Destination weddings have increased in popularity over the years and the reasons are hardly surprising. By the time couples secure quotes for catering, entertainment and the venue for a wedding close to home, many are left wondering if they’ll need to auction off a kidney to afford the big day. Destination weddings become a great option, as the intimate guest list typically translates to cost savings for many couples. Plus, the built-in vacation and drool-worthy photos never hurt either.
Still, like all weddings, destination weddings are best executed with some careful planning and smart thinking. Below, we’ve compiled a few insider tips to make sure your wedding looks amazing while staying on budget.
Consider traveling off-season
Paris in the spring? It will take your breath away. St. Barth’s for New Year’s? You’ll have more fun than should be allowed by law. But timing is everything when planning a destination wedding and if it sounds too good to be true, it will likely cost you. Still, you don’t need to give up on your dream destination—you just might have to adjust your dates. Traveling offseason will help you score better airfare and room rates while still getting you to that destination of your dreams.
Plan far in advance
While some couples opt for a short engagement with a destination wedding, the best rates almost always come for those that plan far in advance. If you do have the flexibility when choosing a date, consider picking your destination and resort at least a year (and up to a year and a half) in advance. Popular locations and holiday weekends always book out early, so you’ll have a better chance of securing a great rate and ideal time frame if you start early.
Try an all-inclusive
No longer a cheesy, 90’s-esque vacation, many all-inclusives now offer boutique properties, adults-only options and a laundry list of amenities. If you’re planning to marry near a beach, all-inclusives are also ideal as many hotels and resorts include water sports into their pricing, which can get quite pricey a la carte. Plus, all-inclusives save the awkward, how-do-we-split-this-30-person-dinner-bill and ensure everyone spends more time thinking about your wedding than where they left their American Express.
Add DIY touches
Want to include a welcome basket for your guests when they arrive at the resort, or leave wedding favors on all of your reception seats? The hotel will likely have options for you, but at a cost. Recruit some friends and family to help you put together DIY options. Personalized touches always fare well with guests, and there are endless tutorials on the web for cheap, easy and creative projects.
Pick a resort with multiple properties
Want to honeymoon in a different spot than you marry, but don’t want to lose your resort perks? Make sure to check out all of the properties in the resort’s chain, and not just the one you want to get married at. Nearly all resorts will allow your wedding credits to transfer over to your honeymoon, so you can enjoy that room upgrade, candlelight dinner or resort credit without worrying about running into your guests post-ceremony