Planning a wedding can be a lot of work. Planning a destination wedding can be quite a bit more. There are a lot of things to consider, in particular the actual destination, but one thing you should keep in mind throughout the entire planning process is your budget.
If you’re planning a destination wedding you don’t have to scrip and save for years and years; there a number of ways you can keep your costs down. So if you want to have a destination wedding without breaking the bank, here are some tips.
Be Willing to Compromise
It’s really important that you keep an open-mind throughout this entire process. There are a lot of things to consider while you plan out each part of your wedding, so you have to be willing to compromise as you discover new things. In particular, you might have to change your original ideas based around destination and date based on the research you do.
Time of Year
Holidays, spring break and other special events make traveling a lot more expensive. If you want to save money, check the destination’s website to make sure nothing major is going on that week. Major holidays also affect the price of other things like the cost of flowers (think Valentine’s Day) and travel fare (especially around the winter holidays).
Off-peak seasons are also a lot cheaper overall! Since destination weddings may be very popular during late spring, summer, and early fall seasons, companies know they can charge more.
Do your research and look for travel deals, but don’t jump at the first one that looks good. It can take quite a bit of research to find the best price. There are several international travel deal websites you can refer to, such as Kayak.com or vayama.com. Even then, make sure you price out both package deals and separately on hotels and airfare to find out which one is least expensive.
It might be worth your time to talk to a travel agent if you’re really stressing out over this part. Travel agents have a lot of advantages, since they have access to all of the really great deals and information that might not be available to the general public. Another option is to hire a wedding planner who specializes in destination weddings, but consider the cost of their service and whether it will even out.
Consider the Location
It’s best to go for a smaller resort, or even try to find a hidden gem. The less popular destinations will be much more budget-friendly, but will likely still have all the amenities for a great destination wedding. And if you haven’t decided on a particular destination yet, consider the offbeat locations, ones that are lesser known as major tourist destinations. These places are always hoping to gain large groups, like a wedding party, and should still be very accommodating, while at the same time being a lot more favorable on pricing.
Remember, planning a destination wedding can be very complex as you consider all the variables, so give yourself plenty of time to do a ton of research and plan early. By starting much earlier, you can be more flexible when picking the date and location based on your research. Prices usually fluctuate quite a lot depending on the location and time of year, so I would suggest planning at least a year in advance, if not more.
Book as soon as you’re sure it’s the perfect destination. If it’s a popular place, the price of tickets will go up as inventory sells out. The closer to the day, the higher the costs might be for everyone, not just you! This is why starting early is such a crucial step.
Short Guest List
Destination weddings are best when they’re kept intimate, with just a few close friends and family members. It also helps you save a ton of money to keep the guest list small. Even though you aren’t expected to pay for your guests travel, you still have to consider the cost of the reception dinner and drinks, and any other activities you have planned for your time there. Another reason it’s good to plan early is to get your guest list sooner so you can look for great packages or group rates on hotels for wedding parties.
Lower Decor Costs
Decorations can be extremely expensive, depending on how elaborate you want to go. The best thing you can do to keep your decor costs low is to take advantage of your surroundings. Destination weddings are already beautiful because of their natural setting, so use it. And if you really want to cut back on spending, you could skip floral arrangements altogether, which are a huge expense. Instead of having flower centerpieces why not use shells and sand, candle clusters, or even fruit baskets?
Shop Out of Season
When looking to purchase extra items for your wedding, make sure you shop out of season. That way the price of things like bathing suits, flip flops, and even sunblock will most likely be on sale for a lot less. This is the perfect time to pick up any extras too, like wedding favors.