How to Plan a Frugal Destination Wedding

At first, the idea of having a destination wedding can seem expensive. Traveling is often not cheap and there are lots of things that go into planning a wedding in a location far from your hometown. How does a frugal destination wedding sound?

That said, traditional local weddings can cost a pretty penny as well. Once you add up costs like the venue, meals for each guest, flowers and decorations, a photographer, etc. You could also easily spend tens of thousands of dollars on your big day. With the average cost of a wedding ranging from $20,000 to $33,000, it just might be possible that you could save money with a destination wedding. You’d need to watch costs of course, but it’s becoming more and more common to plan a reasonable and frugal destination wedding.

So if you love to travel or have always dreamed of getting married on a beach. Here are some tips to help you keep costs low when planning a destination wedding.

Narrow Down the Most Affordable Locations

All destination weddings are not the same. Getting married at a beach in the Bahamas may cost you less than having a wedding at the Eiffel Tower in Paris. You can still have a frugal destination wedding simply by carefully considering the city or country you choose to get married in.

If you’re looking for a beach atmosphere, this may or may not mean booking your wedding at a resort in Hawaii. You may be able to save money by getting married in Costa Rica or another Caribbean island. It’s important to do your research and compare the overall costs of traveling to a different area for a wedding.

Also, realize that by choosing a location that is a quick flight or drive from your hometown. It may save you and your guests money in terms of travel expenses.

Get Married During the Off-Season

You’ll find a ton of savings when you make the simple choice to get married during the off-season. If you’re gearing toward a destination wedding, you can choose a place that has mild and beautiful weather all year round. That way, if you decide to get married in November or February, it won’t really matter.

When you travel during the off-season, you can save money on everything from your flight to your hotel and possibly even ground transportation. Just start planning things well in advance so your guests have time to request off work and make necessary arrangements.

RELATED: Budget Weddings: Choose an Off-Season Month to Get Married

Consider an All-Inclusive Hotel with Bundled Wedding Packages

There are plenty of places to consider when searching for the perfect location for your destination wedding. Most people choose a hotel or resort since it’s convenient and guests can stay on-site. If you want to save money on your big day and also help guests save money, consider booking your wedding at an all-inclusive resort. That way, guests can eat, drink, swim, and enjoy on-site activities all for one nightly rate. Depending on the size of your group, you may even be able to score a group discount.

Another benefit of booking an all-inclusive hotel is that they will likely offer a range of wedding packages so you can choose one that fits within your budget. Going back to the idea of getting married in Costa Rica, I believe this would be a very frugal destination wedding location because there are lots of affordable wedding packages.

The Riu Hotel which has locations in Costa Rica, Mexico, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic, actually offers a free wedding package that includes a:

  • Bridal bouquet
  • Groom boutonniere
  • Ceremony location set up and decoration
  • Playlist for ceremony
  • Semiprivate dinner at one of their specialty restaurants (10 people)
  • Wedding Cake (10 people)

If you wish to have more people, you can upgrade to one of their paid packages. They range from $1,200 to $5,000. This is still less than what you might spend getting married in your own area.

RELATED: 7 Easy Ways to Save on Your Honeymoon

Limit the Guest List

Okay let’s be honest, if you really prefer a frugal destination wedding, you can just elope and not invite any guests at all. However, you may want to have close friends and loved ones there. You can still invite a few people but keep your guest list small. Managing a small guest list of 20 to 25 people may cost much less than inviting and feeding 250 people.

Plus, you can communicate that guests pay for their own airfare and stay instead of providing a gift. Or, consider covering your bridal party’s stay for the wedding night only.

RELATED: Feeding Your Wedding Guests on a Budget

Set a Budget and Skip All the Extra Frills

The ambiance of being in a new and exotic place will be enough to excite your guests without requiring you to spend a ton of money on entertainment during the reception. You don’t need to hire dancers or serve over-the-top food. You also don’t even need to buy a big puffy wedding dress or a sharp tux. When it comes to decorations, you can keep things simplistic or even see if your hotel can lend some items.

The beauty of having a destination wedding is that you get to make the rules and can do things in a much more relaxed manner.

Summary: A Frugal Destination Wedding is Possible

Don’t count out your idea of having a destination wedding due to perceived costs. You can make your wedding as budget-friendly as you want. Even if you’ve always dreamt of getting married in another state or country. The key is to thoroughly research all your options and come up with a list of areas that you can keep costs low when reviewing your overall budget.

Have you ever considered a destination wedding? How would you cut costs?