Bride and groom strolling along the beach at dusk

How Destination Weddings Can Save You Money

Ditch the Idea of a Local Wedding

According to The Knot’s 2018 Real Wedding Study, the national average cost of a wedding is $33,931. However, if you’re a couple looking to cut down on wedding costs, but still create the ultimate unforgettable experience for you and your guests, then you might want to consider a destination wedding. In fact, the average budget for a destination wedding is $28,000. That’s right! Exchanging your vows with your significant other on some beautiful tropical island may sound expensive, but here are 5 ways you can have your dream wedding in an amazing location without breaking the bank.

1. Smaller Guest List to Help Cut Down on Cost

One of the most daunting tasks in planning a wedding is determining who to invite. The bride and groom trimming down, and in some cases, adding more friends and family to their wedding guest list can leave the happy couple stressed out before they even get a chance to walk down the aisle. Instead of planning a local wedding, couples should consider a destination wedding, which usually limits the number of guests who will be able to attend, but also allow for a more intimate ceremony. Also keep in mind that even if you do send invites to a lot of people, it’s likely that only your nearest and dearest family and friends will end up spending the time and money to celebrate at the destination of your choice.  Create a luxurious experience on a smaller budget, and spend more time with the people who really matter the most to you. 

Bride and groom with wedding guests
intimate wedding - A destination wedding will cut down the number of guests that may be able to attend, making it a more intimate celebration with people who mean the most to you. 

2. It's OK to Go Casual

By contrast, most destination weddings are more casual occasions than a traditional wedding, where the bride usually splurges on an expensive wedding gown. A destination wedding allows the bride and groom to dress the way they want even if that means donning a shirt and shorts as you exchange your vows.  And even if you want to stick with the classic wedding attire, you’re free to tone down the formality and pick an affordable option. Most brides don’t want to wear a full-length gown on the beach. Avoid the stress of traveling with a large dress or an expensive tux, and pack light for the more casual destination wedding you’ve dreamed about.

Lesbian couple pose for a fun, colorful wedding photo.
go casual - With a destination wedding, couples have the option of packing less for a more casual ceremony, and that can cut down on expensive costs associated with a couple's wedding attire. 

3. Wedding + Honeymoon = The Total Package

With help from a knowledgeable travel agent, couples can plan their dream wedding in a tropical location such Hawaii, the Maldives or St. Lucia, which is also ranked the #1 honeymoon destination recommended by our travel agents. A destination wedding location can also serve as a great honeymoon location that allows the bride and groom time to spend a few extra days after the wedding along or with friends and family. Most resorts offer some sort of package, bonus or discount that encourages couples to have their wedding and honeymoon in one great location. If you’re not sold on honeymooning in the same place, you should consider choosing a location nearby instead. For example, if you get married in Paris, consider a honeymoon in Spain.  

Bride and groom running happily in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Honeymoon included - If couples don't want to spend extra time in the same location as their wedding ceremony, they can spend their honeymoon in another destination. Consider exchanging your vows in Paris, and your honeymoon in Spain!

4. Wedding Packages and Exclusive Perks

One of the biggest perks for having a destination wedding is to cut down on costs especially if you’re planning to have your wedding at an all-inclusive resort. And because they need to keep up with competing resorts, most all-inclusive properties offer destination wedding packages at an extremely low rate. Some provide couples with packages at different price points that may include: the wedding ceremony location, wedding coordinator, bridal bouquet/boutonniere, a complimentary suite a few hours before the ceremony,  honeymoon and or bridal registry, and breakfast in bed the morning after the ceremony for the bride and groom. And there’s harm in asking your resort or venue about freebies and perks when booking a large event like a wedding with them. You may get a free upgrade to the honeymoon suite or a discount based on the number of guests staying at the resort. Some all-inclusive properties also offer exclusive perks, such as a resort credit for a spa treatment or beverage/food. These are just a few ways resorts can help make this life-changing event a memorable experience for you and your guests. And remember working with an expert travel agent can give you access to many discounts that you may not be able to get on your own.

Black bride and groom dancing atop a building in Europe.
Wedding Packages & Perks - Some resorts and hotels offer wedding packages at different prices points, providing couples with a unique celebration that will create memories that will last a lifetime.  

5. Stress-Free Bride & Groom is Priceless!

Well, it won’t really save you money, but it will give you peace of mind. A destination wedding saves the bride and groom time and stress… and that’s priceless. And having a travel agent, in addition to a wedding planner, can reduce your anxiety level, too! The less stress you have to deal with taking care of all the details, the more you both will be able to enjoy your special day. Several resorts have full-time wedding coordinators available or you have the option of hiring your own. Either way, let them do all the hard work and handle all the details based on your advisement. 

Let one of Vacation’s on-call travel experts match you with a destination wedding or honeymoon travel specialist, who can customize the dream itinerary you both deserve.

Couple laying in the sun on a wooden cabana in Thailand.
stress-free option - With help from a travel agent and an onsite wedding coordinator, couples can focus on the fun aspects of their chosen destination and let the experts handle the details.
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