plan while you’re away.
Better yet, apps like WhatsApp and Viber now also include free calling and video chat on WiFi. Even if you’re planning to go ‘off-the-grid’, these are great tools to communicate with your guests who will be attending your event.
4. Rent the runway for your wedding dress
Renting a dress can actually be a great option, especially for a destination wedding trip. You can get a stunning designer wedding dress for a fraction of the cost, which will save you a ton of money purchasing an expensive dress for a one-day event.
Multiple companies, like Rent the Runway for instance, now offer such rentals. This can help take some of the financial pressure off of your wedding. It may seem a little strange at first glance, but renting a stunning, beyond-expectations dress for your wedding day can soften the blow to your wallet and make your big day that much sweeter. Plus you'll look fabulous!
5. Research the hidden marriage fees at your destination
Most couples don’t realize that marrying abroad can potentially require some additional fees that may not be on your radar. While this depends on the country that you’re planning to marry in, it's important to be aware of these costs. For example, in some countries getting a marriage license might require specific steps in order to be approved.
Filing costs, health screenings, and other fees can also factor in. This, in turn, could cost more money than if you were getting married locally. Fortunately, thorough research early on can ensure that you are getting things done at the lowest costs possible.
Additionally, U.S. territories are significantly lower in cost since they don’t require extensive screening if you’re already a citizen. Creating an itemized list will help you in the long run as you allocate your wedding budget.
One of the top mistakes when deciding to plan a destination wedding is not preparing yourself and skimping on your due diligence when it comes to the important research. If this option is really in the cards for you and your soon-to-be spouse, and money is the real issue at hand, pace yourself!
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a longer engagement to ensure that your wedding will have a huge payoff. Knowing the potential pitfalls and how to avoid them is half the battle.