Destination weddings sound like a fairy tale come to life, right? While they definitely can come with a huge price tag, they don’t have to. Here are some simple tips to plan a destination wedding that doesn’t break the bank.
The most important part of your destination wedding is the destination of course! While you may be tempted to pick a location based on things like aesthetic and style, add to your specifications a couple of financial musts, especially the exchange rate.
Picking a location where your dollar is going to stretch the furthest means you will save money on every single aspect of your wedding. From the venue and food to the linens and hotel rooms, those all become cheaper if you pick your location wisely.
And, it may sound obvious, but make sure you visit the location in person. Don’t trust the location by looking at pictures alone. Photos can be taken at certain angles and edited to perfection these days.
The Guest List
Planning a destination wedding is a built-in excuse to keep the guest list small without hurting anyone’s feelings. It’s easy to eliminate coworkers and distant family when the event is on the other side of the globe. Keeping the initial invite list small will save you money as most venues price food and alcohol per head.
Many people think you should actually invite more people to a destination wedding in anticipation of receiving a lot of no’s due to the location. This is actually the opposite of what normally happens. These days, guests usually have to travel for weddings regardless. So, even though it’s further, guests will see it as a built-in vacation while also getting to celebrate you!
Choose your date wisely and keep a couple of things in mind:
- Research your destinations high and low seasons, but more importantly, find out WHY that is the low season. You can deal with less than perfect temperatures but you can’t have a wedding outside during monsoon season.
- Be careful planning the wedding on a holiday. While your guests will have an extra day off, travel costs skyrocket during holiday weekends.
- Don’t forget to look up the holidays at your destinations. This is often times forgotten and will drive the cost of everything up.
All the wedding details that typically rack up your bill – flowers, decor, etc – can be pretty much eliminated at many destination weddings. Let the location be the backdrop and decor to save you a ton of money.
Also, make sure to stick to local vendors to help save money. Not only may they be cheaper in the country you are in, but you will also save on transport costs.
Lastly, my biggest tip: find a venue that includes a wedding planner. Destination weddings have so many moving parts, it’s nearly impossible to plan it all yourself. A planner will not only help keep stress levels down but will also know which local vendors to work with and can caution you on complications you wouldn’t even think of.
Let your guests know as easy as possible the date and location. It isn’t uncommon to send out save the dates up to a year in advance. Formal invitations should also be sent out early as well, three months in advance is normal.
Use a wedding website to keep everyone updated. Try to include as much travel information as possible. Things you must include: what airports are best to fly into and a couple accommodation options with different price points.
The Actual Weekend
Consider greeting guests with a welcome bag. Add some items you can only find in the area – spices from Mexico or Pasta from Tuscany. Also, include a schedule of events and list of contact numbers for any questions your guests may have. And speaking of your schedule, don’t over plan your guests time. For some, this may be their only vacation this year, let them enjoy it how they choose.
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