If you’re recently engaged to be married, congratulations! As your attention shifts towards your big day, it hits you; weddings are really expensive. As you flip through bridal magazines and begin to make plans, you quickly realize that your optimistic budget cannot bring you all the bells and whistles you initially envisioned.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, know that you’re not alone. Based on a recent survey, in 2016, the average American wedding cost $35,329. In fact, the average cost of a wedding has hit record-breaking highs, yet the total number of guests has actually decreased.
If you feel as though your wedding budget may quickly slip through your fingers, know that there’s another exciting and affordable option – destination weddings. It’s time to consider your options, dust off your suitcase and plan the wedding of your dreams.
Why a Destination Wedding Can Help You Save Money
I know first-hand that weddings are unbelievably expensive. Although I can certainly relate to those who want their very own fairy-tale wedding, my husband and I spent less than $1,000 on our wedding (thanks, Mom, for the beautiful backyard set-up) and then set off on a little coastal holiday.
When we returned, we had a little after-party with friends and family, and for us, it was perfect. That decision allowed us to kick-start our business and invest in our home. With that being said, I understand that your wedding is one of the most important days and you want to create memories that will last a lifetime.
When it comes to destination weddings, there are so many ways to create an unforgettable event, and in many ways, choosing this option over a more traditional wedding will just keep on giving.
Could a destination make all of your dreams come true without bleeding your bank? Consider the following.
Your Venue Could Be the Beach
Couples often want to wow their guests with the venue they choose. This may explain why last year, the national average spent on a wedding venue was $16,107. When you opt for a destination wedding, however, you can begin to look outside of your local venue scope — and the possibilities begin to open up. How can a venue be any more impressive than a historic backdrop or a white sandy beach?
In many cases, resorts will provide a package deal, so think all-inclusive options when you’re planning. These packages allow you not just to save, but also plan more effectively in terms of your budget. You may even have some to spare, allowing you to extend your honeymoon — or better yet, put away a chunk of change to purchase your home.
Also, although we often think of these dreamy, faraway destinations, there are plenty of beautiful options within the United States. Considering the average Manhattan wedding costs over $70,000, if you’re a New York local, why not jet off to Arkansas for an intimate, country wedding?
You Can Use Reward Points
Do you or your partner often travel for work? Have you been saving up points for years, not knowing what you’ll do with them? Well, here’s your opportunity to get a little more bang for your buck. According to The Knot, 27% of destination wedding couples used reward points to pay for a portion of their wedding.
If you don’t currently have any points saved, take action today. As you plan for your wedding, sign up for a great rewards credit card. As long as you currently have the funds to pay off each purchase at the end of the month, start racking up those points well in advance.
International Weddings Cost Less Than Domestic Wedding
You may think that a Costa Rican wedding would cost more than a ceremony in Aspen, but the truth is, when looking at the total amount spent, domestic weddings cost more on average. Sure, traveling internationally will generally cost more per head, but on average, fewer guests attend.
This is exactly the mind frame my English friends have regarding their upcoming wedding. They booked a stunning venue in Italy, which includes their hotel, allowing them to really slash their guest list. After all, when you’re on home turf you can’t really invite one uncle without inviting the other three, even if you don’t really speak to them.
You’re Already Honeymooning
The best part of any wedding is the honeymoon, and with destination weddings, you’ll already be ahead of the game. No need to drive off to the airport after your reception, because you will already be honeymooning. You can spend some quality time with your partner, while making some unforgettable memories with your loved ones. Take my friends, for example, who will be touring Greece, France and Switzerland after they spend a week with their guests in Italy.
The World Is Your Oyster
Destination weddings are certainly flexible, and that’s the best part. Whether you want to get married ocean-side or spend your ceremony in a lush rain forest retreat, doing some research could make all of the difference.
Here are some budget-friendly options for you to check out both close to home and a bit farther off the beaten path:
- Vermont — think contemporary barn wedding
- Lake Tahoe — the backdrop couldn’t be any more beautiful.
- Dominican Republic, Mexico, Jamaica — all of these destinations offer affordable package deals for brides and grooms
You’ll Have Fewer Expenses
If you choose a resort, for instance, you just need to worry about getting yourself to that location, and maybe bringing along a photographer of your choice. In many cases, however, the package deal will include a photographer, and the same is true with flowers.
You can hire a chef for the night if you wish, but when it comes to packages, food is generally included. In terms of a reception, how can you beat an outdoor Caribbean party under the stars? Based on varying packages available, there are plenty of upgrades. It all depends on what’s important to you and how many guests will be in attendance.
You can have the most fabulous wedding imaginable, sharing the experience with those you hold near and dear without racking up crazy debt. The key is to plan ahead, set a budget, stick to it and just enjoy the ride. After all, you know the expression about marriage – the best destination is the journey itself.
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