Destination weddings are becoming increasingly popular, but they can be expensive. To have a beautiful destination wedding on a budget, here are 30 ideas to help make your dream a reality.
Budget-Friendly Destination Wedding Ideas
1. Have the wedding during the off-season.
One of the biggest factors that will affect the cost of your destination wedding is when you have it. If you’re flexible with your date, consider having your wedding during the off-season.
Not only will venues and vendors be less expensive, but airfare and hotels will also be cheaper. Just make sure to check the weather for your desired location to ensure that you’re not jeopardizing the safety of you and your guests.
2. Get married at an all-inclusive resort.
All-inclusive resorts are a great option for couples looking to have a budget-friendly destination wedding. All-inclusive resorts typically include the cost of food, beverages, lodging, and entertainment in their wedding packages, so you won’t have to worry about booking (and paying for) multiple vendors.
3. Have a smaller wedding party.
The size of your wedding party will also affect the cost of your destination wedding. If you’re looking to save money, consider having a smaller wedding party. This will mean fewer airfare expenses and less food and drink to purchase.
4. Have a local officiant perform the ceremony.
Getting married by a local officiant is usually much less expensive than bringing in someone from out of town (not to mention, it’s easier on your guests). You can easily find a reputable officiant by doing a quick Google search or asking for recommendations from friends or family who live in the area.
5. Hold the ceremony at a public venue instead of a private one.
Wedding ceremonies at private venues (like resorts or estates) can be very costly—sometimes even more than receptions! If you’re looking for ways to cut down on expenses, consider holding your ceremony at a public venue like a park or beach instead. Just be sure to check with local authorities beforehand to get any necessary permits or approval.
6. forgo printed invitations in favor of electronic ones
Printed invitations can be quite costly, especially when you’re sending them to guests who live out of state or country. A great way to save money is to send electronic invitations instead. There are a number of websites that allow you to create and send beautiful electronic invitations for free (or for a very small fee).
7. Ask guests to contribute to the cost of their travel and lodging.
If you have guests coming from out of town, one way to offset some of the cost is by asking them to contribute to their own travel and lodging expenses. This may seem like a bold move, but it’s actually quite common—so don’t be afraid to ask.
8. Have guests stay with friends or family instead of booking hotel rooms
If you have guests coming in from out of town, see if there are any friends or family members who live nearby who would be willing to host them. This will obviously require some coordination in advance, but it can end up being a lot cheaper (and more personal) than booking hotel rooms for everyone.
9. Have the reception at a restaurant instead of renting out a separate venue.
Another way to save money on your destination wedding is to have the reception at a local restaurant instead of renting out a separate venue. This option can be especially helpful if you’re having a smaller wedding—restaurants typically have smaller capacity limits than other venues, so you may not need to rent out an entire space. Plus, many restaurants offer special deals or discounts for private events.
10. Keep the décor simple
When it comes to wedding décor, less is usually more—and that’s especially true for destination weddings. Since you’ll already be spending money on travel and lodging, you probably won’t have a lot of extra cash to spend on elaborate decorations.
To save money, keep the décor simple and focus on using natural elements like flowers, greenery, and shells instead of expensive fabrics or props.
11. Have the wedding during the week instead of on the weekend.
When you’re flexible with your date, consider having your wedding during the week instead of on the weekend. This can be a great way to save money on venues, vendors, and travel expenses. Plus, you may find that more of your guests are able to attend if you have the wedding during the week.
12. Have a morning or afternoon wedding instead of an evening one.
Like getting married during the week, having a morning or afternoon wedding can also help you save money. Many venues offer discounts for weddings that take place during off-peak hours, so this is definitely something to keep in mind when choosing a time for your ceremony.
13. Get married during the off-season.
If you’re getting married at a popular destination (like the beach), consider getting married during the off-season. This can help you save money on everything from travel and lodging to décor and catering. Plus, you may find that more of your guests are able to attend if you have the wedding during a less popular time of year.
If you’re really looking to save money, you could always elope. This option obviously isn’t for everyone, but it can be a great way to keep your destination wedding costs low. Plus, it can actually be quite romantic just make sure you’re prepared to deal with any disappointed friends or family members afterward.
Eloping doesn’t necessarily mean running off to Vegas although that is an option! but simply means having a much smaller, intimate ceremony with just your closest family and friends. If you elope, you can still have a big reception party when you get back home to celebrate with everyone.
15. skip thesit-down dinner in favor of heavy appetizers or buffet
Skip the sit-down dinner in favor of heavy appetizers or a buffet. This option can be especially helpful if you’re having a smaller wedding you won’t need to pay for as many servers, and you’ll likely end up with leftovers.
Plus, your guests will appreciate being able to move around and mingle instead of being stuck at a table all night.
15. Have an open bar instead of a cash bar.
An open bar can actually be quite affordable if you plan ahead and take advantage of deals from local liquor stores. To keep costs down, see if you can find a venue that will allow you to bring your own alcohol—this can be a great way to save money on your bar bill.
18. Use seasonal real flowers instead of artificial ones.
Real flowers may be more expensive than artificial ones, but they’ll also look a lot better. If you’re on a tight budget, see if you can find a florist who specializes in using local, in-season blooms. This can help you save money while still getting the beautiful, fresh-looking wedding flowers you want.
19. Have the ceremony and reception at the same location.
Have the ceremony and reception at the same location. This can help you save on transportation costs, décor, and even food and drink. Plus, it can actually be quite convenient for your guests—they won’t have to worry about trying to find a place to park or getting lost on their way to the reception.
20. Shop around for deals on airfare and transportation
If you’re getting married at a popular destination, chances are there will be plenty of deals on airfare and transportation. To find the best deals, start shopping around early and be flexible with your travel dates. You may also want to consider flying to a nearby airport—this can sometimes be cheaper than flying directly to your destination.
21. Create a wedding website
One of the very first things you should do when you’re planning your budget destination wedding is to create a wedding website. This will be an invaluable tool throughout the entire process as it will allow you to keep all of your guests updated on your plans, share photos and information about the location, and provide a place for people to RSVP.
Plus, setting up a website is relatively inexpensive and easy to do – there are plenty of templates and tools available online that make the process a breeze.
22. Renegotiate contracts with vendors
Try renegotiating the contract. This can be a tricky proposition, but it’s often worth a shot. If you have leverage – such as another offer from a competing vendor – you may be able to get the original vendor to lower their price. It never hurts to ask, and you might be surprised at what you can accomplish with a little bit of negotiation.
23. Purchase used decorations
Search online marketplaces and classified ads for used decorations that fit your vision. Once you have everything you need, return any pieces you don’t want to use so someone else can enjoy them too. You can also ask family members and friends if they have any décor items you could borrow for the big day.
24. Take advantage of special promotions
Take advantage of special promotions, like package deals, group discounts, and off-season rates, to keep your costs down. Many vendors offer lower rates for weddings that take place during less popular times of the year.
25. Have an intimate wedding
Intimate weddings are more affordable than traditional weddings because you’ll need to book fewer vendors, buy less food and drink, and have a smaller guest list. Plus, you can get away with having a smaller wedding party, which will also save you money.
26. Have a shorter engagement
The longer you wait to get married, the more likely your costs will increase. If you can, aim to keep your engagement short so you can take advantage of current rates.
27. Work with credit card points or miles.
If you or your parents have a bunch of credit card points or miles, this could be a great way to offset some of the costs of your destination wedding. You can usually use these rewards towards travel expenses like airfare, hotels, and even rental cars.
Just make sure to do your research ahead of time so you know how many points you’ll need and what restrictions there are.
28. Focus on experiences not gifts
Please do not ask for gifts, as your guests have already spent a lot to attend your destination wedding. Instead, focus on giving them experiences that they’ll remember forever. Plan group activities, like a day at the beach or a tour of the city, so everyone can spend time together and create new memories.
29. choose a creative menu set on a budget
Choose the menu wisely and seasonably to help you save on your food bill. Work with your caterer or chef to come up with a unique menu that fits both your taste and your budget. Consider doing a plated dinner as opposed to a buffet, as this can often be less expensive. And, be sure to take advantage of any local ingredients or specialties that can help keep costs down.
30. Get creative with DIY backdrops and decorations
There are endless possibilities when it comes to DIY backdrops and decorations. If you’re crafty, you can save a lot of money by making your own. There are numerous tutorials online that can help you get started. Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time to plan and execute your projects so the turning looks great on your big day.
31. Borrow items whenever possible from your closest ones
Took benefit of friendship at the time of your wedding by borrowing items like vases, centerpieces, and other decors from your friends. Not only will this save you money, but it’ll also add a personal touch to your wedding. Just be sure to return the favor when they tie the knot.
Planning a destination wedding can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little bit of planning and creativity, you can have the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank. Just remember to focus on what’s important to you and your spouse-to-be, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from your friends and family. With these tips, you’re sure to plan a beautiful and memorable destination wedding that won’t break the bank.