Destination weddings have certainly gained in popularity in recent years and smart, financially savvy brides recognize there’s big savings to be found by opting for a destination wedding. For those who aren’t aware of destination weddings, this is where the couple-to-be essentially elopes to a specific, often exotic, destination with their nearest and dearest in tow to witness the blessed event. And it turns into a mini-vacation for all, including a honeymoon! With a four hundred percent increase in popularity, we don’t see the destination wedding fading out any time soon. Polly Alexandre, of Style Me Pretty, tells us that the most popular destinations for wedding ceremonies are Mexico, Hawaii, Las Vegas, the Caribbean and Italy.
Destination wedding specialists tell us that the savings can be significant when comparing a destination to a traditional wedding. Let’s say your guest list has finally topped out at one hundred people. A destination event is going to come in at seventeen to twenty thousand dollars, where as a traditional wedding is going to cost twenty five to thirty thousand dollars for the same amount of people. Here’s why:
- Combining the wedding ceremony with the honeymoon is a significant savings.
- Couples generally pay for themselves.
- Your invited guests pay for their own travel package.
- There are usually quite a few fewer guests.
- You won’t be throwing a reception that will be the party of the century.
Now, you’re probably wondering just what WILL you need to think about with regard to costs for a destination wedding. The wedding professionals over at destinationweddings.com tell us that the primary costs to look at are:
- The clothing you and the love of your life will be wearing for the ceremony.
- Passports, unless you already have them.
- Visas, if your chosen destination requires you to have them.
- Wedding Insurance (Don’t discount this if you are choosing a destination where extreme weather could become an issue!)
- Clothing for the wedding party.
- Airfare and hotel accommodations for you and your partner.
- The reception – which could be as simple as an elegant dinner, depending on the number of guests joining you.
- Your photographer and transport costs, if you’re opting to choose one not local to your destination.
- Your wedding planner, if you are opting for an independent one to help you with all of the coordination aspects. If you are choosing a resort destination, many offer on-site planners or coordinators to assist you in making your dream wedding come true.
- Flowers are always less costly for a destination wedding. Your guest will not be looking at flowers at your wedding, because, well, you could be getting married in the Caribbean with an exquisite backdrop!
We know that looks like a lot, but the reality is that these costs are not that much. As we said earlier, many resorts offer inclusive destination wedding packages that will afford your guests a package deal as well. We’ve assembled some inspirational ideas for you to start off with here.
Most couples choose to plan their honeymoon right alongside the destination wedding. For privacy, many couples will switch to a different resort after the ceremony so they are not bumping into their guests, who may have used this opportunity to take a real vacation. Depending upon the number of guests who have traveled to share your special day, separating from the group in order to bask in honeymoon bliss is not a bad idea.
Some couples view the fact that you will not receive gifts or cash for your wedding as a bad thing. However, the people who really love you and are able to attend will be taking on the cost of traveling to your exotic location just for you two lovebirds. Elizabeth Messina of Once Wed suggests scheduling your wedding for mid-week, when airfares, hotels and site fees are usually less expensive.
The pluses of a traditional wedding at home is that you will receive gifts. If you specifically request money instead of gifts, for example if a couple has already been sharing a residence, this can offset quite a bit of the cost. The other thing that is important to a number of today’s brides is that you will have the opportunity to celebrate your special day with your colleagues, friends, and extended family and use this as a time for everyone to get together and have fun. We found a great article at Buzzfeed.com showing several ways that the wedding couple can reduce the costs of a traditional wedding.
In conclusion, destination weddings are usually less costly due to the reduced number of guests, and discounts available for inclusive wedding packages. On the other hand, a traditional wedding in your hometown could be cheaper if you request monetary gifts. Whatever destination you ultimately choose, Invitations by R Squared knows that it will be the ultimate in romance and magic.