Planning for a wedding can take a year or longer — the average engagement lasts 15 months — and it involves taking care of a wide range of details, from purchasing floral arrangements to booking musicians. All those expenses can add up quickly, and you may be wondering if there are alternatives that cost less.
If you’re planning a wedding, you can save money on a ceremony in a glamorous destination — and spend less than you might when having it closer to home. Destination weddings can be very convenient, with resorts and hotels often providing all-inclusive packages that give you a range of venue and decor options to take the guesswork out of planning. With a few of the following considerations, you can save money on your wedding ceremony and travel to a beautiful place for an intimate celebration with loved ones.
Are Destination Weddings Cheaper?
Typically, your expenditures for a wedding and the reception will include things like food, drinks, decorations, flowers, hiring a photographer/videographer, booking an officiant and even accommodations for guests. In addition, your costs will rise if you’re planning to go on a honeymoon.
If you hold a destination wedding, you can save on food, drinks and ceremony costs with all-inclusive resort packages, which may include catering staff, flowers, an officiant and more. You’ll spend less time coordinating and planning, and more time living in the moment, thanks to these packages that provide a “one-stop shop” experience for every planning aspect.
Your wedding may also take place on a beach or in a pre-decorated facility, which means you may not need to spend as much — or any — money on decorations. Even if you’re initially planning to purchase supplies to create your own décor, you can still possibly eliminate this cost by having a destination wedding.
While it’s true fewer people may be able to attend your wedding due to the travel involved, you do have an opportunity to host a more low-key or intimate wedding. This can also help keep costs per person lower because you’ll only be charged for food and other items provided to the number of family and friends in attendance.
You may want to stay at your destination wedding location after the ceremony, which means that you won’t have to spend more traveling to a new location for a honeymoon.
Destination Wedding Ideas
If you want to hold a low-cost destination wedding on the beach, check out the Dominican Republic, which has direct flights from the United States and Europe; Jamaica; the white-sand beaches of Punta Cana; Belize, which is home to beautiful rainforests; and the seaside city of Destin, FL.
If you’d rather have a destination wedding in the mountains, on a lake or in a more urban setting, try such scenic area as Newport, Rhode Island or Portland, Oregon.
Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans, provide romantic Southern charm, and they don’t require a passport, potentially making it easier for guests to attend.
Coordinate for Further Cost Savings
When booking your destination wedding, look for group rates on flights, hotel stays and resort packages — it can be helpful to work with a travel agent to make sure all these details are taken care of. Bundling services into a package will usually get you a discount.
You can also get married during the location’s off-season, when rates will typically be less expensive. For example, if they’re open during summer, ski resorts may have less-expensive rates for lodging and food. Ask the resort for recommendations for wedding planners and photographers if your resort or destination doesn’t provide them, and make sure you get references and examples of their work.
By taking the time to research and plan, you’ll find that your destination wedding will end up being one of the best days of your life and won’t break your budget.