If you could get married anywhere in the world, where would you go? For most people, somewhere local works perfectly fine. But for the travelers at heart, a destination wedding is one of the best choices you can make. It turns your wedding into a beautiful vacation in paradise to create memories with the people you love.
Planning a wedding can be an expensive and hectic task – especially a destination wedding. There are tons of added costs that can take you above your budget. But lucky for you, this guide will give you an overview of things you can expect to have in your budget and what you can splurge and save on to balance it out.
Be sure to bookmark this article because it will be your trusted guide to make your destination dream a reality for anyone’s budget!
1. Venue & Ceremony - Splurge
Your wedding venue is the centerpiece of your entire wedding. The place where you hold the ceremony is one of the most memorable places as you say, “I do.” So, when it comes to budgeting the venue and ceremony, it deserves to be at the top of the list.
If there’s one item to splurge on, it’s the venue and ceremony. You’re already choosing a dream destination, so why not give it the complete package with a beautiful backdrop where many of your wedding photos will happen.
2. Food & Beverage – Splurge and Save
If you didn’t know, the food you serve at your wedding is a critical element to the entire event.
You should splurge on the main dinner and your wedding cake. However, destination weddings are usually more intimate with fewer people, so it won’t be a huge part of your budget even when you splurge.
Drinks can add to the fun of any wedding. You can save on drinks if you’re looking at an all-inclusive resort that provides unlimited drinks for your wedding party.
3. Flowers & Décor – Save
One of the best parts about having a destination wedding is that you get to choose a beautiful setting for your wedding. Wedding decorations are meant to transform a regular venue into a suitable wedding space, but a picturesque destination accomplishes that for you.
You can balance out your wedding budget by using local vendors (or those provided by the resort) to handle decorations. Your wedding destination already creates the perfect ambiance.
4. Entertainment & Events - Save
Between the wedding reception and the overall trip, there are plenty of ways to save. A benefit to destination weddings is immersing yourself in the local culture—no need to fly in world-class entertainment when you can enjoy performances by the local talent.
If you’re planning a few days to celebrate your wedding, you can find local tours that offer group rates for fun activities.
5. Hair & Makeup – Splurge
Looking beautiful for your wedding is essential. You’ll want to look and feel confident as you marry the love of your life in front of all your closest family and friends. That means you should definitely splurge on hair and makeup.
Plan your look in advance and invite a personal hairstylist if you can. Remember that you’ll have to look at your wedding photos forever, so you need to be proud of how you look because your wedding happens only once.
6. Dress & Shoes – Splurge and Save
Your wedding dress will be one of the most iconic pieces of the wedding. You might spend months looking for the perfect dress, so don’t let the price stop you from getting the dress that you really want.
If you’re planning a beach wedding, you might not even need shoes. In other scenarios, your shoes aren’t as visible, even in pictures, so you can save a bit on something that looks nice at half the price.
7. Photography & Videography - Splurge
Wedding photography and videography are a must at any destination wedding to document the special moment. As you start to look for a wedding photographer, you’ll realize how specialized the skill is.
Splurge on your wedding photographer and videographer to get someone already familiar with weddings. You need someone who will be at the right place at the time to capture all of the special moments and the people that made it special.
Keep in mind that many resorts have set vendors, and there may be an upcharge for using an outside vendor. However, it can be worth it to get someone who will photograph your wedding exactly how you want it.
8. Invitations & Favors – Save
Do you already have a list put together of people that you want at your destination wedding? Getting attendee confirmations for your destination wedding is challenging since you must consider vacation planning and taking time off work.
Don’t wait too long to get the perfect invitations out. Instead, let your guests know well in advance so that they can begin planning their trip. Consider e-vites for wedding save-the-dates and a wedding website to hold all of the important information to keep everyone up-to-date on all the wedding information.
You will also save on wedding favors since your guests are traveling with luggage. It can be difficult to pack too much extra in their bags anyway. Although wedding favors and small trinkets are great, a "WOW" factor to your wedding event could be a fun group excursion or spa experience for your wedding party.
9. Travel/Flights/Accommodations – Splurge and Save
Destination weddings mean that you not only have to plan a wedding but also plan for travel. There are several parts of travel planning, and you can find savings on many of them.
Your accommodation is a place where you should splurge. If you’re planning a destination wedding in a popular location, try to find all-inclusive packages that include drinks, activities, and other amenities to give your guests a great experience.
If you’re booking as a group, you can find great group rates. Also, you can take advantage of flying in the off-season to save on the trip for flights.
10. Wedding Planner/Travel Advisor – Splurge
You deserve to have the best destination wedding ever, so find the best wedding planner and travel advisor to make it happen. Splurge on your advisor and planner to find someone who can do it right!
Destination weddings can be tricky, especially in a place you’ve never been before. You get what you pay for, and the right advisor can manage planning a wedding and travel abroad.
Arriving at your destination and having it run as smoothly as you expect is worth every dollar you spend.